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  • Writer's pictureKaylee Sanabria

FELINE FRAUD FIGHTERS: UNMASKING MAINE COON SCAMMERS

Updated: 2 days ago

In the cat world, everyone knows at least one, if not ten, people who have sent money to someone claiming to have a Maine coon kitten. They never see their money or kitten. The feline fraud fighters will explain how to avoid scammers and identify a legitimate Maine coon breeder.


The majority of people getting scammed are people unwilling to spend thousands of dollars on a Maine coon so they fall right into a scammers trap. I will be the one to say it, A "GOOD DEAL" IS A SCAM! Breeders need to profit in order to continue their breed conservation efforts so no a $500 Maine coon kitten does not exist.


Things that ALL reputable MAine coon breeders HAve/do:


Multiple social media accounts will feature the same cats in various photos and videos.


Breeders will frequently have many social media accounts with the same cattery name, and you will see the same cats in both current and previous posts. I promise breeders have more than one picture of their cats and kittens.


People AREN'T allowed to visit the breeder's home, and no in-person meetings are permitted prior to the payment of a deposit and the day of pick up.

This may appear to be a red flag to most people, but what some do not realize is that there are numerous dangers associated with allowing strangers into your home, including the risk of home invasions and robbery, as well as the risk of introducing illnesses to cats and vulnerable kittens, which can result in death. Some breeders let people come inside their home to select a kitten, and other breeders do kitten pick-ups at their homes, but I believe they are the exception. I personally do not allow anyone to my home at anytime and this is the case for most breeders. More information on this can be found in the Q&A section of my website.


Video chat, FaceTime, and live feeds


When asked, all legitimate breeders will engage in some form of video chat. However, some may not do so until a deposit is paid for a kitten. Personally, I like to do live streaming on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook so that I don't have to work around the schedules of 8+ people and the videos may be rewatched.


Websites


There are a few well-known and new breeders that do not have websites, but the majority of breeders have websites with names that correspond to the cattery names they use on social media accounts. You should be able to locate all of the information you need about the breeder, their cats, and their cattery operations.


Price


Maine coon kittens will always be priced between $2,000 and upwards of $7,000, with the average being $2,500 and varying by location.


Applications, contracts and deposits


Before placing a deposit on a kitten, a breeder will ask you to fill out an application or speak with you over the phone to learn more about you, your home life, and other factors to ensure you are a suitable fit for a kitten. If accepted, you will sign a contract with health guarantees and expectations from both the breeder and the buyer. Then you'll send a deposit. Sending money to breeders via Zelle or PayPal friends and family is a typical option; nevertheless, it has recently been claimed that only scammers use these methods, which is incorrect. Using Zelle or PayPal Friends and Family protects the breeder from chargebacks after the kitten is in their possession. Breeders have recently switched to Zelle because other platforms are against animal sales and will side with the buyer if they file a claim; even after receiving their kitten, they will receive their money back. This is not something I do, but expect deposits to be non-refundable.



Things thAt MAine coon scAmmers do:


Pictures of cats/kittens at only one age


Scammers will steal pictures from breeders and post them as their own, the problem is that they usually only have pictures of that specific kitten at one age while breeders will have pictures of their kittens from birth to current age. Do not trust a page that only has one picture of each kitten.

Scammers have started adapting and now stealing videos from breeders as well and reposting them as their own, getting a large amount of views, the same rule of thumb for pictures also applies to videos.



Facebook pages


Scammers have traditionally used Facebook, but they have now expanded to Instagram. Instead of using a legitimate cattery name, these scammers frequently create a Facebook page called "Maine coons for adoption" or something similar. I've seen that scammers are increasingly stealing family and personal Facebook photos from strangers in order to appear more genuine. A good rule of thumb is to never interact with any Maine coons for adoption pages and instead seeking out breeders on their own cattery pages.

Scammers have also invaded legitimate breeder pages, tagging everyone who comments a link to these Maine coon adoption pages; thankfully, breeders can block these comments, but those tagged still receive notifications.

Don't be deceived by the enormous following on some of these pages; they're crooks. A true Maine coon breeders page will be named after the name of their cattery and nothing to do with adopting.


Price

Scammers reel in their pray by an incredible price point usually under $1,000. If something appears too good to be true, it is.

The term scammer also applies to people who are selling domestic long hair cats and claiming that they are "Maine coon mixes" on places like craigslist. Do not fall for this, they know neither parent is actually a Maine coon and want to get more for their randomly bred outdoor, barn or pet cats. Without proof of a parent's pedigree, they are not Maine coons. See my "is my cat a Maine coon?" blog post for more info on how to identify a true Maine coon.


No application or contract


Scammers will skip the application/contract and move right to a deposit, never asking you personal questions or getting to know you, and they will be persistent in requesting a deposit.


Bad english on posts, websites and in messenger


This goes beyond the regular spelling errors. Sentences will not make sense in the context they are writing about and seem as through they are taken from another website. Most of the time Maine coon will be spelt as "Main coon" and they will say puppy or another animal/breed.




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