Whatatrill Maine Coons is owned by Janet Brown, with the loving assistance of my husband, Nick and daughter, Alli. We are located in the beautiful wine country of Northern California. Our cattery was established in 2003 and is registered with both TICA and CFA.
Our love for the Maine Coon actually began in the summer of 2000. This is our story of how it all began:
In the 80’s we had rescued a beautiful brown tabby with white kitten. At the time our good neighbors and friends the White’s had a beautiful solid black angora type cat named Whisky. We always had a friendly game of “Keeping up with the Jones” so we promptly named our new little kitten Jack Daniels, JD for short. I adored JD and his constant antics. When he turned 2 years old he was diagnosed with Stomatitis, a sever infection of the gums. We spared no expense in treating JD, including specialized vet dentists, gum scalings, cortisone shots, and finally removal of most of his teeth. The cortisone shots meant weekly visits to the vet, and JD was a trooper. I would let him out of his carrier in the front office and he would jump up the counter to say hello to the office staff and vet techs. They called him “Miracle Boy”, as he had been through so much. I remember one day the vet said he thought that he had good bit of Maine Coon in him. JD lost his battle at the age of seven. We were all heart broken. Other rescues would come and go as we raised our two children Andy and Alli.
In the summer of 2000 I saw an ad in our local newspaper for an upcoming cat show. The whole family went to the show. I had promised Nick, I just wanted to look and see the Maine Coons we had heard so very much about, and with all the memories of JD still fresh in my mind, I looked to the show with great anticipation. At the time we had 3 rescues and adding another cat seemed out of the question.
We walked through the doors at the show and the first cat we saw a huge brown tabby being carried to the judging ring. Yes, this was a Maine Coon, we were in awe. Nick looked at me and exclaimed, “Oh, Hon, we have to have one of these!” and who was I to disagree!
We made several inquiries and all arrows pointed back to the Coonyham cattery. As luck had it one half of the Coonyham (Sharon & Laura Cunningham) cattery, was there at the show judging. That was Laura Cunningham. I waited for Laura to get a break in her judging and I went up and introduced myself and inquired if she might have any kittens. Laura wrote down her website on a piece of paper and her phone number. We chatted for a moment and then she had to return to her judging.
That evening I went through all the business cards we had collected and sent emails to inquire about kitten availability. I then found Laura’s note, I quickly typed in her url and their website came up. One page said “Show Kittens” and when I clicked on that page my dream came true. A picture of a classic brown tabby with white kitten (looking very much like our JD) came up, and he was named none other than “Coonyham Jack Daniels!” It was fate! I immediately emailed Sharon and Laura. We chatted back and forth and soon we visited the cattery, and met Jack. As part of our purchase agreement we were to show Jack at least 4 times. At our first show he received a Best kitten and I was hooked! Hence, my cat showing and then breeding career began.
We remain a small cattery having a few litters of kittens each year. We prefer to raise our babies underfoot and in our home, and socializing each kitten individually to give it a great start on life. Our goals are to raise healthy, happy and beautiful Maine Coons.
We screen our breeding cats for HCM by using the MyBPC3 gene test (sometimes through parentage), and annual heart scans with Board Certified Cardiologists. Although neither are a guarantee of eliminating heart disease it is the best available testing at this time. We also screen hips for hip dysphasia.
My journey into the cat world has been nothing short of amazing. I have friends around the world. Shows have taken me all over the US and Canada, from large cittes to small. I’m always learning something new, and making new friends, and truly love my breed, the Maine Coon.
Other Family Members
You might be asking yourself, how do Maine Coons get along with dogs. There is nothing else to say other than, they love ’em. We personally think Labs and Maine Coons are a great combination. The labs are big gentle dogs and the cats are big gentle cats. We often find them snuggling together, and Bo has picked Moose as his dog. Now Moose is 110 lbs and Bo is around 18 lbs, not quite even, but don’t tell Bo that. We have seen Bo nuzzle up to Moose nose to nose, Moose won’t move because he knows the cat has claws, and Bo might just decide to use them (although he never has). But that’s not all, Bo has actually lifted Moose’s upper lip to look into his mouth. Moose just sits there and lets him do this, followed by several head bumps from the adoring Bo. Molly too has her favorite, that would be little Violet, on the females page. Molly often thinks the kittens are her puppies (she is spayed) and is so envious of the queens with babies.
Sadly we lost Moose to cancer in September of 2013. We miss him every day, our hearts still hurt. Molly has taken over of queen of the couch, and keeper of the kittens. We are so happy that we have her.
Update: In January 2015 Mac has joined our family…. An energetic, loving and beautiful Chocolate Lab puppy. At 8 weeks this little guy already weighs 14lbs. We waited for his litter to be born, there were 13 in his litter, 8 girls and 5 boys! When he was 4 weeks old we got to come visit the litter, and Mac just stood out. We had to wait a whole 4 more weeks for his arrival, but it was well worth the wait…. Meet Mac, our latest kitten trainer.
Maine Coon Lover