Is the runt of the litter more likely to get sick?

gabicards

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Hi all.

I lost a cat in early december due to post-surgery illness, and he was always quite weak. He was a maine coon, but I was poorly informed when I brought him home and didn't do enough research, so in hindsight I know his "breeder" was awful. He was a lovely boy, though, and I was so in love with him, so I decided to research properly this time and get a little maine coon heir for my late Louie. :)

I communicate quite well with this breeder and her cats seem to be healthy and to fare well once they move away from home (I've been keeping up with other families that got cats from her), but when I ask her about "my" kitten, she often mentions he's quite small in comparison to his siblings. I figure he's the runt of the litter, but the vet this breeder takes her cats too says he's clinically perfect, he's probably just small.

Is there anything I should be asking this lady to ensure I'm bringing home a healthy kitten? I can't tell whether this is her just being the "classic maine coon breeder" type and obsessing about her cats being huge, or if she's trying to tell me he might be sick. I'm probably traumatised and could be looking for clues where there aren't any, so I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

(The kitten's parents are fully tested. He's vaccinated and will be getting his rabies shot and neutering surgery next week)
 

maggie101

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My cat Maggie was runt of the litter and long and skinny with curvy hips and tall. I never had trouble with her til she turned 8 yrs old,probably genetics. Like a mini leopard. Peaches was a rescue so I don't if she was runt. Very tiny kitten. Now 9 yrs old 7pds. Feeding her has been a challenge. Many small meals,certain textures. I do not think it matters whether he is runt or not. Peaches,my smallest cat is very healthy. She has had numerous tests. I am not a breeder. Just happen to see this post
 

missymotus

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A runt is a sickly kitten, if you just mean he’s healthy but smaller he will likely be fine.

However as a breeder I wouldn’t let a smaller kitten go or have their vet work done until the appropriate weight was reached.
 

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Hi all.

I lost a cat in early december due to post-surgery illness, and he was always quite weak. He was a maine coon, but I was poorly informed when I brought him home and didn't do enough research, so in hindsight I know his "breeder" was awful. He was a lovely boy, though, and I was so in love with him, so I decided to research properly this time and get a little maine coon heir for my late Louie. :)

I communicate quite well with this breeder and her cats seem to be healthy and to fare well once they move away from home (I've been keeping up with other families that got cats from her), but when I ask her about "my" kitten, she often mentions he's quite small in comparison to his siblings. I figure he's the runt of the litter, but the vet this breeder takes her cats too says he's clinically perfect, he's probably just small.

Is there anything I should be asking this lady to ensure I'm bringing home a healthy kitten? I can't tell whether this is her just being the "classic maine coon breeder" type and obsessing about her cats being huge, or if she's trying to tell me he might be sick. I'm probably traumatised and could be looking for clues where there aren't any, so I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

(The kitten's parents are fully tested. He's vaccinated and will be getting his rabies shot and neutering surgery next week)
So sorry for your loss of Louie. I would ask her the same questions you asked here. How old was he?
 
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gabicards

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A runt is a sickly kitten, if you just mean he’s healthy but smaller he will likely be fine.

However as a breeder I wouldn’t let a smaller kitten go or have their vet work done until the appropriate weight was reached.
Ah, sorry, I thought the runt was just the smallest. His vet says he's clinically fine and he doesn't have any parasites or genetic diseases (not any that could be identified now, at least, and his parents are also negative to all of those related to the breed).

This breeder only lets the kittens go when they are 4 months old, so I'd be getting him towards the end of February. I guess we'll see. :(

I should probably ask what is weight is now to give more info to knowledgeable people here at the forum.
 
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gabicards

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So sorry for your loss of Louie. I would ask her the same questions you asked here. How old was he?
My Louie was 1 year and 4 months old when he passed. When I picked him up at the breeder, he was 2,5 months old, not neutered and tested positive for giardiasis and panleukopenia. He was my first pet, so it was a cruel reality check.
 

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My Louie was 1 year and 4 months old when he passed. When I picked him up at the breeder, he was 2,5 months old, not neutered and tested positive for giardiasis and panleukopenia. He was my first pet, so it was a cruel reality check.
So sorry, that is awful and must have been a terrible shock. What happened to cause his passing? I hope you have better luck with your new baby. You are taking the right precautions by asking all the questions etc.
 
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gabicards

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So sorry, that is awful and must have been a terrible shock. What happened to cause his passing? I hope you have better luck with your new baby. You are taking the right precautions by asking all the questions etc.
He had a surgery for intussusception, and an abscess at the surgery site that warranted a 2nd surgery. He then had another abscess, which we took as an indication that his body wasn't fighting the infection and the medication wasn't helping. I didn't want him to go through yet another surgery, which would have been much more complicated and could have the same result as before, so I asked the vets to have him sleep instead. It happened over the course of 3 weeks and he lost almost 1kg in that timeframe, it was hard to convince him to eat. Extremely heartbreaking and I don't think it will ever stop hurting, but I don't think much about that when I think of him... the good memories are the ones that come to mind, thankfully.

I learned from him what having the company of a pet means, and I realized I can't really go without it anymore. But also that there are many things I should check before I bring one home, so I'm trying to be as thorough as I can be.
 

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He had a surgery for intussusception, and an abscess at the surgery site that warranted a 2nd surgery. He then had another abscess, which we took as an indication that his body wasn't fighting the infection and the medication wasn't helping. I didn't want him to go through yet another surgery, which would have been much more complicated and could have the same result as before, so I asked the vets to have him sleep instead. It happened over the course of 3 weeks and he lost almost 1kg in that timeframe, it was hard to convince him to eat. Extremely heartbreaking and I don't think it will ever stop hurting, but I don't think much about that when I think of him... the good memories are the ones that come to mind, thankfully.

I learned from him what having the company of a pet means, and I realized I can't really go without it anymore. But also that there are many things I should check before I bring one home, so I'm trying to be as thorough as I can be.
That is terrible, poor baby, I guess the intussusception was caused by an infection. I have heard of it but was not that familar with it and none of my cats had that. Understandable for it to be so painful of course. I am glad you have the happy memories with him and you gave him a great life 💕 He knows that.
I hope your new kitten will be great and live a long happy life with you. MC are so beautiful.
 
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gabicards

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Update: the breeder has done a blood test on the little one, and she'll also do a heart screening. Is there anything else I should ask her to do before/if I adopt him?

His weight at 1,350kg at 3 months old.
 

Maurey

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Sounds standard. Will he be fully vaccinated before he comes to stay with you?
 

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Hi all.

I lost a cat in early december due to post-surgery illness, and he was always quite weak. He was a maine coon, but I was poorly informed when I brought him home and didn't do enough research, so in hindsight I know his "breeder" was awful. He was a lovely boy, though, and I was so in love with him, so I decided to research properly this time and get a little maine coon heir for my late Louie. :)

I communicate quite well with this breeder and her cats seem to be healthy and to fare well once they move away from home (I've been keeping up with other families that got cats from her), but when I ask her about "my" kitten, she often mentions he's quite small in comparison to his siblings. I figure he's the runt of the litter, but the vet this breeder takes her cats too says he's clinically perfect, he's probably just small.

Is there anything I should be asking this lady to ensure I'm bringing home a healthy kitten? I can't tell whether this is her just being the "classic maine coon breeder" type and obsessing about her cats being huge, or if she's trying to tell me he might be sick. I'm probably traumatised and could be looking for clues where there aren't any, so I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

(The kitten's parents are fully tested. He's vaccinated and will be getting his rabies shot and neutering surgery next week)
Reputable Maine Coon breeders do NOT breed for size.

MC's can vary in weight and be lighter than most people seem to think they are. Females, fully grown range from 8-12 pounds. Males average from about 12-18 pounds.

My purebred MC (Luna) is only 10.5 lbs at almost 3 years old. When I got her at 16 weeks she was just under 4 pounds, a peanut in comparison to other kittens I've seen from the breeder. But she certainly was healthy, active and ate well. She gained a lot through her first year but then leveled out to the weight she is currently.

Does your breeder provide any gap insurance? Ours had all the kittens covered at birth and she covered the first month of insurance once we brought her home.

I think if the kitten was not well she would certainly say so especially since it sounds like she is going the extra mile to have him neutered beforehand which to me indicates she isn't cutting corners.
 
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gabicards

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Sounds standard. Will he be fully vaccinated before he comes to stay with you?
Yes, he will. I think he might already be, actually, and with the rabies shot too (which he needs in order to move abroad)

Reputable Maine Coon breeders do NOT breed for size.

MC's can vary in weight and be lighter than most people seem to think they are. Females, fully grown range from 8-12 pounds. Males average from about 12-18 pounds.

My purebred MC (Luna) is only 10.5 lbs at almost 3 years old. When I got her at 16 weeks she was just under 4 pounds, a peanut in comparison to other kittens I've seen from the breeder. But she certainly was healthy, active and ate well. She gained a lot through her first year but then leveled out to the weight she is currently.

Does your breeder provide any gap insurance? Ours had all the kittens covered at birth and she covered the first month of insurance once we brought her home.

I think if the kitten was not well she would certainly say so especially since it sounds like she is going the extra mile to have him neutered beforehand which to me indicates she isn't cutting corners.
In all honesty, it seems like some Maine Coon breeders do breed for size. In my search for a kitten, I've come across so many catteries in Europe that advertise for "Maine Coon XXL", for example. They often pose holding the cats up to show their full body length (which I really dislike, and it annoys my family a lot too when we see it). But maybe they're not "reputable", I don't know.

But, to be honest, I've always had a great impression of this specific breeder. I've never had a reason not to think she's honest - but because I'm scared and have already had a bad experience, I wanted to play it safe and ask for advice here first. She was also responsible in the sense that when she started getting alarmed about his weight, she sent me my deposit back and "freed me" from our adoption contract. He isn't reserved to me now, because she wants to make sure he's alright first... everyone around me that is aware of this is impressed by her (because they were all worried due to the previous experience I had and me getting fooled again).

Most breeders I see have a different price for cats that are sold for breeding and as pets. Once they sell as a pet, they'll come to you neutered. And many of the breeders I've seen only sell you a cat that hasn't been neutered if you're a registered breeder. So it's not really an extra mile, it's a rule that they created for themselves, I guess? I do think it's great, though, and if this kitten wasn't coming to me neutered, I'd get it done soon after anyway. But because every breeder I talk to has this rule, I never really looked at it as a "plus side" of this specific cattery. (It seems to be a great one and I've heard mostly good things about it, too. It seems many breeders would like to buy a cat from her for their own catteries)

I'll ask about the gap insurance though, I don't have that in my contract. It states that I can take him to the vet in the first 72hrs of his arrival home, and if anything is diagnosed in this time frame she'd cover the cost of the treatment.
 

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Yes, he will. I think he might already be, actually, and with the rabies shot too (which he needs in order to move abroad)



In all honesty, it seems like some Maine Coon breeders do breed for size. In my search for a kitten, I've come across so many catteries in Europe that advertise for "Maine Coon XXL", for example. They often pose holding the cats up to show their full body length (which I really dislike, and it annoys my family a lot too when we see it). But maybe they're not "reputable", I don't know.

But, to be honest, I've always had a great impression of this specific breeder. I've never had a reason not to think she's honest - but because I'm scared and have already had a bad experience, I wanted to play it safe and ask for advice here first. She was also responsible in the sense that when she started getting alarmed about his weight, she sent me my deposit back and "freed me" from our adoption contract. He isn't reserved to me now, because she wants to make sure he's alright first... everyone around me that is aware of this is impressed by her (because they were all worried due to the previous experience I had and me getting fooled again).

Most breeders I see have a different price for cats that are sold for breeding and as pets. Once they sell as a pet, they'll come to you neutered. And many of the breeders I've seen only sell you a cat that hasn't been neutered if you're a registered breeder. So it's not really an extra mile, it's a rule that they created for themselves, I guess? I do think it's great, though, and if this kitten wasn't coming to me neutered, I'd get it done soon after anyway. But because every breeder I talk to has this rule, I never really looked at it as a "plus side" of this specific cattery. (It seems to be a great one and I've heard mostly good things about it, too. It seems many breeders would like to buy a cat from her for their own catteries)

I'll ask about the gap insurance though, I don't have that in my contract. It states that I can take him to the vet in the first 72hrs of his arrival home, and if anything is diagnosed in this time frame she'd cover the cost of the treatment.
Many (not all) European breeders are not breeding to standard type. Hence their size and extreme features most of the time. They also use photo tricks to make the cats look larger at times. Unfortunately there are too many disreputable breeders out there who are only doing it for money instead of continuing to better the breed. Weeding out the good from the bad can be a daunting experience and I know of too many who have been scammed. If I saw any breeder with XXL listed as description, that would be a red flag to me.

As noted, most breeders will spay/neuter prior to releasing their kittens as they certainly don't want to have their lines diluted by poor breeding. But many still don't and have it written into the contract that it is to be done by a certain date. My breeder stated at 7-9 months (though we did it at 6 months, I did not want to take the chance of her going into heat). Since we got her, however, it's been more common for breeders to do this before the kitten leaves so her practices could have changed by now. We'll see if I use her again for the next kitten :)

It's a good sign that other breeders are interested in her lines. One of the best ways to find other good breeders is by following the pedigree to see where all their ancestors came from!

Not all breeders offer the gap insurance but several people I know have had it offered so it's a thing. Not totally necessary but nice to know that they send the kitten home with coverage. Our breed also said to bring ours in before 72 hours (it was in the contract) which of course we did. She did wind up having inactive coccidia which is widely common no matter where kittens come from - our vet told us upwards of something like 90% of all kittens have it. I did call the breeder to let her know just in case any other cats/kittens needed to be treated which she appreciated. And having that free month of insurance helped with that cost. Other than that, though, she was wonderful, so well socialized and such a happy cat.

Do you have a name for your boy yet? Photos? Would love to see!
 

Maurey

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They often pose holding the cats up to show their full body length (which I really dislike, and it annoys my family a lot too when we see it).
That's the proper pose they need to hold for a cat show, if you mean this pose :)
1644613991602.png

It doesn't harm the cat at all (my boy preens and purrs when we practice at home), you work *with* the cat when you hold them like that (if they don't want to do it they just won't hold the pose), as the cat needs to relax into it. It's done that way because their bodies are meant to be really long and lithe, which can be hard to judge without, as they're a fluffy breed. Standard show pose for any "long" breed, though!

It does seem like the breeder you've chosen is great! I hope you have an awesome time with your little buddy.

Don't necessarily expect him to stay little, though — I’d buy furniture that a large cat can fit in, just in case. Or at least larger-than-average.

Jumanji, my little girl, came to me utterly tiny for her age and breed, but she’s growing into a larger-than-average girl. I’m expecting her first adult coat this summer, so she should look like a proper adult haha.

This was her with her late breeder the first time I met her at 7 months, only 6.5lbs, at a guess.

22591CC6-CCF7-4FCF-B381-0723FB408EAA.jpeg

This is her as a still-growing 14lbs adult (15lbs atm) back in 2020, in an impressive summer coat 🙂

57002AF4-6761-4C18-B01A-2496948F0592.jpeg

She also had a littermate that was born small (Jum lagged behind in growth, rather than starting small) and she’s around 14.5lbs, as well.
 
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sivyaleah

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Maurey Maurey I don't know how I have not seen your cat until these photos. Lovely MC. How old is she now? She's beautifully groomed too. I wish Luna would let me get her looking that good!

I also love that 1st photo showing how to hold the cat properly to show it off. That photo is taken at the right angle, with the correct lens to properly show the cat's actual size.
 

Maurey

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Maurey Maurey I don't know how I have not seen your cat until these photos. Lovely MC. How old is she now? She's beautifully groomed too. I wish Luna would let me get her looking that good!

I also love that 1st photo showing how to hold the cat properly to show it off. That photo is taken at the right angle, with the correct lens to properly show the cat's actual size.
The cat groomer that visits is is magic 🙂 I’m still learning to blow dry nicely, but I’m getting the hang of it, slowly but surely.

Shes just turned 3 end of January, so nearly done growing, even as a late bloomer. Just bulking up a bit more muscle at this point. Hoping she decides this is the year for her adult coat to show up haha. Both of her parents have gorgeous coats, so I’m hopeful, especially since she generally takes after her dad.
 

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The cat groomer that visits is is magic 🙂 I’m still learning to blow dry nicely, but I’m getting the hang of it, slowly but surely.

Shes just turned 3 end of January, so nearly done growing, even as a late bloomer. Just bulking up a bit more muscle at this point. Hoping she decides this is the year for her adult coat to show up haha. Both of her parents have gorgeous coats, so I’m hopeful, especially since she generally takes after her dad.
Luna will be 3 mid-May. I think she's probably reached her final size but who knows? Other cats from the breeder are larger (one, is a well known celebrity cat) and I have met others at CFA shows she shows and from other customers who now also show her cats. I've seen pix of the sire (he's easily found online) but never managed to get a peek at her mom so maybe she was on the lighter side.

We have NO groomers near us. Not even one that has a mobile unit. I've exhausted my search several times over. The only one around is in a big box store and I just know Luna will not do well in that atmosphere.

I'm going to attempt a bath when the weather warms up. I think her coat will be much fuller than it is once she's been cleaned. I've given cats baths and blow dried them so I know how, it's just she's so scrambly when being restricted. Good think my husband will be there to assist.

It's been so frustrating since her breeder used to groom for a living and Luna had been groomed before coming to us so it isn't like she was new to it. It was a serious struggle for a long while but we now have an agreement: I let her drink from the bathroom faucet and she allows me to comb her out while she drinks. It's a win-win.
 

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The only one around is in a big box store and I just know Luna will not do well in that atmosphere.
Could you ask this groomer to come out to your home; OR to meet at some neutral place you both agree upon, and do the grooming? Of course, for some extra fee. You could also give a ride, so there wouldnt be any transport costs for the groomer.

If necessary, you could perhaps rally up a couple three of other longhair cat owners, to make a group session, and share the costs; thus making this more worthwile for the groomer?
 
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