So you’ve decided that you want to adopt a Maine coon kitten (or two!). This then throws up a ton of questions about what to do next. How do I find a breeder I can trust? How much should I be paying for a Maine coon kitten? How do I know which kitten to pick? Should I get a male or a female Maine coon?
There are a number of questions that you should ask when adopting a Maine coon. First ask questions of the breeder to ensure you are not supporting irresponsible breeding practices. Once you have found a breeder you are happy with ask yourself questions about the kitten you would like to become part of your family.
Finding a Reputable Breeder
There are a number of different ways to find Maine coon Kittens for sale, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are coming from a reputable breeder. The best way of course is by word of mouth. If you have a friend or relative who owns a Maine coon which has grown up to be happy and healthy then go ahead and investigate their breeder. Failing that, the internet is the next port of call.
Facebook has many Maine coon groups. They are not allowed to sell Kittens on these groups but the group members can point you towards breeders. They may also provide a list of breeders for your area.
There are also many websites where breeders can place advertisements. In the UK adverts can be found on Pets4Homes, Gumtree, Preloved and UKpets. Some breeders will also have their own websites. Be wary though, just because the advert looks flashy, it doesn’t mean that the breeder is trustworthy.
When looking at these listings there are a number of important points that you want to look for before agreeing to visit a breeder:
What age will the Kittens be ‘ready’?
Maine coon Kittens develop a lot slower than other breeds of domestic cat. Most Kittens are ready to be re-homed at the age of 9 weeks, once they are weaned and have had their first set of vaccinations. Maine coons on the other hand need to be kept with their mother until at least 12 weeks, preferably 13-14 weeks. When we were getting our Kittens I came across a number of breeders who had Maine Coon Kittens listed as ‘available’ at 8 weeks. This shows a distinct lack of consideration for the well-being of the feline family and makes you question what other important factors they might be neglecting.
Are the queen and stud available to see?
Again this boils down to the feline family being kept together for an appropriate amount of time. You also want to see that the parents are healthy, well kept and behaving normally around human beings. Do not go ahead with purchasing Kittens if you have any inkling that the parents are not being treated well as you will be supporting unhealthy breeding practices.
Are the Kittens registered?
If the Kittens are pure-bred Maine coon then they should have been registered as such and therefore have the paperwork to prove it. In the UK you are looking for proof of TICA (The International Cat Association) or GCCF registration (The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). Most reputable breeders will mention this in their listing. When viewing the documentation it should state the breeder’s name and address as well as the name and registration number of at least the last 3 generations.
What is included in the price?
The price you pay for a Maine coon will vary. In the UK prices have increased considerably in just the last few years. For examples of cost see my previous article, How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Maine Coon? You would expect that the Kittens are fully litter trained, weaned onto solid foods, have had their vaccinations, had vet checks and be micro-chipped. Commonly they will also have been neutered, if not the registration documents may be withheld until you provide the breeder with proof of neutering. For more information on this see my article, At What Age Should Your Maine Coon be Neutered? You will also often be provided with a blanket/toy that the kitten likes as well as some of the food they are used to eating and a temporary insurance policy to cover you whilst you are sorting your own.
Once you have found a breeder you think you are happy with, make contact with them and arrange to go and view the Kittens. Do not hand over any money prior to viewing the Kittens. When visiting the breeder there are a number of important questions you need to remember to ask. See my previous article for a printable list of these questions to take along with you, see 11 Questions You Should Ask When Adopting a Maine Coon. These questions cover in particular the important medical questions that need to be asked as Maine coons are prone to a number of genetic medical issues.
Choosing your Purrfect Kitten
I think it is fair to say that the right kitten is the one that picks you. When you go in and view the Kittens, take a moment to observe their behaviour. Are they shying away from you or walking over to say ‘hello’? One may stick out as having a bigger personality than the others. When my husband bought his first Maine coon the kitten walked up to him, put his paws on his hand and started drinking from his cup of tea!
Then look at the general appearance of the kitten. Are you looking for a specific colour? Litters can often be a mix of colours depending on their parents. Also, be aware that pure white Kittens are prone to deafness due to their genetics, particularly if they have blue eyes. If a white kitten has eyes which are two different colours, one of them being blue, it will often be the ear on the blue-eyed side that is deaf. Make sure you enquire as to whether any white Kittens have been tested for deafness.
Are they smaller than their fellow Kittens? If so then they may be the runt of the litter and may be more likely to develop illness. They may also be less friendly.
Consider whether you want a male or a female Maine coon. Of course, each cat is an individual but in general there are some specific personality traits which are exhibited by the two genders. To help you make this decision see my previous article, The Difference Between Male and Female Maine Coons .
How many Kittens do you want? It is often thought that Maine coons are better off with a companion. They are very sociable animals which require a lot of attention and will easily get lonely. If you are out of the house all day at work then they may struggle being left home alone. Getting two Kittens from the same litter means that they are already well acquainted with each other and you won’t have the trouble of introducing a second cat at a later date.
In short, there are a number of considerations you need to make when adopting a kitten. When looking at a breeder you want to make sure they are reputable and that the Kittens are in good health, leaving their mother only when they are ready. Consider the price of the kitten as this can vary somewhat. When it comes to the kitten ask yourself if you want a boy or a girl and what colouring you think you’d like. If all else fails, let the kitten pick you rather than you picking a kitten. And again, please see my previous article for a printable list of questions to ask the breeder when you are viewing the Kittens, 11 Questions You Should Ask When Adopting a Maine Coon.