How to Adopt a Maine Coon Cat

The Maine Coon Cat is one of the oldest breeds native to America, famous for their large size, bushy tail, and semi-long coat that has a glossy sheen to it. They come in many colors, from orange to black, white to tabby. The Maine Coon is known for its long hair and hunting skills. Dubbed the gentle giant, the first mentions of this breed date back to Frances Simpson’s work ‘The Book of Cat,’ first published in 1861. It’s said to get its name from Maine, where it originates from, and some say they came to America by ship from the Vikings!

A Maine Coon has specific striking characteristics which let you know you are looking at the real deal. Learn more about Maine Coon cats here

Where to adopt a Maine Coon cat?

The Maine Coon Adoption Association is 100% volunteer based, and offers adopted cats to those in the following states; DC, DE, MD, NJ and other portions of NY, CA and PA.  In California the Maine Coon Adoption group seeks forever homes for rescued Maine Coon cats.

The ASPCA is one of the most established animal organizations and has a dedicated page on its website for adopting cats. It’s also worth visiting the International Cat Association and Cat Fanciers Association for further links to adoption shelters in your area.

Visit your local animal shelter to check out their kittens and cats. Since you know what to look for, you may find a Maine Coon or a Maine Coon mix. Volunteers who work at the shelters may not be expert on types of cats so they may not be aware of what breeds they have for adoption. Your best bet is to go and check the shelter out yourself.

Adoption fees can range from under 100 to several hundred dollars, depending on where you get them from.

Adoption – next steps

The shelter will want to know a few personal details about you. Mainly, if you have owned a pet before, how much time you’ll be able to spend with your cat and who will be overall responsible for their care.

They’ll run through general care and costs with you, to ensure they’re placing their cat in a forever home. And, there may be costs involved for adoption, although these tend to be much less so than buying a kitten outright.

Some shelters require visits before placing their pets, to ensure you are able to care for this pet in the right environment.

Once your application has been processed and you’re the proud owner of your Maine Coon Cat, you will need to ensure you have all the right equipment in place. From feeding bowls to kitty litter, ID collars and canned food. Visit this link for a guide on caring for your cat.

How to choose a Maine Coon breeder

If you’ve decided you want to adopt a purebred Maine Coon, you’ll need to find a reputable breeder. Be sure you find a breeder who belongs to the CFA, or Cat Fancier’s Association or TICA the International Cat Association because every responsible breeder does.

The breeder should also have other listed credentials and even memberships to organizations which only focus on the cat breed. They must be registered with one of these associations in order to provide paperwork for a registered Pedigree Maine Coon. Do an online search to verify the breeder is associated with at least one of these organizations.

You should have a list of topics to cover with the breeder before you go and talk to them. Some of the questions are listed below:

  1. If you’re not local, ask to see photos of the cattery to check that it’s well-maintained. If you’re local, check the cattery out to see how it’s run.
  2. Ask about the kitten’s lineage and health of the parents. Be sure to ask if the parents have been genetically tested and if you can see the results. Ask if they have a replacement guarantee if there is a problem with the genetics after the parents are found to be negative for genetic anomaly.
  3. If the breeder shows their cats, find out how many kittens they sell every year. Ask how many cats they have on the premises because you don’t want to buy a kitten from a breeder who sells a high number of kittens yearly.
  4. Inquire if you can meet your potential kitten’s parents. Ask of the breeders vaccinate their own cats and kittens or if the kittens are checked out by a vet. Ideally, your kitten should be checked out by a vet and cleared before being sold.
  5. Go online and ask on Maine Coon forums if they have heard of the breeder you’re considering. Too, ask the breeder if they have any references and then follow up and inquire.
  6. A breeder who is responsible and values their reputation will be happy to answer your questions. If the breeder seems to be reluctant to answer your questions or is evasive, look around for another breeder.
  7. Breeders sometimes have mature Maine Coons that have been retired from a breeding program or from the show ring. These cats are often for sale or adoption, and you may want to consider this option as well.

Each cat which in a breeding program should have health records that are up to date. The breeder should be able to present you the health and medical records of any of their cats. Check to make sure that the cats have been vaccinated up to date and are negative for FIV and FELV. Each cat should have a clean bill of health, and the breeder should show it to you without issue.

A reputable breeder will have genetic tests performed on the cats before they are bred. The standard genetic tests which need to be completed are:

  • HCM: This disease is called Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM. This is a disease of the heart muscle which can cause the walls within the heart to thicken which makes the heart enlarge.
  • SMA: This is a genetic disease in Maine Coon and is spinal muscular atrophy or SMA. It’s characterized by an unsteady gait and posture abnormalities that is progressive. It is caused by atrophy of the hind legs and loss of motor neutrons in the lower spinal cord.
  • PDK: This is polycystic kidney disease or PDK and is a condition which is inherited. It causes multiple cysts that form in the kidneys. The cysts have been there since the birth of the kitten. They start out small but will grow larger over time and can cause the kidney’s function to disrupt which results in kidney failure.

Have a written contract that you both can sign. Some breeders will have a copy of the contract posted on their website, and others will present you with one when you request it. 

The cost of a Maine Coon from a breeder

Before deciding on adopting a Maine Coon from a breeder, it’s a good idea to be aware of general cost. A Maine Coon from a breeder can range from $1,000 to $2,000 with an average price of around $1200. There are different factors which will affect the price, but this is a general range that most Maine Coons cost.

Factors that affect price include color, bloodline, markings, and how well the reputation of the breeder is known. Plus, you’ll need to ask if the price includes breeding rights and registration.

Why adopt a Maine Coon cat?

The Maine Coon is a loving and intelligent breed, making it a great cat to adopt, especially for families. Good-natured and easy going, they are sociable and likeable, often known to follow owners around the house. But like any cat, they also enjoy their independence too, and won’t be too needy; they are not known to be lap cats.

Do note, that this breed can live up to 12 year and can suffer from hip dysplasia and renal failure. If you’re considering adding a Maine Coon cat to your family, find a veterinarian here

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