Intro to Maine Coons

Maine Coons are gorgeous, large, long-haired cats that are known as being very dog like; many will play fetch. 😊 They have fantastic personalities and they get along well with other animals. They are very loving and sometimes very talkative. They are a fabulous breed to share your life with and many people have a hard time stopping at one.

The breed originated in Maine and through selected breeding there are two distinct looks within the breed. American Maine Coons have a softer look with a less pronounced muzzle while the European lines have a wilder look with pronounced muzzles. Both are beautiful but beware of those that take the European look to the extreme as it can cause health issues such as a predisposition to entropion due to deep set eyes.  A well balanced cat the conforms to the standard is ideal.

Maine Coons take longer to mature then other cats with the growth plates closing at two and they continue to fill out in years 3-5. While they can grow quite large, focus should never be on size; it should be on health and temperament. A healthy kitty that will be hopefully be with you for many years and one that you can play with, pet and snuggle is far more important than size. Breeders that focus on size do so at the determent of health of the animal. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a healthy large Maine Coon, it’s just that size should never be the focus but a bonus. 😊

Maine Coons require high quality food for proper growth and consistent grooming to maintain their wonderful coats.

They can be fabulous therapy kitties and they are very patient with little children – just make sure you get a good personality match for the home.

 

Health Issues & Testing

There are some health issues that an ethical breeder will test for to reduce the chances of producing sick animals. The most significant health issues for Maine Coons are:

HD – Hip Dysplasia

HCM – Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

SMA – Spinal Muscular Atrophy

PKD – Polycystic Kidney Disease

 

Tau Coon is committed to being an ethical, responsible breeder and all of the breeding cats are thoroughly health tested.

Current testing includes:

  • DNA testing as a screening tool – DNA alone does not constitute effective testing
  • Hip x-rays to check for hip dysplasia
  • Heart echoes to check for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

They must be N/N (don’t have and don’t carry) on key genetic tests and preferably on all with no issues on the other tests to breed.

 

Note – Sadly, many breeders do not thoroughly health test and that will only change when people demand the health testing be done. 

 

Avoiding Backyard breeders, Mills and Scammers

There are a lot scammers out there and unfortunately a lot of backyard breeders (BYB) that are breaking their contracts by breeding which is why they can’t offer papers. Note BYB do not do any health testing and most if not all, don’t have pedigrees which can result in kittens that have issues because the parents are closely related and/or the parents have health issues they pass along to the kittens. Without a pedigree  and health testing you have no idea what you are getting. Too many people try to save money and end up spending more at the vet and in some cases losing the kitten very young. ☹

Health testing is huge so ask about it. A responsible breeder will do DNA testing and only breed parents that are N/N (don’t have or carry) for key diseases and preferably all, some only test for HCM, PKD and SMA which are prevalent in the breed while others like me do a full genetic panel. They should also do hipx-rays and heart echoes to verify there are no unidentified issues either annually or at a minimum every two years. Some also do kidney scans after age 2. Ask for documentation of testing and references especially if you can’t make a trip to the cattery due to distance or the cattery is closed to visitors which is increasingly the case.

I know of a lady that didn’t look at pedigrees or test, neither of which I was aware of until I approached her about getting a kitten and I found out she’s sending out adorable, fluffy time bombs as later testing showed the dam was positive for PKD and that means she’ll get sick and 50% of her kittens would get it. She’d had several litters and to my knowledge the lady hasn’t spayed her and may still be breeding her. She was also not looking at pedigrees and was breeding close relatives so the kittens had very high inbreeding coefficients that were basically double then norm. I backed out because of the high inbreeding and recommended testing when I found she hadn’t done it. That’s how she found out about the PKD and then later claimed the test wasn’t accurate which is false, a negative test isn’t enough which is why kidney scans are needed but a positive result means that cat should not be bred.

Another woman in Colorado regularly has litters from undocumented parents and sales them as Maine Coons. She claims she has been breeding since before pedigrees were a thing which was an outright lie. She does no health testing and gets hostile when asked detailed questions.

Another unethical breeder breeds both pedigreed Maine Coons and non-pedigreed “Maine Coons” and I found out about her when someone reached out to me wondering if their boy was really a Maine Coon. The only way to be sure you have a Maine Coon is the pedigree and being confident you are working with an ethical breeder.

These are only a few examples, scammers and BYB are all over the place.

A legit breeder will require an application and/or interview and will require that a contract be signed. Some contracts are a joke and the only objective is to protect the breeder in the event of unauthorized breeding; look for a contract with a health guarantee; one year against genetic defects is standard but some go higher. Increasingly, responsible breeders are sterilizing their kittens before they are adopted to protect them from being used for breeding by people that aren’t authorized and don’t know what they are doing.

Regarding scammers, if the price is really low (400, 600 & 800 are common), it’s a scam; they hit people with fake shipping and then oh they need more for shipping until the people stop paying and they never get the animal promised. There are scams for kittens and rehoming scams. Sites with a buy it now button or reserve now button are scams or unethical breeders/mills; no ethical breeder will do that. If you can’t visit the cattery, ask for a picture with that day’s date or a random object to prove they have the animal. Ask to video chat so you can see the kitten and the conditions it is in. Some scammers will cease communication when asked for the info above while others will make excuses that they aren’t set up for video chatting etc. Run, don’t give them a dime. Rehoming scams are similar with a kitten/cat supposedly in need of a new home and they will take payment for a kitten they don’t have.

Asking for pedigree, more pictures, and video chatting will help weed out the cheats. The testing & pedigree requirement will weed out the BYB and help identify the poor breeders that are cutting corners and/or running a mill. I know of a woman near me that does no testing on her imports and only does DNA on the kittens she produces and she has a lot of kittens (quite possibly a mill); she charges significantly more than I do so pricing isn’t an indication of ethics. Testing and vaccinations are important question as so many people cut corners here, then pedigrees and references are important too. Note if someone is willing to release a Maine Coon kitten prior to 12 weeks they are in it for the money not the love of the breed as it’s detrimental to a Maine Coon kitten to go home before 12-14 weeks and many ethical breeders don’t release them until 16 weeks.

 

Cost

People often ask about cost first but there are so many more important factors in the long term and other questions that should be asked to determine if the cost is warranted. A big one is the breeder ethical and responsible and doing thorough health testing prior to breeding? Is there a contract with a health guarantee? Will the kitten be registered with CFA, TICA etc.? Will complete vaccinations be done? There are many backyard breeders and unethical breeders that will cut corners especially on testing, vaccinations and not offer registration which puts you at risk of being cheated by not getting a purebred and/or getting a sick animal.  It’s also important to find a breeder in it for the love of the breed as they won’t overbreed or put their animals at risk in any way. We also take classes, study feline genetics, neonatal kitten care, calculate and strive to limit inbreeding while breeding cats to improve the breed in relation to the breed standard.  It’s very expensive to be an ethical breeder and while kittens or retirees are an investment, you know you are getting the healthiest animal possible from a loving home. It’s crazy that unethical breeders are increasingly charging more for a kitten then ethical breeders- they are the ones that are in it for the money and not the well being of the animals.

At this time the cost is 2,750 plus cost of neuter/spay while an increase is possible for future litters as costs continue to increase especially veterinary and food.

Delivery or Courier

I know an excellent courier and she knows others if she’s not available. I will also meet at the Denver International airport to hand adopting families their animal(s). In some cases I may be able to fly to an airport near the family  to deliver with the adopting family covering the cost of airfare. I do not ship my cats via cargo on airlines. Pet nannies are another option to get a an animal to you if you can’t make the trip.

Dominant Blue Eyes (DBE)

Cats with blue eyes have an increased risk of deafness and any ethical breeder with white or bicolor cats with blue eyes needs to do BAER testing to determine if the cat has full hearing, partial hearing or is deaf.

Per the breed standard the only Maine Coons that should have blue eyes are white or bicolor with white, There are some unethical breeders producing “Maine Coons” with dominant blue eyes that are not white. Those cats either are an undocumented mix or the result of breeding Maine Coons with recessive traits that are linked to health issues. The “breeders” producing DBE kittens that are not white or bicolor are in it for the money and not the well being or betterment of the breed. The blue color is also often much more vibrant then what is seen in whites which further suggests an illegal outcross with another breed which can bring in  health issues from that breed. 

What is the process to adopt a Maine Coon?

  1. Email info@taucoon.com to request an application packet, complete it and return it.
  2. Phone interview and getting acquainted.
  3. If it seems like a good match then a video chat is set up so you can see the kittens or adults in action and chose one. I will advise if I don’t think it’s a good fit. Personalities need to be a good match so it’s a happy placement for all.
  4. When an animal is agreed upon, a contract is filled out and signed and either a deposit or the balance in full is paid. The age and readiness to go home is what determines whether a deposit or full payment is required by Tau Coon; however, some adopters prefer to pay the adoption fee in full.
  5. Prior to sterilization surgery, the balance of the adoption fee and the cost of the surgery are due.
  6. After the kitty has recovered it can go to it’s new home with some supplies to ease the transition.