The Maine Coon and Raccoon might be different species, but this has not stopped people from wondering if the Maine Coon cat is half raccoon!
Keep reading to discover why this large cat breed’s mysterious origins and physical characteristics cause cat lovers to wonder, is a Maine Coon Part Raccoon?
Maine Coon cats are not part raccoon. Scientists state it is biologically impossible for these two different species to have bred, producing a Maine Coon cat hybrid. Their similar physical characteristics and capabilities are purely coincidental and do not signify that early Maine Coons were cat-raccoon hybrids.
In this article, we explain how the Official State Cat Of Maine first arrived in the United States, and examine the physical evidence claiming this large domestic cat breed is a hybrid!
Is A Maine Coon Part Raccoon?
The Maine Coon breed is the largest domesticated cat breed in the world and is loved for its gentle nature, fun-loving personality, and majestic looks.
Thought to have originated in New England, these long-haired cats won the hearts of their human companions, and were named the ‘Official State Cat’ in Maine!
Although the origin of the Maine Coon cat breed remains a mystery, many theorists speculate that the Maine Coon breed is actually part raccoon.
Despite their physically similar looks and physical capabilities though, it is not thought these two different animals are genetically linked.
In fact, scientists debuffed old folklore tales claiming the Maine Coon was part Raccoon, stating this was biologically impossible.
To this day speculation over their lineage remains rife, with various myths being purported to be true.
The infographic below, created by Katrina Stewardson, gives you a sense of how many similarities exist between the two species, and why this cat-hybrid myth is so popular:
Maine Coon Cat Myths
Whilst the Maine Coon cat’s origin might remain a mystery to this day, this hasn’t prevented three Maine Coon cat myths from spanning their entire existence!
Although none of these theories have been proven, scientists claim there is a genetic barrier preventing the Maine Coon from breeding with a raccoon.
1. Maine Coons Are Part Raccoon
One of the most popular cat myths that gained considerable momentum over the years, is that the Maine Coon cat breed is part-raccoon.
Supporters of this theory argue that Maine Coons are the result of a semi-wild domestic cat mating with a raccoon, many decades ago.
Their evidence for this folk tale is based on the resounding number of physical similarities and shared capabilities between Maine Coon cats and Raccoons.
If we look closer at these two species, we see the following similarities:
- Tabby Patterns
- Raccoon-Like Tail
- Great Hunting Skills
- Love Of Water
Thanks to advances in modern science, scientists have now categorically proven this myth to be biologically impossible.
2. Descendents Of Queen Marie Antoinette’s Cats
One folk tale to have gained popularity over the years claims that the Maine Coon breed is a direct descendant of Queen Marie Antoinette’s Turkish Angora cats.
History tells us that during the French Revolution, the former Queen Of France, Marie Antoinette fled from France on a ship captained by Captain Charles Coon.
It is thought that Marie was unable to abandon her six treasured Turkish Angora cats, whom she kept as pets, so loaded her cats onto the ship with her.
Despite Captain Samuel Clough’s assistance, Marie Antoinette was captured and executed in 1793. Although she never reached Wiscasset in Maine, her cats did.
The premise of this Maine Coon myth is that the Turkish Angora cats were set free from the ship, and went on to breed with the resident domestic short-haired cats.
3. Descendents Of Long-Haired Ship Cats
This final myth purports that Maine Coons are a direct descendant of the Norwegian Forest Cat, a former Viking Ship cat kept aboard ships to keep the mouse population under control.
This myth gained considerable popularity over the years due to the similar physical appearance and skills of these two cat breeds:
- Large Physical Size
- Great Mousers
- Long-Haired Cat Breed
- Wild Looks
- Love Of Water
According to this folk tale, the long-haired ship cats were let off the boat whenever the Vikings docked their ships.
Whilst on dry land, the ship cats are thought to have mated with the pre-existing short-haired domestic cats, of Maine.
Are Maine Coons Related To Raccoons?
Maine Coon cats are one of the most famous cat breeds in the world, but contrary to popular belief these former wild cats are not related to raccoons.
First found in North America, these longhaired cats evolved to survive the harsh winters of Maine, in the United States. Their shaggy coat and tufts of fur played a key role in keeping them warm.
Many people think the Maine Coon and raccoon are related, however, because they share the following physical traits:
- Similar Looks: The Maine Coon and raccoon share a similar physical appearance since both have a wild look and are long-haired.
- Tabby Coloring: Although Maine Coons come in 75 different colorings, supporters of the Maine Coon Raccoon Hybrid myth state that tabby Maine Coons have a remarkably similar coloring to that of a raccoon.
- Black Ring On Tail: Some Maine Coons are born with a black ring around their bushy tail, similar to the raccoon.
- Bushy Tail: Both animals have large fluffy tails.
- Size: Maine Coons are physically large cats with a similar size to that of a raccoon.
- Semi-Prehensile Paws: Unlike many other animals, the Maine Coon and raccoon use their semi-prehensile paws to help them grasp food more easily.
Maine Coon cats and Raccoons also share the following capabilities and characteristics:
- Great Climbers: Both raccoons and Maine Coons are superb climbers.
- Love Water: Maine Coon cats and raccoons both love playing in the water. Maine Coons often use their front paws to pat the water in their bowl!
- Good Hunters / Mousers: The Maine Coon cat part raccoon myth is strongly based on the fact that these similar-looking animals are great hunters.
Can Cats And Raccoons Breed?
According to Macro Evolution, tame male raccoons will mate with cats, and wild Maine Coons will mate with the average cat.
Do Cats And Raccoons Get Along Together?
Cats and raccoons do get along together.
Their friendly interaction further supports the debunked Maine Coon Myth that cats and raccoons bred with each other, creating a Maine Coon Raccoon Hybrid!
According to Macro Evolution, some domestic cats have nursed baby raccoons, possibly leading to imprinting that resulted in baby raccoons becoming sexually attracted to cats.
There is not enough research on the possibility of a cat-raccoon hybrid. However, some people do claim they bred their domestic cat with a raccoon.
Scientists argue that the idea of the Maine Coon being part-raccoon is biologically impossible.
According to Macro Evolution though, there are no evident limitations, be they physical or behavioral, that would prevent a cat from breeding with a raccoon.
The Maine Coon’s mysterious origins have only fueled the belief that a cat-raccoon hybrid cat exists! But, is a Maine Coon part raccoon, really? The simple answer is no!
Early Maine Coons were kept by early settlers and farmers, as a way to keep the mouse population at bay, rather than because these big cats resemble raccoons.
Ultimately, the true heritage of the Maine Coon cat breed will likely remain unknown, forever.