Do you want to buy a kitten from a breeder? As always, I always recommend going to a rescue group or a local shelter for a cat or kitten, but sometimes they do not have a perfect match for the family. In that case, some people may want to look into breeders for that perfect pet. There are a few things that people need to know to ensure that the perfect cat or kitten is coming from a breeder that is reputable and in line with proper care of their cats.
A clearly written contract is a must, even among friends. It may sound so business like, but if provides confidence for the pet owner and the breeder that the pet will have the best possible care from both sides. The contract should have a health guarantee with time limits and details. It should explain what will happen if any genetic problems show up in the pet. It will also require the new pet owner to provide a certain level of health care and explain what will happen if for some reason the new owner cannot provide care any longer. Many breeders will offer to take the pet back and rehome if something unforeseen happens with the new home. There is no need to call attorneys, but a good contract will protect the pet, breeder, and new owner.
A good breeder will be a member of an association. TICA and CFA are two common ones in the USA. Most associations will have a page on their website that will explain the standard they expect from the breeders that belong to the group. The associations will also keep up with the parentage (pedigrees) of the pets that the breeder is offering. If a breeder cannot offer you proof of parentage, how can that breeder know if there is any health problems in a certain line or if they are inbreeding? Some breeders will offer pets without registration at cheaper prices, but beware. Sometimes, they offer the unregistered litter because they are not purebred, they are not breeding properly, or thaey may simply not even know the parentage. The associations also have written standard for how the pet suppose to appear and act. The standards will sometimes even state if there is any quirks of the breed of pet may have that is unique. Breeders that belong to the associations try to better the breed by following the guidelines and standards the associations have in place.
Not all breeders use a Questionnaire. Some do and some simply ask a few questions after you contact them. The simple questions will allow a breeder to know that the new owner truly is ready for a certain breed, and know that the new owner is serious about committing to a new pet.
Reputable breeders will do their very best to spay/neuter the kitten or cat before they leave their home. This policy ensures that there are no unwanted kittens born to people that may not realize the breeding cycle for their pet. It also helps to stop some people from breeding cats only for money. If for some reason the pets cannot be spayed/neutered before leaving, there is a strict contract stating when the surgery will occur, and a monetary fine against the new owner if the procedure does not get performed. If someone actually wants to be a breeder, there are usually many more questions, increase costs, and a mentorship that will between the new prospect and the breeder. A reputable breeder will be very concerned about intact cats leaving the home as much as the health of the kitten in the new home.
A good breeder will be there:
If something occurs that is unexpected with a kitten, a reputable breeder will have contact information for people to contact them. The breeder will not be at someone’s beckoning call, but should answer questions or concerns in a reasonable time. The breeder cannot answer questions that should be more directed toward a veterinarian, but good breeders know their breed of cat. They will be able to answer basic care questions, grooming questions, and questions associated with the training and behavior of the breed. The good breeder should be willing to listen to any veterinary report that you may have gotten and be willing to comment. These type breeders will normally offer a resolution to help both the pet and the new owner. A person may not know this information up front, but questions can be asked before getting the new pet that may reveal if the breeder is there for you. If you ask questions in the beginning that are unanswered, you may have unanswered questions after you get the new pet.
Pets offered at what ages:
Reputable breeders tend not to have many animals at different ages to offer new pet owners. That is not to say that a good breeder will not have two or three litters at different ages (depending on the time of the year), or a couple of pets that may be older to offer. Good breeders will normally place kittens at 12-20 weeks old, with a few exceptions of holding some kittens back for show. A breeder that has many older kittens that simply have not found a home yet may not have the best kittens to offer or have too many kittens to offer.
Too good to be true:
When looking for a breeder, research the price of the breed of kitten or cat that you want. Many of the reputable breeders will charge a similar price. If it is a low price, you may be getting a breeder that does not even have the pet and will disappear after you make a payment. These scammers will have photos and a story, but no pet. If they do not have a website and advertise in less than reputable ads, be very cautious. Also, if they offer a pet at a discount because there is something wrong with the pet, ask for more details. Many times the health problems that create a discount can cause more problems for the new owner with veterinary bills and work for the pet’s care.
All in all, there are many breeders that love their pets, their breed, and the people that give their babies a new home. When searching, use the same knowledge you would in finding a new friend. Make sure they are legitimate, make sure they are honest, and make sure they are trustworthy. Simply get your questions answered. If the breeder cannot talk with you about the breed or does not answer any of your questions, maybe you should consider moving to another breeder.
About the Author
Johnny Gobble, DVM
Johnny Gobble first attempted breeding at a young age with a small aquarium of guppy fish. The fish did breed, and his interest in the hobby grew. Over the next few years, his family would raise registered Quarter horses, rabbits, and dogs while Johnny hobbied with hamsters and gerbils. After high school, Johnny took a break from breeding while in college, but took many classes on genetics and management of breeding animals as he worked toward his Veterinary degree. Once graduation from Veterinary school, he met Brittney. After marrying Brittney, Johnny and Brittney started showing and breeding cats. They have some experience in dogs, chickens, and exotic birds also. They have been involved in the cat fancy with shows, breeding, and advising for the last 9 years. Both are committee members within the TICA organization and manage multiple websites that have breeding, showing, and health information.