Maine Coon Breeder Dumps Kitten At Animal Shelter

By Elisa Black-Taylor

While I was doing a little social “petworking” (a new word for the modern age) the other night, I came across the story of a Maine Coon cat that I knew I had to share with the readers here. It’s about a Maine Coon breeder who dumped a pedigree Maine Coon kitten at the local shelter because she didn’t “like his markings.”

I’m not talking about backyard breeders or people who throw two cats together to see what kind of kittens come out of the mating. I’m talking about an apparently well known and respected breeder whose excuse, besides the markings, was she “didn’t want the kitten associated with her cattery.” That tells me this is either a renowned breeder or just thinks she is.

The story of how the cat got a home is a sweet one. A lady had come into the animal shelter late in the day and was looking at the “marked” kitten. The shelter manager came over to her and told her it was the Maine Coon’s last day and went on to explain how the Maine Coon breeder had just dumped off this kitten. Of course, this kind-hearted woman adopted the kitten on the spot.

Readers, I looked at the picture of this pedigree Maine Coon, who is now a couple of years old. I wish I’d saved it to my computer to share with all of you. There was nothing physically unappealing about this cat!

I believe this particular breeder is not only full of herself, she shouldn’t be allowed to call herself a professional breeder. Why not give the kitten to a family friend? Oh wait, the friend might tell someone the kitten came from this well respected cattery.

As with any other business, I imagine catteries have to have certain standards to maintain high rankings in the cat world. But to dump a kitten at the shelter is beyond belief. Not only did she abandon this sweet little kitten, this kitten took the space of another cat who needed to find a home.

I went online and tried to find out a little about breeding cats. I’m far from an expert and hope the readers here can help. First of all, have any of you ever heard of a situation like this? I once worked with a German Shepherd breeder (with genuine German dogs) who would only adopt out so many puppies from one litter. Is this the way it works with cats? Do only the first 4-5 kittens go up for sale or does the breeder try to sell as many as the queen gives birth to. What happens to the kittens who don’t measure up to standards?

I looked into complaints on breeders and found most of them were from selling sick kittens or from inaccurate information on pedigree. I found nothing on how many kittens per litter was preferable or what type of markings would make a cattery look bad.

I did learn that legitimate cat breeders enjoy showing their cats, and unless it’s a new breed, most do show their cats. It’s a red flag to buy from a breeder who doesn’t show. I also read that reputable breeders stick together.

I wonder what a top notch Maine Coon breeder would think of a breeder who does a shelter turn in based on markings. Or does this happen a lot?

This isn’t a topic I can contact a breeder about and just asked outright if the breeder would ever consider dumping a kitten at an animal shelter because of poor markings. What does this say about a breeder who does this?

I find myself wondering how often this is done. The shelter employee who told the history of this particular abandoned kitten knew the breeder. Does this mean this wasn’t the first time this happened? The kitten was on it’s “last day” at the shelter before euthanasia. So the breeder must have known the risk of euthanasia and did it anyway. I wonder whether the shelter manager tells the breeder the kittens she has left in the past (if applicable) all found homes, giving her an excuse to dump more off in the future.

I’m sorry to say this shows the cold-hearted nature of some people who make themselves out to be cat lovers.

I realize most of us at this website stand up more for the moggies and ferals of the world because there are simply too many of them. Breeders serve a purpose to improve on their favorite pedigree. The majority do it with pride and good intent.

Have any of the readers heard of anything this low-down being done? I’m just curious. To those of you who know more about breeding, is there a limit to how many kittens from one litter will be sold? I’m still wondering what imperfection made the Maine Coon breeder turn in a kitten.

Comments anyone?


42 thoughts on “Maine Coon Breeder Dumps Kitten At Animal Shelter”

  1. We adopted a Maine coon kitten from a rescue group. Most loving cat! Had no idea what a Maine coon cat was before I read about him. He grew big really fast, loved water and his tail looked like a raccoons. Well we had him for almost 4 years and one night his paw went limp! Rushed him to emergency vet said it was a heart condition. He had full on heart disease genetic disorder that is common in these breeds. No warning or prevention. We wonder since breeders do the genetic testing before selling these if that’s how he ended up in the shelter.
    I miss him everyday. RIP Kobe

    • What a sad story Carolyn. Kobe was a handsome cat. Some breeders are not that good. Some are bad. And some cat owners are unsuited to caring for a cat and so the end result is a lovely Maine Coon ends up in a shelter where anything could happen.

      Breeders tend to ignore genetic health issues and brush them under the carpet and focus on appearance at all costs. Not all breeders do that but the poorer ones do.

      Thanks for sharing Carolyn.

  2. The shelter I rescued from isn’t no kill. They do manage to place a good many cats between networking and adoption events. But at least 20-30% are euthanized for lack of room. They’ve had as many as 100 cats turned in in one day. Here’s the page of those euthanized this year. There just aren’t enough homes or the cats become sick or they get in 20 litters in one day. I know the lady who tries to find homes for all of the cats. She even has an email list she sends daily to rescues. Once an email is sent to her stating the cat has a rescue or foster going to pull it, then it’s considered safe until pickup arrangements can be made. This is where every rescue we have came from.

    • I’m sure you’ll agree Elisa that some cats that come into shelters may have been on the fringe of health, but due to being exposed to so many cats with their weak immune system, it may lead to them getting sick and, ultimately, killed. You’ve done extraordinary work in this area, but even you can only do so much.

      Last month, we had a “kitty clearance” where we offered cats at discounted prices. The ‘inn’ was full and we had to make room. We placed over 70 kittens and cats and several dogs. Good thing, because as soon as the shelter was relieved, along came more. This morning’s email from the shelter announced our dog kennels are full again (2 purebred-Husky & Jack Russell); our cat cages are also full again. We may end up with another “clearance” before the end of the year.

      I believe the breeding business needs better regulation when it comes to kittens not fit for showing. Otherwise, more lives will be lost and more shelters’ budgets will be strained.

      • Very good idea. Cat breeders should not be allowed to clog up shelters with unwanted cats. Although I don’t know how commonplace it is. They should be under an obligation to find homes on their own. The whole concept of cat breeding is debatable when millions of cats are killed at shelters. To abandon purebred cats at shelters is ridiculous and obviously immoral.

        • Unfortunately, Michael, it is more commonplace than you think. In our case, the 2 purebred dogs were reclaimed by their owners. The purebred cats are usually the 1st to leave shelters; however, our volunteers have migrated into different roles. I specialize in placing kittens and young adults, another specializes in adopting out adult cats; yet another specializes in placing hard-to-place cats like those with continual medical issues/hospice and the senior cats. It was never assigned that way, it just sort of worked out that way.

          Even with a strong network of other shelters and the public, these abandoned cats are still languishing, awaiting their forever homes.

          We’ve got a local TV news celebrity who helps us periodically get the word out. I wonder, do other shelters have similar experiences?

          • I am sad to hear that, Gail. Are you saying that a noticeable number of breeders get rid of unwanted purebred cats at shelters? If so what percentage? Or how many come in over 6 months or a month? I would like to know some detail 🙂 please. Thanks for the comment by the way.

            • It’s difficult to say whether purebreds we get are from breeders, as most people claim they’re ‘good Samaritans’ – who are we to say otherwise? In a 6/month period, I’d say our shelter gets 2 or 3, but there may be more; we just can’t prove it.

              Over the past 3 years I’ve been at the shelter, I’ve seen breeds such as Sphynx, Tiffany, Munchkin, Siamese, Maine Coon (not a mix), Persian (owner reclaimed her; change of heart) and 2 Ragdolls. So far, the red Sphynx was the favorite – we had a waiting line of apps on her! She lasted less than a week! As soon as the vet cleared her, out the door she went! Those huge, bright, intelligent, green jade eyes were haunting.

      • The saddest thing we ever experienced was losing several kittens to panleuk. It was spreading through the shelter at such a fast rate that over 100 kittens under the age of 4 months had to be euthanized. Then a few weeks later the shelter had to euthanize at least 50 more kittens and cats for the same reason. I feel for my friend who does such a great job finding rescues for the cats and also does adoption events. It’s her decision who has to be euthanized. I’d go crazy if I had to do that. We don’t do rescue anymore. We have a comfortable number of cats and our lives are centered around them. We have cat trees and cat beds everywhere and couldn’t be happier. We saved over 50 lives so we feel we’ve done our part. The mess back in July ended our rescue, even though we were cleared of any wrongdoing. It’s sad because we had began fostering and could have helped many more cats.

  3. You wouldn’t believe the number of cats we rescued from the shelter turned in as “strays” yet smelled of laundry detergent and clean linen. Those cats had been living inside as someone’s pets and the people just say they’re strays because there’s a $35-40 charge for a cat owner to willingly turn in a pet to the shelter. They’ve been lined up out the door with turn ins late in the day when we would go pull a rescue.

      • Agreed, Michael. On the plus side; however, when turned in to a humane shelter, at least these little ones have a chance at life. Last spring, I attended a conference in Connecticut sponsored by the Humane Society and found this abandonment practice is not unique. The only upside is that,through careful screening, cats are placed in loving homes. Being non-profit, every penny counts so the pedigreed cats bring higher prices in some shelters. Ours hold prices at $125/adult and $150/kitten. Placing pedigreed cats sometimes means additional donations to the shelter from those savvy enough to know what they have. We’ve been fortunate to also have some of our cats (and dogs) becoming famous – cats in print/movies/showcase; dogs becoming K9 drug/therapy/gun-sniffing heroes.

        As for the abandoned mommas/litters, they’ve all been placed except for Figaro as he’s still too young and one momma cat who’s app is pending.

        For this horrendous breeder to ditch a Maine Coon kitten because it wasn’t perfect is tantamount to signing this poor one’s death warrant. Thankfully, it was placed. How many others haven’t been as fortunate?

        • I agree that many shelters do great work. We agree to that this breeder was reckless as to whether the cat she created was killed or not. And I am sure there are other breeders (not many I hope) who do similar things.

          If you questioned her she would probably find some sort of self-deceiving justification such as vets make when justifying declawing (“saving lives”).

  4. Marion, just the past month, we had 2 mother cats found with un-weaned litters ‘dumped’ outside our shelter – 1 in a cardboard box and 1 in a cat carrier. It’s despicable. On the humane side, we had a Good Samaritan bring us a newborn kit she found near some bushes. The Good Sam waited over an hour hoping the momma cat would show up, but when she didn’t, the lady retrieved the kit. We had to force-feed formula with a syringe – the poor baby’s eyes weren’t even open yet. Thankfully, a foster had a lactating cat & she accepted little “Figaro” as part of her litter. In this scenario, the ‘dumped’ term does not apply.


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