Buying a pedigree kitten, particularly if it is your first one, is very exciting. But it is also quite complicated and you need to do your research carefully and make sure you know what you are doing. Here are some hints and tips...
Sometimes people want a pedigree kitten, but aren't sure what breed they actually want. This is something you need to decide at the start, as cat breeds vary greatly in looks, temperament, and how much attention and grooming they will need. So if you aren't sure, start off by doing some research. Read up about cat breeds, and if possible visit a cat show, where you can see different cat breeds and talk to owners and breeders.
Some cat breeds require a lot more care than others. For instance, the beautiful fluffy Persian is extremely popular, but will require daily grooming, sometimes twice a day, depending n the coat of the actual cat. Siamese cats have short coats, but can be very demanding, often hate being alone, and will follow you around like a dog. Some cats, like Ragdolls, will be happy to be kept indoors, but others, for instance Bengals, require outdoor activities, or a great deal of indoor stimulation. So look at your circumstances and lifestyle, and choose a breed which is suitable for you.
If you want a relatively common breed like a Bengal Cat, it may be quite easy to find a breeder. But some breeders are better than others, in different ways. If you want to show your cat, it is a good idea to take advice, and find a breeder who has show quality cats. If you don't plan to show this is not so important, but you want your kitten to have been well socialised and properly cared for. So try to find out about your chosen breeder, and if you decide to buy from an ad on a website, try to ask some relevant questions to find out as much as possible. After all, you will be spending a lot of money on your pedigree kitten. You wouldn't buy a car or washing machine without knowing something about the manufacturer, so treat your kitten purchase in much the same way.
If you are buying a fairly common breed, you are likely to be able to find a breeder close to home. But if you want one which is less common, you will need to be prepared to travel. Many people travel hundreds of miles to get the right kitten of a rare breed; some even import one from overseas. So you need to decide how far you are prepared to travel, and make plans for how you will bring your new kitten home.
Once you have decided which breed you want, it is time to contact a breeder, or maybe more than one. Please, please don't simply email the breeder and ask “How much are your kittens”. Most breeders hate this, as it appears as though you are simply looking for the cheapest kitten available, even if this isn't the case. Reputable breeders will want to know something about you. Tell them where you live, if you have older cats or other animals, and whether you want your cat to show, or simply as a pet. It is usually best to email initially. Some breeders don't mind phone calls, but they are busy people, and may find phone calls too intrusive.
Now is the time to decide if you want to show your new kitten, and if so, let the breeder know this. The price will probably be the same, but most breeders take great care to provide the right kittens for their buyers, and if you want to show, they will try to find you a suitable kitten of show quality. They will often also be very helpful if you are new to showing, so don't be afraid to ask questions.
Breeders vary, but some will let you visit to meet them, and most will let you reserve a kitten in advance and then visit when it is about eight weeks old, when it has had its first vaccination. Some breeders aren't keen on visits, and if this is the case, try to ensure it isn't because they have something to hide. Don't assume they have, as they may simply be very busy, so if they have a good reputation and everything else seems OK, this may be quite acceptable to you. If you are visiting more than one breeder, make sure you visit on different days to minimise risk of infection to very young kittens. Pets4Homes recommend that you never send money online as a deposit to someone you do not know, and never without visiting the cat breeder at their home to confirm they are genuine and so that you know where they live.
If you are buying a pedigree kitten, it should be registered with the GCCF or one of the other cat registries, and you should receive a Registration Certificate and a Pedigree showing the kitten's ancestry. If you want to show your kitten, these are essential. But even if you don't, they are proof that your kitten is indeed a pure bred cat. It is not unknown for unscrupulous breeders to try to pass off half-pedigree kittens, or even moggies, as specific breeds, so you really should ensure at this point that the kitten will come with official 'papers'.
Once all is well, you need to prepare for your kitten's arrival. If you haven't had cats before, you will need to buy food and water bowls, a litter tray, and a cat carrier. You will need the last of these both to pick up your kitten from the breeder, and also for vet trips. You might want to also buy a cat bed, and some toys for your kitten. And if you are buying a long haired kitten, you will need grooming equipment.
Finally, you should arrange with the breeder for when you can collect your new kitten. If you are travelling some distance, make sure your car is serviced, or if you are collecting the kitten by public transport, book your tickets, plus overnight accommodation if required. Try to arrange things so that you arrive home with the kitten during the day, with time to settle it in before night time.