I had never heard of Maine Coon cats before reading about them on a blog site called Bored Panda.
At first, seeing the photos of them, I thought they must have been photoshopped images but on checking Wikipedia and Google images I found that they are an actual, amazing looking breed of cat.
This is what Wikipedia says about the breed:
The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated breed of cat.
It has a distinctive physical appearance and valuable hunting skills. It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically "native" to the state of Maine (though the feline was simply introduced there), where it is the official state cat.
No records of the Maine Coon's exact origins and date of introduction to the United States exist, so several competing hypotheses have been suggested. The breed was popular in cat shows in the late 19th century, but its existence became threatened when long-haired breeds from overseas were introduced in the early 20th century. The Maine Coon has since made a comeback and is now one of the more popular cat breeds in the world.
The Maine Coon is a large and sociable cat, hence its nickname, "the gentle giant". It is characterized by a robust bone structure, rectangular body shape, a silky flowing coat and a long, bushy tail. The breed's colors vary widely, with only lilac and chocolate disallowed for pedigree. Reputed for its intelligence and playful, gentle personality, the Maine Coon is often cited as having "dog-like" characteristics.
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The generally accepted hypothesis among breeders is that the Maine Coon is descended from the pairings of local short-haired domestic cats and long-haired breeds brought overseas by English seafarers (possibly by Captain Charles Coon) or 11th-century Norsemen. The connection to the Norsemen is seen in the strong resemblance of the Maine Coon to the Norwegian Forest Cat, another breed that is said to be a descendant of cats that traveled with the Norsemen.
Some Maine Coon cat photographs:
Photographer Robert Sijka has two passions, cats and photography. His images of Maine Coon cats are amazing: