Google Trends informs us that the Maine Coon cat has enjoyed a surge in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. It started around September 2020 and continued through to February 2021 where there is a fall off.
The other major cat breeds such as the Bengal, Siamese and Persian did not enjoy an increase in interest. What can we make of this trend? Well, it has to be a reflection of increased interest in this already popular breed of cat and with increased interest we have to assume that there was an increase in adoptions.
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This is a trend which is inline with an increase in adoptions of small dogs such as the French bulldog. The adoption of companion animals has jumped over this difficult period as some people seek the companionship of an animal as they are socially distanced from people.
Citizens of the state of Maine showed the most interest, unsurprisingly:
It is good to see in one way. All cat lovers can be pleased that companion animals are more popular. It is important though that the adoption of companion animals is not a stop-gap measure to tide people over to the end of social isolation. Animal rescue organisations are concerned that there will be an almost equal surge in the number of cats and dogs being given up when life gets back to something like normal which might be early next year. I don’t think it will happen sooner.
Why are people selecting the Maine Coon at this time over the other breeds? A flippant response would be because I have written about the breed so much and praised it. But I can’t fool myself into believing that. The breed was always very popular. Popularity in cat and dog breeds is constantly changing. There are trends as Google Trends shows us. At the moment the Maine Coon is on the up.
There is a more precise reason, however. The Persian was the most popular purebred cat but its inherent health problems mark it down in the eyes of a better informed public. The Bengal is losing some popularity because it is potentially a more demanding cat breed and people, as always, want a pliable and relaxed companion. The era of great interest in living with a wildcat hybrid is over. People want a true domestic cat; domestic all the way through like a stick of Brighton rock.
The Maine Coon is the world’s most attractive domestic cat. It is the largest cat breed and people like large. But even the largest cat breed is a manageable size compared to large dogs. They are a good size for a companion animal. They have a nice character too; not too clingy. And they mind their own business but provide that invaluable companionship which is so desirable through difficult to times when web searches for “hope” and “panic attack” have reached record levels.
The high point for these desperate search terms came after the first lockdown began last year. I guess this panic evolved into the idea of adopting a cat which in turn evolved into adopting a Maine Coon.
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