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Rexed Coon
Unnamed (1)
A laid down Rexed Maine Coon.
Cat (Felis catus)
List of Cat Breeds

Rexed Maine Coons appeared in pedigree litters in a number of breeding lines in the UK during the 1980s, causing huge controversy in the very conservative and inflexible British cat fancy and Maine Coon Cat Club. It had fine, frizzy, crinkled fur. Many of the rex-coated Maine Coons were immediately neutered by breeders despite the interest shown by others and by the public.

More Rexed Maine Coons were born from test-mating suspected carriers to other Devon Rex and Cornish Rexes in a “Rex elimination Programme” aimed at eliminating the gene. Those test matings were inconclusive but indicated that it was either a recessive or incomplete dominant gene and was not a result of recent outcrossing to established Rex breeds. In spite of those results, there were accusations of undeclared crossing with Cornish Rexes. It was more likely a mutation that occurred undetected and was spread through the gene pool by inbreeding or line-breeding.

The British Maine Coon Cat Club declared the Rex gene to be deleterious to health, solely on the basis of one or two early deaths in Rexed Maine Coons although all others remained healthy. In the 1990s, it was decided to neuter male carriers without test matings, and to and restrict female carriers. Due to the use of undetected carriers, this the recessive "taint" may one day resurface.

The cats were undoubtedly attractive, inheriting the Maine Coon’s temperament as well as the wavy coat. Unfortunately, they fell foul of the GCCF’s strict policies on registration. Under UK cat fancy rules, they could not be a New Breed because they were 100% pedigree Maine Coons and could therefore only ever be recognized as a Maine Coon New Variety. Under TICA rules, they would likely have been accepted as a new breed derived from an existing breed and maintained separately from the regular Maine Coon, thus maintaining the integrity of the parent breed. TICA had no presence in Britain at the time.

The Maine Coon club demanded that breeders should declare in writing that the term "Maine Wave" should not be used in any publication in any context. Breeders that spoke up for the variety, or referred to them, found themselves suspended. Maine Waves were shown on the Continent and they even won certificates. They were very attractive cats and, regardless of cat club politics, bureaucracy and short-sightedness, they deserved recognition. Perhaps the mutation will resurface in a country with a more progressive attitude towards mutations in established breeds.

All may not be lost for the variety; in 2002, Ellen Levin of Tribeca Maine Coons (New York) had two rexed Maine Coons turn up in a single litter.