Take a look at the earliest Maine Coon cat pictures and you’ll quickly realize these cats can be a puzzling breed. When tracing its roots back to the original Maine farm cat its hard to imagine how the physical characteristics have changed so much. Look at the old photos and you’ll immediately see how the facial features of the original cat have evolved through breeding to the point today where some of the ‘classic’ tabby Maine Coons are almost unrecognisable from its ancestors.
Cosey Maine Coon Champion 1895
I’m not sure how different again our Maine Coon uk version is from its modern day American cousins but photos of Maine Coons from a hundred years ago and today clearly show a ‘less shaggy’ cat in the 19th early 20th century. There are also variations between different breed lines. Our two boys are quite different – one from a German line – King Henry is a Maine Coon Katze, while The Jester is from Britain. Of course all lineage should (in theory) be traceable back to Maine.
Personally I can see looking at those early Maine Coon pics why people wanted to breed and show off these cats by presenting the most striking examples of the cat and champion the distinctive looks and famous Maine Coon personality.
Although it is generally accepted that the first cat show in the US took place in 1895, (this is one of the earliest Maine Coon cat pictures I’ve come across) the Maine Coon was admired some 30 years or so before that in the 1860’s. The breed first made an appearance at a local farmers cat show at the Skowhegan Fair, Maine. The competition was for recognition as the state of Maine’s ‘Champion Cat’.
Although there are some very early Maine Coon cat pictures it is difficult to find many Maine Coon photos from a large part of the 20th century up until the 1980′s. This is because the breed went out of fashion up until the 1950’s and it wasn’t until the 1980’s that people began to export the breed to become part of the cat show world in other countries outside America.
There are definitely better quality pictures appearing on the Internet each year (as shown in the Flickr slideshow on this page). Even back in 2002 when I first got hooked myself I wasn’t able to find many really good examples. It was only when I started visiting breeders and cat shows that I truly appreciated the breed. I’d highly recommend getting out and about to meet a few of these gentle giants.
Jester Silver Tabby Boy
Personally I just love those stunning Maine Coon pictures where the cat is staring right into the lens with the tufts prominent and upright – intense ‘wolf’ eyes. When you see these kind of shots its hard to imagine such loveable fun-loving housemates. On the left is a picture of our silver tabby, Jester.