I first became aware of the Maine Coon Cat through an article about the breed in Cat Fancy Magazine in 1971. I loved their look and the description of their personality. There was an address in the article for The Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association. I wrote to them for more information and started receiving the Scratch Sheet in 1972. I had never even seen a Maine Coon yet so while on vacation in Montana in 1973, I made arrangements to visit Judith Ancell of Yankee Cats Cattery in Boise Idaho "just to see one in person". She had several kittens available and I came home with a 6 month old red mackerel tabby boy that I named Yankee Cats Rufus. Pictures of Rufus and his parents Yankee Cats Obsidian and Yankee Cats Sadie are in the Old-Timer's section. I later obtained a white female intending to breed them but lost my first two Maine Coons to illness.I began again to look for a pair to breed. I wanted to find at least one kitten related to my wonderful Rufus and that is when I first met Beth Hicks. She had a full brother to Rufus, Yankee Cats Von Richtofen of Tanstaafl and he had a litter of kittens due. There were also several other breeders in Memphis at the time, so in the spring of 1975, I obtained a daughter of Von Richtofen's (Belwitch's Buffy of Calicoon) and a male from Lea Schmidt (Cacomistle Rocky Raccoon of Calicoon) who were the foundation of my breeding program. My first litter was born in June of 1976. I have been a Breeder Member of MCBFA for 25 years. I have been an officer of MCBFA in different positions for many years and currently am Fancier Member Secretary of the association. Calicoon cattery is registered in TICA, CFA, ACFA and CFF. My cattery name, Calicoon, comes from California + Coon since I lived in California when I first started breeding Maine Coon cats. People have asked me if I breed calicos but other than one in a very early litter, I haven't had one since.I have been breeding continuously since 1976 and have had numerous regional and national winners over the years. I do not specialize in any one color but have had nearly all colors over the years. SGC Spavinaw Blu-Macks of Calicoon was the first blue Maine Coon to grand in any association and Calicoon Hooligan was the first red tabby Maine Coon to achieve a top 20 International Award in TICA. I first started showing in ACFA in 1973 with Rufus since that was the only association which accepted the Maine Coon at that time. CFA accepted the breed in 1976 and I have showed there a little. When The International Cat Association (TICA) was first formed in 1979-1980, I began to show there and have ever since. I am a licensed TICA AllBreed Cat Show Judge.After living in California and then returning to Illinois for 14 years, I relocated to Memphis in 1999 where Beth and I share a house. We each have several breeding females but usually just one male. We do not have a lot of cats so those we do have are able to be with us in the house and underfoot all the time. Our kittens are raised underfoot too. They have their own sunroom with windows on two full sides so that there is a lot of light and space. Since our children are grown up, we encourage the neighborhood kids to visit whenever they want to. They play with the kittens, socailize them, give them "names" and teach them to play with kitty toys.Photos of many of my award winning cats are located in the Show Cats section. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with the best cat photographers in the world. Without their expert work, many of these pictures would not be possible. There are photos by Chanan, Mark McCullough, Korporate Kats, Tetsu, Jim Childs, Helmi Flick, Barb Zurawski, Jeff Hicks and others. But the large majority of the photos were done by Dorothy Holby. Dorothy and I lived in the same city for years and she would come over to my house to do pictures of my cats and especially kittens. Some of them have been on calendars, magazine covers and Cat Fancy "center folds".Many of the photos without credits taken before 1999 were probably Dorothy's or possibly my own.
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