The Cat Cold War

Why is the Maine Coon cat so much more popular than the Siberian cat? They are cat breeds of similar appearance. The Siberian, judging by the photographs on this page, which I hope represents fairly typical examples of these cat breeds, is more rounded in appearance with a stockier body, smaller ears and a more rounded face. But they are both quite large cats. In fact the Maine Coon is, on my reckoning, the largest domestic cat breed other than a wildcat hybrid, while the Siberian is said to be a large and strong cat.

Siberian Maine Coon Comparison

Siberian Maine Coon Comparison. Photos are copyright: Helmi Flick.

As to character and personality I do not really believe that you can brand a certain cat breed with a personality because each cat is an individual with his or her own character. However, the Siberian is said to be an independent cat which likes to bond with the people it loves and has a doglike character, while the Maine Coon is said to have a relaxed and easy going personality being able to get along with children and dogs as well as other cats. They, too, are people orientated and rather independent like the Siberian. We are told that the Maine Coon does not constantly demand attention. To be honest, I do not know any cat which does. Even taking a conventional view of the personalities of these cat breeds, there is not a lot between them.

If we put to one side the question of the cat’s personality, we are left with appearance (which as stated is similar) and history, meaning the origins of the cat. And I think this is where the attractiveness of one cat is superior to the other in the biggest marketplace for purebred, pedigree cats, namely, the United States of America.

The Siberian cat is native to Russia while the main Coon is America’s very own cat breed. So one cat is Russian while the other is American. As the American market in purebred pedigree cats is much larger than the Russian market there are bound to be far more admirers of the Maine Coon.

The Siberian cat quite possibly has a much longer history in Siberia than the Maine Coon has in America. Although, we are never going to be sure because cat breed history is often rather hazy.

It is said that Siberian Cats lived in monasteries thousands of years ago even acting as guards, watching for intruders. The monks cared for them. The Siberian was imported into the United States in early 1990.

It is generally agreed that the more popular Maine Coon first came to America from Europe with the settlers in the 1600s and later. Therefore they are, in respect of long-term history, European cats, particularly British cats I suspect. But four hundred years of evolution in America allows them to be called American cats.

It may be the case that both these breeds have the same origins together with the Norwegian Forest cat. Should that be true we cannot rely on history to genuinely separate them either.

Despite that, America has adopted the Maine Coon as their cat which makes it the world’s most popular purebred cat.

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The Cat Cold War — 18 Comments

  1. I think that the Maine Coon is all the things that we adore in all different cats but all rolled into one cat. LOL If that makes sense.
    They have the look of a wild cat in their size yet they are still small enough to have at home.
    Their faces are the cutest of all breeds, so animated at times.
    They have that long hair which we all seem to like plus their tales are amazing.
    And from what I hear, their personalities are just the best.
    They have a presence about them, a confident presence.
    Whats not to like here?
    I have always loved this breed most, always.
    Next to Mikey and all. LOL

    • I have had many people ask me if Mikey is Maine Coon, I have never really seen it in him like others have, maybe its because of his size, he is 18 pounds and a very large boy. People have asked if he is a Forest Cat or Turkish Angora also. I tell them all the same….Nope, Mikey is a Mutt, the cutest little Mutt I have ever seen. LOL

      • yea and hes geogerous the best animals i love the most are domestic moggies. I do admire maine coon for their beautiful tails and amazing height. I just choose domestic animals as they get a hard life and plus i believe all moggies are just as good and dont cost a thing. I just dont understand why great more predigrees when thers thousands and prob millions of good cats in shelters and fereal cats that are in need of a FOREVER HOME

        • Kylee, I totally agree with you. It’s frustrating that people breed cats on purpose when so many need homes but it’s one of those things that we can’t change. I would never buy a purebred cat but if I did it would be a main coon. 🙂 I do however, have a purebred Parti Standard Poodle that fetches cats. LOL I inherited her though when a very close friend passed away.

          • yea exactly right. its great to meet someone similar i know michael is of the same mind and a few others feel the same. If i was to use a pedigree it be great though havent got a spare 500

      • You raise an interesting topic for me, Jennifer. This is because, in America, the only reason why a cat can be a purebred cat is because he or she is registered with a cat association and the cat has a pedigree. However, as far as I am concerned, that does not mean that some cats that do not have this qualification are not members of a cat breed.

        For example, in Turkey there are many Turkish Angora cats but if anyone of them were transported to America, technically, they could not be called a Turkish Angora cat but a moggie or random bred cat. This is because none of them are registered with a cat association not even the beautiful examples of this breed at Ankara zoo.

        As for Mikey, he has an appearance which does not exactly fit into the appearance of any cat breed. However, he does have “presence”. In fact, he has enormous presence. Some moggies are like that. They are more handsome and have more presence than even the most impressive purebred, pedigree cat.

        The second point I think is worth making is that Mikey may have some Maine Coon genes in him. In other words he could be a mix of some sort because in 1850 (an beforehand) on farms in Maine, the Maine Coon probably looked like Mikey. The way this breed looks today is somewhat exaggerated despite being a fairly normal looking cat breed but it is bred to have a certain appearance while the original farm cats of Maine, the originators of the modern breed, would have been more like Mikey.

        As for the Norwegian Forest cat, that cat breed has a close connection with the Maine Coon and it maybe the same cat if we go far enough back. You can see, then, that the boundaries between moggies and specific cat breeds can be quite blurred.

        • Michael, you are so smart…I like that. I have a feeling I am going to learn many things here.
          Mikey is just a big ol’ fluffy cat! LOL
          I think everything about him is just totally perfect from his cute little nose to his pink little toes. He is so soft and he smells so good all the time and he is a love bug who knows sign language. Best part is that I just woke up one day and he was there all born in my bed. LOL

    • lol. Well, I cannot attest to their faces being the cutest of “all breeds” 😉 and our beloved Mogs<3 of any size, shape and form, but they certainly are revered by the upper middle class in America, as far as, esp. on the Eastern Seaboard. They are loved! <3

      • Are you saying that the Maine Coon cat is more popular in the east than in the west of the country? That would make sense obviously because the state of Maine is where this cat breed comes from, ostensibly. I had the impression that this popular cat breed was popular throughout the USA in equal measure.

    • I feel the same way about this cat breed for the same reasons as you and the most important reason for me is that this cat still looks, what I call, normal. In short, it has not been over-bred, which for me the spoils the appearance of a cat breed. And I love the background of this cat which is a barn cat on working farms in Maine. The first Maine Coons were be shown at farm shows with livestock etc. They were moggies at the time. The cats were simply added to the farm show environment and things developed from there. The early Maine Coons looked similar to the modern cat but slightly different.

  2. If I may, the Maine Coon is so popular in the eastern half of the U.S., that I have –and this is very sad (in fact, it could happen with any breed) noticed that giving up the rights to the beloved breed in a divorce can end in tragedy with the ex who relinquishes his/her love unconditionally; it can end up in giving up on life altogether. suicide. I have seen this happen in my lifetime.

  3. And don’t even think for a minute, since I mentioned “upper middle class,” that it had one iota to do with some sort of status; this was a case of true unconditional “child” love for the intelligent, bright-eyed large cat, with, of course, the requisite tufts. He was truly a good man, and not just for caring so much for their cat that he would give him up. [I have firsthand, intimate experience in such workings, but thank goodness, did not sink into such despair as his.]

      • You are so right Caroline. All breeding of pedigree cats should stop until each and every unwanted cat in every Shelter in the world has a loving home.
        Breeding of half wild half domestic cats should stop too, leave Nature alone!
        But I don’t live in cloud cuckoo land so I know this will never happen because everyone doesn’t care about cats as we do.
        Yes Maine Coons are beautiful but so is every other cat to me, they are all equally as beautiful and as precious and deserving to live.

  4. Ofcourse, it’s moggies for me.
    Idon’t think I’ve ever had an interest in trying to guess what mix of breeds any cat has.
    Both of the cats shown are beautiful but no more beautiful than any other cat to me.
    However (because I’m an ear freak), that coon’s ears are spectacular!

    • exactly they are all beautiful the probs i would have is the choice i often get overwhelmed with the amount of choice available. But will always choose moggies

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