Last weekend we were in London where we visited some friends for dinner and fell under the spell of their Maine Coon cats, the fluffiest pair of felines to ever have clawed a scratching post (not pictured here, alas — I forgot my camera). I was totally enchanted by their size and sweeping tails and fuzzy ears.
Once I got home and consulted my research assistant, I learned that Maine Coons are not only excellent hunters, friendly, and highly intelligent, but — despite their king-of-the-wild-frontier name — they also (might) have a connection to France!
See, back in the 1790s, when Marie Antoinette was hoping to flee France, she enlisted the help of one Samuel Clough, a ship captain from Maine. She (and/or her loyal royalist servants) loaded up her prized possessions onto Clough’s ship, including a furry group of favored Turkish Angora kitties. Though Marie Antoinette never made it to Maine, her cats managed to immigrate. They bred with local short-hair felines and thus the Maine Coon cat breed was born. Or so the story goes.
And they like books! Who wouldn’t love a cat who reads?