Finding Your Own Maine Coon Cat

The most important characteristics of a prospective cat are health, appearance, and personality. Take your time to be sure you find the right cat, so the cat of your dreams does not turn out to be a nightmare. The best way to find a purebred cat is to attend cat shows where you can meet both cats and breeders and compare them first hand.


Start by objectively considering the needs of your family. Think about what personality will fit best in your household. And what color most pleases you. Commit yourself to the process of finding a cat—they are living creatures who will become family members.

Purebred cats are born as a result of careful and deliberate decisions by the cat breeder. Breedings are planned for specific pairs of cats with particular objectives in mind. As a general rule, breeders look to producing kittens that have good personalities, meet the breed standards for appearance, and are healthy. Many breeders feel responsible for their kittens throughout their lifetimes.

I suggest that you consider the breeder as a resource for help and information—if not a partner—throughout the cat's life. With that in mind, I think you should choose both a breeder and a cat. Make sure the breeder is someone you are comfortable with, someone you can trust and rely on for help when problems arise, especially health problems. (Cat breeders collectively know more about feline health and disease than most vets, and their network with each other provides access to that collective knowledge.)

Expect the breeder and the cats to interview prospective cat buyers carefully. The breeder wants to make sure the combination of cat and people will please everybody and that the people understand and will abide by the terms of the sales contract. Be cautious about selecting a cat sight unseen: Neither you nor the cat can adequately evaluate each other and decide to live together without meeting in person.

Visiting breeders and their cats in their homes is invaluable. Observe the cleanliness of the cattery: cat hair, odors, stains, grime, etc. It is unrealistic to expect a dirty home to nourish clean, healthy cats.

Observe all the cats you see in the breeder's home. Do any have runny eyes or nose? Do their coats look drab, dull, or rough? Are they sneezing? Lethargic? Scratching? If so, they are sick. If one is sick, the others are likely to be sick.

Don't fall in love with a cat until you've made an objective assessment of their personality and health. A shy kitten will become a shy adult. Evaluate the personality of the parents because that will be reflected in the kitten to some degree. As a rule, don't buy a cat that is not healthy. Eyes and nose must be clear with no drip. No mites in the ears. No fleas. Prideful cat breeders present their cats to visitors, especially prospective buyers, well-groomed: combed, brushed, and claws clipped. If the cat is not well-groomed, consider what this means about the general level of care they are receiving.

If you lust for a BIG cat, think again. Ever try holding a 20-pound cat in your arms for 5 minutes? It's exhausting! If your heart is set on a big cat (and mine is), don't assume that means a male cat.

Expect a purebred cat to come with a written pedigree that has at least three generations. The cats in the pedigree should be identified with their full registered name (e.g., AmazingTails Captain Courageous), color (e.g., red mackeral tabby), and registration number(s).

Your prospective cat/kitten should be registered in at least one cat registry, like TICA and CFA. This registration is proof of the commitment of the breeder to the breed itself. When buying a pet-quality cat, you should get the registration when you submit proof of neutering to the breeder.

Expect a purebred cat to be sold with a health guarantee that extends for at least 10 days and allows you a full refund if the cat proves ill during that time. (The 10 days is the gestation period for a particularly nasty contagious disease.)


Two good ways to find a cat are a recommendation by a friend for a cat breeder, and cat shows. Cat shows are great for providing you immediate and up front contact with several breeders and cats at one time and place. You can compare breeders in order to clarify your likes and dislikes. You can examine individual cats as well as study the many photographs that breeders bring for display. You can learn about the breed standard. You can collect business cards and contact people after the show.

Revision: 11-4-2004.
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