RSPCA have seen a 300 percent increase in Maine Coons abandoned to their shelters over the last 6 years

Note: I don't wish to put people off buying a Maine Coon. They are amazing. But I just like addressing reality. A reality check to make sure adopters know all there is to know before diving in because it is expensive and you want to spend wisely and know what the overall cost over say 14 years will be for a Maine Coon (a lot 😓)

The Mail Online has, I believe, helped people who are considering adopting one of the popular purebred cats. People want to buy a purebred cat need to think hard about the purchase - and it is a purchase with quite a lot of money being handed over - in terms of the health of the cat that they are buying and not so much the appearance.

That advice in fact comes from the RSPCA who claim, correctly, that cat breeders tend to focus too much on appearance to try and create a cat which fits exactly cat association's breed standard rather than focusing on the health of the animal that they are creating. Ultimately, in the long-term, health is more important than appearance.

RSPCA have seen a 300 percent increase in Maine Coons abandoned to their shelters over the last 6 years
RSPCA have seen a 300 percent increase in Maine Coons abandoned to their shelters over the last 6 years. Image: MikeB.

But, there has been a big increase in cat and dog adoptions during and after Covid and the cats being adopted are sometimes very popular purebred cats like the Maine Coon, the Bengal, the Ragdoll and the Scottish Fold. These are all top quality popular cat breeds but they all inherit genetic diseases due to a genetic mutation which is in the foundation cats within breeding catteries.

For example, the Maine Coon has a problem with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The same applies to the Bengal. The Scottish Fold has a problem with cartilage which I've discussed on other pages and the Ragdoll also suffers from HCM. In fact 30% of all Ragdolls suffer from this serious disease. It is a bad situation.

And what the RSPCA is finding is that more 'designer purebred cats' are being rescued now than ever before. The most common pedigree cat in RSPCA care is the Persian. The charity has seen 92% increase in Persian cats coming into their rescue centres since 2018.

There's been a 61% increase in Ragdoll cats coming in and a 22% increase in Bengal cats coming in. However, the Maine Coon tops the list. According to the Mail Online article, there's been a "whopping 300% increase over over the last six years" of Maine Coon cat relinquishments to RSPCA rescue centres, representing a threefold increase.

The article that I'm looking at does not explain why there's been such a dramatic increase in people abandoning to rescue centres including the beautiful Maine Coon cat. I will have to make a reasoned guess and say that it must ultimately be about the cost of keeping a Maine Coon cat which in turn is always dependent on the health of the cat. Post-Covid household budgets can be tight because of inflation. It is getting better but this must have been a contributing factor.

It is probably becoming apparent that when you buy a Maine Coon cat you have to take out a health insurance policy at the same time. I don't know for sure but that is what I think would be pretty well the norm nowadays because the Maine Coon cat does inherit several health diseases, perhaps the most serious of which is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy but there are others like hip dysplasia and patella luxation and spinal atrophy. 

They are all going to need treatment from a veterinarian and for example, HCM can start as young as four months of age in a Maine Coon cat.

The diseases have an impact on the lifespan of this beautiful breed. But when people purchase Maine Coon cats they are impressed by their appearance, which is entirely understandable. However, adopters should really dig deep into research and find out about the health of the animal and also research the best breeders of the Maine Coon cat who try to minimise these diseases.

Alice Potter, a Welfare expert at the RSPCA, is in tune with my thinking because she said the following about the increase in relinquishments of purebred cats at the RSPCA:
We know owners want their pets to be happy and healthy, and people may not realise that cats bred with exaggerated features can struggle with extremely serious health problems.
She's referring there to Persian cats I believe mainly because it is Persian cats with flat faces that have breathing problems among others. You can read about Persian cat health by clicking on this link if you wish. And you can read about Scottish Fold health by clicking on this link if you wish. And the same goes for the Ragdoll; please click on this link to read about that cat breed and health problems.

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Please excuse the occasional typo due to preparing these articles at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I don't have a proof reader.

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