Some really important rambling, guys

Kuro - rescue MC x ragdoll
Kuro - rescue MC x ragdoll

It's about time I spill the details on something I'm really passionate about

Disclaimer notes: 
1 .These blog posts will likely be developed and added to over time as I learn more information. 
2. While some breeding "secrets" are kept as unwritten law, the general concept of what I write here is freely available to find if you look in the right places. The feline associations (Australian/American/European) are a good place to start. The PawPeds website also has some interesting information (not always/strictly scientific though).
3. Some really really important questions for anyone to ask themselves when embarking on new or controversial scientific adventures are: 
        a) Why am I getting angry about someone pursuing a certain line/trait? 
        b) Is it because it's scientifically or genetically unsound? 
        c) Is it unethical?
        d) Is it because someone simply "told me it's wrong/right"? 
        e) Is it fear of the unknown? 
4. Be brave. Be courageous. Explore something new. 
5. Admit your mistakes and learn from them.
6. Please don't blindly believe me. Also, please don't blindly hate on me if you have no scientific backing. 
7. Ask your own questions, and seriously, genuinely, seek answers. Make informed decisions.
8. Lastly, as always, be kind.  

- - - - -

Becoming a real-life crazy-cat lady has been a long time in the making. 

My entire life, I've been around animals. I've grown up with them, fostered, rescued, and loved them. 

As someone who has gone through episodes of major depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress, no matter the circumstance, an animal has always been there to heal, love and adore me.

I'm embarking on something that I know will be controversial to some groups of people, so... let me explain....

I'm entering the next phase of my life, where I am finally able to achieve my dream of breeding my favourite breed of cat: the Maine Coon. 

Firstly, let me add a bit of pretext...

#ADOPTDONTSHOP this movement has been on the rise and is dangerously misplaced.  

In my area, there has been a huge social uproar about backyard breeders, kitten & puppy farms, and generalised hate towards pedigree breeders, for the simple reason that there are billions of dumped, stray, and orphaned animals out there, filling up the pound or your local rescue every single day. The general consensus {is that a redundant term?} is that the public should make up for this atrocity by only rescuing and adopting these animals, and that breeding contributes to the problem. On a large scale {not taking into account other factors} I kind of agree. 

Not all breeders are painted by the same brush: 

Registered, responsible breeders do what they do for the love of the breed, not to make a profit, but to enhance and enrich already existing pedigree lines, and - if they are truly ethical breeders - they will always send away their babies vetted, microchipped, desexed, and healthy. They provide lifetime support, and none of their offspring end up in shelters. They will assist with rehoming if needed. But they'll always be involved. 

Backyard breeders are driven by money, they'll cut corners wherever they can, may dump the runt of the litter, or the one with the defect (which shouldn't have been bred in the first place) off at the shelter, give it away online, or just abandon it in a box next to a fire station. They won't perform health testing (money). They won't provide lifetime support (time, effort, sometimes money). Once the kitten or puppy has been sold, they basically forget it existed. They don't educate potential buyers on breed health or behavioural traits, and they don't care who gets their offspring. As long as they have money, they'll take it and move on. I cannot shout this loud enough: THESE ARE NOT ETHICAL BREEDERS. They DO contribute to the shelter problem. 

It's NOT okay to drop hate on a breeder, simply just for being a breeder. Don't be so quick to judge. Some of us out there actually care for our animals. I will be raising mine underfoot in my family home, the same as my rescue animals. They'll be fed the best food possible (I'm pro-raw, but "fed is best"), they'll be loved the same, their prospective homes will all be vetted by me to make sure they will really be offering a forever home. For whatever reason, the animal will ALWAYS be able to return to my home if they cannot have them anymore. 

I don't see a problem ethically breeding and being passionate about a certain breed, and wanting to be a part of that, to enrich it, to have the honour of creating beautiful companions for humankind to enjoy and love -- AND I don't see a problem with taking on rescue animals, fostering. protecting, and finding forever homes for these precious souls. They are unique and special and they deserve to be loved and to have a belly full of food and to be loved the same as any other animal. 


Why a maine coon?

So how did I come to choose this particular breed though? Why a Maine Coon? As I touched on earlier, breeding has been something I've been dreaming of for many years. I was never sure which breed to choose though. I don't want to breed for the money or the status (if you know me, you'll know I'm not the least but money-orientated or motivated), but I'm doing it for the love of the breed. If you are doing it for the money - you shouldn't be doing it {I won't shout again, but seriously}. 

You'll notice the photo at the top of this post. This, my dear friends, is Kuro. He is my darling beloved pet, the stand-in daddy to my previous rescue litters {and probably to our future babies}, and recently self-appointed CEO of Maynetree {ha!}. Kuro is largely the reason I fell in love with the Maine Coon breed. I rescued Kuro from an unethical breeding situation between a male Maine Coon and a female Ragdoll. He was going to be put down. 

Our family is so much richer for having Kuro in our lives.  I feel that he holds the personalities of both breeds equally. He is a talker, a {terrible} hunter, a lazy lapcat, and the designated printer manager {anyone else's kitties obsessed with your printer paper??}. A maine coon is generally very large, but Kuro sits on the smaller side for a boy, about 5kg. He is obviously darker coloured. Sometimes he looks solid black, but in most lights, he is more of a chocolate shade (thanks to the Ragdoll side of the world), and sometimes he even appears to have a smoky ruff. Chocolate is not recognised within the breed standard colours for a Maine Coon, and is a dead give-away that he is crossed with a raggy. Kuro doesn't care though. He doesn't care about anything except food, cuddles and his purple pipecleaner mouse, which is the way it's supposed to be for a CEO. 

I became curious about the coonie side off things? What are these magnificent beasts? And so one thing lead to another, and here we are. 

My stud male has a {controversial} feature which I want to talk about. He has polydactyl paws. This means that he has extra toes. Some consider this a defect. They are not (yet) permitted to enter a show in Australia; also in many regions of the US - yet - but this is changing. They have been accepted on the show bench in New Zealand, so we hope to change this here too. Whilst it is a naturally occurring mutation, it does not pose any negative personality traits, or any negative health traits, other than physically having bigger feet due to the extra toe beans. 

Some people call them "snowshoe" paws. One story: Maine Coons arriving into North America via the Viking ships evolved to have larger feet/more toes for better mobility while keeping the vermin down. They were a good omen on ships. Another story: When they landed in the North, they developed larger paws for better mobility in the snow. Whatever the truth, I adore poly paws and I think we should be celebrating this historic natural breed trait. I specifically sought out a cat with poly paws to breed. My two queens both have normal paws, and so their litters will produce kittens of both poly and normal paws. 

Registration Challenges

Most {all??} states do not recognise polydactyl maine coons within the breed standard. One of the prominent South Australian feline associations FASA: told me that it was illegal to even possess one. I'll be honest, this frightened me! I sought out advice on what was actually legal in my state. Would I be breaking a law? Would the RSPCA come knocking on my door? I got hand-balled between the local councils, as they had no idea. Finally, the Dog and Cat Management Board got back to me. They advised that it is not breaking any legislation to breed, own, or sell a polydactyl Maine Coon. If it was, say a heart or hip defect that adversely affects the kitten's health, then this would be illegal and I would have animal control breathing down my neck. Although it is mutation, it's non-syndromic and therefore, allowed. 

Despite the advice from DCMB, FASA still will not recognise my poly cats and they said they would revoke my membership even if I was found to be owning one. So I relinquished my membership with them. 

The other SA association GCCFSA are still deciding whether they will allow me to remain a member with them. {I will write more posts on this whole thing}. UPDATE: GCCFSA have allowed registration for polys. I cannot show them (expected), but I can show standard paw offspring with poly parents. 

Australian National Cats Inc (ANCATS) also allow registering, breeding and selling of poly's in Australia. However, I've been advised from some reputable breeders that ANCATS is quite lax on standards, and my state governing body is preferable over them. 

My registration and prefix is therefore with GCCFSA. I'm also registered with Dogs and Cats Online (the SA Gov body). 


Here's something else I'm wanting to point out. I am not yet experienced enough to provide mentoring to another inexperienced breeder. Definitely in the future though, I will consider working with any new serious breeder, and give them the same consideration that my mentor has given me. I cannot express enough how appreciative I am of the knowledge she has given me, the international connections that she has provided me with, and how much she has "put up" with my repetitive, endless questions, haha. 

At this stage we will not be providing or selling any breeder kittens, unless under the approval of my mentor. As we continue to grow and learn, we will certainly consider this.

Just quietly, I wanted to mention this next point. I have approached many other breeders - local and international - who have completely turned their noses up at me, or straight-up ignored me... I think part of this is because I haven't been involved in showing cats, and most breeders feel that you need to earn the right of passage by showing first and then moving into breeding {this is just an opinion, guys, but please enlighten me if I'm mistaken here}. In hindsight, I would have done it this way. 

The other part might be simply a business thing and perhaps I'm cutting in on their territory. It's not my intention to do that, and there are only a handful of breeders here in SA. Honestly, I'm just doing this because I love this breed. 


Let's talk about the elephant in the room: money. I'm not doing this as a business, or to make profits. That's not my goal with this anyway, it is {and will remain} a hobby that I'm passionate about. Sure the money made from the kittens is a nice end-point, but realistically it ends up going straight back into the rest of the cats, catio upgrades, food, litter, vet work etc. Certainly in the first 2-5 years, I wouldn't even come close to breaking even. The monetary value placed on each kitten, I feel, represents the breed, the pedigree line, the time, effort, heart and soul that we as breeders invest. 

I must say that it is a huge disappointment to be treated like an outsider, or like I haven't earned my place. Of course I haven't yet, I know that. We were all new once at something. It is okay though, it is also expected. 

But the connections that I have made are lifelong and I will cherish them......and... it inspires me to learn.


I will definitely show our cats one day. Part of my mentoring involves learning the aspects of showing, the differences between show and pet characteristics, and grooming techniques. I'll be completely honest though, I have significant social anxiety, and from what I've seen of shows, they are busy, there are people everywhere, the noise is high, and the potential for over-stimulation is real. I over-think everything, which you can probably see just by the detail of this first post. But I think about everything... what if I don't hear my cat's number being called? What if I walk to the wrong ring? What if my cat pees or poops when they are being judged? What if he/she panics and does a mad dash to the exit? Will my cat be too anxious? Will they suffer stomach upsets, pain, or mental anguish as a result? These are all things I need to explore and overcome. 

Please remember I'm only learning too, and I'm open to new ideas. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but I won't tolerate bullying, patronising or personally attacking comments. {Sorry I had to mention it}.

On that note, thanks for reading, because this first post was really important for me 

Rosie ♡


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