HOW TO FIND A REPUTABLE BREEDER
People have asked me over the years what to look for when buying a Maine Coon kitten. With so much contradictive information out there, an intensive search can become confusing and frustrating! This is why I added another link to my website:
What can be some of the signs of a good breeder?
There are many good and responsible breeders out there. The trick is to find them. Breeders certainly don't have to meet all the criteria below to be reputable, but we're trying to give poeple "clues" on what to look for:
* Breeder is at least registered with one registry CRUCIAL or several Associations DESIRABLE (preferrably with MCBFA also. Membership at MCBFA had to be earned.)
* Breeder regularly tests for breed specific diseases (HCM, PKD, HD, also SMA in some lines) CRUCIAL
Both the gene test and Color Doppler Echo Cardiogram are tools for HCM testing. However, many breeders believe that the expensive Color Doppler Echocardiogram/Ultrasound is presently the only fairly reliable form of HCM testing. The older the animal is at time of testing, the better. Oh, and yes, there can definitely be hip and heart problems in all pedigrees of the Maine Coon breed.
* Breeder shows his/her cats regularly or has past show experience. CRUCIAL
* Facility pictures are openly shown on the homepage DESIRABLE
*Pictures and some information about the breeder and his/her family is DESIRABLE as you might want to see and know about whom you are potentially getting your kitten/cat from?
* Some of the pictures of kittens/cats on a homepage show the background ( the actual living space) DESIRABLE
*Breeder openly displays registered names and pedigrees of his/her cats on homepage, not just the "call names"DESIRABLE as this can protect you from fraud.
* Cats are not kept in cages, except for birthing CRUCIAL
* Facility is not overpopulated CRUCIAL for health and well being. Overpopulated Catteries will not be able to pass TICA Cattery of Excellence with a good rating.
*Breeder lets you see ALL parts of their facility by appointment (or during pick-up of our kitten) DESIRABLE but please take into consideration that some breeders will not let you visit to protect their Cattery from viruses and diseases.
* Health and hygiene in the facility are excellent CRUCIAL
*Majority of cats are friendly and outgoing CRUCIAL. If they aren’t they could possibly breed with shy bloodlines or don’t socialize their cats.
* Facility is Veterinary inspected DESIRABLE. Definitely! Why not?
*Breeder takes part in a voluntary responsible breeding program (CFA and TICA offer these) DESIRABLE
* Kittens and cats appear healthy, with nice coats, clear eyes/noses and well nourished CRUCIAL
*Breeder is transparent about potential problems or weaknessesin certainlines (purebred doesn't mean perfect, beware of "disease free or "free of genetic defects" catteries! You surely aren't being told the truth!) CRUCIAL
* Matings are being done wisely, with keen knowledge of pedigrees and potential problems. CRUCIAL.
* Breeder has responsible, true outcross program in place (note: an "unrelated" pedigree over 4 generations can in reality be very inbred!!) CRUCIAL. Too much inbreeding lowers immunity and produces irritability in temperament.
* Breeder makes a supplemented Raw meat mix part of the cats'/kittens' diet (if kibble is fed additionally, it is grain/gluten/corn free). BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THIS IS ACTUALLY CRUCIAL
* Breeder has a controlled amount of litters throughout the year and enough loving homes lined up for the kittens. CRUCIAL
* Breeder has experience,visible knowledge about the breed and also a real love (passion) for the breed and his/her own cats CRUCIAL
* Kittens are checked by a veterinarian before they leave the breeder CRUCIAL
* Breeder wants to get to know prospective buyer before selling a kitten CRUCIAL
* Breeder does early spaying/neutering or requires spaying/neutering before releasing the registration papers CRUCIAL
* Breeder has a written sales contract and health guarantee, asking you not to declaw the kitten or let the kitten go outside without supervision CRUCIAL
* Kittens are sold with registration papers, once proof of sterilization has taken place CRUCIAL
*Kittens are not released to their new homes under 12 weeks of age CRUCIAL
* Breeder never sells to pet stores CRUCIAL
*Breeder never sells to strangers out of a cage or out of their car at a cat show CRUCIAL
*Breeder does not give cheap "deals' on a continuous basis. Proper quality care would not allow an unusually low price. Chances are you pay for what you get or it’s a scammer. CRUCIAL
*Breeder has at least a decade of breeding experience or is supervised by excellent mentors CRUCIAL
Don't be fooled - backyard breeders and kitten mills can have very appealing webpages with great pictures. They often steel pictures off of other websites and sometimes don’t even have cats! They can potentially take your money and run! Others use the titles of ancestral cats and HCM/HD testing results of other Catteries to make themselves look reputable. Most of them have never lifted a finger to earn any of these titles, let alone tested any of their own breeding stock. Ask for written proof of test results. A lot of them also don't show their multiple breedings on the homepage. Some offer kittens “from European lines” without even being aware that Europeans imported their cats from North America. 😊 Many so called breeders are suddenly coming out of the wood works, recognizing a market niche, due to the latest developments of the pet industry. They are often aiming for expensive “rave colours”, have no proper mentoring and are a disgrace to our breed. Long story short, just make sure to ask LOTS of questions before committing to a purchase.
There are further things to consider when buying a Maine Coon kitten, but this list above gives you a pretty good indication about some important details. We have learnt to read between the lines when looking at webpages. Please contact us if you need advice - before buying a kitten from a questionable place!
THERE ARE MANY INTERNET SCAMMERS, USING PICTURES OF REGISTERED CATTERIES
Oh and by the way..........There is an enormous difference between animal welfare organizations, which work for the humane treatment of animals, and animal rights organizations, which aim to completely end the use and ownership of animals. Learn the truth:
Any more questions? Ask away!