We have made a very difficult decision regarding one of our breeding males, Sullivan. If you read about him and Beatrix in our previous posts, they both came from a breeder in Russia (Magnet Coon or Coon Magnet). Before I adopted them I thought that I had done all of my homework about this breeder in particular. Looking back there were several red flags I missed; I don't think Beatrix was the kitten I put a deposit on , she only sent a few pictures in the months I waited for her, and never sent promised papers or a contract. Even though I will never meet this breeder in person, she is a horrible unethical person that was operating a huge cat mill. My credit card companies and Western Union were of absolutely no help to recover the thousands of dollars I spent on my cats; one is dead and the other will be neutered (NEVER USE WESTERN UNION...that's a different story).
There are several other people that have come forward that have cats that are either deathly ill, or already dead, from either Maria (of Magnet Coon) or her Michigan partner that knowingly imported sick cats yet sold them anyway. Why would anyone do that? The only reason I can think of is greed and money. If you're importing kittens from Russia for $2400-$3000 EACH and charging $1000 in shipping, that is a LOT of money over time. Especially if you're selling anywhere from 1-50 cats a month. This Michigan breeder knew the kittens were sick when they arrived, but chalked it up to stress from traveling. Then would block people on Facebook, not respond to them, or threaten them. She did have a contract in place but didn't offer to refund any money to her customers or pay any of the vet bills.
People think I am airing this dirty laundry to snuff out competition...in all actuality I want to share my story and save people the heartache of adopting a sick animal. We have shut down the Michigan breeder and the Russian breeder, but they won't be the only ones out there selling sick animals for a profit. ( If your on Facebook, feel free to check out the group: Stop Melissa’s Maine Coons & Magnetcoon Maria/Karina).
Because of the astounding number of sick cats that came from Maria, we have decided to neuter Sullivan and rehome him as a pet. My number one goal is to be able to provide people with a healthy kitten, and I can't guarantee that with Sullivan. We have met a few highly recommendable, reputable breeders, and have decided to adopt a new male from MyCat Maine Coon Cattery. His name is Oziris Asar and will be joining us in a few months. (Fingers crossed the travel ban is lifted due to the coronavirus and he can come home in May)!
Our kittens will be 3 weeks old tomorrow and they are growing unbelievably fast! As happy as I am that they are thriving, I am sad that I will have to say goodbye to them once they are 12 weeks old. My family reminds me that these kittens will give someone else as much happiness and joy as they've brought me, and I hope to get frequent updates and pictures once they leave us. A piece of my heart will go home with my fur babies :(
I get quite a few hateful, hurtful messages a few times a week (mostly on Facebook) about how heartless and cruel I am to be breeding cats and contributing to the homeless cat population. It breaks my heart and makes me angry to read and hear these comments from strangers that have no idea about me or my cat's. I LOVE animals and my pets (and kids) are my world. I fully support animal rescues, but not all of them stand beside their health testing and are so full of rescue cats that the maintenance is nearly impossible. Years ago we rescued a "kitten" from a cat adoption agency in Ada, Michigan (I won't give any specific names). We were told she was 4 months old, and when we had to take her to the vet for severe vomiting and diarrhea, we were told she was AT LEAST 4 years old! They lied about her age in hopes of finding her a home faster, as kittens are usually adopted faster than adult cats. Her age was not a deal breaker, but the fact that we spent hundreds of dollars on her health problems and she never got better really upset us. We ended up having to surrender her back to the agency we got her from after she refused to use the litterbox, the vomiting never subsided after medication and a diet change, and she had explosive diarrhea... all over my husband's pillow :( Some shelters are amazing and are thorough on their health exams with their cats/kittens they take in. Unfortunately adopting from this shelter was a nightmare and ended in heartbreak.
Some shelters will even lie about the breed of cat. Most long haired cats will state they are a Maine Coon mix. Because Maine Coons are so popular, it's another strategy to get homeless cats adopted faster.
It sounds strange that I support GOOD, ethical breeders and rescues but I do (and it is possible)!
If you're looking for a specific breed of animal, you should be able to adopt that particular breed. I get nasty comments all the time that I am only breeding my cats for profit...the amount of money I paid for our healthy breeding cats, health testing, vet bills, toys, food, litter, and maintenance is shocking. I breed Maine Coons because I want people to be able to adopt their dream cat that is healthy and from a loving home :)
In early December our Voodoo went through her third heat. Her affectionate, loud MEOWS let us know that she was again searching for a mate. Because of the risk of pyomtra in unaltered female cats, we decided to breed her with Kris King. Kris is such a loving cat, and he was very gentle and affectionate with Voodoo.
A few weeks after their "date" we noticed that Voodoo's appetite greatly increased, her belly began to swell, and her nipples began to show. These are all excellent indicators of pregnancy, but we wanted an ultrasound to confirm. The vet noticed at least 3 kittens on the ultrasound, and we are excited (and nervous) to finally meet these sweet kittens! Prayers and positive thoughts for momma and babies would be greatly appreciated :)
We were lucky enough to spend 13 wonderful years with Lily, my sweet (and a little weird) rescue cat. When my now 14 year old son was just 9 months old, my husband and I decided it was time to adopt our first pet together. So much life has happened in those 13 years since we brought her home; we've moved twice, welcomed 2 babies, lost loved ones, and throughout it all Lily was there willing to give a snuggle or a reassuring look.
Lily was a happy cat but she never could purr. In the middle of the night she would loudly meow throughout the house and leave "gifts" for me near my bed. Usually they were just small stuffed animals or toys, but sometimes it was pieces of trash or socks. I used to find it annoying to step on sharp little toys when I'd first get out of bed, but now that she's gone I miss finding those little treasures when I wake up. She wasn't a fan of chicken or cat treats, but if she heard the faint rustling sound of a shredded cheese bag she would come running and meow for just a little bit of cheese. Her favorite place to hangout was in the bottom of our pantry or in my son's room, and it seems strange without her around. No more meowing in the middle of the night, no more little paws on my leg begging me for just a little bit of my lunch, and no more snuggles. My heart breaks thinking she's no longer here and I can't pet her anymore. But after her not wanting to eat and her quality of life being very poor, I didn't want to see her suffer. Lily was put to sleep on October 28, 2019 and we all are grieving the loss of another wonderful, irreplaceable cat.
My wish is that Lily is in heaven running around with Beatrix and eating all the cheese she wants. Rest in Peace my sweet Lily.
Meet Snookie, the newest addition to our crazy cat crew (and family)!
Snookie joins us from the Netherlands, and on her first day in her new home she was terrified of us. Understandably so after spending hours in a crate, flying halfway around the world, and coming to a brand new home. When we adopt new kitties, we always quarantine them until the vet gives the all clear that they are healthy and free from parasites. We tucked Snookie in for the night, gave her fresh water and a new bowl of food, and let her relax. After a good nights rest, Snookie warmed right up to us!
When my Beatrix was alive I would hold her on her back like a baby. I did the same thing to Snookie and the look in her eyes looked so much like Beatrix it was unbelievable. Beatrix also purred louder than any cat I have ever met and so does Snookie! Maybe it's one of those unexplainable "God Things" or just a coincidence, whatever the reason I am taking it as a sign that Snookie was meant to be here with us.
I'll admit I suffer from anxiety and depression. Most days are great, but some days (especially long, cold, dark, winter days) are just HARD! If you don't have anxiety, first off I envy you! But if you are a fellow anxiety sufferer, hello my friend you are NOT alone. You're probably wondering what does this have to do with breeding cats...well in a sense, everything.
When researching breeders in the United States, most Maine Coon cat breeders are selfish with breeding rights and I don't blame them one bit. In fact, I'll be the same way. These are NOT just cats to me, they are a dream and are treated with love and respect every single day. Because I am "new" at the breeding aspect of cats (we've rescued, bottle fed and raised several cats but have not bred them before) most US breeder's I contacted were reluctant to let me own one of their babies to breed. I understand them and respect their wishes and hope to do business with them in the future once I have had experience.
On a different note, I knew that I wanted to raise healthy cats most importantly. Not only do I want them to be big, beautiful and friendly, but the most important thing to me is to produce healthy kittens. Several breeders that turned me away offered their advice and said to contact breeders in Ukraine and Russia. Kris King, Stella, and Voodoo came from a fantastic breeder and we are so happy with the cats plus we stay in constant contact with the breeder. The breeder in Russia has been a learning experience. She did not send pedigree papers as promised and it has taken months to get them and Beatrix died just 2 months after we adopted her from FIP. She is not a breeder I would recommend using and I would not adopt from someone who takes weeks to respond to questions.
Anxiety means I overthink every single situation and what could possibly go wrong. There's no exception when it comes to breeding cats either, I worry about their health, their temperament, the cost of vet bills (and food and litter and toys), and if they would be happy here. After all they did fly across the world to come to the United States and their entire lives are different now. They have toys to play with, treats, cat towers, window perches, scratching posts, and lots of love. I would hope they are happy here ;)
So what is a good breeder?
Someone that offers a health guarantee, contract, has them registered and has papers for them, and bonus points if they have champion cats in their lineage. Showing cats is no easy feat, and they must be healthy and disease free to be shown. Most breeders will have a "no declaw" policy in their contract along with a clause on spaying or neutering your cat.
Voodoo. Her name is absolutely perfect for her. She traveled all the way from a fabulous breeder in Ukraine and she is still getting used to being in America with new owners, a new home, and a new life! She was used to eating a raw diet, and although several other breeders would agree this is the best diet for them, we disagree for several reasons. Anyway, enough about food, let's talk about my girl!
Voodoo is the smallest of our Maine Coons and is quite the boss lady. She had our 70lb malamute (Suki) trapped behind our couch and would not let her out. Suki cowered and cried until we came to her rescue. Voodoo is not one that looks for attention or affection during the day, but at night (especially at 3am) she demands snuggles. She will only calm down if I tuck her under my arm and under the covers. Maybe it's warm there? Maybe she likes armpits? Whatever it is I love my little girl and her quirky behavior. Given I'm an insomniac and rarely sleep through the night, I don't mind her 3am demands for snuggling!
Kris King joined our family on August 9, 2019 after a very long voyage all the way from Ukraine! You might be wondering why we didn't just buy locally and nearby. After breeding hedgehogs for several years, I understand the importance of a healthy breeding stock free of disease, health problems, and genetic defects. Not only did I want to adopt healthy cats with amazing temperaments, but I wanted to breed Maine Coons with European Lines. The European Maine Coons are typically more "wild" looking with more distinguished facial features, a stockier build, and bigger in size. There were no breeders within the United States that had what I was looking for, but Sergey (a wonderful breeder in Ukraine) came highly recommended.
My kid's originally wanted to rename Kris to Smirnoff (where are my Stranger Things fans?) but Kris already knew his name and comes when called. Kris is an International champion cat with a huge personality and is huge in size, 15lbs at just 9 months old! He loves to meow throughtout the house looking for someone to pick him up, pet him, and tell him how handsome he is! After the devastating loss of Beatrix in July, Kris has brought some much needed happiness and laughter to our home.
Welcome home Kris!
After Beatrix was diagnosed with FIP, the vet explained that there is no treatment and no definitive reason why cats get this disease. I made a promise to her that once she started struggling to breathe again I would have her euthanized.
FIP is heartbreaking and not fair. Why her? Why me? I hoped and prayed for my cat's to arrive here safely after years of waiting to fulfill this dream, and it seemed like a cruel trick to have to say goodbye to her already. I'm still heartbroken, angry, and a little lump rises in my throat when I see pictures of her and talk about her. Someone shared this poem with me and somehow it has brought me peace.
My dear human,
I see that you are crying, for it is my moment to leave. Don't cry, please. I want to explain some things to you.
You're sad because I left, but I'm glad I met you.
How many cats like me die daily without meeting someone special like you?
I know it saddens you my departure, but I had to go now.
I want to ask you not to blame yourself for anything. I heard you sobbing that you should have done something else for me. Don't say that, you've done a lot for me! Without you I would have known nothing of the beauty I carry with me today.
You must know that we animals live the present intensely and we are very wise: we enjoy every little thing every day, and forget the bad past quickly. Our lives begin when we know love, the same love you gave me, my angel without wings and two legs.
Know that even if you find an animal that is seriously injured, and that you only have a little bit of time in this world, you provide a huge service by accompanying you in your final transition.
None of us likes to be alone, except when we realize it's time to leave.
Maybe for you it's not so important that one of you is next to us caressing us and holding our paw, helps us go in peace.
No more crying, please. I'll be happy. I have in memory the name you gave me, the warmth of your house that in this time became mine. I take the sound of your voice talking to me, even though I don't always understand what you were saying to me.
I carry in my heart every caress you gave me.
Everything you did was very valuable to me and I thank you endlessly, I don't know how to tell you, because I don't speak your language, but surely in my eyes you could see my gratitude.
I'm just gonna ask for two favors. Wash your face and start smiling.
Remember how good we live together these moments, remember the antics I made to cheer you up.
Relive like me all the good we share in this time.
And do not say you will not adopt another animal, because you have suffered a lot from my departure. Without you I would not live the beauties I lived.
Please don't do this! There are many like me waiting for someone like you.
Give them what you gave me, please, they need it just like I needed you.
Don't keep the love you have to give, for fear of suffering.
Follow my advice, cherish the good you share with each of us, recognizing that you are an angel to us animals, and that without people like you our life would be harder than sometimes it is.
Follow your noble task, now it's up to me to be your angel.
I will accompany you in your path and help you help others like me.
I will talk to other animals who are here with me, I will tell you everything you have done for me and I will point and say proudly: "that's my family".
Tonight, when you look at the sky and see a blinking star I want you to know that it's me flashing an eye; warning you that I arrived well and telling you "thank you for the love you gave me".
I say goodbye now not saying " goodbye ", but " see you later ".
There is a special sky for people like you, the sky where we go and life reward us by making us meet there.
I'll be waiting for you!"
Rest in Peace my sweet girl <3 Someday we will meet again!
I waited months to bring my Beatrix home. For years I begged my husband to let me breed Maine Coons, and when he finally agreed I began researching breeders. Most breeders in the United States will not release breeding rights, so I found a recommended breeder in Russia. When I placed my deposit on my sweet baby Beatrix, I fell in love with her and we hadn't even met. She flew all the way from Russia, and I was expecting her to be very nervous and shy. When I opened up her crate at the airport, she jumped right into my arms and purred. She was happy to be out of her crate, and I cried tears of joy that she was finally here. Safe and sound and healthy, or so we thought.
Beatrix flew with Sullivan, a male from the same breeder, and immediately we noticed the size difference between them. I chalked it up to age difference, gave her canned food and chicken, but as Sully nearly doubled his weight in a matter of weeks, she barely put any weight on.
In the beginning of July, Beatrix became more sluggish, and I noticed her struggling to breathe. The vet diagnosed bronchitis, and after 10 days on antibiotics she got worse. The vet drained fluid from her little lungs, sent the fluid off to the lab, and we anxiously waited for results. The morning of July 15 the vet called. The sun was shining through my bedroom window, everything was calm and quiet. I had hoped and prayed for this to be something curable. There was no way I could prepare myself for the terrible news. When the vet told me I should sit down for the results I knew in my heart the results would not be what I asked and prayed for. My sweet girl, our "little weasel", was diagnosed with FIP. Those three little letters meant absolutely nothing to me before, and changed everything.