Maine Coon article: The Evolution of our Breed Maine Coon International – Issue #8

The Evolution of our Breed

Copyright Dirigo 1986

Part One, The Whittemore Kittens

Part two, The Modern Look Maine Coon Cat Origins of the Maine Coon

Part 1

The "Whittemore" Maine Coon kittens

Two of the best-known early Maine Coon bloodline is Whittemore. Historically speaking, any breeder today would enjoy another chance to breed with pure Whittemore again.

Because the Whittemore foundation in most pedigrees is so far back, few are familiar with it. Of Maine origin, the Whittemore line was bred in the state capital of Augusta, by Mrs. Robert Whittemore. The cats had the look and type still preferred by many Maine people of this region. They were gently rugged, shaggy but fluffy, with very sweet expression.

One who had the unique opportunity to own and breed pure Whittemore was Noreen Macauley, who bred Maine Coon cats under the name Tattletails from 1972 to approximately 1980. Noreen recalls that her Whittemore cats were especially affectionate and were of moderate size. She began breeding with Whittemore line with a blue/cream female cat named Whittemore Piffle Pharphig. This cat, born in 1971, shows two generations of Whittemore cats behind her. Her sire was Whittemore’s Randi, and her dam was Whittemore’s Fluffy. Both sire and dam had fully registered parents, the foundation cats of the Whittemore line. These cats include Smokie Joe of Whittemore, Princess Sue of Whittemore, Tortilla of Whittemore, Ginger of Whittemore, and Sammie of Whittemore.

Noreen later obtained a mate for her female, a 4th generation pure Whittemore, named Whittemore’s Lord Alfred. Alfie was a solid blue, born in October, 1974. The photos of this male illustrate the Whittemore contribution to the breed. Alfie’s coat is long and full even as a kitten. His muzzle is distinct and nicely square. The ears are in proportion but a slight bit larger than average. Tipped and pointed, his ears are set at the proper 45 degrees of the early standard, and were set off by the Elizabethan ruff in addition to the full ruff.

When mature, Alfie had a graceful ruggedness and a long, dense, glossy blue coat. His traditional coat was suitable for the below zero Maine winter weather, even though he was properly bred in an indoor cattery. His tail was densely plumed and full.

Whittemore’s Lord Alfred bred Phiffle and the resulting kittens embody the early Maine Coon type and the endearing beauty of original Maine cats illustrated in "The Book of the Cat" by Frances Simpson. They exemplify the familiar phenomenon known as “breeding up” in that they were slightly improved over their parents. (See photo.) Where Whittemore cats were the base of the Tattletails cattery, later additions were cats from Cozy Nook and Ktaadn - to be discussed in part two of the article.

These pictures of the pure Whittemore cats and kittens may be studied to appreciate the strong and important characteristics of early Maine Coon foundation cats.

Below left: an unnamed kitten of pure Whittemore breeding. Below: Whittemore Lord Alfred as a kitten and below that as an adult.

Left: pure Whittemore. Right: Whittemore Lord Alfred as a kitten (and below as an adult).

Dirigo Maine Coon Cats


Copyright Dirigo 1986
All rights reserved.
Revised 3/24/2015

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