Official U.S. State Cats: MAINE

In 1985, the state of Maine recognized the obvious and outstanding choice for its Official State Cat: the Maine Coon Cat.


This state seems to love all kinds of cats: more than 46% of Maine households have cats.

Maine Coon Cats are the only breed developed in the United States, from a mixture of natural North American cats and long-haired foreign breeds. Their name probably comes from their big bushy tails, which are often ringed, and can be as long as 14 inches!

These cats are tall, muscular, and big-boned. Their long thick water-resistant triple coats, long bushy tails, heavily furred ears, and big round tufted feet are perfect for Maine’s harsh winters. They weigh between 10 and 25 pounds. It takes between 3 to 5 years for Maine Coons to reach their full size.

Maine Coon Cats have above average intelligence. They are affectionate with their families, but very independent, and cautious around strangers. They have large eyes and ears, which are often topped by black tufts, and they can be chatterboxes – they make a distinctive chirping trill, in addition to more typical cat noises, but they are much softer-voiced than that more famous feline talker, the Siamese.

Main Coon Tabby with ear tufts

Most Maine Coon Cat breeders believe they are a mix of native domestic shorthairs and foreign longhairs – either Angora types introduced by New England seamen, or even longhairs brought  by Norsemen. But there’s a legend that the original Angoras belonged to Marie Antoinette – they supposedly made it aboard her escape ship and came to America, while she wound up going to the guillotine!


There are more U.S. states that have Official State Dogs, but now 4 states have State Cats, and in 1982 Florida named the Florida Panther as an Official State Mammal to help protect this endangered Big Cat.


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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6 Responses to Official U.S. State Cats: MAINE

  1. We had a Maine Coon back in the 1980s. Got him as a kitten, but he got up to about 25 pounds. He was BIG. He also liked the Christmas tree, and managed to destroy two or three before we figured out how to keep the cat and the tree separate. He liked to get inside the tree and climb it, whacking at the ornaments from the inside. We were forced to place him out for adoption when he decided he needed to mark everything in the house, repeatedly. We didn’t manage to get rid of the smell until the entire carpet was replaced, which was seriously expensive. Also had the largest bowel movements of any domestic cat I ever saw, and no litter box ever made would contain the smell.

    They are gorgeous, but not my favorite cat.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    Certainly sounds challenging! The only one I’ve encountered was at least 20 pounds, and really lo-o-n-g, especially with the tail extended.

  3. pete says:

    I’ve had more than one dog at the time but this is the first time I’ve had more than one cat. My last dog adopted a feral kitten and she had a litter before I had her fixed. Also have a daughter who swore she would take care of the cats. Now she’s grown and moved out and the cats are still here.

    Cats are amazing. I have to say I’ve never seen an animal that’s so purposefully contrary. The mama cat (she’s about 9 y/o now) is one of the most delicate and graceful animals I’ve ever seen. Yet when she’s asleep she could fall off the floor. There’s three footed tuxedo, I call him “Yard” just to piss off the daughter and a fluffy nub tail that is at the same time the sweetest and the stupidest animal walking.

    They are entertaining, though.

  4. wordcloud9 says:

    The smartest cat I ever had was all white and deaf – the all white color and the deafness are often linked in cats.

    This cat loved to retrieve a red rubber Jacks ball – I’d put up an obstacle course in a long hallway, and she would go over under and through again and again to get the ball, bring it back and drop it in my hand to be thrown once more. The down side was that she would relentlessly drop the ball on me at 2 or 3 in the morning until I got up to play with her.

  5. Gabriel was a 22 pound Norwegian Forest Cat. He was simply one of my best friends ever. He was rarely if ever any trouble.

    He once attacked a phone because my tone of voice indicated I was obviously being attacked by said phone. Although angry at the extreme at the person on the other end of the line (business dispute someone who can best be described as an idiot), I couldn’t help but laugh. That phone didn’t stand a chance.

    He loved “the big kitty stretch”. I’d pick him up behind is front legs and he’d stretch until he could hear his back pop and then he’d go totally limp. Afterwards, I could carry him with both arms around the house, his belly in the air and paws fully extended, and it looked as if I had perfected the recipe for boneless cat.

    I got him from a shelter in Texas. I had taken my mother there to get her a dog and as I sat on a bench next to some cat cages watching her pick a puppy from the yard outside, this tiny little ball of fur kept pawing at me from his pen. His message was clear. “You’re the human I pick and I’m going home with you and that’s all there is to it.” And that is all there was to it. The shelter had named him Gabriel and I never changed it. He was a perfect not so little angel. Unless you were a bird or another cat dumb enough not to realize he was the Top Cat. That being said, he never bullied any of the other cats or dogs he grew up around. He had a wonderful disposition. He was with me through Hell and high water. He never wavered. His love was epic and perfect and unconditional.

    I was inconsolable when he passed.

    His ashes are in a cat shaped urn wearing his last collar. It sits on my office shelf in a spot where he loved to sleep as I worked. I have left instructions that the urn be buried with me or, if cremated, that his ashes be spread with mine.

    And that is all there is to it.

  6. wordcloud9 says:

    Thanks Gene – they sure leave a hole in your heart when they go, but your heart is always bigger because of the time you did have with them.

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