With the demand for Maine Coon cats in the US increasing, and supply struggling to keep up, you might have been tempted to source your dream cat from overseas.
If this sounds familiar, learn how to import a Maine Coon into the US, and how you can make sure you do not get tricked by Maine Coon cat scams.
Importing a Maine Coon from abroad requires potential owners to conduct in-depth research on their preferred Maine Coon cat breeder. Failure to do so leaves them at risk of cat scams. Ensure the kitten is health checked; fully vaccinated, and has a vet-issued health certificate, pedigree certification, and a pet permit to enter the United States.
In this article, you will learn the key steps to follow to successfully import a Maine Coon cat into the United States.
How To Import A Maine Coon
Maine Coon cats are large, affectionate, and intelligent pets that love playing and hanging out with humans.
They are considered to be one of the oldest native cat breeds in the U.S.
These large cats are known for their solid and rugged build, shaggy coat, massive size as well as large tufted ears.
The Maine Coon cat measures approximately 40 inches long and is around 10 to 16 inches tall.
As much as the Maine Coon may have an imposing size, it’s a soft, gentle cat breed that loves to spend the majority of its time around its humans.
This cat is not big on giving you privacy or personal space!
As a breed, they are known to coexist extremely well with other household pets, apart from small rodents or birds since these would naturally be Maine Coons prey.
The Maine Coon cat breed is a very friendly, fun-loving, patient, and incredibly intelligent feline, that you will love having around the house.
When it comes to owning a Maine Coon cat, you have two options to explore:
- Buy From A Local Breeder
Firstly, you can source a Maine Coon cat from one of the many registered Maine Coon cat breeders in the United States.
Here’s a list of breeders to get you started!
- Import A Maine Coon
Alternatively, you can import a Maine Coon (e.g. a European Maine Coon) from a registered breeder in any country.
If you opt for the latter, then you will need to import the cat into the U.S. Fortunately, importing a Maine Coon into the U.S is not an overly complicated process.
Here are the steps on how to buy a Maine Coon and import it to the United States:
1. Do Some Research
Start your search by locating possible registered Maine Coon cat breeders, in the countries you wish to consider importing a Maine Coon from.
To do this, look on Google, and social media platforms like Facebook, and Instagram.
To get you started, here is a list of Maine Coon cat breeders in Europe.
Additionally, here are some other useful links for you:
Select some suitable Maine Coon cat breeders, then read their website to gain a more in-depth understanding of the cat health checks each breeder undertakes, their prices, and what they offer.
2. Check Online Reviews
Your thorough research definitely shouldn’t stop with a simple website search.
Instead, we highly advise you to also check online reviews for the specific breeders you are interested in buying a Maine Coon kitten from.
You can use the cattery name or the breeder’s name to check for online reviews.
If the reviews of your favored cattery or breeder are not mainly positive, we recommend you move on to the next Maine Coon cat breeder.
Keep digging and digging, gaining as much knowledge and information as you can, until you find a breeder or a cattery with decent positive reviews, that you can trust.
For this, you can check the breeders’ social media pages or search for their names on Google.
3. Contact Breeder And Ask For Referrals
Some less ethical breeders are known to engage in malpractices, for example, offering people money to post positive reviews about their business online.
Unfortunately, you therefore cannot solely rely on the online reviews you read.
Whilst the next step isn’t foolproof, it is worth adding to your Maine Coon breeder search process as it helps to eliminate potential cat scammers.
Thus, after checking the breeder reviews online, you should go a step further and ask your preferred Maine Coon cat breeders for referrals from their U.S-based clients.
The purpose of this step is to try and obtain honest word-of-mouth referrals from the breeder’s previous customers.
If you are given some customer contact details, from other pet lovers in the US, call them to gain a more in-depth understanding of their experience with the breeder in your shortlist.
The customer’s experience will then help you to decide which breeder to work with.
4. Check Breeder Response Times
As you may expect, several issues may arise during the importation process. Therefore, you will want to keep in touch with your breeder in Europe, until the cat is finally in your hands.
You may also want to ask the breeder various breed-related questions during your Maine Coons lifespan.
To this end, you need to ensure you are getting your cat from someone who responds promptly.
Regardless of how great the cattery may be or how affordable the prices may appear, you should avoid importing your cat from a breeder that takes forever to respond to your messages.
Ideally, you want someone who is responding within a day or so, taking into account the time zone differences between Europe and the U.S.
If someone is taking longer than 24 hours to respond, then the experience can be extremely frustrating.
After this process, you should trim down your list to around three to five potential breeders.
5. Check Cattery Registration
It will also be advisable to check the breeders’ official registration details.
Here, you will ask the breeders in your shortlist to furnish you with information on the cattery federation they are registered with and then verify that information.
Some of the most popular cattery registrations include:
- The International Cat Association (TICA)
- The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA)
- World Cat Federation (WCF)
- The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA)
The breeder should be more than willing to furnish you with this information. If they appear hesitant, you should remove them from your shortlist.
6. Identify The Cat You Want To Import
Look through your preferred Maine Coon cat breeders’ available kittens, and identify the Maine Coon you would like to import and raise in the United States.
Contact the breeder to check whether the Maine Coon kitten has been reserved, or not. If it hasn’t been reserved, you should proceed to the next steps.
Ask them lots of questions about the breed, and get a gut feel for whether the breeder is helpful and knowledgeable regarding the breed.
7. Request Health And Genetic Tests Of Parents
After checking the breeder’s registration, you should then go ahead and request to see the various health certifications of the breeding cats.
Here, you will be checking to ensure the parents are negative from:
- PK Def
An additional step you could take at this point would be to request the breeder conduct a full genetic profile of the kitten’s parents.
The purpose of such a test would be to check the cats and kittens for the medical issues listed above.
These tests may reveal additional information such as if the cat is a carrier of any undesirable conditions.
Whilst these requests might seem a tad excessive, they are extremely important and should not be overlooked.
You want to ensure the cat you are buying does not come with serious hereditary conditions.
8. Check Kitten’s Pedigree
If you would like to learn more about the Maine Coon cat you intend to purchase, request its pedigree details from the breeder.
A pedigree is a record of the cat’s ancestry, usually backed by a recognized registering body.
This pedigree will show your cat’s entire lineage, enabling you to ascertain more information about the kitten’s parents, as well as its grandparents, among other key details.
9. Acquire The Necessary Permits
By this point you have identified the Maine coon kitten you would like to import to the United States, so you should begin the process of bringing the cat into the US.
Fortunately, importing a cat into the U.S is a straightforward process, so you will not need to acquire complicated licenses or permits.
10. Vet-Issue Health Certificate
You will need to get a vet-issued health certificate, for the Maine Coon kitten you wish to import into the United States.
This international pet health certificate will indicate that the cat you are buying is both healthy and fit to fly.
You need to complete this certificate within ten days of travel.
Whilst the USDA or CDC do not require this certificate, the airline you are using to ship the pet internationally may require it.
11. Proof Of Pet Vaccinations
You will need to obtain proof that your Maine Coon kitten has had all the necessary pet vaccinations, prior to entering the United States. This is especially true regards rabies.
Pet vaccinations and medical costs vary from one country to the next.
If you are importing a Maine Coon cat from the U.K, it will cost you roughly $120 to $180 for the full course of pet vaccinations.
Whilst vaccination proof is not required as part of the importation process into the U.S, some U.S states may require it. Therefore, it is a good idea to have this proof to hand.
It is worth noting that if you are importing a Maine Coon kitten into the United States, you will not need to acquire a USA pet passport or an EU pet passport.
However, if your cat will be passing through two or more EU countries on its way to the U.S, you will need to acquire an EU pet passport.
The price for an EU pet passport is between $60 and $100.
This passport will contain details such as your name and address, your cat’s health status, plus the following details about your cat:
- Physical Traits
- Microchip Number
- An alternative pet photo
The EU pet passport never expires, as long as you keep your cat’s rabies vaccination current.
12. Ship Your Cat
After making sure everything is in order, you can now go ahead and pay for your cat.
Maine Coon kittens cost anywhere between $600 and $2,500. The actual cost of your kitten will depend on its age and pedigree, among other key factors.
PayPal provides one of the most secure methods of making international payments.
When you use PayPal, there will be a money trail. So, if you encounter any serious issues, you can always request a refund.
You will first pay a deposit of around $250 to $500, which will reserve your cat. You will then clear the balance once your cat has been shipped.
The breeder will usually arrange for the cat’s shipping, but the new owner will be required to take care of the shipping fees.
The breeder will take the cat to the airport and ensure it arrives at your destination safely.
The actual cat transportation cost will depend on the airlines you decide to use to ship the pet. You can pay the shipping fee to the breeder or pay the airline directly.
13. Collect Your Cat
Your Maine Coon cat will arrive at your selected destination after a couple of hours. Once it arrives, you should collect it from the airport as soon as possible.
To collect your cat, you will need to go through customs clearance for pets.
The actual process will vary from one location to the next.
In most cases, you will need to visit the cargo area and get the paperwork that came with your pet. You will then take this paperwork to the U.S Customs Office.
They will review this paperwork and ask some questions.
If there are no issues, you will get a seal of approval on your paperwork. And from there, you can pay the required fee and collect your cat.
This entire process should not take more than an hour.
How Much Does It Cost To Import A Cat?
Importing a cat into the United States can be quite an expensive process, especially considering it is an additional charge to the already pricey Maine Coon cat costs, listed here.
According to this website, international pet shipping costs vary substantially, depending upon the size of the cat, species, and where you are shipping your Maine Coon cat from.
Whilst we are not able to give you a definite pet transportation price, the cost is anticipated to range between $588 – $4707 (source 1).
Best Travel Crates For Cats
If you are serious about importing a Maine Coon cat into the United States, you are going to need to make sure you buy one of the best cat carriers to transport your precious cat to you!
Here are two of my favorite large airline approved cat carriers:
1. Cargo Pet Carrier
If you are bringing your cat into the USA, you will likely need a cargo pet carrier since you will not be traveling alongside your purchased cat.
This cargo pet carrier is ideal for international pet shipping:
- Product Dimensions: Length 48″ x Width 32″ x Height 35″
- 4-way vault door provides extra security for the travel crate because it prevents sliding and shifting.
- Durable and heavy duty construction
- 360 degree ventilation
- Meets most airline cargo requirements
2. Large Deluxe Pet Carrier
This pet carrier is suitable for Maine Coon cats weighing up to 22 lbs, so make sure you check your cats weight before purchasing.
Considering Maine Coon cats weigh an average of 8 – 24 lbs, this large airline-approved cat carrier will fit the majority of Maine Coons:
- This large cat carrier is ideal for Maine Coon cats weighing up to 22 lbs.
- It is airline approved and complies with the in-cabin carrier size requirements stated by the majority of airlines.
- Provides great ventilation for your cat, via mesh panels.
- Can be carried over the shoulder, or by hand.
- Waterproof interior base, and removable machine washable liner.
International Pet Shipping Airlines
Several different airlines will fly your dream Maine Coon cat into the United States.
Look for airlines with IPATA membership, as these companies are involved in promoting the humane and safe transportation of pets to countries across the world.
According to this website, an IPATA Associate Membership includes the following factors, and is dedicated to transporting pets both safely and humanely:
- International Airlines
- Pet Airlines
- Pet Travel Insurance
- Pet Travel Manufacturers and Suppliers (Microchips and Kennels, etc)
- Quarantine Facilities
- Airport Holding Facilities
Some examples of IPATA airlines include:
- Air France Martinair Cargo
- Alaska Air Cargo
- Emirates SkyCargo
- Cargolux Airlines International SA
Thoroughly research any pet shipping company, before handing over your hard-earned cash.
Always make sure you use the best pet shipping companies only, to ensure your precious Maine Coon kitten arrives with you safe and sound.
Fake Pet Shipping Companies
With so many Maine Coon cat scams doing the rounds, it can be difficult establishing which Maine Coon cat breeders are legitimate. Let alone now having to worry about fake pet shipping companies too!
So, how do you recognize fake pet shipping companies?
Read on to learn more about the various pet transportation frauds to be aware of (source 1):
1. Fraudulent Websites
Some pet fraudsters set up fake pet transportation websites, then encourage their pet lover victims to arrange their foreign pet shipping, via this website.
To gain the trust of unsuspecting buyers, the fraudsters ensure the webpage they create has a familiar look and feel to the main reputable companies advertising pet shipments.
These businesses claim to be international pet shipping companies, yet after charging excessive fees, and deposits, they miraculously disappear with your money
2. Non-Returnable Payments
Pet fraudster websites will often request payment via non-returnable methods of payment, such as Western Union or Wire Transfer.
Whilst these pet transportation companies might be completely legitimate, buyers should be wary of all companies using non-returnable payment options.
3. No Contact Details
Avoid websites that have no contact details, and use non-business email addresses, such as Gmail or Yahoo.
The examples of possible pet transportation scams are endless.
Do your research wisely, and only select international pet shipping companies that you trust.
Here is a list of IPATA-approved pet shippers.
Maine Coon cats have a reputation for being friendly felines full of love, that want to spend every minute with their human companions.
Their huge popularity has resulted in evident shortages of this much-loved cat breed, across the world.
For those of you looking to source a Maine Coon cat from overseas, make sure you read our guide on how to import a Maine Coon into the United States.
Whilst bringing a Maine Coon kitten into the US is not an overly complicated process, there are a few factors you need to consider.
Rules For Bringing Cats Into The UK
Check out the gov.uk website to learn how to import a cat into the UK, correctly.