FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
By: Judith Schulz
(Picture provided by Michele Moffat)
How is the Character of the Maine Coon Cat?
Maine Coon cats are known for their gentle and easygoing temperament. They are generally very affectionate, smart and social. Males and females can be equally loving. Despite of the information in some books from the pet store, we definitely find our Maine Coons to be LAP CATS. The average Maine Coon gets along well with everything that has legs (or wings in some cases :-). Most of them are excellent with children. It should be no problem keeping two cats of the same or opposite gender together, especially if they are spayed/neutered.
How big do Maine Coons get?
Size and bodyshape varies, depending on the genetic bloodlines. Our females range between 14 and 18 pounds; our breeding males between 18 and 23 pounds. If a cat is whole (not spayed or neutered), it will most likely not reach its full weight, due to restlessness during mating season. Also, often the lack of coat, due to hormonal changes, will make a Maine Coon cat look smaller. A spayed/neutered pet will almost always look much bigger and can be several pounds heavier. A neutered male can easily go up to 20 and even up to 25 pounds. Maine Coons that weigh 30 pounds are likely a myth, unless the cat is heavily overweight. Remember that breeders and fishermen have a lot in common when it comes to *size discription* :-) It should be mentioned here also that unevenness in coat, the long bushy tail and the rectangular body makes the Maine Coon look larger and heavier than it really is. Maine Coons don't reach their full size and weight until they are 3 to 5 years old. Masterweaver likes and breeds for size but I don't breed mountain lions. Extremely long cats are often more proned to joint problems, and to me health is more important than looks.
I have an adult dog/cat. Can I get a Maine Coon kitten?
As previously mentioned, Maine Coons are bred for their social and easygoing temperament. There should be no problem introducing a new kitten to a household with older pets. We gladly give advice on how to get your pets aquainted with a new kitten. The character of your other pet is of course a deciding factor. The new kitten would definitely try very hard to be accepted by the existing pets.
How do I care for my Maine Coon?
Maine Coons are easy-care cats. Their coats usually don't mat too much. Combing them with a narrow spaced metal comb once or twice a week is sufficient. Maine Coons also love to be brushed with a slicker brush on a daily basis. It is not necessary to declaw a Maine Coon kitten. They are easily trainable and have been trained already here to use a scratching post. Maine Coons are active and playful but not high strung. Keeping their claws short helps in the process of training them. (I prepare each kitten for nail clipping). If a cat is spayed/neutered bathing is not necessary, but a bath once every few months with a mild oatmeal based shampoo will keep the coat nice and shiny. This will give you the feeling to have a *nice clean cat* - in case your bed is their bed. We recommend "Coconut Mink Oil" shampoo from Jerob. Bathing a Maine Coon is not hard at all because Maine Coons are easily handlable and the breeder gets them used to water at early age.
Are Maine Coons hypoallergenic?
If you are allergic to cats we would not recommend adopting a Maine Coon kitten. Even though they don't shed excessively they can cause a reaction. I am allergic to cats myself and find that the Maine Coon breed bothers me less than short haired cats. I do not sell kittens on a trial basis.
At what age can a kitten be adopted?
Please consider 13 to 16 weeks the proper age for a Maine Coon kitten to be ready for it's new home. The Maine Coon is a slowly developing breed and needs this time with mom and siblings, in order to become the gentle and easy going pet you read about in the magazines. A kitten at 13 weeks of age should be easy to handle and trusting to it's owner. At times we keep a kitten even longer than 16 weeks, especially if shipped by airplane.
Are males more affectionate than females?
Absolutely not! Both sexes of this lovely breed are equally loving in their temperament. Some people say that males appear more "goofy" or "clownlike". I personally haven’t found that to be true over the years.
What can you expect at Masterweaver Cattery ?
1.) I provide registrations for all our kittens.
2.) The ancestors of each kitten from my Cattery are tested for Heart (HCM) both by Echo Cardiogram and Gene Test, Hip (HD) certified by OFA, Kidneys (PKD) by Echo Cardiogram and Gene test, and for SMA by gene test. I started testing for HCM and HD in 1999!
3.) I know most the cats in my pedigrees in person - for many, many generations.
4.) My Cattery is Vet inspected. I work hard to maintain the highest rating (100 %) for theTICA Outstanding Cattery Award.
5.) My Cattery is Vet certified Felv/Fiv negative. I have done hundreds of Felv/Fiv tests over the past years.
6.) Masterweaver kittens are under my constant care. This means that they are being handled frequently and accustomed to everyday noises in an average household, including noisy children and dogs.
7. You will find me and others brag about the temperament of almost each kitten I offer. The reason for this is that I only keep cats for breeding with exceptionally loving and sound characters.
8.) I do not save on food costs. Frankly, my feeding program is the most expensive anyone could find.
9.) I do not jump on fashion color bandwagons. This maintains the quality of my cats.
How much do Maine Coons cost?
Prices have gone up quite a bit for a Maine Coon pet kitten from a registered breeder. I would say in North America the price from a reputable Cattery runs anywhere from about $ 1500 (really not sure how they do it for that price these days!) up to a whooping to $ 3000. The price can greatly vary and depends on the geographical area of the breeder, the quality and sometimes color of the kitten, the quality of care, the reputation of the breeder, the titles of the ancestors , the health testing history of the bloodlines - or potentially just pure greed. My price can be found on the Reservation page.
Is this a healthy breed of cat?
Yes! The Maine Coon cat is still one of the healthier breeds around. There have been problems with immune related diseases, hearts, kidneys and joints. Those problems can be greatly reduced if the breeder works with truly outcrossed pedigrees, avoids inbreeding, does the necessary testing on a regular basis and feeds a supplemented raw meat diet (for longevity, digestive-, joint- and heart health).
When buying a kitten, what should I watch for?
A reputable breeder only sells registered kittens with a sales contract and a written health guarantee. When inquiring about a kitten make sure to find out as much as possible about the age and health history of ancestors of the kitten you are buying. Ask for HCM and HD (and preferrably PKD) testing of parents and be cautious where only the minority of kittens in the litter survived or where kittens seem weak or sickly. Make sure that the breeder has a responsible outcross program in place and is not breeding just for show wins. The breeder should have previous show experience and excellent references. A good breeder will want to get to know you first and will ask you questions about your family and living circumstances. He will be willing to answer all your questions. Make sure the breeder you purchase from does have lots of breed experience or excellent, old time mentors, in order for you to get proper advice and experienced after- care.
Try to visit the cattery if at all possible. Webpages don't always reflect the true circumstances at the cattery, especially when it comes to hygiene. Be mindful though if a breeder is not open for casual visits, in order to protect the Cattery from viruses. Stay away from cheap backyard breeders who sometimes offer kittens at a very low price and sometimes without papers. Costs have to be cut somewhere. Most times it's the food, health care and quality of breeding cats. You will most likely have to pay more in the long run for high vet bills or even loss of the animal.
What Colors do Maine Coons come in?
Maine Coons come in all colors, the Browns and Silvers being the most popular ones. Please visit my “Gallery” page to see many Maine Coon colors. I can assist you with details. The links page also provides a link for Maine Coon colors.
How old do Maine Coons get?
The average age span in Maine Coon is no different than in other cats. It can run anywhere between 10 and 20 years of age. However, early deaths have been recorded, due to inappropriate care and various genetic and immune related diseases.
Do all Maine Coon kittens get long fur?
The Maine Coon cat is a slowly developing breed. Occasionally, Maine Coon cats can have long hair already by the time they reach 5 or 6 months of age - some even as kittens. Generally, growing a full coat reaches into the second year of a Maine Coon's development. The exact time frame is dependant on different bloodlines, but also on the individual genetic make-up of each kitten. Some of my breeding cats don't even grow a plum tail and a ruff (mane) around their neck until they are spayed/neutered. Please be assured that all kittens on this page will get beautiful fluffy tails and ruffs when they get older, especially once they are altered.
What is required of the purchaser?
It is up to you to provide plenty of love and attention, good nutrition (raw meat diet), excercise and veterinary care for your kitten. Declawing is not allowed and if the kitten goes outside it has to be either kept on a leash or in an outdoor enclosure. If nobody is home all day, kittens can only be adopted in pairs. If unforeseen circumstances require that you cannot keep the kitten any longer, I want to be notified and will try to assist in an adequate re-homing. You are required to send pictures and a yearly update on the development of our kitten.
Can I have a litter of kittens with my Maine Coon cat?
Absolutely Not! I understand the desire to raise a litter of baby kittens. However, responsible breeding is so much more than putting two cats together. One has to carefully study pedigrees, genetics, health and the standard of the breed. There are far too many Maine Coon breeders around these days and many mistakes are being made. Irresponsible breeding has become very harmful to the breed. In some countries it is almost comparable with a multi level market system. People buy Maine Coon cats, often right at the show hall or from a large mill or/and from shady Facebook ads. Then they have their first litter and right away sell offspring to breeders, before even having the slightest clue about the breed! We call this "the blind leading the blind".
If breeders don't shy away from necessary costs, breeding is a very expensive and time consuming hobby. Also, if a breeder sells a breeding cat, this cat is carefully chosen. Pets sometimes don't meet the standard perfectly enough to be used for breeding. Not only conformation plays a crucial role, also the line combination and temperament of the cat. A breeding cat is much more expensive than a pet, and if somebody wants to start a breeding program he/she should not try to save on the price for a good quality breeding cat. We strongly discourage people from breeding with a cat they have purchased with a non-breeding agreement. Doing such thing would be considered fraud.
We sell most of our cats already spayed/neutered for the protection of the breed and to prevent irresponsible breeding.
*** Help the Maine Coon Breed - Support Foundation Breeding! ***
Polydactylity - a wonderful, natural Maine Coon trait
Even though Ca. 35-40 % of the Maine Coon breed was originally represented by Polydactyl cats, some associations in certain countries are still hesiant to allow for them to be shown in Championship class. A severe research error in the 80s had basically turned into an old wives tale, spreading misleading information about a healthy Polyfoot -confusing the cat fancy even now. Through a completely unjustified and partially political sanction, Polydactyl Maine Coons had been, over the past 3 decades, reduced to bare minimum. Instrumental in sanctions like this are usually a few individuals who typically seem to be pulling the strings in "holycat fancy". Looking at the amazing boning of some of these beautiful cats, the true motivation factor was very much suspected to be fear of competition in the show ring. So much for history..............We decided in 2000 to start a new Maine Coon Polydactyl foundationline here in Canada and proudly called it"The Masterweaver Line". The name was chosen to glorify our great God who created all beautiful things. Over the past years, we have poured a lot of passion into these cats - improving their weaknesses and enhancing their natural strengths. We started showing our Polydactyl Maine Coons in TICA "New"Traits in 2010 (It's a very old trait!). Many TICA judges are enjoying their very showable temperament, their wonderful boning and their balanced type . The judges are also pleasantly surprised to find out that there is nothing wrong with Polydactyl Maine Coons at all. Past opposers, through their fear mongering, were simply creating a myth - a myth that has deprived our breed of a lot of valuable genetic material. Showing Polydactyl Maine Coons in TICA will not only have a positive reverse effect on an already too limited gene pool, but also serves as a perfect tool to educate a deserving public.
We encourage you to visit these great websites with tons of information on the topic:
How to find a responsible 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 we added another paragraph to our FAQ page:
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 and uses a high quality, grain/gluten/corn free cat food for them otherwise 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. 😊 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? We are here for you.