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Calico Maine Coon: Facts, Pictures, Origin & History

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

calico maine coon cat lying on the grass

Maine Coons come in various colors. In fact, they can come in just about every color that a cat can come in, including calico. There are tortoiseshell Maine Coons, tabby Maine Coons, and even white Maine Coons. Calico Maine Coons are a bit rarer than other colorations, as the most common pattern is the brown tabby. However, it isn’t exactly difficult to find a calico Maine Coon if you go looking for one.

The Maine Coon is one of the largest domestic cat breeds around. They have a distinctive appearance and were bred primarily as mousers. They are good at hunting and were originally used in the northern United States as working cats. Their popularity dropped somewhat when European long-haired breeds became more common, but they are making a comeback today.

As one of the oldest native breeds in the United States, they have a complex history

The Earliest Records of Calico Maine Coons

The exact history of the Maine Coon is a bit up in the air. We do know that this breed is likely descended from Siberian cats and similar long-haired breeds from Europe. These cats likely came to North America with European settlers, starting on boats and eventually staying in the colonies. These cats interbred freely, which makes them a landrace cat breed to a certain extent.

This breed was not specially bred like others. Instead, they came about naturally to meet the harsh demands of North America. This is similar to the American Shorthair, which also developed in North America in this manner.

The Maine Coon was first cited in the 1861 book, “The Book of the Cat.” It includes a chapter on the breed, as the author owned several. In the late 1860s, a competition was held at the local Skowhegan Fair for Maine Coon cats, so they were likely widespread at this time.

Of course, we don’t know exactly when the calico coloration came into existence. However, it has likely been around since the beginning.

calico maine coon cat sitting on grass outdoors
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

How the Calico Maine Coon Gained Popularity

The Maine Coon first started gaining popularity at the end of the 1800s. Several Maine Coons were entered in cat shows and won prizes, which opened many people’s eyes to their existence. But in the 20th century, their populations began to decline as other long-haired breeds were introduced to the United States. This breed was rarely seen after 1911.

The breed was actually thought to be extinct by the 1950s. To combat the sharp decline in popularity, the Central Maine Cat Club was established. This club worked to increase the popularity of the breed and create the first written breed standard for the Maine Coon. Their popularity slowly rose over the next few decades, taking off in the 1980s.

Maine announced that the Maine Coon was the official state cat in 1985. Today, they are one of the most prevalent cat breeds around.

Formal Recognition of the Calico Maine Coon

The Maine Coon was denied provisional breed statutes three times by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). This is one of the steps required for cats to be able to compete in CFA competitions. It is the first step toward full-breed recognition.

A Maine Coon Cat Club was established in 1973 to combat the problem of getting breed recognition. The breed was finally recognized by the CFA two years later in 1975 and was approved for championship status in 1976.

In the next few decades, the breed saw many championship victories and increased greatly in popularity.

Top 5 Unique Facts About the Calico Maine Coon

1. There are a few colors that the Maine Coon can’t compete in.

The Maine Coon is recognized in different colors. The only colors not allowed in the competition are those that can only be achieved through crossbreeding: chocolate, lavender, Siamese pointing, and “ticked.” However, the ticked pattern is accepted by some cat organizations. All eye colors are also acceptable, with the exception of blue and odd eyes in cats that aren’t white.

2. They are often described as having “dog-like” personalities.

These cats are often described as acting more like dogs than cats, mainly because they tend to follow their owners around and enjoy playing dog-like games, such as fetch.

3. They have active personalities.

These cats were bred as “working” cats. They were originally used to keep the environment free from mice and similar rodents. Therefore, they are quite active. They still make excellent hunters today, though this largely appears as playfulness. Most Maine Coons simply aren’t needed to keep barns free from mice these days.

Their playfulness, which follows them into adulthood, means that they will need quite a few toys and will likely want to constantly play with them.

4. They can walk on a leash.

Many of these cats can be trained to walk on a leash. It is best to start this training when they are young. A great deal of time and patience will be necessary to adapt them to the leash, as many cats find that it feels strange at first. However, once they get used to it, they can easily be trained to go on walks.

You can also train them to do many other tricks because they are extremely intelligent and people-pleasing. This is another aspect of their dog-like personality.

Related Read: 10 Best Escape Proof Cat Harnesses – Reviews & Top Picks

5. Maine Coons often love water.

These cats often love water. They may enjoy small pools to play in and even baths. Introducing them to water at a young age is important to ensure that they aren’t fearful.

Does a Calico Maine Coon Make a Good Pet?

These cats can make great pets for the right people. They are often described as being more similar to dogs than cats. They tend to follow their people around the house, are outgoing, and are intelligent enough to be trained to perform tricks.

Often, they are described as “gentle giants.” They may be large but they are not aggressive. In fact, their larger size makes them less fearful than other cat breeds, especially around children and other animals. This makes them less likely to hide and lowers the likelihood of aggressive behaviors. These can all be great traits for those looking for a family cat.

However, this feline is not known as a “lap cat.” They are much too active for cuddling, though many of them do love playtime. They may not be scared of children or other animals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will cuddle with them. Typically, they will want to spend most of their time playing.

These cats are extremely vocal. They are known for yowling and meowing loudly. For this reason, we typically don’t recommend them to those looking for quiet cats.

If you’re looking for a cuddly cat, this probably isn’t the feline for you either. However, if you’re looking for a cat that’s outgoing and can easily integrate into the family, then this may be a great option for you.

Related Read: Black Smoke Maine Coon: Facts, Origin & History


The Calico Maine Coon is a relatively popular cat. This particular coloration is somewhat rare, as most Maine Coons are brown tabbies. However, calico cats can be found, and many breeders will specialize in this coloration. You simply have to go look for them.

Calico Maine Coons do make good pets for some families. For instance, those looking for an outgoing, active cat that is friendly may find a great breed in the Maine Coon. They are also great for children due to their active, friendly nature. However, if you are looking for a laidback cat that will cuddle often, this isn’t the breed for you.

Featured Image Credit: Aleksei Verhovski, Shutterstock

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