One thing that drives me crazy is how people can take advantage of uneducated buyers because they have faith that the breeders are doing is the right thing, and they are not doing the right thing!
I am going to call this what it is in my mind - "a scam"
Be VERY CAREFUL of WAIT LISTS and people requiring advanced deposits. Now advanced deposits in themselves are not a bad thing as long as some "fair rules" are in place.
I recently met a woman who put a 250.00 non-refundable wait list deposit down on a maine coon kitten. She was told that she would find out after the person received the deposit where she was on the wait list. She sent in her deposit and signed the deposit agreement which states no return of deposits - SHE IS NOW THE PROUD OWNER OF BEING NUMBER 56 YES YOU SAW THAT 56 ON A WAITING LIST FOR A MALE!
So unless this woman has 10 females she is breeding and those females have at least 5 males each, that is about the only way she could come up with 50 males in a year. Which means each of those litters would have to have at least 10 kittens a piece to attempt a 50% male rate - which never happens. This woman who is 56 at a minimum will have at least a two year wait (assuming the lady doesn't breed all 10 at a time. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it. My guess it will be 5 years on that wait list before she gets a male! Since I have been doing this for 15 years, I am going to say that's a fair estimate.
BUYERS BEWARE - THIS IS NOT RIGHT, THIS PLAYS ON PEOPLES FEARS OF NOT BEING ABLE TO GET A MALE MAINE COON. THIS IS SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH, REPUTABLE BREEDERS TAKE NO MORE THAN 10 RESERVATIONS AT A TIME - NONE OF US EVEN ADVERTISE THEM UNTIL THEY ARE 4 WEEKS OLD, SO KEEP CHECKING REPUTABLE BREEDERS FOR AVAILABILITY.
This provides me with my first ethical question, people are going to get tired of waiting and her contract says "for as long as it takes", I cannot imagine how many deposits go unfilled. Playing the law of averages, this person is making a monthly income on taking deposits on cats she cannot possibly fill in a reasonable amount of time! EXAMPLE: I just sold the lady who put a 250.00 deposit down on a kitten a kitten, so she just made 250.00 free money!
My second Pet Peeve with this Breeder:
She sends her kittens home at 8 weeks old. So you all are saying cool, the kitten will bond to me! This is sooooo far from the truth. Kittens should never go home before 12 weeks of age. Kittens continue to nurse until 12 weeks most times, this is not for nutrition, but for love and comfort. This is what helps make a confident, well adjusted kitten. You may think it's cute that a kitten nurses on your arm, or ear or where ever, this is not cute, this is a poor kitten that was ripped from his/her mother and/or siblings way too early.
Sending a kitten home too early creates stress and anxiety on the kitten. This poor kitten probably sits and cries for hours when you leave for work, it feels abandon. Stress causes a mulititude of problems in cats, this one can be so readily avoided.
You can tell breeding is all about he money with these breeders, how? Well at 8 weeks they are only providing one set of vaccines before they go home, that means they are not putting an appropriate amount of attention, time and care into your kitten.
So now I will tell you why it is so important to make sure your kitten has two sets of vaccines before they go home. It is called "the window of suseptability". I will detail the importance of this so you can fully understand what happens when a kitten goes home too early. A chart is below to better see how it works. The bottom line is for the first seven to eight weeks depending on how healthy your mother cat is will provide immunity for the kittens from all the diseases which your kittens get vaccines. Now some things are hard to control, if your mom has a large litter it takes alot out of them to provide milk for all the kittens, you will feed them more than you think they can possibly eat but they will thin out and can affect their immune system. Some mothers immunities are much stronger than mothers, those immunities can pass to the kittens through nursing up to 10 or 11 weeks in some situations.
This is a very critical time for breeders and cat owners, kittens must be kept away from all other kittens and cats so they do not get any of the diseases that could kill them. So you bring your kitten home at 8 weeks everything is good and all of a sudden your kitten get pneumonia and dies. You are devasted, breeder says it was fine when it went home and you are out a whole lot of money and emotional pain.
Now that sounds pretty good, if you give the kittens vaccines at eight weeks it should pick up where Mom's immunities left off and everything should be good. Well this is a MISCONCEPTION. If you give vaccines at 8 weeks and they still have Mom's immunities, then the vaccine doesn't take affect. Now your kitten is 10 weeks old and Mom's immunities has gone away, your next vaccines are at 12 weeks, that leaves two weeks that the kitten is able to contract any and all diseases that can kill kittens.
Understand this can happen anytime between 7 and 11 weeks, it is important that you never get a kitten under 12 weeks of age and it must have two sets of vaccines before it goes home.
A good responsible breeder who is in it for the love of the breed and not the money will make sure your kitten is properly immunized before you take it home.
You can see from the chart the pink line which is the maternal antibodies and how well they are protected until about 8 weeks, There is a serious possibility that the mothers antibodies can affect your vaccines between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks, therefore leaving a serious immunity gap.
My recommendation to you is if you have a breeder who wants to send kittens home at 8 to 11 weeks, RUN THE OTHER WAY!
My last complaint (promise, I will get off my soap box!)
Make sure you understand why you want a maine coon. Is it because of what a great family pet they are? They love kids and dogs? They are dog like and can be taught to do dog like things? Or because they are a big cat?
Maine coons are not rare, there is no need for people to charge the money they are charging. I am looking at back yard breeders (people that do not show, produce litters, dump them to buyers at 8 week of age) charging more than reputable breeders. This is insane. It is insane that people are spending so much money on a pet yet don't have certain requirements for those breeders.
What you should expect:
They should be showing their cats in cat shows. Most will tell you they don't show because they don't want to expose their cattery to diseases, this is crazy if you have good cats with good immune systems, you should not have a problem. Showing provides a vehicle for breeders to see that they are breeding to the standard of the cat. What a maine coon should look like is written in the standard, what it should have even for a pet is important. Example, it's tail should be as long as it's body to the shoulders. It's muzzle should not be flat to the face. It's ears should be tall and high. It should be heavy boned, delicate boning is not good. You want to make sure you are getting the best maine coon you can and that is from a breeder who shows and adheres to the standard.
Everyone has a right to charge what they charge, however, our philosophy is that ever family who wants to enjoy a maine coon should be able to afford one. Look hard at anyone charging over 1900.00 for a pet quality kitten. And no, there are no "rare" colors in Maine Coons, don't get charged more because it happens to be the color you want!
Any breeder who is not feeding a high quality, grain free food, walk away. Not feeding grain free food can create urinary tract problems, digestive problems (cronic diarrhea) It will give you a fat cat and not a strong healthy cat. If there are foods you won't eat because it is not healthy for you then why feed them to the cat you love!
If you walk into someones house or cattery and it smells walk away! You will end up buying a cat because you feel bad for it rather than you buying the right cat for your family. If people stop buying from these people, then the will go away!
Picking your cat - should always be about family match and personality, never color or size. The girls get a bad rap because they are not as big as the boys, some of the best cats are females. I want you to think about this for a minute, most housecats are 6 to 8 lbs, a maine coon female can run 12 to 16 lbs which is double the size of a regular house cat. So don't underestimate a female. Remember that females come in so many more amazing colors than boys. Give the girl a chance.
Also something very important when picking a cat. KNOW YOUR LIMITS. HOW OLD YOU ARE, HOW MUCH YOU CAN CARRY? I have people who are older and use walkers wanting a 20 lb cat. Try taking that cat to the vet. This makes no sense if you think about it, if you can't handle your cat it is too big for you.
I know this has been alot to read, but it is so important to be informed, you are paying alot of hard earned money for a kitten, make sure you make good choices!