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Buying Maine Coon kitten: what to look for?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Just as the title says, what characteristics to look for? This breeder said his kitten is show quality. I thought, the kitten is only 1 month old (I can put an option to buy him later), is there really a way to know that? Breeders also can decide if they want to keep a kitten or put it on sale. How do they decide? Does it mean the ones for sale are of lesser quality?
Edited by dan138zig - 4/7/13 at 3:17am
post #2 of 19

It's really impossible in my view to say a month-old kitten is show quality - it's possible to say it has show potential.


Of course breeders keep the best kittens to show and/or breed from!  Sometimes they hold back a promising kitten to see how it develops.  However they will also sell potential show neuters to people who are interested in showing.  Suspect there are as many ways as to how they decide as there are breeders.


But all the kittens should mature into a cat that is obviously be of their breed, just not as correct as show quality cats, so unless you actually want to show why worry, if the kitten is from a registered breeder who shows and will register it?


Cannot open the FB page.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah, but is it correct to assume show quality cats look better than the pet ones?

Edited by dan138zig - 4/7/13 at 3:17am
post #4 of 19

Depends on what you like.  A lot of people prefer pet quality Persians to show quality for example - they find the ultra-face too much to bear.


Not being show quality can be anything - a kink in the tail, incorrect coat texture, slightly wrong face or eye shape, something to do with the ear set.  There are also plenty of cats that make the first title in showing and never get any further, so show quality isn't a black or white issue.  There are also fabulous looking cats that hate showing.


And without going to quite a few shows or seeing plenty of cats with some guidance you won't actually be able to recognise a good show quality Maine Coon.  This is the sort of background people are telling you you need to breed.  Should also mention that seeing photos is no substitute for seeing and handling the cats.  You can't get coat texture or the shape under the coat from a photo.


Visit a breeder, look at their cats, have them explain which ones are show quality and why, and which ones miss the mark and why.

post #5 of 19















































post #6 of 19
Originally Posted by dan138zig View Post

Yeah, but is it correct to assume show quality cats look better than the pet [quality] ones?

Yes, per definition - usually.  Exceptions occur if the "pet quality" is stunning, but has some less visible fault. Say a knick in the tail... Or even a visibly fault, say  socks in wrong size.


Now, this question: aim to breed for show quality OR very good pet quality, is much wider, and has several answers.


First, most breeders do breed per definition for cats to be pets. They will hopefully be show winners or breeding queens, but they are supposed to be above all loved family members.  So if nothing else, their psyche should be suitable to be family members.


I think you Dan are along these line, as you want your MCO to be first and foremost your pet cat.   :)


How common it is for cats to live their whole life in cages, unable to be family members, but being show winners - the owners participating eagerly in show circuit -  I dont know.  I suspect it happens.

Cages can happen in big catteries as well.

The OK of these has commodities for the cats, like extra rooms for them to be in and playing much with them. Or letting them visit the home parts of the house several hours every day. Typically having them to have pants on, to stop spraying the living parts of the house.   :)


Second.  Some breeders feel,   top show quality breeding is not always necessarly the best for the cats health.  Maximing some variables usually means you cant maximize other variables. As you can seldom get it all, usually you must find some compromise. If you maximize the stunning looks, you must perhaps accept some other faults.

And thus, if a breeder wants healthy, sound, friendly cats, who are good family members, and also sound to breed on if such is your desire, and of course be along the breeds description - the variable left to perhaps take as second priority is -  the stunning, potentially show winning looks.


So yes, sometimes you will want to fully consciously to specialize on very good every day cats, "good pet quality" preferably also good breeding cats  - than coming show international grand champions.

Few breeders do admit this openly, but Im sure quite a few do so.


Of course, it may be a little of "its sour, said the fox and left":  it is easier to produce a qood quality pet than a top quality show winner. But that is another story.   :)

post #7 of 19
post #8 of 19
Lots of good info here. I am not a breeder, but some other things I learned last year when deciding on a breed and breeder (I was seriously considering a MC but ultimately decided on an Abyssinian this time. I WILL have a MC one day though)

Sometimes a breeder decides to sell an excellent kitten because they don't need that sex or color for their breeding program. Brown tabby w/w is the most common MC color, so even if a kitten has a lot of potential, a breeder can't keep every brown tabby. Or they only keep two or three studs at a time and don't need more. Or some personalities aren't conducive to being a stud.

Other things that make a kitten not show quality can be personality. A cat may be very well suited for family life but not able to handle traveling, other cats and lots of people at shows. They can be too shy or too aggressive or not docile enough. My Aby wouldn't make a good show cat because she gets car sick in just a ten minute drive to the vet. She'd be a mess if we were driving several hours away to shows. She also doesn't have solid black paw pads and the white on her throat extends down a little too far. She would be penalized for both and probably wouldn't do well at shows. But to me, as strictly a pet owner, those things don't really matter and don't affect her being an excellent pet and having all the Aby characteristics that make me love the breed.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

I found this kitten whose parents are grand champions! he's almost 6 months old, I seriously need some opinions about him:


post #10 of 19
He's certainly a handsome fella, though I don't know anything about what makes them show quality or not. What registry is he registered with? Are you looking to show or just for a pet? Will you be able to meet him before making any decisions?
post #11 of 19

It really is very hard to decide if a cat is show quality from photos.  It's not possible to feel the coat texture, to feel the shape of the cat below the coat, to see the ear set (who knows if he has moved them in the photos?), to assess his personality, to know if he will travel and there is nothing in the photos to indicate what size he is.


Ultimately the only thing which defines a cat as show quality is success at shows.  If you don't want to show, find a kitten with a winning personality and what you consider winning looks, and have a long happy life with it.  If you want to show, tell that to whoever you are getting a kitten from, but first make sure there are shows near enough to where you live to get to them, and I'd strongly suggest you go to a show or two as well before getting a kitten for showing.


Also, breeding show cats isn't as easy as putting two Gr Champions togeather - if it was we'd be overrun with show quality cats.  A really stunner, top winning cat, comes along only occasionally.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

He's certainly a handsome fella, though I don't know anything about what makes them show quality or not. What registry is he registered with? Are you looking to show or just for a pet? Will you be able to meet him before making any decisions?

It's CFA and I'm looking for a pet. Yeah I'll be able to see the cat in person before making any decision and i feel that's a must.
post #13 of 19
He is a good looking kitten, looks like a quite typey head. I sure would not have a doubt of the breed. the body shape will probably keep changing proportions , he would hopefully stretch out in the back more. It's hard to tell from photos but in general the legs look pretty straight which is a good thing since they can often be "cow hocked", which might be a symptom of hip dysplasia, as well as a fault for shos Of course as people said there are other things one also can't tell from a photo.

Re your other question, I do not think there is a way someone could tell a one month old kitten is show quality. That is just too young and there are too many variables. A breeder who really knows their lines and has seen generations of kittens grow up, so they remember how they looked at that age and how they turned out later, could certainly be able to have some kittens that at one month they are hoping will continue to develop as they remember the kitten's parents, grandparents, older siblings etc. who looked that way at that age and then went on to be successful show cats.

post #14 of 19































post #15 of 19
Originally Posted by FlintMcCullough View Post






The OP is in Indonesia so who knows what the prices over there are?

post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by FlintMcCullough View Post


Very true, a good question mark. That said, I know of breeders of (Russian Blue in my example) who got their mother queen of their lineage just by being lucky to find an unsold kitten with a reputable good breeder.  Otherwise they would be force to search still longer...

Of course, the overall niveu on the scandinavian Russian Blue is good.  So it is not difficult to find good quality cats. Perhaps not all given show winners, but surely more than enough to be of good breeding quality.    It may be more touchy in other breeds.

And of course, they took this left over kitten not because it was the only one they could get. They took it because they saw it was after all a really good kitten. And being a little older than the customary 12 weeks (ie younger; when you normally make your pick they are perhaps 6-8 weeks), it was easier for them to see this kitten would develop into a very good breeding cat.


So, do beware and be observant with these older unsold kittens, but take a good look anyway. If you trust the breeder, it may be your lucky day finding a first rate kitten.

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
My guess is because he only had one testicle so had to be neutered. Most people are still uneducated here, thinking that altered cat is not normal or something. Also he price of this one is very high for a neutered one (1050 USD). But anyway, I'm not buying this one after all.
post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by dan138zig View Post

My guess is because he only had one testicle so had to be neutered. Most people are still uneducated here, thinking that altered cat is not normal or something. Also he price of this one is very high for a neutered one (1050 USD). But anyway, I'm not buying this one after all.

Ooops! No dont even think about him if you want to have a cattery.   Perhaps as your starting neuter, to get into the Show circle with, but not else. You dont want to have your cattery to be connected with a faulty cat the first you do. 

Of course, as pure pet he is surely OK, if the price is right.  And here it isnt, unless you can talk them into a big reduction.  The first cited price is not always the same as the real end price, no?

In Sweden it is not custom to bargain much, and definitely not for these pedigreed cats.  But I know in many countries bargain is the rule. Into the point as if you dont bargain the seller will be disappointed.


Observe, he is with 99% not having one testicle. He is with 99% having two, but the other is deeply in the tummy.  The neutering will thus be quite complicated. He needs real surgery, not just only a easy incision.  It may be even more complicated than a female neutering, as they surgeon dont know for sure where the missing testicle is.

Something to think about if you shall do and pay for the neutering.

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Actually I'm no longer thinking about starting a cattery now. I just want a pet. And this kitty is already neutered by the owner. And the price can't go lower, the owner said it's because this one has good characteristics, show quality. But anyway I'm not buying this one.
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