Continuing Our Love Affair With These Beautiful Cats
In 1993 I acquired Rydell’s Jasmine a silver classic tabby who we renamed Georgie Girl. I was so in love with this amazing cat. I had never bred a cat but thought that I wanted to have one litter with her. I showed Georgie and registered as a breeder. However, I was to discover that there was no male Maine Coon in the Transvaal with whom to breed my female Maine Coon cat with. So Georgie had to be flown to Cape Town for mating to the breeder who had brought the original Maine Coons into South Africa. Then Dick Leventhal from Pomona acquired a solid white male and I had a male on my doorstep.
I acquired another female from Cape Town and another from Dick. However, I was not satisfied with the kittens that I was producing. I had subscribed to the English magazine ‘Maine Coon International ’ which show cased the show winners and various catteries from the USA, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, England and later the Pacific countries including Japan, and much later South Africa.
I chose Portland’s Maine a cattery in France whose sire Capecoon’s Rambo, who after only 22 shows had achieved 15 Best in Show awards. Dolphin de Portland’s Maine was born 24th April 1996 and arrived in South Africa when he was about 5 months old.
Dolphin de Portland’s Maine came and conquered. He won the Southern African Cat Council Cat of the Year award at only 15 months. He then went on to win the SACC Cat of The Year award again the following year AND the Cat Federation of Southern Africa Cat of The Year in the same year, 1998. No other breed of cat or any other Maine Coon has ever achieved this!
Over the years the Kernes Maine Coons continued to win many awards: Top Male X2, Dam of the Year X 2, Sire of the Year, Litter of the Year X2, Best Gold medium Hair Adult X 3, Best Veteran, Entire of the Year X 2, Triple Supreme Champion and other various Special awards. (All these CFSA awards.)
Perhaps the most outstanding award has been when Kernes Texas Ranger was top cat in Croatia. Special boy!!
Kernes Maine Coon Cattery
David Kernes and I married in 1988, moved into Edenvale and put together a new family unit consisting of my three children, his two sons and two dogs. Five teenagers between 13 and 17 years! Yes it was indeed a handful…..
It was David who stumbled onto the Maine Coon breed. He had read about their size and temperament and had decided that this was the breed for us! He saw that I sorely missed having a cat. I had always had two dogs and two cats. At that time there was no internet. No magazines like ‘All About Cats’ or ‘Animaltalk’ etc .
After about a year of visiting cat shows in the hope of finding a Maine Coon in the flesh, we finally did so. There was one Maine Coon female on show. We were delighted! So, our first Maine Coon was Rydell’s Kelli, a beautiful spayed calico female. She became my daughter Bronwyn’s cat.
Our Cats are Even Famous...
The cats have been in a number of adverts. See Kernes Fleetwood Mac in his Whiskas ad.
Also being on Television. Twice in Dr Plats hound’s show ‘Creature Feature’.
We started the Maine Coon Interest Group South Africa. Its foremost aim was to promote
an awareness of the breed and promote ethical breeding. It was great fun to put up our
displays and pamphlets. And promote our amazing breed!
However over time the enthusiasm waned and the Group was disbanded. And the balance
in the bank account was donated to the SACC Registrar as they were our umbrella body.
The Maine Coon cat today
Today this breed is the most popular breed of cat in South Africa. No longer the forgotten cat at a cat show. Today this breed holds its own and more.
This unfortunately brings dire consequences. There are so many scamsters just waiting to scam prospective buyers.
They ask top prices and once paid there is rarely a kitten to be seen. I continually advise prospective buyers to go to either the Southern African Cat Council or the Cat Federation of Southern Africa web sites to see the breeders who have signed the Code of Ethics.
Those you can trust. If there is a problem, they both have Ethics Committees who are able to investigate their complaint.
After 27 years why do I still breed Maine Coon Cats?
I have been passionate about the breed from the first time I learnt of its existence. This passion has not waned. In fact, it just continues to grow and grow. I keep the kittens for 14 weeks. They are all brought up in my home. They begin as tiny little suckling entities and leave as bustling, energetic, naughty individuals. Each has his or her special personality.
Each one is precious. And to see the look of joy and anticipation on the new owner’s faces is priceless. Many keep in touch with photos and calls. Also rarely does an owner buy just one kitten. Often there is a request for a second, a third or even more!
I am also an ethical breeder.
I test for HD, HCM (both genetic in the Maine Coon breed) and do blood typing before any one of my cats is allowed to breed. Since acquiring a Ukrainian kitten, I will also be testing for SMA ( a spinal disease) as the cats from Eastern Europe have polydactyls either overtly or in the past in their lines. I also try to only allow the queens to breed every 12 months or more.
Thank you for reading my story. It continues to be a journey of love.
Why Use My Surname as the Cattery Name?
It really is quite simple. David Kernes was allergic to cats!! When he agreed to have a cat, he had no idea what he had started. He did build up a resistance to the cats but it was continually problematic. All my kittens are brought up in my home.
So, if one or two kittens ran over his pillow – horrors! His eyes battled to open in the morning! However, he loved the cats and especially the kittens. Today I have sixteen adult cats. David always said that I am a creeping cancer. Give me an inch and I take a mile!