What to watch out for...
Recently there have been several scams regarding the sale of Maine Coon kittens. This is heartbreaking and also completely infuriating. Many of these scams are on Facebook, where we have already been a victim of this on the page "Maine Coon Kittens For Sale” & “Perkins Mainecoon.” These people find random photos of cats and kittens and then try to sell them and also plagiarize actual catteries websites. As a legitimate, reputable breeder, and from others like us, I have also heard from several of our clients that have been victims or almost victims of these scams.
Here are some of the warning signs that you may be getting scammed: using texting only, not answering basic level questions regarding parentage, health, and general knowledge of how to care for a Maine Coon. If the owners are not able or willing to specifically tell you what cattery their Kings and Queens have come from, and also not willing to show pictures of them, that is a big red flag. There are also demands for high deposits and they are known for not communicating. They will rarely tell you where they are located and on Facebook, and will respond to inquiries with "Page Responded Privately."
Scams will not let clients come to their homes at any time. This is different from a “Closed Cattery”, as there are many safety reasons (health, comfort of mothers delivering or caring for their babies, etc.). But we do have all of our kitten pickups here at our home, which are always on a Friday. If we do happen to have mommies delivering on that day, we schedule on a different Friday, or we do pickups in a different area of our home, but do let clients tip-toe to peer in the cattery. At that time, clients are able to see the cattery, meet the parents, see the other kittens, meet our non-breeding family kitties, and if able and available, be shown a tiny baby. I have also heard from clients that scams will only send you one picture of your kitten and no more, regardless of how many times they are asked for it (as they just plain do not have the kitten to take pictures of anyway.)
Another huge red flag is a cattery not being registered with an official feline registration organization. If they do not include that in the information on their website, or fail to ignore or not produce proof that they are registered, then they most likely are not. Also, it is standard among professional catteries to include the surnames of the catteries that they came from in front of their King’s and Queen’s names, as to indicate where the lines came from. Any cattery that does not include this most likely is not legitimate. You should be able to research the originating catteries, and verify that their offspring is reproducing in their new cattery.
We do not use texting, as it is seemingly too impersonal and very difficult to retain organization. We are also available and ready for whatever question that may be sent our way, and our deposit is very reasonable for our level of cattery. Our kittens have never and will never be sold on Craigslist, or any Maine Coon or cat site but our own (which is verified through Facebook and our website server as a legitimate business), or any other avenue of sale. We typically have no need to advertise kittens as they are reserved and pre-sold through the waiting list almost exclusively.
I am angry that there are people out there that believe this behavior is acceptable. Here at Rock Hill Maine Coons, we are very transparent and give our cats and kittens top-notch care. Nothing else is acceptable. I'm a mama bear when it comes to my babies, both human and feline (and really all children and animals). I have looked far into this already and will update if I find any new tricks they have up their sleeves.