Because of my work with a cat shelter, I’m generally in favor of adopting a rescue cat. However, some people want a particular breed. If you are one of them, and are thinking of buying a kitten, it is imperative to pick a good breeder, whose primary concern is the welfare of the cats, rather than money. Here are some tips on how to choose one.
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You want a breeder who has plenty of experience with the breed. This way you can be more sure that they know how to produce healthy kittens and have substantial knowledge of any particular health or behavioral issues.
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Why do they breed? Is it for love of the animals? If you suspect that money is the prime motivation, then no matter how adorable the kittens are, walk away. Buying from a bad breeder, even for good reasons, simply encourages them to keep going.
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This is very important. All breeds have certain health issues, and it is imperative that the parents have been checked before breeding. This helps improve the general health of the breed. Ask to see evidence.
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It may not be possible to see the father, if he belongs to someone else, but you should be allowed to see the mother. By doing so, you can get an idea of her temperament, and you can also be reassured that the breeder owns the cats and is not actually acting as a middleman.
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Ask if they will put you in touch with previous clients. If they are reluctant to do so, it may be a sign that they have had dissatisfied purchasers. Talking to other owners will give you a good indication of the long-term outlook.
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Ask the name of their vet, and have a chat with him or her. The vet will be able to give an opinion on how caring and responsible the breeder is, and whether they would recommend obtaining a kitten from them.
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There must be few things more heartbreaking than buying a kitten, only for it to become ill and die. So a health guarantee is essential. Any reputable breeder would be happy to provide as much information as possible.
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Avoid large catteries, as that may suggest that quantity, not quality, is the primary concern. Also do not use a breeder who sells to pet shops. Shops do not insist that you neuter the animal if you do not intend to breed from it, and can also be less than scrupulous about where they obtain their animals (such as puppy farms or kitten mills).
Of course, there are many more factors to consider, and any potential purchaser should do a LOT more research. I hope that this has given you a starting point though – but don’t forget all the non-pedigree cats looking for a home! What is your favorite breed?
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