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Kernes Maine Coons

The Kernes Maine Coon Cattery was established some 20 years ago.  I married David and we set up home with my three children, his two boys, and various dogs.  David and his family were NOT CAT people. Hence the cattery name Kernes. To this day my husband is allergic to cat fur, especially on his pillow!!  However I had always been a cat (& dog) person, and it was David who saw that I just missed having cats in my home and it is he who discovered the Maine Coon cat.

My daughter Bronwyn acquired our first Maine Coon, Rydell’s Kelli in 1992.  Early the same year I bought Rydell’s Jasmine – and this beautiful silver McTabby  became  our first breeding queen.  Kelli was a stunning calico.  Even today at almost 16 years old, Kelli commands interest.  She demands eye contact, greets all visitors, dislikes children & noisy people, and is a perfect lady!

I had never intended to become a breeder of cats.  But Georgie (Rydell’s Jasmine who was just sooo not ‘Jasmine’ but rather a real tom-boy) was a wonderful mother, and the kittens did well at the shows, and then I acquired Merryl & Tiffany. 

It was only after I imported  Dolphin de Portland’s Maine, Emerline de Portland’s Maine and Dominica Spooner’s import of Fruitloop’s Lincoln that the Maine Coon cat took off in South Africa in a meotoriate shower that has not too date been quelled.  As in all over the world, the Maine Coon cat is extremely popular. South Africa is no exception. 

My cattery is small.  I currently have 12 Maine Coons (eight working cats & 4 neuters) .  I work as a Principal of a Combined School by day i.e. the school has classes from Grade 1 to Grade 12.  Having both little people and very opinionated 17 to 19/20 year olds is a huge challenge.  And yes we have drugs and weapons and bullying…. My job is a challenge but is also very rewarding when the “brats” return in suits and fancy cars to say “thank-you” for the grounding that they have received.

My cats are my life and my passion. I have the full support of my banker husband.  His only query is “Can you afford this or that”.  Usually the answer is no.  And he is there to rescue me! 

I have been lucky and very blessed.  Dolphin won Cat of The Year three times (in both South African organisations/federations) – no other breed of cat on South Africa has achieved this.   Dolphin was also Sire of The Year 2001.  The Kernes Cattery was  Breeder of The Year in 2002,  Sultan won Top Entire, Emerline was 2nd Entire, and the list goes on.  Now it is not just my cattery that wins awards but those who have my lines that are achieving and winning major awards.  I am a small breeder.  All the kittens live in my home and in our bed.  To date I have never had more than two litters at a time.  I did have a long suffering Staffie “Nimrod” , who had to co-habit with cats and kittens.  Unfortunately at 15 years old he went into renal failure. I miss the boy daily.  He was very special.  However I am sad that currently the kittens are not exposed to dogs.  The kittens leave our home confident and well socialised. They have the run of our home.  Mary, our housekeeper, spends her days retrieving balls and toys and putting them in the “toy cupboard” in the kitchen, where they are fetched and again left all over the house!

I am proud to me part of the growth of the Maine Coon cat in South Africa.  I am a full breeder member of the Maine Coon Breeder’s & Fanciers Association in the USA.  (One of the only two breeders of Maine Coons in South Africa at this time.)

This is a very special cat.  An evolved cat – and hence its hardiness and resilience.  It is a big cat.  Although “medium haired” the cat needs daily brushing and monthly bathing.  It is a natural hunter which is why it evolved on the ships along the East coast of the States.

Once you have been owned by a Maine Coon cat, you will never ever want another breed of cat!  They ARE truly special.

Marianne Kernes

We are based in Edenvale, Gauteng.

For information on kitten availability

or more information about the Kernes Maine Coons

please contact Marianne Kernes at