Maine Coon Kitty Hunt: Round 1

New beginnings

Upon the natural end-of-life of the last of cherished Himalayans, we’ve mobilized in our quest to introduce in to our family two Maine Coon kittens. We’ve been planning our pivot to Maine Coons for about 4 years now and we’ve casually attended cat shows to further affirm this is another suitable breed choice for us.

Our first serious Maine Coon Breeder candidate

The first breeder we got fairly involved with is Mariama, based in Sudbury, Ontario. We’d identified other prospects far closer to home (Alberta), but we fell in love with Mariama’s impressive photos.

Spoiler: This story doesn’t end well for us.

After 3 weeks of discussions, we agreed to adopt two kittens. We paid a deposit and signed an adoption agreement contract. The day after we made our deposit, we noticed the kittens had been reposted on Mariama’s site as available. A short time after that, our deposit was returned to us, in full, without any explanation. We followed-up asking what’s happened, hoping perhaps it was a simple miscommunication, somehow.

It’s now about two weeks after that and still zero reply, zero acknowledgement. At this point, I have no reason to expect a reply, though I would still appreciate one and consider updating my account in that event. The process left us heart-broken, confused and angry. I write a fair number of reviews for sites like Google Maps and Yelp, but I only really post positive reviews. This is an occasion that pains me to break with that tradition, but I hope perhaps the feedback will eventually inspire some positive changes.

I suppose Mariama’s followed their own website’s claims, specifically:

“We reserve the right to refuse a sale without providing an explanation.”

In our case, we’ve experienced that right exercised to its fullest.

Two weeks after our rejection, the kittens we wanted remain listed as available on the Mariama website.

Others may have different stories with this breeder. The only review I found online is on Maine Coon Fancy’s forums, here. That account sounded similar to our experience.

Live and learn

Moving forward, I’ll give quite a lot more focus to how breeders respond to me. I’ve had some really positive conversations both over the phone and email with many other breeders in North America. I’ve also had some other breeders entirely ignore my attempts to make contact, never giving any reply at all. One breeder told me she receives so many adoption requests, it’s totally impractical to even establish a waiting list. So, that may explain why some breeders may never reply at all.

Hope for the best

Hopefully there will be no Round 3 of our Maine Coon hunt. Round 2 is under-way now and I’m cautiously optimistic. We’re settling in for a long wait and a lot of time will likely be invested before we manage to find a fit that really works out for us. But I believe the universe shall unfold as it should. We’ll just have to discover what that really means.

Dear new-adopters

To anyone else just getting started down their Maine Coon life, a great resource appears to be the Maine Coon Fancy Pre-Adoption Checklist, here.

UPDATE — Round 2

We’ve since made some lovely progress on our Maine Coon Hunt and now have adopted 1 of 2 kittens. Read about it here.