Breeders of Maine Coons in Southern Africa
|Cattery||Contact Name||Contact Detail|
|CuriaCooni Maine Coons||John and Rentia Solomon||/curiacooni
PO Box 41405
Republic of South Africa
|KindleCoons||KIM & DAVE HAWKINS||/kindlecoons
PO Box 74294 Turffontein 2140
Johannesburg South Africa
The Maine Coon, the largest breed of domestic cat, is often referred to as the gentle giant of the cat fancy. It is lynx-like in appearance, yet gentle in temperament. It is North America's only natural longhair breed, and the state of Maine's official cat. It has now become the fastest growing breed worldwide.
The distant history of the Maine Coon is unknown. Many believe the Norwegian Forest Cat to be an ancestor of the Maine Coon. Other believe it to be the result of a mating between raccoon and semi-wild domestic cat (a genetic impossibility) hence the name. Another story is that a longhaired cat was brought by ship to Maine by a Captain Coon, that it escaped and lived in the woods and mated with semi-wild domestics. Although no records were kept, the Maine Coon was well known in the east coast states by the end of the nineteenth century. Maines were kept as mousers long before they became show cats, but were one of the earliest breeds seen at cat shows. A Maine was the Best Cat in Show at a Madison Square Garden Show on New York in 1895. However interest in the breed almost died out until the formation of the Maine Coon Cat Club in 1953. THe Maine Coon is no longer confined to the state from which it takes its name but is well known and bred throughout the world.
The Maine Coon is a mixture of elegance and ruggedness, wildness and gentleness. It is a large, medium haired cat with a shaggy coat, large ears and extremely long plume tail. Despite the coat being long and thick, it requires little maintenance, and it is water repellent, so very little grooming is necessary. Maines are very slow to mature, not reaching full size until 3 to 5 years of age. Weight usually ranges from 3,5 to 5,5 kg for females, and 5 to 8 kg for males, although they occasionally reach 10kg. Maines should not be judged on size and weight alone; without large ears, high cheekbones, strong square muzzle, the long rectangular body, firm legs and large paws, and the extra long bushy tail, the "look" is not there. THe image of the Maine Coon as a big shaggy tabby cat is so ingrained into public consciousness that any cat answering to this description is liable to be tagged as a Maine by the unscrupulous. The ears should be set well apart on top of the head, never on the sides, and should not flare out. Lynx tipping and ear furnishings are desirable. The eyes are large and oval, and set on a slight slant. Legs should be sturdy and of medium lenght and the tail should be at least the same lenght as the measure from the base of the neck to the base of the spine. The shaggy coat lies flat, having a waterproof top coat and a soft undercoat. Tufted "snowshoes" must be at present under the paws. Maine Coons may be shown in all colours and patterns except the Himalayan and Burmese.
Maine Coons generally have no problems breeding and the females make good mothers. Maine coon litters tend to vary in size, with five being a good sized litter. The female determine the size of the litter while the male determines the gender.
Maines tend to be very attached to their owners and extremely loyal. They are also extremely intelligent and exhibit a keen interest in their surroundings. They are mellow cats, amiable and easy to get along with once hey know you. Usually they bond with one person and are completely loyal to that individual. They can be trained to fetch and return an object and can be trained to walk on a leash. They seem to enjoy getting wet and because the front claws and toes are a little longer than the average cat, they are able to pick up and hold objects. They love playing and performing tricks, and have the most delightful, quiet, chirping voice. Maine Coons get on very well with other cats and dogs as well as children. Mix a Maine Coon with any other breed and it is likely to sit and watch in a bemused fashion while others make, as it seems to say, fools of themselves. These are truly the gentle giants, they own you, not the other way around.
The Maine Coon in South Africa
Main Coons were first imported into South Africa in 1987. For ten years these cats provided the foundation of all South African breeding stock until it became obvious that the gene pool was becoming limited and breeders began to look elsewhere, to extend their options and reinforce the size, type and temperament of their cats.
Since 1995, many new lines have been imported from the USA, France, the Netherlands, UK, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Japan and Italy. These cats have greatly strengthened the genetic pool, and they and their offspring are doing very well on the show bench.
Maine Coons were first exhibited in South Africa in 1987 and the Maine Coon was granted show status in 1993. In 1994 SpCh Wrevenik Maralas Sampson DM was placed 15th in the Cat of the Year Competition followed in 1996 by SpPr. Wrevenik Beau Brummel who came 2nd and was Best Neuter of the Year and SpPr. Wrevenik Maxwell Plum who came 9th. In 1997, SpCh Kernes Dolphin de Portlands won the coveted title Cat of the year with SpPr Callicoon Hurricane being the 11th best Neuter. SpCh Kernes Dolphin de Portlands scooped the title again in 1998 becoming the only cat to have won the title twice. At the same show, SpCh Callicoon Fruitloops Lincoln was awarded 4th Best Entire and SpPr Callicoon Azure Starre, 13th best Neuter. SpCh Kernes Dolphin de Portlands Maine Coons also won the Federation Cat of the year title in 1998. Due to the great show success, the Maine Coon has now become one of the fastest growing breeds in the country.
In April 1996 the Maine Coon Interest Group (SA) was formed to promote awareness of the breed, to encourage sound breeding programs, and to provide an information and communication forum for anyone interested in Maine Coons. The Group, Which is formally affiliated to the South African Cat Council, but whose members participate in both SACC and Cat Federation shows, brings out a quarterly newsletter and organizes breed tables at shows. Anyone interested in Maine Coons is welcome to join.
Those breeders of Maine Coons who are members of the MCIG (SA) are signatories to a Group Code of Ethics, and provide Agreements of Sale to all buyers. For this reason, the Group recommends that prospective buyers of Maine Coons buy only from recognized MCIG (SA) breeder members.
This information was supplied by the Maine Coon Interest Group (SA).
If you would like to know more about the Group, receive copies of their newsletters, offer your support or get an up to date list of Maine Coon Breeders countrywide, contact:
Dawn Swart (PR Liaison Officer)
Tel: +27 (0)22 461 2215
Fax: +27 (0)22 461 2315
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