If you have decided that you have room in your heart and in your home for a new cat and you’ve got your heart set on a pedigree kitten, making the right decision about which breeder to buy your new companion from is vitally important. Responsible breeders always breed their lines with the improvement of the breed as a whole in mind, as well as the health, condition and general happiness of both the kittens and their breeding stock.
But when you are faced with a gorgeous litter of beautiful, cute kittens to choose between, it is all too easy to forget the important questions to ask, and core considerations to bear in mind! In this article, we will cover some of the basics on how to select a responsible cat breeder to purchase your new kitten from. Read on to learn more.
How many breeders of any given breed there are likely to be within reasonable travelling distance of your home can vary considerably, depending on what breed of cat you have set your sights on. The most common pedigree breeds such as the Persian and the Siamese are likely to have a variety of breeders operating in most areas of the country, whereas is you are looking for something more exotic, such as a Bengal kitten, your choices may be more limited.
However, you should still review each breeder with a critical eye, to ensure that you do not inadvertently support bad breeding practices with your purchase.
The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) is the umbrella organisation in the UK that is responsible for the registration and management of pedigree breeds of cat, and the GCCF also runs a registered breeder scheme for people who produce pedigree kittens.
While registration does not provide any implicit guarantees and buying from a non-registered breeder is not necessarily a bad move in itself, checking to see if your proposed breeder is registered will give you some additional peace of mind about the standards of both the breed lines themselves, and the care and management of the breeding stock.
It is a good idea to look into each breeder that you might be considering in more detail before you even get as far as speaking to them directly, and you can find out more about many breeders online by looking for the patterns of their sales and breed lines, and reading reviews from people who have bought a kitten from them or equally telling, decided not to.
Your vet is also a good person to ask for recommendations of breeders that they know, as are other owners of pedigree cats and people who work with cats professionally, such as cattery staff and people who work in specialist pet stores.
If everything looks good so far and you have written up a shortlist of breeders to consider, now is the time to meet up with the breeders in person, and have a look at their facilities and the kittens that they have on offer.
Look at the facilities and the way that the cats are cared for, if they are all happy, loved and comfortable, and how many cats are present and being bred from, with an eye to making sure that everything is up to scratch.
While you are with the breeder, take the time to talk to them about the general health of their cats and breed lines, and if there are any particular hereditary health conditions prevalent across the breed that you are considering, find out about these first and ask your breeder about these specifically.
Some breeders will undertake pre-breeding health screening on their cats, which is always a good sign, and you should also be permitted to see the details of the general health and data on hereditary health conditions that have occurred in other cats within their breed lines too.
You should ask your potential breeder a lot of questions about their cats, how they manage their breeding programmes, and the ways in which the cats are cared for. A responsible breeder should also be as interested in you as you are in them, asking plenty of questions about your general experience with cats, knowledge of the breed you are looking at, and how you plan to take care of your cat in the future.
If your potential breeder seems to be totally uninterested in you and doesn’t have any questions for you, this is a warning sign to heed.
You should never plan to visit a litter for the first time and return home with a kitten the same day; you should always take a few days to come to an informed decision, and possibly visit the litter more than once to do so.
A good breeder will respect this, and will not try to rush you into making a purchase or push you into a decision on the spot.
If you do wish to buy a kitten, you may be asked for a deposit to secure the cat of your choice, but you should not be permitted to take the kitten home until they are at least twelve weeks old, and up to fifteen weeks is not unusual.