Choosing the Best Maine Coon Breeders
If you're searching for the best Maine Coon breeders that have Maine Coon Kittens for sale, you may find yourself wondering how to choose the best one. In a very noisy space, it could become overwhelming trying to decide who you should do business with. Ultimately, you want to find the one that you're the most comfortable with and the one that you feel is doing the best job breeding and raising your future kitten.
This post was written in an effort to educate you on all of the things that you can research about the Maine Coon breeders that you're considering. It's perfectly ok to be diligent and ask questions of the breeders, expecting answers and documentation. This is what makes a reputable and responsible breeder.
Beautiful Maine Coon Cats
When researching Maine Coon Breeders, you’re naturally going to notice their cats and kittens first. Beautiful photos of the kittens always capture your attention. The more you start looking at kitten photos though, you’ll start to notice each breeder developers a certain “look” in their cattery. Take the time to go through all of their photos, and find the one that has the Maine Coon look that you’re in love with. They’re all unique in their own way.
Maine Coon Breed Standard
The Maine Coon Cat is a Pedigree cat, which means it has been bred specifically to exhibit particular physical characteristics and may also show some breed related behaviors. The Cat Clubs recognize these behaviors and set a "standard" for which all Pedigree cats should have. This is referred to as "Breed standard". While most pet owners aren't familiar with the breed standard, it is the responsibility of the breeder to ensure the cats used for breeding meet these minimum standards. Then, the integrity, beauty and dignity of the Maine Coon is being preserved.
A common issue that is seen is that breeders don't educate themselves on the Maine Coon Breed Standard, and just choose any Maine Coon cat for their breeding program. You can feel confident knowing that Sassy Koonz cats have been hand-selected based on their health records, temperaments, and breed standard. Through our blog posts, photos and videos on our Facebook Page, we do our best to tell the stories about our cats and demonstrate the diligence that was taken in selecting each one for breeding.
Temperament of the Kittens Parents
Being able to talk to the Maine Coon breeders about their cats is very important. Since kittens tend to inherit personality traits from their parents, it’s a good idea to ask about the temperament of the parents.
Not all cats like to be held and some are super affectionate. Do some research and discover the traits of the parents of each litter. If possible, visit the parents and see how they interact in person. This could help you make a decision.
See the video below of Ursula, one of our Queens. Just some quick 20 second videos can tell you alot about the temperament of a cat. In fact, when I imported Ursula after looking at hundreds of other girls, it was videos of her personality that made me fall in love with her.
Health Records of Cats
Every cat that is participating in any breeding program should have up-to-date health records. At your request, any reputable breeder should be willing to provide you with health and medical records of their breeding cats. Make sure that the cats are up to date on vaccinations and are negative for FIV and FELV. Every breeder should be able to provide you with documentation showing that their cats have a clean bill of health.
Sassy Koonz keeps the profile of each of our breeding cats updated with health records and genetic testing. Here's an example of a negative FIV and FELV test that was done on Ursula, one of our Queens. You can review all of the testing that was done for each one of our breeding parents on their individual portfolio pages.
Sometimes, though, these DNA Tests just aren't enough to go by. There's alot more than can occur inside a cattery that causes widespread contagious diseases. In a multiple cat household, shelter, or cattery these viruses are more prone to attack. It's super important to know how the breeding cats live, their environment and how many cats they live with. You should also know where the kittens are born and raised, and if they are isolated from the adult cats. Talk to your breeder about the health of their cats, not only the genetic tests, but their actual health records on a day to day basis. DOn't be afraid to ask to see the health records from the vet of their adults. You want to try to avoid bringing home a kitten that has been exposed to a virus at an early age.
Here's some tips on How to Keep your Maine Coon healthy after they arrive at your home.
Maine Coon Genetic Testing
Most Pedigree cats have their own set of issues that are specific to their breed. A reputable Maine Coon breeder will have genetic tests performed on all of her breeding cats to screen for these genetic defects prior to breeding them. In the Maine Coon, these are the common genetic tests that should be performed.
HCM - Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease of the heart muscle in which the walls thicken and the heart enlarges.
SMA - Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease seen in Maine Coon cats. The disease is characterized by progressive instability with unsteady gait and posture abnormalities due to loss of motor neurons in the lower spinal cord and atrophy of muscles in the hind limbs.
PKD - Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited condition in cats that causes multiple cysts (pockets of fluid) to form in the kidneys. These cysts are present from birth. Initially they are very small but they grow larger over time and may eventually disrupt kidney function resulting in kidney failure.
If you don’t see test results for the parents listed on the breeder’s website, then request a copy of the tests. If they can't produce negative test results for HCM, SMA and PKD, then you might want to consider finding another breeder.
Here's a sample of a Genetic Test Profile for Ursula, one of our Queens.
Choosing a reputable breeder that screens for these genetic anomalies is always the best way to these potential issues.
How Many Kittens Does the Breeder Have Each Year?
A kindle of kittens is a lot of work both for the mama cat and the breeder. From newborns to when they’re ready to go home, they demand a lot of love, care and attention. Mama kitty will do most of it at first, but once they start hobbling around and leaving the nest, they need to be monitored, weaned and kept in a safe environment.
Sometimes it's hard to imagine what is really going on behind all of the cute photos that the breeders post to social media. Take the time to dig through their Facebook Page, website and Instagram to put a timeline on how many kittens they're producing each year. With the amount of time it requires to care for and socialize a litter of kittens, use your best judgment when deciding on which breeder to buy your kitten from. The socialization period with humans really starts at around 2 weeks old, and is continuous after that. Ask questions about what the breeder does to socialize the kittens and prepare them for human interaction.
TICA requires that if you have more than 75 kittens per year, that a mandatory inspection be done on your Maine Coon cattery. With that being considered my guess is that 75 kittens is an awful lot to manage while still providing excellence as a Maine Coon breeder.
How Often Are the Females Mated?
According to “Feline Husbandry, Diseases and Management in the Multiple Cat Environment " its safe for a female to deliver a litter of kittens once every six to eight months. That gives her body time to rest and recover in between litters. This was an EXCELLENT book by the way! I've read it twice and am on my third round of reading this. SO MUCH great information.
This can also vary, depending on how many kittens was in her last litter. She may more or less time to recover before rearing her next litter.
Check the history of the breeder’s females and see how often the girls are delivering kittens. If it's more frequent than suggested by veterinarians and doctors, then maybe the Queen’s health is being compromised. The stress could be passed down to her young.
How Many Cats Are In the Breeding Program?
Have you ever heard anyone say “that’s too many cats”? I’ve always wondered what number would justify giving someone this label? Then I saw the best answer ever on social media and I’ve never forgotten it.
“Too many cats” is when you’re no longer able to provide a clean, spacious, nurturing, loving environment for your animals. It could also mean compromising the health and/or welfare of your cats or yourself.
Ultimately, the term “too many cats” is going to be different for every person. As a Maine Coon breeder, I know what my limits are when it comes to housing, care, maintenance, cleanliness, costs, and socialization based on the space and time that I have right now. That is certainly going to different for another breeder who is able to house and care for many more cats than I can.
Based long as the cats are being cared for, loved, offered a clean environment and space to roam and be cats, then it’s not too many. This is why photos, videos, personal visits (if allowed) and inspection documentation is super important.
Luckily, social media is a wonderful place to monitor the behavior and patterns of Maine Coon breeders. If they have a Facebook page then give it a Like, and watch from afar. You can even engage with the breeder online with comments, ask questions, and send inquiring messages to see what type of responses you get.
Where do the cats live?
Maine Coon Breeders house their cats in different ways. Some let the cats live in the house with them. Others choose to have a dedicated cattery where the cats live. Some also have wonderful outdoor enclosures for their cats. It’s all a matter of personal preference, and the capability to accommodate in certain ways. Ask your Maine Coon breeders about their cats living quarters. Ask to see photos and/or videos of the cats living in their every day environment.
Here's a photo The Sassy Koonz Maine Coon Cattery. Click here to see full post [including photos] about the cattery.
Maine Coon Breeders
Every single Maine Coon breeder that you’re considering should be registered with a recognized Cat Breeder Association. The two mains are CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) and TICA (the International Cat Association). There’s also ACFA and ACA.
They can be registered with one, or all of the Associations. In order to provide paperwork for a Registered Pedigree Maine Coon, the breeder must be registered with one of these associations. Do a search on each association website to verify.
Sassy Koonz is registered with both TICA and CFA, but the kittens will be registered with TICA. 🙂
Maine Coon Breeder Code of Ethics
Upon the election to become Maine Coon breeders, we’re presented with the Breeder Code of Ethics. Here’s the Code of Ethics that I voluntarily agreed to when I registered my cattery with TICA.
I take this Code of Ethics very seriously. I read the Code of Ethics about once per month, to remind myself of everything that all of the Maine Coon breeders should be doing, and make sure that I am 100% compliant with every item of this Code of Ethics.
Maine Coon Show Cats
Does your breeder show her cats? This isn’t a requirement or a determination of a good or reputable breeder. It is interesting to know whether or not they participate in shows. Sometimes there are just no shows available near them, their cats don’t like to be shown, or they’re just not into the politics (there’s aloof of politics in showing cats).
If you’re interested in showing your kitten or cat, though, it’s best to purchase a kitten from a breeder that participates in the exhibition. This will help your kitten have a better chance at taking home some ribbons when your breeder is able to help you choose a kitten that meets the breed standard and is a potential Champion.
Here’s some of my experience with cat shows. I’m still learning the ropes when it comes to the exhibition. I don’t get upset if my kitten or cat doesn’t win like some people do. LOL, I just take it with a grain of salt and learn what the breed standard really is. I’ve learned a great deal about the breed standard by going to the few shows already and I plan on continuing to participate. It’s a great place to meet other Maine Coon breeders, as well as see many beautiful cats all in one place.
Reputation Maine Coon Breeders
I’m very active on Facebook, so I know in fact there’s ALOT of Maine Coon breeders on there as well as A LOT of Maine Coon pet owners. Join some of the groups, and start asking for recommendations for breeders, or if anyone has had any experience with them.
If there’s anyone who has a bad experience, they’ll be the first to speak up! It might take a few weeks of posting and vetting responses, but you should be able to get feedback on most of the Maine Coon breeders that you’re interested in buying a kitten from.
You can also do a search for their cattery name. Put the cattery name in “ quotation marks”. This tells Google to only show results that match that phrase exactly. Do the same thing with the breeder's personal name. You can find out ALOT by using Google.
Most Maine Coon breeders will have a review section on their Facebook page. Anyone can leave a review for the public to see, and the owner of the page can’t make any changes or delete any reviews that are left. Only the poster can make changes. Just recently, I saw a negative review left on a Maine Coon Breeder in Georgia's Facebook page.
Unfortunately, instead of addressing the issue in public (which was of a health issue in her cattery), she decided to remove the entire Review section from her Facebook page. To sum that up, if there’s a review section on the breeder’s Facebook page, all of the reviews were left by real people and haven’t been tampered with by the page owner. This applies to Facebook PAGES only, not personal Facebook accounts.
Vaccinations of Kittens
Maine Coon kittens are born with no immune system. They receive antibodies in the milk from nursing their mother. These antibodies help protect against infectious disease until the kitten's own immune system develops. Vaccinations also give them the added protection against certain feline diseases.
When the kitten is around seven to eight weeks of age, the veterinarian can begin to administer a series of vaccines at three- or four-week intervals until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age. This will build the defense system for potentially fatal diseases.
Some breeders administer these doses on their own. My veterinarian will not recognize vaccines given by breeders due to the sensitive handling requirements of the medicines. She and I both prefer to let a licensed vet administer them.
Kitten Vaccination Schedule
Between 7- 8 weeks old: FVRCP Vaccine (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Calicivirus and Panleukopenia)
De-worming for Hookworm, Roundworm, and Tapeworm
Start Parasite Prevention(flea & tick and heartworm)
The second set of vaccinations are given around 10-11 weeks of age just before they leave to go home. This will include the FVRCP Booster (repeat of the first set of shots).
A final set of vaccinations will be needed for your kitten awhen he/she comes home. Be sure to see your vet and take along the vaccination records when your new kitten comes home to be sure you keep your kitten up to date with his vacinnes.
Purchasing a Maine Coon kitten is a big step. It’s a big purchase. It shouldn't be taken lightly either by the breede or the new owner. We all want to know that our new kitten is happy and most of all healthy.
A reputable Maine Coon breeder will happily offer a health guarantee. Since no one can guarantee the environment that the kitten will be in once he leaves the nursery most health guarantees are for 12 months.
The health guarantee for your new kitten should state what is covered under the guarantee.
The best Maine Coon breeders take every precaution to avoid genetic defects and diseases. All of their efforts should be clearly documented. But there’s always the possibility that your kitten could have a genetic defect that wasn’t detectable in any circumstance. In some cases both parents may test negative for a genetic disease, but the kitten ends up being a carrier.
When this happens, it’s only reasonable for the breeder to replace your kitten with another one upon request. Usually written verification by a Veterinarian is required to make a claim against genetic defect.
Most importantly, everything that is promised to you should be in writing. Make sure that the breeder you decide to work with has a written contract that both of you sign. Some of them will have the contract posted on their websites, others will present it to you upon request. Read over the contract carefully, looking for details on health guarantee, replacement guarantee.
Sassy Koonz - One of the Best Maine Coon Breeders
It is our goal and objective to act in a professional and ethical fashion when it comes to our Maine Coon Kittens and you, our Future Guardian. Trust in us knowing that we've taken the time and care to protect the health and well being of every feline furball that is in our presence.
I hope that you can find this article informative in helping you decide which Maine Coon Breeders to consider buying your kitten from.