It was during the 1860s that farmers would tell stories and brag about the powers and intelligence of their Maine Coon Cats. During this decade these same farmers began having their own cat show at the Skowhegan Fair where Maine Coon Cats from all over the territory competed for the title "Maine State Champion Coon Cat."
Regardless of where the breed came from, the Maine Coon was one of the first breeds to be recognized by the late nineteenth-century cat fancy, and became an early favorite. Mr. F. R. Pierce, who owned Maine Coons as early as 1861, noted in The Book of the Cat that a tabby Maine Coon named Leo was awarded Best Cat in the New York City cat show of 1895 and was a consistent winner in Boston in 1897, 1898, and 1899.
Cool story!Forgot which book but it is by a tailor’s apprentice who became a hand on a privateer. As an apprentice he made from scrap material a set of clothes for the family cat. One Sunday he was told to stay home and mind the fire. He used the time to fit the clothes on the cat. The unhappy cat dashed down a hole in the floor and could not be enticed out. The family including his master came home and much to the apprentice’s horror, the fully clothed cat emerged from its hiding place. The apprentice feared punishment but the master was so pleased he removed the cat’s clothes and displayed it in the shop’s window as a testament of the skill of his apprentice (and therefore his skill as a tailor).