4 maine coon kittens looking up

Are Maine Coons Rare?

The Maine Coon breed has the most colorful origin stories you can imagine, just to make up for the fact that their origin is specifically unknown, although there are preferred theories.

Are Maine Coon cats rare? Not any more. They are now an extremely popular cat breed, mostly in the Western world but are spread throughout the globe. I have one, and I live in Thailand. Any list of popular cats breeds will bring up the Maine Coon. As such, many breeders have protected the breed and finding a purebreed should not be difficult.

Because of their brown color (even though not every Maine Coon is brown) and bushy tail, a myth wants them originating from a semi-domesticated cat mating with raccoons (this is scientifically impossible). Another theory wants Maine Coons to be descendants of six pet cats that queen Mary Antoinette shipped to Wiscasset, Maine, as she was planning to escape France during the French Revolution.

Alita the maine coon playing with a mouse

The most plausible theory is that Maine Coons originate from short-haired domestic cats breeding with long-haired cats which may have been brought to America by the Viking or European sailors during the 1700s.

What we know for sure is that Maine Coons actually descent from Norwegian Forest cat (genetic tests confirmed the theory) and that they were pretty popular during the 19th Century – but, since the beginning of the 20th century, Maine Coons start being rarer and rarer. The decline of their popularity was so severe that the breed risked extinction in the 1950s. In the early 50s, a club was created to increase the breed popularity and fight against its extinction. What ever happened to Maine Coons since then?

Are Maine Coon Cats Rare Today?

They are not. Not at all. After being almost extinct in the 50s they become more and more popular and their number increased to become, today, the third most popular cat breed after Siamese and Persian.

Their popularity increased so much that in 1985 they were made the official state cat of Maine – but they keep being beloved by cat lovers all over the world, but especially in America.

Why Are Maine Coons So Popular?

Just like Labradors in the dog world, everybody loves Maine Coons. They’re majestic with their big and muscular bodies, broad chests, large paws and luxuriant coats – but we don’t love them just for their appearance. Maine Coons have the heart and the brain to become true and loyal family members.

They may not be the cats that want to sleep on your lap (although mine does), but they love to spend time with their owners and they can show their loyalty. When a stranger comes to your house, they’ll be friendly with the newcomer, but they’ll always tend to sit on your side. Despite their gorgeous look, they’re somehow quirky. They don’t meow – Maine Coons make delightful little sounds like cheeps, trills, and chirps – they aren’t afraid of water, strangers, dogs or other animals and they sleep in the weirdest positions. They are also extremely curious about their surroundings and can create games out of any object.

We love all pet breeds, but Maine Coons are just easy to be everyone’s favorite. With high probability, the Maine Coon’s appearance and attitude are what makes the breed so popular. They are also suggested as a recommended breed for those who adopt their first cat just because they don’t have a problematic nature.

Most Common Cat Breeds

Maine Coons are the third most common breed – which breeds are even more common than Maine coon?

Siamese

Siamese cats are currently the most popular cat breed in the US. They originated in Thailand (formerly know as Siam). They have distinct marking called “points” that are the areas of coloration on their face, ears, and tail. They are known for being intelligent and very vocal. Just like for Maine Coons, people appreciate Siamese cats’ appearance and intelligence.

Persian

Persian cats have long and fur coats and they come in almost any color. They have a flat face compared to most other breeds of cats and because of this they’re often referred to as smushed-face cats. Some breed descriptions even state that the nose shouldn’t protrude past the eyes when viewing the cat in a profile. Persians have been one of the most common cat breeds for years and even if you’ve never own one you probably saw them many times in commercials, films and homes.

Maine Coon

As we’ve already mentioned, Maine Coons come third. It seems impossible that 70 years ago they risked extinction. Maine Coons are popular, especially in the USA and not only in Maine. Their classic coloration is a brown tabby, but they can come in almost any color, even though some are rarer than others.

Alita the maine coon lying on me

The Rarest Cat Breeds

As you may have just learned, this list will not include Maine Coons. They are considered a high cat breed but they are very common. Let’s see which cat breeds are the most rare, instead.

LaPerm

LaPerm cats are known for their curly fur, which comes in a variety of colors. Their coats can range from wavy to tight ringlets or long corkscrew curls. Unlike Maine Coons’, LaPerms’ origin is quite recent: the first LaPerm kitten was born in 1982 on a farm in Oregon. They originate from a spontaneous genetic mutation in a regular litter of tabby cats.

Turkish Van

Unlike LaPerm, the Turkish Van cat breed is not only rare but also ancient. The breed has existed in Eastern Anatolia (known today as Iraq, Iran, eastern Turkey, and southern Soviet Union) since at least the Middle Ages. They have semi-longhair coats that make them waterproof and, like Maine Coons, they’re not afraid of water – they love swimming actually.

It was just in the mid-nineteenth century that Turkish Vans arrived in the west.

American Wirehair

American Wirehair were first accepted for registration as a cat breed only in 1967. Every year since then, the number of American Wirehair is always in the bottom of the CFA’s registration list: it means that this breed is the rarest cat breed in the world.

They originate from a random genetic mutation in a litter of shorthair kitten born in New York. The genetic mutation is so rare that so far it has not occurred naturally in any other country. American Wirehair have warily coats, crimped whiskers, and muscular bodies.

Alita the Maine Coon in a cupboard

The Rarest Maine Coon Colors

We’ve just learned that “rare” isn’t a term that suits the Maine Coon cat breed. Still, some colors are less common than others among Maine Coons. Most Maine Coons in fact are brown, but their coat can come in almost any color. What are the rarest Maine Coons colors?

  • Orange Maine Coons, also called “ginger” are quite rare. Orange smoke and orange tabby cats as far more common than orange Maine Coons with no other color present in their fur.
  • White Maine Coons can also be quite uncommon. We should take into consideration that white cats, in general, are rare: they make up for the 5% of the total cat population.
  • Blue Maine Coons are far less common than brown Maine Coons. What is known as blue Maine Coon is actually a smokey blue with grey blended in.

 

If you thought of adopting a Maine Coon because they are gorgeous, smart and rare cats of breed, you were only mistaken about the rare part. This doesn’t mean that you should change your mind. Adopting a cat of a common breed can have advantages: it far more probable that the vet in your city has already had dozens of other Maine Coons among his or her patients, and (s)he has probably accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience about the breed. Not only will your vet would be better informed, but also other cat owners or the web community. If you ever need some advice, it’ll be a lot easier for you to find it.

 

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