How to Select a Maine Coon Breeder

If you’re looking at Maine Coon breeders in your area to acquire a Maine Coon cat, I have essential tips and guidelines.

This is Chelle, my smoke silver (Blue, according to CFA color standards)) girl!

This is based on my experience with a Hawaii-based breeder that was perfect and proper and I wanted to document it for anyone to follow.

(From Hawaii? Jump directly to the Hawaii Maine Coon Breeders section below 🤙)

A little background though on me. I did not own pets growing up and I had no real animal experience.

But, because my first encounter with the Maine Coon breed was with a show cat on the local news (here’s the exact clip):

My main goal was to get a purebred show-quality Maine Coon from the best possible Cat Fancier’s Association registered breeder.

So, if your goal is the same, then you have the same questions and concerns on how to about. Let me help with this guide:

But first, we need to clear up something…

Maine Coon Cattery vs. Maine Coon Breeders

For the longest time, I did not know the difference between a breeder and cattery. Actually, I thought they were used interchangeably!

According to the CFA:

Most breeders didn’t plan for a multicat operation. They just found a particular breed of cat they love, acquired one, and… Well, you know the rest. One day you wake up, trip over a litter pan, take the laundry off the stack of carriers, move the queen of the house off your favorite chair, and in exasperation say, “I gotta build a cattery”. 

So a proper cattery is a “clean, healthy, and loving environment” that “reaches the goals of breeding and showing that’s become our passion.”

That sounds like the type of place you should acquire your Maine Coon from.

Animals from there should end up happy, sociable, and a joy to live with!

Note: As you get to know cattery know that retired show or breeder Maine Coons can adopted easily from them, either for free or small fee.

CFA Maine Coon Breeder Status

As you search around and connect with Maine Coon breeders, check that they are registered with the Cat Fancier’s Association.

They are the cat advocacy group that works on maintaining breed standards and puts on the cat shows in your city, among many other things.

Being registered is another checkmark on the trust factor as the CFA recognizes they are a breeder of pedigreed cats.

Registration does not verify a breeder’s business practices or ethics, so you still need to do your due diligence.

Alternatively, the breeder may registered with The International Cat Association instead.

Are There Even Maine Coons Kitten For Sale?

This is a valid question as depending on your location and the number of reputable breeders around, there might not be kittens available.

First, for health reasons, queens should only be bred once or twice a year to ensure healthy, happy kittens as well as mothers.

Their litter size can vary, and after birth, kittens should not leave their mother for the first few months of their lives.

And the Maine Coon is the third most popular breed of cat across the US, from here in Hawaii to Florida to their native New England…. meaning demand can exceed kittens available!

Second, if you have in mind a specific gender or color of Maine Coon – like I wanted a silver cat.

And if there are no kittens available, you will need to contact a breeder to be on a waitlist.

Deposits to get on a waitlist can range from $200-$500, and breeders can notify you by email or phone with colors and genders of the litters.

How Much Do Maine Coons Cost?

This question is the elephant in the room for lots of folks and I don’t blame them.

The emotional factors are complex, and especially when dealing with another living animal, we get mixed up easily.

That’s why I wrote a complete guide answering this question, check it out! How Much Do Maine Coon Cats Cost? – The Complete Guide

Adopting a Maine Coon Instead

You might not want a kitten for whatever reason. Often, you can find adult or breeder Maine Coons available for adoption from the same breeder.

And never forget your local animal shelter or Humane Society where you may find adult Maine Coons – purebred or mixed.

Visiting the Breeder

Do ask to take a tour of the breeder’s cattery and see how the cats live.

(FYI, I wrote a complete, super-packed post on the top must-ask questions before adopting for when you visit a cattery!

Reputable breeders will allow visitors to their cattery. If not possible, get photos and videos that show the cats in their everyday environment.

Check that the facilities meet the standards of the CFA.

Is it clean, healthy, and well maintained?

Ensure the environment is loving and makes you feel like it’s capable of producing and housing the highest quality, socially adjusted cats.

Some facilities are dedicated spaces, others live with humans in their home.

Make a note of how many cats are housed there and how many kittens were sold recently.

Ask how kittens are socialized and if you can meet their parents, good indicator of future traits.

Ask to see the other cats around – Maine Coons from certain breeders may have a distinct look or strive for a certain size.

I’m sure you notice some Maine Coons have a longer muzzle or wider cheeks.

Like this handsome boy looks more “wild” as opposed to “sweeter” looking Maine Coons.

Personality of the Kitten’s Parents

You should ask to meet the kitten’s parents, or the breeding queen and stud.

Kittens do inherit traits of their parents it’s important to get a feel of temperament and personality.

The Maine Coon I saw on the news that inspired me to get Chelle was docile and regal.

It turns out Chelle’s personality is spastic and silly!

She follows me around the house and settles by you. She is not a lap cat and not docile, always ready with a paw 🐾😼.

Maine Coon Kitten Health

Never forget to check what procedures the breeder arranges with the kittens after birth.

With my breeder, Purr Joy Maui, pricing included:

  • A veterinary visit and spay or neuter,
  • Microchip
  • First two vaccinations
  • Deworming
  • Health guarantee

The parents have all tested negative for hydrotrophic cardiac myopathy (HCM), a common genetic heart disease.

Later, I would confirm my new Maine Coon kitten was free from Feline leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

Therefore, if you are going to a reputable Maine Coon breeder, insist on the above standards at the least.

I was also under contract to take my kitten to the vet within 3 days. This underscores another important point…

What Does Your Maine Coon Breeder Expect From You?

Yes, you.

You’ve found a wonderful breeder to work with and have been on a waitlist…

They sent lots of pictures and videos of the facility and the kittens…

The health checks and veterinary procedures check out…

You have excellent rapport with the breeder and trust them…

What’s next?

The breeder should be vetting you as a potential owner!

A reputable Maine Coon breeder requires their kittens to go to the best possible home and family just like you are considering them.

In fact, my agreement of sale included lots of points in the contract to ensure Chelle was going to a wonderful home.

Your breeder should have paperwork ready:

  • She could not come home until 12-14 weeks old. Be prepared to be patient here.
  • she must be examined by a vet within 3 days
  • I must never sell or give away the cat without notifying the breeder.
  • A healthy diet is a must. Some cats will not eat normal food if given too many snacks.
  • I need a plastic secure carrier to transport my kitten.
  • She will never be de-clawed.
  • If going outdoors, she must be secured or on a leash. Otherwise she would always be an indoor house cat.
  • And last… regular brushing is a must, since Maine Coons are a long haired breed.

Related to the last point: I suffer from allergies and eczema, so I wondered if Maine Coons were hypoallergenic and if I would react.

Luckily, it was minimal.

Hawaii Maine Coon Breeders

I live on Oahu, in Hawaii, and was also set on a silver Maine Coon, so my options were limited.

As it turns out, there are only a few reputable breeders in Hawaii that you get your Maine Coon from –

  1. Purr Joy, on Maui
  2. Kilauea Koons, on the Big Island
  3. KokuaKats, a breeder on Maui. Her cats can often be found in the Cat Fancier’s Association show circuit!

Update June 2020: Kilauea Koons and KokuaKats have closed their doors and others have come up. CFA accredited breeders in Hawaii are now:

  1. 808Maines
  2. Kolohe Koonz
  3. Turney Coons
  4. MaineMonarch Cattery
  5. PurrJoy from above
  6. Hawaiian Maine Coons

Please do your own due diligence on these catteries and breeders.

I contacted all of them in my hunt and research. None had kittens currently available, though I was fairly picky.

My goal was for a silver Maine Coon. Why? It just seemed right at the time, to be honest.

So I put deposit of $200 on a future litter with 2 breeders.

Months and lots of emails later, I was driving myself crazy browsing Instagram and Youtube cat videos.

Then Beth at Purr Joy sends me something amazing: a pic of an available shaded Silver girl.

main coon kitten
Baby Chelle at 3 months ago. Look at her little mane!

So I was blown away and pretty much fell in love instantly.

But I had to pass my interview first (lol) with Beth, where I was asked things like our family dynamic, pet history, and other related issues to determine if I was a good fit for the kitten.

See section above for details.

Short story… she got here and spend most of her time staring us humans, judging us. Oh yeah, she’s a big cat! About 15 lbs.

Example below:

Maine Coon on table

On a related note, I have a full post on supplies you’ll need as a new Maine Coon kitten owner.

Your Responsibility as a New Maine Coon Owner

Keep in mind there are many good Maine Coon breeders in the market producing cats with great health records.

But, it’s important to think about what they expect from you as the owner.

I was extremely lucky to work with Beth who showed true Aloha Spirit in doing what is best for her cats.

The points in the sales contract that detail my duties may seem excessive.

But it’s this kind of care that produced such awesome and well-adjusted happy kittens!

Likewise, as a new Maine Coon owner, you owe it to your new feline family member.

If you are considering spending more than a $1500 (plus airfare, in my case) on a cat, then know it’s a big responsibility.

With these tips and my personal experience, I wish you have a purr-fect time in vetting breeders to find your future Maine Coon family member!

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