With Great Cats Come Great Responsibility…
The amount of energy, time and emotion that comes from being a reputable Maine Coon breeder is often difficult to quantify. There are many people out there who claim to be “reputable” but in the grand scheme of feline husbandry, what exactly does this mean?
There is a current upswell of opinion in the United States that people should “ADOPT, not SHOP.” Animal Rights Activists and animal lovers together have come to target cat breeders (whether reputable or not), placing blame and attributing the vast responsibility for the explosion of homeless and unwanted pets at their feet. And there is plenty of ammunition that these activists can use to further their cause and publicly polarize the general public against what we do. We respect people’s right to their opinion and their belief in that mindset.
We, however, have a different opinion and surprisingly it’s NOT Anti-Adopt, don’t Shop. We also believe that these well-intentioned activists are misleading the public by using a very broad brush of indictment that is unfair to those of us who have sacrificed so much to preserve our breeds and improve the lives of our furry families. We have sheltered rescue cats for years and have loved them just as passionately as our Coons. Our organizations work closely with local animal rescue charities and donate time, talent and money to ensure that all these animals have a place in this world. But we take issue with being clumped into the same group they are targeting which includes “backyard breeders” and “puppy & kitten mills.” Let us present our defense…
Our deeply rooted belief is in the preservation and fortification of a magnificent breed of cat: the Maine Coon. We do NOT exist for monetary gain. Upon discovering HOW MUCH we charge for a kitten, some people go out of their minds with rage and contempt for us. The price must certainly reflect that we are “in it for the money.” Here’s why that is simply false:
Because of the high level of care we give each of our cats, here is a summary of the expenses that we cover for every single living creature in our home:
- Every cat/kitten is regularly seen by the veterinary staff at Cottonwood Animal Hospital of Cottonwood Heights, Utah (they will be happy to attest to this statement)
- Each cat/kitten is given the ultimate level of care within our home, including free roaming access throughout the home (under-foot raising) and are never caged unless they are being transported to the vet or to a cat show.
- All cats/kittens are fed the highest quality, appropriate diet for an obligate carnivore: they have been raised on a variety of raw meat offerings, including rabbit, duck, chicken and turkey. Our cats DO NOT consume kibble or canned prepared cat food. We chose to provide these magnificent creatures with a diet that their bodies can use most efficiently and exactly as nature created them and intended, which provides them with years of health and vitality, free from the problems (like food allergies, obesity, kidney disorders, digestive abnormalities, etc.) that dry food or “mystery meat” canned food have been linked to.
- Every cat/kitten is DNA screened by Orivet Labs: every DNA screening is a COMPLETE FULL BREED comprehensive test that Screens all diseases & traits that are relevant to this breed, and includes a DNA profile (genetic fingerprint). The screen tests include HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), PK-Def (Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency) and SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). Every cat/kitten at our cattery is given this screening and a copy of the DNA report is included with the cat/kitten’s records upon transfer of ownership to their new family.
- Every cat in our cattery over the age of 12 months has a fully comprehensive cardiological scan done to ensure proper development of the cat’s heart and vascular systems. This initial screen is used as a baseline for future annual scanning which is an absolute necessity to ensure continued good heart health and to identify any possible developing abnormalities so that treatment can begin immediately.
- Every cat in our cattery over the age of 12 months has their pelvic area X-rayed for hip dysplasia to be certain that each cat is developing properly and shows no signs of weakness in this area. It is vital to the longevity of the Maine Coon that its skeletal development is free from abnormalities like this as they must carry a much heavier carriage than the average house cat. So strength in its musculo-skeletal area, especially the hips, is essential for proper form and function, and any cats showing weakness in this area, including cow-hocking, is automatically disqualified by AUYRN Maine Coon Cattery for any future breeding. That is why we scan for this prior to any breeding for each cat.
- Every cat/kitten receives a complete medical record and vaccination regimen to ensure their continued health and protection against disease.
- Every cat/kitten is issued a full-coverage whole-pet wellness plan health insurance policy by Nationwide Veterinary Pet Insurance Company of Brea, California to help cover costs of vaccinations, well-pet visits, pre-natal care of our queens, new kitten care, routine heart scans, and regular teeth cleaning and all-around health checkups. This insurance policy is 100% transferrable to the cat/kitten’s new family and is the responsibility of their new family to continue the policy for the life of the cat/kitten.
- Every cat/kitten has a dual registered pedigree with both The International Cat Association (TICA – the world’s largest genetic registry of felines) and The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). These registrations are important to ensure that their genealogies reflect diversity and a very low occurrence of inbreeding. Cats/kittens who are old enough to participate are given the opportunity to compete in cat shows within the TICA Maine Coon Breed Standards. Any titles or awards a cat/kitten earns is given to their new family upon registration of their transfer of custody.
- Every cat/kitten is identified by an ISO 11784/11785 Standard Compliant microchip and are registered to the AURYN Cattery as primary custodian, with the new family registered as secondary custodian. This helps to ensure that our kittens/cats can be identified and returned to their rightful owners if they are ever found by a government agency or veterinary service, or abandoned by an owner.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the financial responsibility we take upon ourselves to ensure that these magnificent creatures are raised in an atmosphere of love and top-quality care. To say that we are “in it for the money” is simply not supported by the facts cited above, all of which can be validated by solid, well organized bookkeeping records.
The bottom line is that running a legitimate, ultimate care based cattery costs a large amount of money, which we gladly pay because…well…these are our furrkids and no price is too high to guarantee they receive the best care we can offer them.
We can confidently say that a backyard breeder cannot make most, if not ANY, of these above noted claims and they won’t have the proof to back up those statements. Our loyalty is to our furrkids, the Maine Coons, and not to any other entity or person on any level. That is where our passion exists and is the foundation of AURYN Maine Coons.