There are few breeds of cat more instantly recognizable than the Maine Coon. From their large bodies to their fluffy tails, there’s no mistaking one when you see it in person.

Maine coon cats have been around for so long that you probably think you know everything there is to know about the breed. The truth is that these cats, known as the “gentle giants” of their species, have a very interesting story.

Luckily for you, we rounded up a some facts that might surprise even the most knowledgeable Maine Coon fans!

 

1. Maine coon cats are enormous felines: The average male Maine Coon can weigh up to 18 pounds. Furthermore, they’re so large that, on occasion, the breed has even been mistaken for a bobcat! No one is saying that about any other domestic cats.

 

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2. There are several theories about the Maine coon’s origin: Some believe these cats are descendants of ones brought to Maine by Queen Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. The most likely explanation, however, is that they resulted from short-haired cats mating with domesticated long haired-cats brought over by the Vikings in the 1700s!

 

3. Maine coons are built to survive cold winter temperatures: Their beautiful bushy tails are meant to wrap around their bodies to keep them warm when it gets too cold. It’s safe to say they’re basically the huskies of the cat world.

4. The Maine coon’s coat varies: While we typically think of this breed as having a raccoon-like coloring, Maine coons can actually come in a variety of colors. Smoke, cream, camo, mackerel, and tortoiseshell colorings are all recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) as purebred coat colors.

5. Maine coon cats won America’s first juried cat exhibition: Held at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1895, one of the first recorded juried cat exhibitions in the United States recognized the Maine coon as its choice for the “Best Cat” award.

6. The breed is very popular worldwide: In 2015, the CFA reported that Maine coon cats were the third most popular breed in America. According to other statistics, Europe and Japan also have love for these furry kitties.

7. A Maine coon was one of the stars of the  movie franchise: Yes! In fact, over the course of the series, three Maine coon cats were cast for the role of Mrs. Norris, who was the pet of caretaker Argus Filch. They must’ve sensed something magical about these felines.

 

8. The first commercially cloned pet was a Maine coon: A cat named Little Nicky was the first cat to be cloned commercially in 2004 when his owner paid $50,000 to a now-defunct company for the service. California-based Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc. transplanted his DNA into an egg cell, and a surrogate mama cat gave birth to a cloned kitten.

9. The longest cat in the world is a Maine coon: This humongous breed is on record with Guinness as the longest domestic cat in the world. Stewie, an eight-year-old Maine coon, has the honor of this distinction, measuring just over four feet long.

10. A Maine coon is also the world’s oldest cat: Believe it or not, Corduroy the Maine coon is unbelievably 26 years old! Not surprisingly, Guinness World Records has him listed as the oldest domesticated cat in the world today.

11. Unlike other breeds, Maine coon cats love the water: It’s not your typical kitty behavior, but Maine coons can’t seem get enough time in the water. Is the reason largely due to their dense, moisture-repellent coats? We don’t know, but many Maine coon owners have definitely reported this pattern.

12. Some Maine coons are actually polydactyls: Yes, it turns out Hemingway’s cats aren’t the only ones blessed with six toes. Maine coons are another breed that’s been reported to sport an extra thumb from time to time.

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