After 45+ years working as an RN in Labor and Delivery I retired two years ago. I spent a lot of time deciding if following my passion for Maine Coon cats would be my new venture. In 2018, after doing a lot of research and finding a breeder in Russia that had a champion bloodline of cats, that I loved, I decided to purchase my first cat. I chose a beautiful female Tortie that I named LOLA. After a several months I knew that one Maine Coon was not enough so early in 2019 I purchased a sister for Lola from the same breeder, Elena of Dolce Bestiya Cattery, and named her Willow.
In August of 2018 I decided to breed Lola with a large Black Smoke male who came to our home from a breeder in the Spokane, WA area, Jeannie at Long Lake Maine Coon Cattery. Whiskey spent three weeks at our home and the breeding was successful. Lola was due the first week of November. I took her to my vet the last week of October and an x-ray showed that she was carrying four healthy and growing kittens. Two days later tragically Lola died suddenly along with her four kittens. I was hysterical and devastated. It was found that Lola had a sudden death from an enlarged heart. This is a common disease in cats known as Hypertrophied Cardiomyopathy (HCM). Lola had a negative genetic test for this disease as a kitten so naively I did not realize that there were other things that could cause this disease in cats. There is a test called a cardiac Ultrasound that can evaluate cardiac health at about one year of age but even this does not assure that a problem won't develop later in their life. This is called an idiopathic (unexplained) rather than hereditary cause. I am still learning about cats and this was a very hard lesson.
This nearly caused me to quit pursuing the breeding business. It was only the loving support of family/friends and friends in the cat world that I began to heal. After about 5 months I decided to continue on my journey.
I have since added three more cats, a blue Tortie female kitten named Luna as well as a blue/white male kitten named Hunter. The third cat was a gift from Lola's Russian breeder Elena. She is a two year old black Tortie named Lady Bella. Bella was mated with a beautiful large red/silver male named Victor. He belongs to a friend who is from Auburn WA and runs a cattery named Coons Ransom.