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Future Contact

Personality Study

HCM

The cMYBPC-3 mutation

What's Included with our kittens

 

Cardiac ultrasound HCM screening report
^ Cardiac ultrasound HCM report
HCM ultrasound scan picture
^ Ultrasound picture of the left ventricle of a cat's heart
Two calico kittens

^ Two calico kittens 2006

Cochise and Tomahawk five weeks old

^ Two red boys - 2007

^ Jack - 2007
Acadia, October 2007
Acadia, three yeas old. "Katie's brother is on the computer at the top of the page.
Skipper  (Windwalker Afterglow)
WindwalkernAfterglow (Skipper). Skipper is the mother of Acadia, above, and Cosmo, top of page.
Acadia, 14 weeks old
^ Acadia, 14 weeks old
Chula, four weeks old
Chula, four weeks old

 

We think we have some of the most intelligent Maine Coon cats we've met, and our kitten owners agree. Above, Cosmo is shown at work.

We work hard too, and do a lot of research to ensure your Windwalker cat will live a long, healthy life. We take classes and seminars, are members of several health and breed groups and work closely with our vets to keep current on the latest developments in feline health. We study pedigrees, carefully out-cross breedings and feed the mother and kittens a sound diet to build strong bodies and immune systems.

Health Guarantee

Our kittens leave with a health record and the name and number of our veterinarian, who has complete records on all our cats. We will ask you to have your Windwalker kitten or cat examined by a licensed veterinarian within 72 hours of taking it home. Please read the latest vaccination guidelines before visiting your vet.

If a serious health problem arises, please notify us right away. We may have useful information to help with decisions on the treatment or prognosis of a diagnosed condition.

It is very important to have any major medical problem diagnosed and treated quickly. In the unlikely event your cat dies prematurely or unexpectedly, contact us IMMEDIATELY and we will explain how to have a valid and accurate necropsy (autopsy) performed. If it is established the cat died from a congenital defect, we will replace the cat per the contract’s health guarantee.

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Future Contact

You can contact us at ANY time about the cat you get from us, and we will keep in contact with you. We love pictures at Christmas and updates on the cat’s progress because we think of our kittens often and will always love all of them.  

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Personality study

A controlled study of litters and their fathers at Cambridge University supports our observation. The study found that although the kittens had never met or observed their fathers, the friendliest kittens were those from the friendly father. In fact, in each litter the kittens exhibited the same type of temperament as the father even though they had never met him. The study concluded that the only way this seemed possible was if their behavior was inherited genetically from their father.

However, the Cambridge University study suggests that though genetics plays a part in early development, the personality is shaped throughout its life by many other factors including socialization and environment. Thus, while a kitten inherits aspects of its father's temperament, that won't necessarily contribute much to its adult personality.

Reference: S McCune (1998), "The Impact of Paternity and Early Socialization on the Development of Cats' Behavior to People and Novel Objects. Applied Animal Behavior Science."

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HCM - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

HCM is a disease of the heart muscle that is not specific to a breed of cats. It is found in other breeds and in household pet cats. However, with a pedigreed cat, and a reputable breeder who uses every tool available to ensure their cats do not have and will not develop the disease, you're a step ahead.

Jeff and I have been trying to produce the best Maine Coon cats possible since 1998, and there’s more to it than you might think. Every year we take all our breeding cats, both active and retired, to a certified veterinary cardiologist to have their hearts examined by ultrasound.

The cardiologist checks the heart wall measurements to certify that they are within normal limits and there is no indication of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), see the ultrasound picture at left.

Also, with Maine Coon cats we're very fortunate that in 2006 a genetic marker, the MyBPC gene. was identified for one of the most common causes of the disease. We sent swabs of cells from the cheek of every cat in our breeding program to a lab in Washingon. We only use cats in our breeding program that do not carry this MyBPC genetic mutation that may lead to HCM.

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The cMYBPC-3 mutation

The MYBPC-3 mutation causes abnormal proteins to be created which in turn result in abnormalities at the cellular level. Heart muscle is comprised of specialized muscle cells. As the disease progresses, it frequently results in structural and dynamic changes in the heart that can eventually be detected on echocardiogram (ultrasound).

The heart is a dual pump which pumps blood to the lungs for oxygenation, and subsequently pumps the oxygenated blood into the body's circulatory system. The contractions that cause the heart to pump are regulated by the heart's "electrical" system ... its own natural pacemaker and conduction system. This conduction system is comprised of specialized fibers that conduct the electrical signals throughout the heart muscle. While the minute details of the physiological sequence of events that result in sudden death in cats (or people) who have HCM (whether detectable on echo or only by histopathology) are unknown, there is no doubt whatsoever that the disease abnormalities in the muscle tissue can cause a disturbance in conduction, and that sometimes the disturbance is lethal.

DNA negative means our cats have had a cheek swab sent for DNA testing and the results were negative for the cMYBPC-3 mutation that may lead to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is not specific to a breed of cats, it's found in household pets and pedigreed cats, but with a pedigreed cat, a reputable breeder that's paying attention uses every tool that's available to ensure their cats will not develop the disease.

With Maine Coon cats we're very fortunate that in 2006 a genetic marker was identified for one of the most common causes of HCM. For several years, cardiac ultrasound screening has been the recommended method of identifying and reducing the incidence of this disease, and we still do this also.

No breeder can guarantee that their cats will not develop HCM. but we can use all the available tools to identify the cause. Our efforts are our continued commitment to your kitten buyers to try to breed healthy and sound Maine Coon cats to the best of our ability. This means that we will not breed cats that are positive for the cMyBPC-3 mutation, and we will continue to have our cats' hearts ultrasounded by Dr. Lori Siemens, a certified California veterinary cardiologist here in Sacramento.

For more information about HCM, visit this excellent site: http://members.aol.com/jchinitz/hcm/

 

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