How to choose a good breeder ?

Many breeders now have their own websites. You may also want to look for a breeder through one of the major cat registration associations. Two of the largest, Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) and The International Cat Association (TICA) are good ones to start with.

However, keep in mind that just because a breeder belongs to a cat club or one of the major cat associations can mean very little. Nearly anyone can do this, if they have registered/pedigree cats.

There are several standard "things" a breeder should do:

Not let kittens leave until at least 13 weeks of age.

Fully vaccinate their cats, not just the kittens.

Provide you with a contract, that guarantees the kittens health for a period of time, has a no declawing policy and an indoor only agreement. Additionally, it should clearly state that at any time if you can no longer have the cat/kitten, they will take it back, no questions asked.

Not let you take home a kitten who has any signs of illness, not even a runny nose!

Test (and be able to show proof) both the mother and father of the kittens for standard conditions (FeLV/FIV). Additionally Maine Coon cats should be HCM and SMA tested. HCM and SMA testing should be done via DNA testing. Breeders should be breeding DNA negative cats at this time. Ask to see the results of the parents testing! If they tell you that either of the parents haven't been tested because they haven't become "of age", then they also aren't "of age" to be breeding. Testing is essential and this is one corner breeders should not cut. Also be careful that the all of the breeding cats are being tested and not just a select few.

Give you a pedigree and registration papers, even if the papers follow after the spay/neuter of the kitten. Pedigree alone without proof of registration does not mean anything. If the kitten is not registered, then officially it is not a pedigree cat. Take this into consideration before you pay a high price for a kitten.

Require you to spay/neuter the kitten if not done so previously.

If you are getting an adult, he/she should already be spayed/neutered.

Want your information, or questions you, about various situations of your life. These kittens should be like family to the breeder and they should want to know about you as well. Remember, you aren't just buying a new car.

They should own (and possess) the mother of the kittens. If not, ask why. If "friends" own the female, yet they have the litter of kittens, something fishy is most likely up and we don't recommend you consider a kitten from this sort of situation.

We believe there are additional factors you should consider when adopting a pedigree cat, or researching a breeder:

Consider every communication you have to/from the breeder. Your first contact with a breeder may be via phone, letter or e-mail. It is important to assess every communication you receive from the breeder. It can indicate more about them than you might think. Does the written communication evoke a feeling that they care about their animals, and would want to work with you? Does the breeder invite you to visit their home/cattery? While it is often ideal to purchase a pedigreed animal from a local breeder where you can actually go see their facilities and meet them and their animals face-to-face, you can also learn much more about a breeder by talking to other people. Don't be afraid to ask the breeder for references!

Do keep in mind that most reputable, established breeders do not have kittens available at all times. They might also have waiting lists for their kittens. Be very careful about catteries which always seem to have kittens available for sale - chances are, this cattery is either having difficulty placing their or they produce too many kittens. It's a good idea to ask outright about a cattery's waiting list, and about their deposit policies. Realize some breeders may have kittens only once a year so be patient, this isn't a bad sign.

How many cats are in their home, and were you able to see them all? Too many cats should be a red flag, regardless of the conditions. Too many cats means there is no possible way all of the cats and kittens get individual attention on a regular basis. It is simply impossible. Regardless of how much affection you see them give the cats while visiting, your mind probably questions that too many cats seems a bit ridiculous. Realize that a breeders will always have more cats than the average person, but keep reality in perspective. Maine coons should be raised around all the daily activities of people, in their bedrooms, kitchen, around TVs, etc...some cats may be confined (such as whole males), but good breeders have a large place/room for the boys where they each have access to a window at any given time and enough room to jump and play, some even have TVs for their entertainment! And, if their house is spotless consider how much time that takes, and what that takes away from the attention the cats get. We aren't saying that clean houses are not possible, but we believe it is just as important that the home is well kept/sanitary, has less than a few dozen cats and all the cats appear healthy. Runny noses and eyes are not typical of a good cattery.

If any of the other situations are true, or you simply have a bad feeling about it....tell them thanks but no thanks. There are plenty of breeders out there to find a good relationship/cattery, and you aren't buying a new car, but a family member, so don't settle!

Please feel free to contact us for more info regarding any of these suggestions. We'd be more than happy to elaborate for you....even if you aren't getting a kitten from us.

Finally, just because you are purchasing a "pet" doesn't mean you shouldn't put great thought, care and investigation into the people from whom you are considering. Best of luck finding a new feline addition for your family!