If you want to buy a kitten that is a purebred or pedigree, then you need to know how to find a reputable cat breeder. Finding the “purrfect” purebred kitten requires some research. You will be investing time and love into your pet cat (some cat breeds can live as long as 20 years or more) and money (pedigree cat breeds can be expensive) so you want to make sure you get the right kitten.
Unfortunately there are some cat breeders out there who will take short cuts, such as inbreeding their cats which can lead to genetic problems. You don’t want to fall in love with a kitten only to watch it suffer from these defects or have behavioral issues as a result.
In this post, we will explore how to find a reputable cat breeder and what questions to ask a cat breeder so you can make your purchase with confidence.
5 Steps to Finding a Reputable Cat Breeder
Step 1: Compile a list of breeders for the cat breed you want.
Your first step in finding a reputable cat breeder is to compile a list of breeders that produce the type of purebred cat you want. This will take some time and leg-work as you will want to seek out reviews from people who have purchased from the breeder, or (if the breeder is local) ask the veterinarians for their opinion on the cattery.
Step 2: Check out cat breeders online.
Step two is to use the internet to its fullest and check out the breeders’ website, blog, and online references. Many people who have bought a cat or kitten from a breeder may also write an unbiased review about their experience. This type of resource can be invaluable.
Step 3: Is the cat breeder registered?
The third step is to research whether the cat breeder is registered.
Cat Breeder Registries
Here is a list of cat breeder registries. Research or ask a potential breeder if they are a member of one of these associations.
- The International Cat Association (TICA)
- The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
- The Canadian Cat association – Association féline Canadienne (CCA-AFC)
- Chats Canada Cats (CCC)
- American Cat Fancier Association (ACFA)
- World Cat Federation (WCF)
- Federation Internationale Feline (FIFe)
You are more likely to get a healthy kitten with a good temperament from a breeder that takes the time to register their business. Kitten mills (unregistered breeders) that breed cats for profit are to be avoided. The animals are usually sick with genetic issues, while the mother cat is continuously bred until she is no longer able to do so.
Step 4 : Narrow down your choices and visit your chosen catteries.
Once you think you have found a reputable cat breeder or two, make an appointment to visit the cattery. Here you will want to look for anything that may indicate the cats are not being looked after properly – cramped cages, extreme odor, sickly or nervous cats, and kittens on the premises. A big red flag that the breeder is not reputable, is if they won’t let you see the facilities or the kitten’s parents. This action usually means the person has something to hide.
Step 5: Ask the breeder what age they let kittens go to new homes.
The fifth step in finding a reputable cat breeder is asking when they will let the kittens leave the cattery. Reputable breeders will keep their kittens until at least 10 weeks of age, some up to 16 weeks. “Getting rid of kittens” at five weeks old is irresponsible and can be detrimental to the kitten’s health and well-being, so be wary if the breeder is anxious to get the kitten out the door.
10 Questions to Ask a Cat Breeder
Even though you are dealing with live animals and just want to snatch them all up and take them home, take the time to ask the breeder the following questions. Remember your cat is a long term investment.
- Are the kitten’s parents certified by a vet? Some purebred cats can have genetic conditions. Having the parents certified means that a veterinarian has tested the cats for genetic disorders and have evaluated them as disease-free.
- Can I meet the kitten’s parents? You can tell a lot by the answer to this question. If the breeder agrees, then look at the health of the parents and also their behavior (shy, nervous, etc.). If the breeder won’t let you see the parents or the cats aren’t healthy, it’s best not to purchase a kitten from this cattery.
- Has the kitten been vet checked? This question will determine whether the breeder has had the kitten’s vaccinations and de-worming done. Ask for the vet’s record on your kitten for future reference.
- Have any of the kittens been sick? If so, find out what the diagnosis and treatment of the ill kitten were and the outcome.
- Have the kittens been socialized? Socialization is crucial in kittens between 6 and 16 weeks old. This would include playing with other kittens and cats of all ages and being exposed to different people. Good socialization is key to having a well-adjusted kitty cat.
- Is there a guarantee? Although a difficult topic to face, if your kitten were to get sick and have to be returned, it’s best to have this conversation with your breeder ahead of time, so you know the protocol.
- Does the breeder have a contract outlining terms of sale? Good breeders don’t want to see their kittens or adult cats end up in a shelter and will want you to sign a contract stating that if you have to give it up, they will take it back.
- What is the kitten currently eating? Regardless of the food the breeder is using, if you want to change your new fur baby’s diet, do so gradually to avoid tummy upset. If you have a favorite brand, ask the breeder for a cup or two of the current food to help your kitten make the change.
- What is the kitten’s family history? Ask the breeder what the lineage of the kitten is and if the line has had any genetic disorders. Also how long the cats have lived and what the cause of death was. This can help you decide if you want to consider a different cat breed instead, or, if you go ahead with this particular breed, how to manage your cat when it becomes a senior.
- Can you get references? This would be from past clients. If the breeder gives you names or email addresses of past clients, call them (or email) and ask how their experience was with the breeder and how their cat is doing.
Reputable Cat Breeders
In summary, when you’re looking for a reputable cat breeder be sure to do your homework. Research what you can online and ask the right questions when you are speaking to the cat breeder. By doing this, you will be that much closer to answering the question of how to find a good cat breeder.
I hope your search for a reputable cat breeder is fruitful!
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