The only way to be 100% sure of getting a certified pure Maine Coon cat is to buy a pedigree cat from a breeder. The breeder must be able to present a family tree of your cat’s ancestry and provide the appropriate certificate.
A recommended place to start when looking for a reputable breeder in your area is the “Maine Coon Breed Fanciers Association” (www.mcbfa.org) Maine Coon cats can be easily identified by their long ears. and large feet, as seen in The American long-haired, however, there is a European type of Maine Coon, (my own Maine Coon, King Henry from a German line) has a short coat around the neck, and the mouth is fuller. Differences are not seen until the cat is between 12 and 18 months old.
In terms of identifying a “pure” Maine Coon breed, you must rely heavily on the information that the breeder presents to you. If you are having trouble finding a reputable breeder, you can try and get an idea by talking to people at a local event or an “all breed” Cat show. You should be happy with your breeder – if you are a Maine Coon owner for the first time, you should trust their advice.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $800 for a purebred Maine Coon. With food, litter, vet bills and vets for the holidays, Maine Coons can be an expensive pet. All owners will agree that they are really good and will pay you back many times over.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This can save a lot of pain, trouble and expense later; When you buy an expensive pet, don’t go for a pet that you feel sorry for and that looks like it needs help. Cats with signs of withdrawal, low appetite or hyperactivity should be avoided. Choose a pet that is independent, lively, and strong. Choose pets that can’t come to you, but are interested in their surroundings.
It is better to choose a local breeder and visit them at their home, when you first make your first inquiry to check the condition of the cattle, health and of all cats living in the same country.
Although it may seem like common sense, prepare some questions to help you determine if the babysitter can be trusted.
Questions you may want to ask:
1. How much information does the breeder have? If you want the truth about a breeder’s potential ask to speak with someone who has recently purchased a Maine Coon from that breeder.
2. Who are the parents of the cats and are they dominant? Even if you don’t intend to show your cat, you still want to know about their offspring. That’s what you’re paying for. If this doesn’t matter, you can find Maine Coons that are smaller than what is called “pet quality” which means they don’t meet the physical standards required for the show. This does not mean that they are not very healthy.
3. Does the stud live with the breeder? If not, can the breeder guarantee that the stud does not have any diseases such as distemper. Has the breeder already bred the stud?
4. Are there any hereditary diseases known in the family line such as HCM (heart attack) and lung problems?
5. Have any of the other cats had any diseases for example, have any of the cats that have been infected with cat flu?
6. If applicable to your situation, ask if the pet is comfortable with other pets and children?
7. When can calves leave their mother (I would be concerned if a breeder allowed a calf to leave its mother if it was less than 12 weeks old).
8. Will the vet check the cattle before they leave the breeder’s home? How many times? If a Maine Coon gets sick after leaving the breeder, who is responsible for paying the vet fees or can the puppy be returned to the breeder?
9. You want to know how much the queen is watering; because a queen who has a “normal” pregnancy can produce weak or sick kittens.
Other things you might want to see/do:
10. The living conditions of the stud and queens eg cleanliness of cages / rooms and health / welfare of the cat etc.
11. Will the cats be trained before moving to their new homes?
12. Also, the environment where the mother and kittens live. Are there toys, clean litter, warmth, food and water?
13. Check the cat’s eyes to assess its health. Don’t buy a cow with crying eyes.
14. Agreement of the parent. Read the written agreement before you commit yourself. Be sure to consider the areas of liability if the pet suffers a problem shortly after you purchase it.
15. You must book your new pet for a checkup with your own vet after you pick it up from the breeder. If there are any emergency symptoms, you want to see them within the first 24 hours.
In general, Maine Coon breeders love their cats and love what they do. There is not much money to be made in breeding Maine Coons, and it is a very serious job.
If not, your heart tells you otherwise, you can expect to talk to breeders who are dedicated to Maine Coon lovers.
Copyright 2006 Sarah Crosier