Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Tortie Maine Coon Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

tortie maine coon lying on sofa

Few cats can match the appearance of a tortie Maine Coon. They’re lovable giants, and with a tortoiseshell appearance, they really stand apart from the pack.

But where does the tortie Maine Coon come from, why did they gain popularity in the first place, and what are some unique facts about the breed? We’ll answer all those questions and more for you here.

The Earliest Records of Tortie Maine Coon Cat in History

There’s a little debate on where the Maine Coon came from, but the most likely theory is that a ship from France brought over multiple Turkish Angora cats that were a part of the French royal family.

Once they made it to land, the cats bred with local short-hair cats, and the result is the Maine Coon. The first time the breed made it into literature was in 1861, and cat lovers heavily featured the breed in cat shows in Boston and New York until the Persian cat arrived in 1900.

While nobody specifically mentioned the tortoiseshell Maine Coon cats in these records, the color pattern is a commonly accepted variant, and there’s no reason to believe that tortoiseshell Maine Coons didn’t arrive about the same time as the rest of the breed.

side view of a young playful maine coon cat
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

How Tortie Maine Coon Cat Gained Popularity

While it’s unknown exactly why so many people took a liking to the Maine Coon right away, it was no doubt one of the most popular breeds. We tend to think it comes from their striking appearance, as they’re considered one of the most beautiful cat breeds in the world.

They’re also one of the largest and have an extremely muscular build. But while they’re large and powerful, they’re gentle giants with extremely loving personalities. They remained popular in the United States until about 1900 when the Persian cat stole the show.

But by the mid-1950s, they regained much of their popularity, and today, they’re popular cats worldwide.

Formal Recognition of Tortie Maine Coon Cat

While the first recorded instance of a Maine Coon cat is from 1861, it took quite a bit longer for the Maine Coon to gain formal recognition. The Cat Fanciers Association didn’t formally recognize the breed until 1976, although, to be fair, the Cat Fanciers Association itself didn’t form until 1947, but that’s still 29 years for the Maine Coon to gain formal recognition.

As for the tortie Maine Coon, it’s an acceptable color variation for the Maine Coon, although there are specific color variations to look for. It’s quite a bit to go through, but if you check out the color variations for the breed standards from the Cat Fanciers Association here, it’ll go through everything you need to know.

tortie maine coon cat lying on couch
Image Credit: Akifyeva S, Shutterstock

Top 5 Unique Facts About Tortie Maine Coon Cat

There are tons of interesting facts out there about the Maine Coon, and we wanted to highlight a few of them for you here. There was a lot to pick from, but five of our favorites are below!

1. You Can Leash Train Them

Leashes and dogs just go together, but you can absolutely leash-train a Maine Coon. They love to explore the outdoors with their owners, so it is a worthwhile task.

2. They’ll Sing to Get Your Attention

Nearly all cats meow and the Maine Coon can as well, but they also can make a unique chirping sound to get your attention. They’re not shy with their vocalizations either, so if you get a Maine Coon, you better be ready to hear what they have to say.

maine coon cat eating
Image Credit: Lita Keire, Shutterstock

3. They Love Water

Cats and water notoriously don’t mix, but that’s not the case with the Maine Coon. The breed has water-resistant fur, they’re strong swimmers, and they typically don’t mind baths. Most cats don’t like water, but the Maine Coon is the clear exception. Of course, this will always depend on the individual.

4. Argus Filch’s Cat Is a Maine Coon

Perhaps the most famous Maine Coon in the world is Mrs. Norris. She’s the cat that belongs to Argus Filch, the caretaker in the Harry Potter movies. To get the raggedy look in the film, makeup artists had to use special products on the cat.

5. They Love Cold Weather

With a thick double coat, snowshoe-like paws, and a waterproof coat, few cat breeds can withstand extreme temperatures quite like the Maine Coon. This is great for the colder temperatures that can hit the Northeast.

Maine Coon cat sits on snowy frozen path
Image Credit: Konstantin Zaykov, Shutterstock

Does the Tortie Maine Coon Cat Make a Good Pet?

Yes! While Maine Coon cats are a much larger cat breed, they’re extremely loving and affectionate. They’re also extremely intelligent and curious, and they’ll love to explore your home and new areas with you.

The Maine Coon is an extremely adaptable pet too, and they tend to get along great with other cats, dogs, and even other more exotic pets in your home. They might be larger, but they’re incredibly loving and gentle giants to the core.

These cats also tend to get along great with kids, and because of their larger size, they can withstand a bit more compared to smaller and more fragile cat breeds. If you’re looking for a great family pet, consider a Maine Coon.


Now that you know a little more about the tortie Moon Coon, it’s up to you if you want to bring one home for you and your family or if you want to keep admiring them from afar. Either way, they’re a great breed with a rich history that you can appreciate a bit more now that you know all about them!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database