There are many options to think about when deciding to get a cat or a kitten. For instance, you could choose to obtain your new feline friend from a rescue, or consider purchasing from a registered cat breeder.
Experts will tell you that the biggest mistake you could make is to purchase your pet from a pet store or back yard breeder. By and large, cat breeders who work under the radar are often just in the business for the money, and can be offering you pets that have existing health problems and/or providing false information about the animal. One of the easiest ways to spot a shoddy back yard cat breeding operation is finding one that offers you no long term guarantee of the health of the cat. Most reputable cat breeders will not only guarantee the cats health, but will also offer replacement should the cat die. Because they guarantee the health of their animal, they are bred under much better conditions and the owners pay special attention to only breed the healthiest animals possible. The animals from reputable dealers are also normally pedigreed.
A clandestine operation often buys kittens that are not spayed or neutered (nor registered) and breeds them with other cats to try and mimic specific cat breeds. Unfortunately, because of the conditions these cats are raised in there are no guarantees about the health of the animals involved in the breeding process. Additionally, back yard breeders do not tend to have a thorough interview process for prospective owners and will sell to anyone who is willing to pay the money for the animal.
Cat breeders with integrity look to place their cats only in ‘good’ homes where they know that proper medical and day to day care will be granted. They are normally able to pick from a long list of high profile cat breeders. Another big difference between fly by night cat breeders and highly qualified cat breeders is that the pedigreed cat breeders tend to have a lot of knowledge, love and passion for the animals that they sell. These catteries often make a hobby of showing the animals professionally and work hard to produce the highest pedigreed (and healthiest cats) available to the breed. Reputable catteries also work with qualified vets on a daily basis and will be able to provide you with extensive records necessary to ensure that you are purchasing a quality cat breed.
Certainly, you will also find that purchasing cats from a reputable, honest and passionate cattery that cares about their breed may prove to be more expensive. This is normally because so much expense is put into raising the animals and legally registering them. So if you find a cat breed that seems hundreds of dollars cheaper than those you have seen before and get the feeling that ‘it is too good to be true,’ then stick with your gut and assume that it is.
The best way to start your search for the perfect cat for you is to attend a cat show where you can see many of the different breeds in action. This also gives you an opportune moment to speak with the cat breeders about their cats, and to get some insider information on the breed that interests you most. You will also be able to get direct links to reputable catteries in your area that specialize in breeding high quality, healthy animals. You can easily find cat show dates and locations listed on most cat registry web sites.
As you search for the perfect cat, realize the following:
- Reputable catteries don’t sell to pet stores because they want to find the best homes for their cats.
- Pedigreed kittens should never leave under the age of ten weeks old and most are placed in homes at 12 to 16 weeks of age.
- Some breeders spay or neuter their kittens before placement to guarantee they don’t get bred.
- Expect a good breeder to ask you as many questions about yourself as you may want to ask them. They want to find the best loving homes for their babies.
- Reputable cat breeders give you a health guarantee and replacement insurance should the cat die due to genetics or disease.
- Reputable breeders always have a contract that should state what they guarantee with all the terms of the sale.
If you are looking for the best online information on the many different cat breeds profiles, show standards, and feline personality that will fit you best, you need to look no further than the CFA Cat Fancier Association web site, (TICA) The International Cat Association, and many other cat registries of pedigreed cats. It’s important to note that knowing what the breed’s personality is like is an important piece of information that can help you find the best cat for your lifestyle. CFA recognizes some 40 breeds in showing championship class and TICA recognizes over 60 breeds, and are developing new breeds.
Once you’re settled on a breed, then you can search for a breeder that you feel comfortable approaching. You should be able to schedule a visit to go and visit them, and the cats currently in their home. There are breeders that list their catteries on these associations’ online web sites as well. You could find many different breeders at cat shows and some even have retired cats or kittens for sale at the show.
Remember, a cat can live from 15 to 20 years, so owning one is a long term commitment that you don’t want to rush into. Find a good breeder and wait for a kitten. Whatever you do, and no matter how much you fall in love with one specific cat or breed of cat, refrain from buying on impulse. You may pay a little more for a pedigreed kitten – but you will save yourself money in vet bills in the long run because of the work and passion that the cattery has put into the animals in question. You can also check out popular magazines such as Cat Fancy or Cats USA and Kittens USA, which have listings of cat breeders internationally, by Country state or province. Enjoy attending the shows and searching for a cat or kitten and hopefully you will be happy with your new cat or kitten.
Written by Deborah Hudson of Dreamhimi Cattery