When looking to buy a Maine Coon cat, you want to ask each breeder the same questions. Most breeders are more than happy to share the information and answer your questions. They want to make sure their kittens are going to a safe and responsible owner.
When you visit the breeder, look for kittens that are active and curious. Kittens may not necessarily come right up to you, but they should be withdrawn lethargic or apathetic. These questions will help you find responsible breeders and also ensure you get a quality, loving, healthy kitten. Do your homework. It’s the first important step in pet ownership.
1. Do you show your cats? Legitimate breeders will say yes. Don’t dismiss this as a snobbish or unimportant question. Showing cats is not just for titles and awards. It is a way to make contact with other breeders, find out about health issues, improve breeding programs, and find emotional support.
2. Do you have a registered cattery? A registered cattery is important because it identifies the cat’s pedigree for generations. The breeder’s name remains on the pedigree forever. Catteries raise every kitten as if they will be a show cat, which means the cat is well taken care of: grooming, bathing, cutting its nails, and interacting with people at a young age. Show cats are bred for their easy-going temperament.
3. Can I see the pedigree? Legitimate breeders will be happy to show you the cat’s pedigree including titles, such as champion, grand champion, regional or national winners. Your kitten should have at least one, if not both parents, titled. This means that the cat has been judged by the industry standards. Since two major associations, the CFA and the TICA, don’t recognize each other’s titles, you may see only one side of the pedigree in CFA without any titles because they were shown strictly in TICA.
4. What are the health problems or heredity illnesses? Be wary of the breeder who says none. Legitimate breeders will let you know about the breed’s health problems and give advice on how to prevent future problems for your kitten. Responsible breeders stay up to date on news, health issues, and changes with the breed.
5. When can the kitten come home? Breeders keep kittens until they are at least 10 weeks old, and most keep the kittens until they are 12 to 16 weeks old. Kittens need to bond with their mother for those important, first, few weeks. If the breeder is trying to sell a kitten younger than 10 weeks of age, he is more concerned with the money than the cat’s well-being.
6. Will the kitten be registered? This is a simple act usually costing $10. The breeder will provide an official registration once you neuter the kitten and notify the breeder.
7. Do you provide a contract and written health guarantee? Legitimate breeders will provide a contract in writing with a guarantee of the kitten’s health. As with all contracts, read it carefully. Typical requirements include keeping it indoors only, not declawed, neutered at a specific age, and not transferred to another home without permission. State laws vary, but most warranties will specify the time period of the breeder’s liability and rules about sick kittens. Clarify any questions with the breeder.
8. Have any of the other cats had any recent illnesses? In addition to making sure the kitten is currently living in a clean environment with toys, water, food, and warmth, you want to know if any of the other cats have contracted a strain of cat flu.
9. What is the kitten’s personality? Depending on your home situation, make sure your new cat will be comfortable around small children or other animals, like dogs or other cats.
10. Will the cat have its shots before coming home? Legitimate breeders can give their own shots, but the kitten must also be seen by a vet to be sure they are healthy. Your kitten should have at least one vet visit before coming home.