Maine Coon Cattery

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Most people know that inbreeding can ruin the health of any spieces. Genetical diversity is important to keep a breed or spieces healthy. Research of the pedigree is an useful tool of checking our cat’s genetical diversity. This site ( informs about some aspects of the maine coon breed’s genetical diversity and gives the chance to analyse the pedigree of any cat in the database.

Since the 1960's Maine Coons have become increasingly popular, throughout the United States and all over the world. Recognition of the breed was first given by the Canadian Cat Association and the American Cat Association in 1967. Other registries soon followed suit, except for CFA, which waited until 1976.

Some of the earliest Maine Coon Catteries include:

• Abnaki - Liz Bicknell
• Havenwood - Patricia McIntire
• Heidi Ho - Connie Condit
• Highmeadow and Kent - Diane Ziessow
• Illya - George Andre
• Jo Stad - Rod & Betty Ljostad
• Le Beau Minu/Mountview - Carol & Tom Pedley
• Mor-Ace - Anthony Morace
• Norwynde - Lillias Vanderhoff
• Quan Yin - Cynthia Wilson
• Sundar - Phyllis Voth
• Tanstaafl - Beth Hicks
• Tati-Tan - Sonya Stanislow
• War-Tell - Florence Wartell
• Whittemore - Ethelyn Whittemore
• Woods End/Woodriver - Diane Reynolds
• Yankee Cats - Judith Ansell

There are three catteries, perhaps more than any others, that created the foundation of most of today's Maine Coons. In particular, there are 5 foundation cats that seem to appear in pedigrees more often than any others. 

The Top Five, in order of frequency of occurrence, are:

1. Andy Katt of Heidi-Ho
2. Bridget Katt of Heidi-Ho
3. Dauphin de France of Tati-Tan
4. Tatiana of Tati-Tan
5. Whittemore Smokie Joe

After these very prominent 5, it becomes more difficult to determine the frequency of other cats occurrence in pedigrees.
It is estimated by the breeders who created this site, that the genetic make-up of the average pedigree of the 90's, when traced back to foundation, contains:

• 65-70% Top five cats
• 50-55% Top three cats
• 35-40% Top two cats
• 30-35% Clones

Please note that these figures are estimates of the average pedigree. These percentages will vary somewhat in different countries around the world because it can’t be known which bloodline was favourised in different countries. The high percentage of Andy, Bridget, and Dauphin is probably due to the popularity and widespread use of the "clones", kittens from the matings of Heidi-Ho Sonkey Bill with Tanstaafl Polly Adeline. 


In 1978 Heidi Ho Sonkey Bill was born, a grand son and double great grand son of Andy and Bridget Katt of Heidi Ho. When bred to Tanstaafl Polly Adeline the amazing thing was that their offspring all looked alike, almost like clones... So when we nowadays speak of "clones" we are talking about the sons and daughters of Sonkey and Polly. The significance of the clones is, that they were used over and over, because they threw nice show quality cats and really added size. So many breeders decided that if a little was good, a lot was better. So although the clones themselves did not have a very high inbreeding coefficient (9.4%), there was done a lot of line breeding with them and their offspring. 

Nowadays many Maine Coons have pedigrees with 35% clones, sometimes even up to 50% clones. If you analyze pedigrees of today's Maine Coons then there is this very *one* couple that is so prevalent in our pedigrees.
The pedigree analysis below indicates the genetic relationship of the clones to their foundation level ancestors.


The Clones include:

• QGC Heidi Ho Annabel Lee of Tycoon, OD
• SGC & CH Heidi Ho Aurora of MtKittery, OD
• PR Heidi Ho Barnaby Katt
• CH Heidi Ho Camille of Calicoon
• QGC Heidi Ho Canth of Tanstaafl
• QGC & CH Heidi Ho Coon Victoria, DM
• CH Heidi Ho Just Plain Bill Katt
• PR & CH Heidi Ho Justin Morgan Katt
• SGC & GC Heidi Ho Lady Arwen of Mary B, DM
• Heidi Ho Lovey Mero of Meunerie
• SGC Heidi Ho Molly Brown of Tanstaafl
• QGC Heidi Ho Percival of Meunerie
• CH Heidi Ho Portius of Olde Farm
• Heidi Ho Rachel Adeline
• TGC Heidi Ho Richard III of Charmalot, OS
• Heidi Ho Sasquatch of Ktaadn
• Heidi Ho Wilyum of Ktaadn

Offspring of the Dauphin de France with Tatiana matings include:

• Tati-Tan Anya of Sundar, F
• Trp Ch Tati-Tan Beau de France of Mari-Lee, M
• CH Tati-Tan Belbette of Zig-Krn, F
• GC Tati-Tan Bijou, M
• TCH Tati-Tan Bleu Belle of Mor-Ace, F
• Tati-Tan Campelle, M
• Tati-Tan Caprice, F
• QCH Tati-Tan Coquette de France, F
• QCH Tati-Tan Moses of Sundar, M
• Tati-Tan Rufus, M
• Tati-Tan Simone of Tomoka Oaks, F
• Tati-Tan Suzette de France, F
• Tati-Tan Tati of Mor-Ace, F
• Tati-Tan Toni Girl of Mor-Ace, F

Offspring of Whittemore Smokie Joe include:

• Golden Girl of Whittemore, F
• Whittemore Cali of Emin-Dale, F
• Whittemore Randi, M
• Whittemore Scandel, M
• Whittemore Snow Queen, F
• Whittemore Sammie, M
• Whittemore Schiller, M
• Whittemore Tigress, F


It is not where we are today that is the main problem - most MCs are still healthy - it is the direction of our breeding that is the problem. If we continue this way we know from other breeds (cats and dogs) that problems will appear in the future. The use of clone and top five percentages is to get an idea about how valuable (from the gene-pool point of view) are the genes a cat is carrying. Calculations will NEVER eliminate the need of a breeder's judgement. But we must not UNDERestimate the help that we can get from genetic calculations either! They are valuable tools, when used correctly and in a sensible way.

The time has come to strengthen our gene pool through outcrossing, to maximize genetic variability in the cats we produce, to insure hybrid vigor, and to maintain a healthy gene pool for the long term survival of the Maine Coon breed. No one, and no one cat is going to be able to expand the size and diversity of our gene pool in just a couple of generations. It's a long-term project requiring the input and co-operation of a large majority of breeders, not the small minority. It takes a conscious effort and agreement within a breed to value health and actively breed toward that goal. It's how we choose and what we choose to breed that's important. Making that effort will definitely improve the health, vitality and vigor of our cats and kittens. The immune systems of all animals are absolutely dependant on genetic diversity.

Many new breeders are surprised to find, when researching a pedigree, that by the time they reach foundation everything has gone back to just two cats. This is a homogeneous cat, there is no diversity. There are a great many cats out there with very few names at the foundation level. Exchanging pedigree information is very important as we look for unrelated cats to strengthen our genetic pool through outcrossing. This is especially important for the new breeder who is supplied with 5-generation pedigree and, because all of the cattery names are different, assumes that this cat is not inbred. You need to know the "old lines" to see how they are so inter-related. With a good pedigree program, some patience and the will to research back to foundation, you'll learn how outcrossed or inbred the cats are that you are dealing with. The better educated and knowledgeable you are, the better chance you have of finding and making good, intelligent, logical breeding choices and decisions.

With time, and the increased use of pedigree software, it may be possible to set a new and higher standard for the amount of pedigree information breeders can provide. New breeders may someday receive foundation level pedigrees, instead of only the first few generations. Advertising what Bloodlines you are working with is done all the time with many different breeds of animals. Maine Coon breeders can do the same. It requires the breeder to be very familiar with bloodlines and a common concern and cooperation for the future of the breed.

There are, or there were, hundreds of foundation MCs, where are they now? In which lines? It is possible to find suitable outcross cats within the existing group of MCs. Viable outcrosses do exist, and they are not off the standard, sub-standard or lacking. They are competitive cats and catteries

Of course looking at the amount of inbreeding in a pedigree is not all a breeder needs to consider. There are many other health related issues, HCM and HD for example, that also need to be taken into account.


The mating between animals that are more closely related than the average relationship in the breed. In common usage, inbreeding refers to matings between close relatives, such as father to daughter, brother to sister, and half-brother to half sister. Planned breeding programs often use this strategy of breeding to concentrate desired genes in the breeding stock, and fix a "type", or "look". It is a process that exposes both the good and bad qualities in the stock. If the strain does carry a mutant, recessive gene (harmful or beneficial), it is more likely to become apparent sooner with inbreeding. The school of thought is that, although this might result in a high rate of defective kittens in the short term, the negative trait's exposure (and elimination from the program) in the long term is in the best interests of the breed.


In common usage, matings when there are common ancestors within the first 4 or 5 generations, generally matings less close than inbreedings.

Inbreeding Depression:

Loss of vigor due to the homozygosity of an increasing number of genes. The inter-breeding of related cats, generation after generation, increases the probability that the offspring inherits identical genes, over and over again. This may result in an individual with a smaller variety of different genes in it's makeup. This in turn leads to the immune system becoming less effective. Cats can only produce antibodies with the genes they have, the smaller the number of different genes, the smaller the number of different antibodies produced. The ability of an animal to generate antibodies is drastically reduced if it loses its genetic diversity, in other words, comes from a small gene pool. There may be greater proneness to illness, with longer recovery times. Kittens may be smaller, lethargic, with poor growth, or stillborn. Reproductive performance may be compromised.


Mating cats of different bloodlines. Close inbreeding for three or four generations usually leads to fixing of type, after which further improvement becomes more difficult. At this point the vitality of the strain may begin to suffer. There could be increased reproductive problems or a weakened immune system. Many breeders find it wise to bring in new blood. This produces an "outcross litter" and the resulting kittens may show an improvement in health and vigor from the time they are born.

Foundation Cat:

A foundation cat is one whose parents, as far as we know, have contributed to the gene pool only through that particular cat. For example, Bridget, parents, unknown x unknown, is a foundation cat. Her parents may have contributed other cats to the gene pool, but are assumed not to have, if there no evidence to the contrary. A "foundation cat" by this definition has a relatively unique combination of genes to offer, relative to other cats of the breed. The foundation cats referred to on this site are those which established the Maine Coon breed before the stud books were closed, as opposed to "new foundation" cats, which are introduced into an already established gene pool. Bringing in new foundation blood is a lengthy and difficult process involving several generations and registries.