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To its fans, this is the big one, the head honcho, the boss cat. Admirers use superlatives to describe the Maine Coon cat, the oldest American breed. One story maintains that this impressive beast is descended from matings among raccoons and wildcats of the US forests. In fact, the Maine Coon is the result of interbreeding between Angora cats imported by British sailors and the semi-wildcats of Maine’s forests. Thus, it is the first truly American breed.

It is not afraid of water, and hunting is its favourite pastime. It can fend for itself when necessary – proof that it has not forsaken its free-roaming ancestry, and that breeders were wise to adhere to its original size and build.

Elegant yet rugged, gentle yet wild, the Maine Coon is also loving, faithful, and self-confident. It has a noble bearing, is an excellent family cat. It also has a particularly soft voice. Even though it enjoys being indoors, it needs access to a backyard or other open space where it can play. They may bloom with vitality, yet there is a sense of fragility in their core. To be content, happy, and at peace emotionally is what they crave.