If you are ready to get a Maine Coon cat, you will first have to learn how to find a reputable Maine Coon breeder.
This is an essential step because some breeders are using unethical practices, and if you are not careful, you might end up with a cat that is sick or not even a Maine Coon at all!
Look for Maine Coon breeders that are registered with cat governing bodies like CFA or TICA. Good breeders genetically test and vaccinate all of their cats. Make sure the breeder allows you to visit their cattery, rather than picking up your kitten from another location, so you can see for yourself that the cats are kept in good condition.
As exciting as it is to finally get the cat of your dreams, finding a reputable breeder takes time and patience.
Read on to find out what you should do to find an excellent Maine Coon cat breeder.
How To Find A Reputable Maine Coon Breeder
The Maine Coon is an enormous cat breed that is famous for its gentle, patient temperament.
These are very friendly and affectionate cats that love to follow their owners around and get along well with children and other pets. Learn more about their characteristics, here.
As amazing as these cats are, it is no easy task to bring one home! Not only are they expensive, but they are also expensive and time-consuming to breed.
As a result, you will probably have to wait a while before you can finally get the cat of your dreams.
So, if you want to know how to find a Maine Coon breeder, here are some ways you can find a breeder, as well as what you should look out for:
1. Cat Shows
Perhaps one of the best ways to find quality breeders is at cat shows.
Not only are cat shows fun, informational experiences, but you can see firsthand the kinds of Maine Coons a breeder is producing.
There is virtually no risk of getting scammed, and you can meet breeders one-on-one without needing to comb through websites.
Finding a quality Maine Coon breeder online can be risky if you do not know what to look for.
Some breeders pay to have their cattery advertised on a governing cat body’s website, like TICA.
You can also find these kinds of advertisements in reputable cat fancier magazines, such as “Cat Fancy.”
Other catteries operate through their own websites or social media, like Facebook.
If you do find a breeder online, take extra care to find proof that they are registered with a governing cat body and operating out of a clean, spacious environment.
Save yourself some time by taking a look at our registered Maine Coon cat breeder list for the United States, by State. With a little bit of luck, your dream Maine Coon breeder is here!
Perhaps the most important step is finding a registered Maine Coon cat breeder.
People do not need to be registered to breed cats, but registered breeders follow a stricter set of rules than backyard breeders.
They are also guaranteed to have 100% Maine Coon cats, as well as proof of their lineage.
Just because a breeder is registered does not mean they are automatically a perfect option, though.
Even CFA Maine Coon breeders can make mistakes or be difficult to work with.
You should also keep in mind that some breeders may lie about their registration. It is easy to state you are registered, but you cannot know for sure unless they provide proof.
There are dozens of cat registries throughout the world, but here are some of the most common (source 1):
- The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) (International)
- The International Cat Association (TICA) (International)
- American Cat Fanciers’ Association (ACFA) (US)
- Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) (UK)
- Canadian Cat Association (CCA) (Canada)
- Federation International Feline (FIFe) (Europe)
4. Health Guarantee
The best Maine Coon breeders provide excellent health care to all of their cats.
For example, pregnant and breeding queens should receive many examinations and vet visits. Maine Coon kittens should also be genetically tested and fully vaccinated.
You should ask for proof of vaccination and genetic testing before committing to a cat, to ensure the kitten is healthy.
While Maine Coons are known for their gentle temperaments, a lot of their personality stems from kittenhood.
Good Maine Coon breeders will socialize their kittens early on, allowing them to get used to:
- Other Animals
6. Visiting The Cattery
If possible, you should ask to visit the cattery before deciding to get a kitten from a breeder.
Whilst a breeder refusing to let you visit the cattery may seem like a red flag, keep in mind that the situation might be more complex than you realize, so do not rule the breeder out of the equation.
Many Maine Coon cat breeders have opted to keep their homes and catteries closed, to potential buyers.
This has been done for a number of reasons, including:
- Protecting their cats
- Avoiding crime
- Personal health issues
- Time restraints
- Reducing the risk of their cats coming into contact with outside germs/diseases
Some catteries, especially in the wake of COVID-19, only allow visits over a video call, which is understandable.
If you do choose to see a cattery over a video call, make sure you can see where all of the breeding cats are kept, as well as how much space the kittens have.
You should seek out reputable Maine Coon kitten reviews to ensure other people have had a positive experience with the breeder you are interviewing.
Searching the name of the cattery on Google is a great first start, but you can also try forums and social media sites like Reddit (source 1).
YouTube Research: Where Do Owners ACTUALLY Buy Maine Coon Cats?
The safest place to purchase a Maine Coon kitten is from a registered Maine Coon cat breeder, yet the Maine Coon price leads many cat lovers to buy their cats elsewhere.
Katrina Stewardson, the Director of Maine Coon Central, conducted unique research on 150 Maine Coon cat lovers, on Maine Coon Central’s YouTube channel, in October 2023.
She asked the audience where they got their Maine Coon cat from.
The aim of this cat research study was to establish where Maine Coon owners ACTUALLY purchased their Maine Coon kitten or cat.
This survey revealed that 33% of owners purchased their Maine Coon cat from a Registered Maine Coon cat breeder, whilst 8% of voters bought a cat from a Non-Registered Maine Coon cat breeder.
A staggering 23% of viewers voted that they found their Maine Coon at a shelter! So, do not give up hope of finding a ‘cheap’ Maine Coon!
Below are the results of Maine Coon Central’s users’ vote:
What Questions Should I Ask A Cat Breeder
While you may be tempted to say yes to the first breeder you find, it is important to screen them carefully to ensure they provide the highest quality care to all of their cats.
Here are some questions to ask when adopting a cat, so you can weed out irresponsible catteries:
1. Ask For Proof Of Health
Ask if any kittens have gotten sick while under their care, as well as what steps they have taken afterward.
Find out who their vet is, and how often they take all of their cats.
You should also find out what healthcare they guarantee to provide for each kitten.
Do they deworm and vaccinate all of their cats?
Are all breeding Maine Coon queens and kings genetically tested?
2. Ask For Proof Of Registration
A picture of the TICA logo on their website is not enough proof that they are actually registered with a governing cat body.
Ask for proof of registration with any and all clubs they are a part of.
Make sure to research these organizations independently; there are hundreds of organizations, but not all of them have a good code of ethics.
3. Ask For Proof Of Lineage
Before getting a kitten, you should know the exact lineage of the cat’s parents.
Good breeders tend to breed show cats with official titles from governing cat bodies.
Quality show cats are considered ideal specimens of the breed in:
Ask about previous litters from both parents, including any health or genetic problems.
4. Ask To Visit The Cattery
A really important step is to ask to see the cattery for yourself.
If the breeder is evasive or outright refuses, this is a potential red flag. However, keep in mind the factors listed in the article above which note some genuine reasons why a breeder may make such a decision.
Even in the wake of the pandemic, a high-quality breeder will, at the very least, provide a full tour in person or over a video chat.
Make sure you ask for a video tour if physical tours are not possible. You should consider it a red flag if the breeder refuses to let you see their kitten’s living conditions, via video.
You should assess the cleanliness and size of the cattery, whilst also considering the following questions:
- Do all of the queens have plenty of space, as well as a secure space for their kittens?
- Does the house look and smell clean?
- Do all of the cats look content?
5. Ask About Their Breeding Process
Legit Maine Coon breeders will be open about their breeding process.
You should ask how old cats are before breeding, how often queens produce litters, and how many litters a queen can be expected to have before retiring.
The best breeders will only let a queen have a few litters throughout her lifetime.
Even though cats are capable of producing more than one litter a year, it is a taxing process that has long-term effects on the body.
Learn more about Maine Coon breeding and pregnancy, in this article.
6. Ask About Kitten Care
You should find out what litter and food the breeders provide their kittens and cats.
It is also important to ask how old kittens are before they are sent to their new homes.
Even though kittens can technically be rehomed as early as eight weeks, it is recommended they reach at least ten weeks before they are separated from their mothers.
High-quality breeders generally wait until kittens are around twelve weeks or older to send them home.
7. Ask For References
To ensure you will have a positive experience with this breeder, you should ask for references from previous purchasers.
A good breeder will happily provide the numbers of past clients, so you can call or email them.
This way, you can learn if the breeder has sent any sick kittens home, refused to refund a sick kitten or other red flags.
8. Ask For A Contract And Guarantee
Before making a decision, your breeder should provide a contract and guarantee.
The contract will detail what the breeder will and will not provide, as well as any restrictions they have.
For example, most breeders require that the kitten be spayed or neutered at a certain age, and some require that they remain indoors only.
Most cat owners prefer a breeder who guarantees they will provide a refund if the kitten becomes ill or dies within a certain time period.
Think about what kind of guarantee is important to you, so you can find a breeder who aligns with your values (source 1).
Cat Breeder Red Flags
There are far too many Maine Coon cat scams out there, but there are things you can look out for to avoid them.
Here are some red flags to keep an eye out for:
Kittens Already Available
If you reach out to a breeder and they immediately respond with a bunch of potential kittens that you can pick up right away, this is a huge red flag.
Pedigree Maine Coons are in high demand, and you often have to wait months or even years before a kitten is finally available.
A lot of Maine Coon kitten scams pull images from high-quality, registered catteries.
Use a reverse image search with several of their photos to ensure they have not been published on another site.
Maine Coons usually cost at least $1,000. Anything less than that should make you wary!
Backyard breeders will own too many breeding pairs, or force queens to breed too young and too often.
Cheap Maine Coons can also indicate that they are not receiving proper health care, or it may even mean they are selling domestic longhair cats that happen to look like Maine Coons.
For more information on the latest Maine Coon cat pricing, read my Maine Coon price guide.
Not Answering Questions
If the breeder seems evasive or frustrated when you ask questions, this is a red flag.
The best Maine Coon breeders expect dozens of questions and will have thorough answers already ready.
If a breeder refuses to answer questions about their cats’ lineage or health, it probably means they are hiding something.
Asking Too Many Questions
While you should expect a breeder to ask you lots of questions about your situation, some breeders take things too far.
In some nightmare scenarios, bad breeders can obsessively check on kittens after they are already sold, or even demand a kitten back after they have already sold them!
This is why it is a good idea to look for reviews and ask for references from previous clients.
For buyers wanting to understand the other possible Maine Coon cat scams to be aware of, read our guide immediately!
What Questions Will A Breeder Ask Me?
While a cat breeder will not be expected to ask nearly as many questions as the buyer, a good one will still screen all potential clients to ensure they are a good fit.
Here are some things you can expect a breeder to ask you:
- Do You Have Enough Space?
- Do You Have Other Animals?
- How Much Time Can You Spend With Them?
- Can You Afford Supplies And Healthcare?
- How Would You Give Your Cat Playtime And Exercise?
- Are All Household Members Ready For A Cat?
How To Buy A Cat From A Breeder
While the process of getting a Maine Coon will vary depending on the cattery as well as the individual, there are some general steps you can expect.
Here are the steps on how to purchase a Maine Coon cat from a breeder:
1. Contact The Breeder
The first step is to contact the breeder of a cattery you are interested in.
Most breeders like to talk over the phone, so they can ask and answer all questions.
If you are still interested, you should ask to visit the cattery.
2. Visit The Cattery
A good breeder will allow you to tour the cattery either in person or over a video chat.
Inspect the areas where the queens care for their kittens, and determine whether all of the cats in the cattery appear content and well cared for.
3. Apply For The Waitlist
If you and the breeder get along well, then you can ask to apply for the waitlist.
This time can vary depending on how many breeding cats they have available, as well as what color and gender you want your Maine Coon to be.
4. Make A Reservation
Once the kitten of your dreams is finally available, the breeder will contact you and ask if you would like to reserve the kitten.
Most breeders require you to put in a deposit (usually $200 or so) until you are ready to pick up the kitten and pay for it in full.
5. Sign A Contract
The order of this step can vary based on the breeder, but at some point, you will both need to sign a contract that details the rights and expectations of both parties.
The contract usually includes some kind of guarantee, such as a full or partial refund if your kitten becomes sick.
6. Pick Up And Pay For The Kitten
Finally, once your kitten is old enough, you will be able to pick up your Maine Coon kitten.
Some breeders offer to drive and meet halfway, or even deliver the kittens themselves. Most, however, require that you pick up your kitten on your own.
Once you have your kitten, you will have to pay in full. Most breeders require that you pay in cash because, unfortunately, scamming can go both ways.
If you want a purebred cat, you will first have to learn how to find a reputable Maine Coon breeder.
High-quality breeders will happily provide proof of registration, lineage, and healthcare.
You should also be able to visit the breeder’s cattery in person or on video, so you can assess whether the cats are kept in good condition.
It is also a good idea to ask for references from previous buyers so you can ensure their past customers have all had positive experiences.
Do Maine Coon Cats Get Stolen?
The Maine Coon is an expensive and highly popular breed, so they are much more likely to be stolen than regular cats.