The only way to be 100% sure of getting a verified purebred Maine Coon cat is by purchasing a pedigree kitten from a breeder. The breeder must be able to present a pedigree pedigree for their cat and provide the relevant certification.
A recommended place to start your search for a reputable breeder in your local area is the “Maine Coon Breed Breeders Association” (www.mcbfa.org). Maine Coon kittens can be instantly recognized by long, pointed ears and oversized paws, as seen in the classic American longhair, however there is a European strain of Maine Coon (my own Maine Coon, King Henry comes from a German line) which has a shorter ruff around the neck and often a fuller, more square muzzle. Differences are not apparent until the cat is between 12 and 18 months old.
In terms of identifying a “pure” Maine Coon pedigree, it will depend a lot on the information the breeder presents to you. If you are having a hard time finding a reputable breeder, you can try to get a recommendation by talking to people at a local event or “all breed” cat show. It is essential that you are satisfied with your breeder – if you are becoming a Maine Coon owner for the first time, you may need to rely on their expert advice.
You can expect to pay between $ 500 and $ 800 for a purebred Maine Coon. With food, litter, vet bills, and cat sitters for the holidays, Maine Coons can be a relatively expensive investment. All owners will agree that they are a truly wonderful breed and will pay you back many times over.
IMPORTANT TIP: This could save you a lot of headaches, problems and expenses later on; When shopping for an expensive pet, don’t choose the kitten that you feel sorry for and seem to need help with. Any kitten with withdrawal signs, low energy, or general listlessness really should be avoided. Choose an independent, cheerful and energetic kitten. Choose kittens that may not necessarily be close to you but are interested in their surroundings nonetheless.
It is best to choose a local breeder and visit him at home, the first time you make your initial consultations to check the living conditions of the kitten, the health and well-being of all cats living in the same environment.
Although it sounds like common sense, have questions ready to help you establish whether the breeder can be trusted.
Questions you will definitely want to ask:
1. How much experience does the breeder have? If you need reassurance about the breeder’s ability / experience, ask to speak to someone who has recently purchased a Maine Coon from that breeder.
2. Who are the kittens’ parents and are they champions? Even if you don’t intend to show it to your cat, you will want to know its pedigree. That is what you are paying for. If this is simply not important, you can sometimes find cheaper Maine Coons that are called “pet quality,” which means they don’t meet the physical standards required for display. This does not mean that they are not perfectly healthy.
3. Does the stallion live with the breeder? If not, can the breeder guarantee that the stallion has not been subjected to any illness, such as cat flu? Has the breeder bred the stallion before?
4. Are there any hereditary diseases known in the ancestral line as HCM (can cause heart failure) and hip problems?
5. Have any of the other cats suffered from any illness, for example, has a recent litter suffered from a strain of cat flu?
6. If relevant to your situation, ask if the kitten is comfortable with other animals and children.
7. At what point might the kittens leave their mother (I would be concerned if the breeder would allow the kitten to leave its mother if it is less than 12 weeks old)?
8. Will a veterinarian check the kittens before leaving the breeder’s house? How often? If the Maine Coon becomes ill after leaving the breeder, who is responsible for paying the vet’s fees or could the kitten be returned to the breeder?
9. You will also want to know how often the queen is fertilized; because a queen subjected to “too regular” pregnancies can be prone to producing weak or sickly kittens.
Other things you may want to check / do:
10. The living conditions of the stallion and queens, eg cleanliness of the cages / rooms and the health / well-being of the cat, etc.
11. Will cats be trained to use litter before they move into their new homes?
12. Also, the environment in which the mother and kittens live. Are there toys, clean sand, heat, food, and water?
13. Check the kitten’s eyes to assess its health. Never buy a kitten that has watery eyes.
14. The breeder’s contract. Read the written agreement before committing. Pay particular attention to areas of responsibility in case your kitten feels ill shortly after purchase.
15. You should reserve your new kitten to check everything out with your own vet almost as soon as you have picked it up from the breeder. If there are signs of problems, you’ll want to know within the first 24 hours.
In general, Maine Coon breeders are passionate about their cats and love what they do. You can’t make a lot of money raising Maine Coons, and it’s a very demanding job.
Unless your instincts tell you otherwise, you can expect to speak to breeders who are fully dedicated Maine Coon lovers.
Copyright 2006 Sarah Crosier