After the interview, if successful, you'll be invited to join the waitlist; I never pressure for deposits, but I highly recommend them. They are non-refundable, except at my discretion, but fully transferable. I ask a $300 deposit to join my waitlist, which is deducted from the purchase price of the kitten we select.
Some prospective parents choose to join the list early; this is something I always encourage but never require. My rule is that I never pressure anyone to secure a spot; but I also do not hold or de-select a kitten from line-up if a deposit is not submitted, so other families may consider that baby if it is not "on hold" or, after consideration and confirmation, "reserved."
The waitlist is an effective tool: it locks in your spot as a family for that season and it locks in the season purchase price, permanently. Meaning that if circumstances change, you will only ever purchase at the rate of the season in which you joined regardless of how much rates may increase in the future.
The waitlist also protects the cattery; it ensures transparency and seriousness of all parties involved.
Sun O'er Sea's Pet Reservation Process
The Interview: via phone, e-mail, or chat
Reservation & Waitlist
This is the part of our mission that differentiates us from other breeders in the region. We have spent a considerable amount of time developing a socialization procedure (the last 6 years) for our babies that make them some of the most sociable, loveable Maine Coons in the US: Pittsburgh, PA & Tulsa, OK.
Inspired by my teaching at Duquesne University and, later, University of Tulsa, I devised a procedure that grades kittens into three tiers and then matches them with their ideal families, directing choice rather than first come, first serve selection.
You cannot tell who will be the best fit merely based on 40-minutes in a room with a litter; your best fit kitten might be sleeping or you may find yourself drawn to a baby that can't stand overstimulation. Over the years, I have found that it is best to match a quiet kitten in a quiet household and an active kitten in an active household. An older couple that loves to read and watch television, desiring a lap-cat, will not appreciate the wild-child hellion that would do well with six kids and three dogs; they will have a baby that literally climbs the walls. Likewise, a shy kitten in an extremely active household is unlikely to break from its shell; rather, it will find all ways to hide-- beneath cupboards and in the dark, becoming hissy and aggressive because it feels threatened.
Sun O'er Sea works to eliminate these scenarios by active evaluation and ensuring our babies are SOCIALIZED, SOCIALIZED, SOCIALIZED. They are held. They go on car rides. Their nails get clipped. They go to college classrooms where they meet and interact with twenty or so students, and, after eight weeks, even to karaoke at our local cat-friendly dive. Our friends visit; their children visit. The dog visits; Jack is the sweetest hound.
Sun O'er Sea breeds for health.
The following contextualizes the disorders for which I test:
Sun O'er Sea tests for hyper-trophic cardiomyopathy, which leads to an enlargement of the heart wall and causes the muscle to have difficulty pumping blood to and from the cat's body, resulting in a diminished lifespan; Sun O'er Sea uses the best technology available: annual echocardiogram on my breeding kings and queens.
All Sun O'er Sea breeding cats are negative for HCM; hearts are normal and clear.
Sun O'er Sea tests for pyruvate kinase deficiency, a genetic blood disorder that affects the red blood cells and causes jaundice or anemia; a carrier must be bred to a carrier for PK Deficiency to manifest in a cat.
All Sun O'er Sea breeding cats are negative for PK Deficiency via DNA test.
Sun O'er Sea tests for spinal muscular atrophy, which is a rare neuromuscular disorder that results in a disfunction of motor neurons and progressive muscle waste; like PK Deficiency, the condition requires two carriers of the gene for the condition to manifest.
All Sun O'er Sea breeding cats are negative for SMA via DNA test.
Sun O'er Sea tests for hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip socket that causes dislocation, via radiographs.
All Sun O'er Sea cats' hips are graded Normal.
Sun O'er Sea breeds for structure.
The following breed standard is the one which I follow:
Sun O'er Sea follows CFA Maine Coon Cat breed standard, the American standard for the Maine Coon Cat. We favor balance and sturdy boning with a sweet expression. We strive to maintain the structure inherent in our foundation pair and incorporate outcrosses to keep genetic diversity. All our kittens are sold as pet-only unless to approved breeders or show homes.
All kings, queens, and litters are registered with the Cat Fanciers' Association of America. Kittens are offered as pet-only with exceptions written into contract and PIN conferred if breeding rights are transferred.
Sun O'er Sea breeds for temperament.
Our cats have the dog-like personality that Maine Coons are known for; we breed for
intelligence and love. We do not sacrifice the Maine Coons' natural instinct as a
working hunter. Our kittens love to play with feathers and wand toys. They grow up to
become sociable adults who love their families. We do not condone the use of Maine
Coons as barn cats or in any environment where they would be unsafe.
Sun O'er Sea places on personality & fit.
This is where the magic of our process begins; first ensuring that we'd make a good team. After all, this is a joint effort: between breeder and pet parent.
I need to know more about you, so I can help us determine who will be the best fit. Of course, I take sex and color preferences into account (e.g.; male, brown), but I PRIORITIZE personality and fit.
So I'll need to know more than just the basics; I need to know composition. What is your household like? Tell me about your dream kitten. Are you looking for another baby like the cat you had for twenty years? Has your dream always been a large Maine Coon? (Reminder: we don't sell by the pound/we breed for the breed/but no one has ever complained in our many years that anyone was ever too small *except for maybe me-- Hades, I'm looking at your fluffy butt*).
So what's your household like?
And from there, we'll settle into a rhythm.
I don't work with everyone, so please don't be offended if I say I'm not the breeder for you; it just means we don't align on something and well, that's why there is an interview part to this process.
And if we don't align, trust me-- you'll be better seeking a baby from someone else. I want my babies to go to their best fit.
This is my cat I'm buying from you; I'll do what I want with the cat I purchase.
I don't believe in spay and neuter.
The other person offered breeding rights for this price.
Fine that you think this way, but I don't. If you notice-- price is not an automatic disqualifier, unlike other catteries. I want to hear your story.
I will ALWAYS do my best to work with families who I believe have a good home for a kitten; very rarely-- I will offer a family and friends' litter for those who have special needs children or have extraordinary circumstances; I cannot do this often, but I do this once every few seasons. Families who join that list do have a significant wait.
Your baby will be ready to go home no sooner than 12 weeks of age; the kitten will go home with first and second shots, rabies, microchip, and pet contract. The 12-week-wait is the longest but most rewarding period as your little one grows from the size of a mouse to a spectacular Maine Coon three-month old, around 3-4lbs. We'll be here to walk you through every life stage.
We select your baby together based on personality traits that emerge.