Backyard Breeders

Beware of Backyard Breeders and Pet Shops

Backyard breeders are not professionals; rather, they are people with little knowledge of cat breeding issues, such as the need to screen for genetic problems that may afflict certain breeds. In addition to increasing the risk that kittens will suffer from horrendous genetic defects and illnesses, backyard breeders often don’t know how to properly socialize kittens, and they tend to adopt them out too young, which can lead to a lifetime of physical and psychological problems. Backyard breeders can usually be recognized by their failure to register their kittens, keep them until at least 12 weeks of age, or participate in cat shows.

The term “backyard breeder” denotes a person who breeds cats and is not a member of a cat registering body (i.e.- TICA) and does not have a cattery prefix. They may have purebred or domestic cats. If they have purebred cats, their cats may have originally come from a registered breeder who sold the kittens as pet only without papers, expecting the new owners to have the kittens desexed. They might have been given a kitten by a friend and decided they want to have kittens of their own. Or, in some cases, they see cat breeding as a way to make money, because they see lots of kittens in pet shops selling for high prices. To these people, cats are a commodity, not an animal.

What are some of the differences between these two types of cat breeders?

Registered Breeder
Backyard Breeder
Belongs to a registering body such as TICA
Does not belong to a registering body such as TICA
Breeds only registered purebred cats of the same breed
Breeds any type of cat
Breeds to improve their breed
Breeds for money or “love” of cats
Knows about the genetic problems of their breed and works to eliminate them from the breed
Has little or no knowledge of any genetic problems and puts any two cats together
Is knowledgeable about possible health problems and seeks veterinary advice as soon as required
Has little or no knowledge of heath problems and does not take a sick cat to a vet either out of ignorance or to save money
Screens potential new owners and tries to match the kitten/cat with the best home.
Sells to anyone who pays the asking price
Gives out health, vaccination and historical information on the kitten/cat at the time of sale. Is always available to the new owners for information, advice, etc.
Sells the kittens/cats with no information or assistance to the new owners.
Takes back or assists in rehoming a kitten/cat that has been previously sold if the need arises
Does not want to know about the kitten/cat after it has gone to its’ new home



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