You've chosen which pedigree cat breed you want, it is now time to make sure that you are purchasing your kitten from a reputable, responsible breeder.
Unfortunately, not all breeders have the cats and kittens' best interests at heart and may prioritise profit over kitten's health, therefore it is so important that you find a good cat breeder. Read on to discover how to choose a good cat breeder.
What should I expect from a good cat breeder?
The breeder should love their cats, be knowledgeable about the breed and committed to producing healthy, well-socialised kittens. Their premises should be clean and well organised. You will want to ask lots of questions, but don't be surprised if the breeder asks you just as many. He or she will be anxious that the home their kittens go to is suitable.
They should be willing to offer expert advice and be available in the future to discuss any problems. Don't expect to take a kitten straight home with you-you are likely to be seeing them at a few weeks old, when they are not ready to leave mum. Also, expect to pay a non-returnable deposit.
Planning the visit to the cat breeder
- Phone to make an appointment with the breeder before you visit and let him or her know if you change your plans.
- Never buy a kitten on impulse. Your purchase should be considered and thoroughly planned.
- Never go from one breeder to another as you could be the cause of cross infection.
At the cat breeder's premises
- Ask to see where the kittens are usually kept and to see 'mum' and any other relatives. This will help you assess the temperament.
- Ideally, the kittens will have been brought up in the home so that they are used to the normal domestic activities and have been well-socialised.
- If the breeder's home is dirty, smelly and has lots of other kittens, then be very wary.
- If they have a range of litter ages, and even breeds, to choose from - then look elsewhere. Common sense will allow you to make a sensible judgement based on what you have seen.
A healthy kitten
- A kitten should be alert and interested in you. If a kitten is weak or lethargic, be very wary.
- Ears and nose should be clean and clear with no unpleasant smell.
- Eyes should be bright and clear, with no redness, soreness, or discharge.
- You should be able to feel but not see a kitten's ribs. He should also have a healthy appetite.
- A kitten's bottom should be clean and not stained. A dirty or sore area under the tail may indicate that he is suffering from diarrhoea.
Questions to ask the breeder
Have any of the kittens had any health problems?
Try to find out whether any of the kittens in the litter have had a health check, or have been treated by the vet for any reason. If your kitten has been checked or received any treatment, the breeder should provide details of anything abnormal that the vet may have noticed.
Is the mother healthy - has she been vaccinated and wormed?
It is very important that the mother is healthy and up-to-date with her vaccinations and worming, otherwise, the kittens may be more at risk of suffering from health problems too.
How many litters, including this one, has the mother had?
Pregnancy, birth, and rearing kittens all take a lot of energy and work for the mother. Avoid kittens from mothers who have had numerous litters, as this may be a sign that the breeder has expected too much from the mother, and may also mean that the care and the condition of the kitten could be affected.
Have the kittens been treated for worms or any other parasites, and have they had their first vaccinations?
Many kittens have worms, as they are commonly passed on to them from their mother's milk. To ensure the kittens are healthy, breeders should, with veterinary advice, make sure kittens are wormed. Avoid buying your kitten from a breeder who has not wormed their cats and kittens. Vaccinations are also very important to prevent certain deadly diseases. Kittens normally have their first vaccination at around eight or nine weeks old. If your kitten has been vaccinated already, the vet will have given them a vaccination certificate.
Where are the kittens kept and are they socialised?
For example, are they kept inside the house, or in a busy kitchen where people come and go and interact with the kittens? A kitten who hasn't met many people, or has lived in a quiet home, may become fearful of new people and different environments when they are older.