Born in Paris on 16th November 1822, Cain began his career by studying under Rude, Guionnet and Mêne, whose daughter he later married. He soon made his debut at the Salon in 1846 with a wax model of a Linnet defending her nest against a Rat, which was then cast in bronze to be shown at the Salon in 1855. During this early period several of Cain’s wax models were given a metallic oxide coating to simulate bronze, which can be seen in works such as Trigonacephale destroying a nest of Linnets. He exhibited consistently at the Salon from 1841 to 1888, and was honoured with several awards. The sculptor was also given a prize at the Exposition Universelle for his Family of Tigers. Cain was a prolific modeller of both domestic and exotic animals, and he exhibited many bird and lion pieces at the Salon, including Family of Partridges, Fox chasing Chickens, and Saharan Lion.
In 1852 Cain married the daughter of Pierre Jules Mêne, continuing the tradition of craftsmen marrying their mentor’s daughter in order to continue the family business. Cain also used his father-in-law’s foundry to cast some of his more monumental animals, such as his Chiens de Meute for the Château de Chantilly. Other works were cast by Barbédienne, and supervised by the sculptor himself to ensure a high standard. Cain finally took over Mêne’s foundry, after the older sculptor’s death in 1879, and the foundry of Susse Frères also issued a catalogue based on his models. From 1868 onwards he devoted much of his time to monumental statuary, his best known work being the colossal equestrian statue of Duke Charles of Brunswick for the city of Geneva in 1879. His later works also include the Lion and Ostrich in the Luxembourg Gardens, a Tiger and Crocodile in the Tuileries and a Bull for the Trocadéro.