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How to be a Good Kitten Buyer -
It is kitten season and the people searching for a Maine Coon are swarming the internet.
I’ve blogged before on what kitten buyers should beware of when looking for a Maine
Coon breeder. If you haven't read Pet Peeves, please do so for your own protection.
Now, I’m going to give you some insight on what we breeders look for in YOU; beyond
the obvious indoor only, no declawing, no-
For those who are new to the process of getting a purebred kitten, allow me to burst your first bubble; we breeders are not trying to place our kittens because we’re desperate to find them a home. On the contrary, if a breeder has a decent website and good reputation, she or he is bombarded with inquiries on a regular basis. In essence, you have to compete for our approval. The truth is that the Maine Coon Cat is a very popular breed, so much so that we American breeders who live near the more populated areas can and should afford to be picky about who we want to work with. The situation may be vastly different in more isolated places in the US or in Europe where there are many more Maine Coon breeders than here in the States. If you find a breeder who seems to have more kittens than buyers, something’s not right. The internet makes it easy for you to locate breeders, but it also has made it much easier for us to find qualified buyers.
This is what I look for:
First impressions do count. If I receive an email or message that says no more than, “How much r ur kittens?” with no greeting or signature, I may conclude you’re not mature enough to be serious. Also, it's a Maine Coon, named after the state of Maine with an "e" on the end, not "Main" as in primary or "Man" as in male human. If breeders are not replying to your email inquiries, take another look at your approach.
Read and listen. If you’ve been told that the breeder does not keep a waiting list, don’t ask to be contacted when the kittens are born. That would be like a waiting list.
Don’t send out a mass email to several breeders inquiring about kittens. Too impersonal and it’s very likely that none of us will reply.
Don’t try to negotiate the price. A Maine Coon kitten will cost you anywhere from
$800 to $1500, depending upon where the breeder resides, whether or not you’ll be
getting a kitten that’s already spayed, neutered or micro-
Don’t expect to be able to drop by and visit or shop for a kitten. We are not a pet store. Most breeders keep their cats and kittens in their home. We have jobs, families, schedules to keep. While I understand the logic of visiting before committing, I no longer allow visitors unless they have a kitten reserved already. If you do find yourself in a breeder’s home and you aren’t happy with how the cats are housed or the kittens are raised, be strong enough to walk out.
When you do get to visit your kitten, usually after first vaccinations, be on time
and know when to leave. I normally line up kitten visitors during a weekend, spaced
Don’t allow your children to wander throughout my house to explore. I keep male cats
and new moms behind closed doors for a reason. I had one family whose 9-
Speaking of dogs, please don't bring yours when you come to visit the kittens without asking first. In my case, I have a dog who can't handle seeing another dog outside, in a car or not. She barks and paces back and forth. Your dog barks in response. My cats scatter. If my dog happens to be outside when you pull up to my house, she will likely jump on your car, possibly scratching it, in an effort to meet your dog. I will have to put my dog in her crate to keep her calm just because you have to take your dog everywhere with you. Let's focus on meeting the kittens, not on canine management.
Whether or not you close my front door behind you when you enter my house speaks volumes.
Color outside the lines. You have every reason to demand the color and gender of kitten you want, but please realize that male brown tabbies are in high demand. Females may be smaller, but they are wonderful pets as well. Plus only the girls can have cool color combinations. Maine Coons come in many different colors; brown, blue, red, cream, silver, solid black, white, tortie, etc. A little flexibility will gain you a kitten faster. Check out the Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers site to see some examples of the variety.
From the same litter -
For your kitten’s sake, please don’t insist on a lookalike replacement for your cat that died. It’s not fair to the kitten to be compared constantly to Fluffy. Kittens are a wonderful distraction when you’re grieving the loss of a pet, but at least go for a different color from the original.
If others have ever referred to you as litigious, arrogant or a flake, please go find another breeder. I intend to be available to you for the life of your Maine Coon; for advice, sharing pictures and friendship. This is a lot easier if we are both nice, rational human beings.
Don’t tell us about how you have the perfect yard for a cat, need a good mouser, or have to replace your last cat because a coyote got it and then expect us to work with you. We will exercise the right to refuse the wrong home for our babies. These are not disposable pets.
Even though there are many Maine Coon breeders in the Northeast, there often doesn’t seem to be enough kittens to go around. What to do?
First, contact several breeders individually to get an idea of when kittens are expected so you can contact them again at that time.
Search the Web, Facebook and Instagram. Unfortunately, many breeders have to pay
a webmaster and do not have up-
Don't give up on the first attempt at contact. If a breeder's kittens are reserved quickly, you may have to make repeated contact to keep your name in the forefront. New litter announcements usually means I get swamped with inquiries. I try to keep organized and on top of potential buyers, but it's easy to lose track of names.
If the breeder keeps a waiting list, get on it, but keep looking.
Ask for referrals. Most of us Maine Coon breeders know each other and will gladly refer you to someone else if we don’t have kittens.
Timing. Your competition (this would be other kitten buyers) is highest during the
spring and fall, especially right before Christmas. If you can, search off-
Cat shows are great. Do visit a cat show to meet breeders and see firsthand to see how glorious the cat is in person, but don't expect to be able to buy a kitten at the show. Very few Maine Coon breeders will sell a kitten directly from the show hall and I don't recommend you get a kitten like this. Check CFAInc.org or TICA.org for the show calendars.
Our stud male, Levi, at a cat show.
I personally prefer to be contacted initially by email. It saves me time to just give you all the information about upcoming litters, health screening, prices, etc. in an email. Once it’s established that you’re really interested, I’m more than happy to chat and answer questions.
If we hesitate when you mention a certain breeder’s name that you've been talking
to, read between the lines. Most of us are polite enough to not malign another breeder,
but we also don’t want to see the buyer take a chance on getting an unhealthy kitten
from a bad breeder. If a kitten buyer tells me they’ve been talking to so-
I love questions, buyers who research and plan ahead, who take time off to welcome the new addition, and keep me updated with occasional pictures and emails for the life of their precious furry family member. Most of us contractually require that we’re kept informed of serious or genetic health issues as that helps us determine whether or not to continue breeding certain cats. Not all breeders have the same approach I do nor would they all agree with me. That’s okay. We do all love what we do and are passionate about the right fit for our babies.