Breeding Recommendations, SMA

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SMA is an autosomal recessive disorder. To date we do not know how widespread this disease is in the Maine Coon breed; initially it was thought to mainly be found in one line but lately it has been discovered also in other lines.

As there is a DNA-test available, both carriers and affected cats can be diagnosed. We recommend the following routines for cats in a breeding program:

  • It is strongly recommended to test cats that have a relative who is a carrier or affected.
  • Testing of breeding cats not known to be particularly risky is also a good idea because recently carriers have turned up in lines previously not considered risky.
  • Carriers can be used for breeding, but only when partnered to cats that are normal with respect to the SMA-mutation, and knowing that 50% of the offspring will also be carriers. All buyers of carrier kittens and kittens of unknown status from combinations where both parents are not negative should be informed about the disease and the risks of using the kitten for breeding. Heterozygous carriers will never get any signs of the disorder; so one might think it is irrelevant information for a pet buyer. However, since it isn't uncommon that pet buyers later get the idea to have a litter from their cat and sometimes without contacting its breeder, it is important that also pet buyers fully understand the nature of the disease and the situation with their kitten.
  • Affected cats (with both SMA-genes defective) should not be used for breeding.