21 questions to Ask a breeder

If you have never purchased a pedigreed cat before, or even if you have, it is important for you to ask a lot of questions so you have a complete understanding of the process and what is expected of you and the breeder. You should understand your rights, your responsibilities and the breeder's rights and responsibilities. There are many situations where misunderstandings occur and they are almost always due to miscommunications. In many cases you will deal with good people, but there are far more out there that are not ethical and reputable. Hopefully these questions will help you sort that out.

Reputable breeders are not only happy to answer questions but also welcome them as the sign that the buyer is caring and concerned and is likely to take good care of a new kitten. You can find out a lot about the breeder by asking a few questions... if they are the right questions.

The Influence Of The Internet

Google, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have impacted the world, and the cat fancy is no exception. The average cat buyer is far better informed than even just a few years ago. Because most cat breeders now have cattery websites that tell a bit about their involvement in the cat fancy, about their breed, and about the particular cats in their breeding program, the prospective buyer will know more about the breeder and their cats than ever before. Even so, there will be lots of questions...

1. How Long Have You Been Breeding Cats?

Typically, the first question is, "How long have you been breeding cats?"

If you are looking for someone from whom to buy a cat, you will want to deal with a breeder with some experience; a person who has been breeding cats long enough to know what they are doing. On the other hand, just having been breeding cats for a long time is not in itself a recommendation. What if the older breeder has not kept up with the times, advances and research concerning their breed - or never really educated themselves in the first place? So whether the breeder is relatively new or an old-timer, you will need to probe deeper to evaluate their knowledge and dedication. Still, how long a person has been breeding is a good place to start any inquiries.

2. How Many Breeds Are You Working With?

If a person breeds five or six different breeds of cats, one can't help but wonder how can they have enough time and knowledge to do the best by any one of the breeds? Of course, some excellent breeders work with several breeds that are related, such as breeding Persians and Exotic Shorthairs or Siamese and Orientals. Working with related breeds is almost the same as working with just one as their issues are similar. On the other hand, if a breeder raises Persians, Bengals, Sphynx and Russian Blues, these very different breeds with diverse needs and issues would be a challenge for even the most knowledgeable breeder to juggle all at the same time.

3. How Many Litters Do You Raise In A Typical Year?

There is no magic number of litters that is too many or too little for a breeder to produce each year. Much depends on the lifestyle, abilities and financial stability of the breeder. Still, knowing whether a cattery produces high numbers or low is important in helping you decide if they are the cattery from whom you want a kitten. Is their bloodline popular? Too common? Will they have time to mentor you? How much individual attention does each kitten receive? You're looking for someone who isn't overwhelmed with cats, so each kitten can get the care and socialization that are so important.

4. What do you believe is special about your cat's breed?

I would worry about any breeder that didnt go on and on about their breed. They are proud of the work and effort that they have put into the endeavor. There is a lot of work involved and they will be happy to share with you their pride and joy.

Be prepared, though: They may ask you the same question.

5. Ask if they show their cats.

Showing is not the final decision as to whether breeder is responsible or not, but showing sure is a good indication that you’re working with someone that is serious about what they do. There are some cats breeds that cannot be shown, but these are few. Perhaps someone wont show due to lack of opportunity. There can be other reasons why someone might not show. However, in most cases, if a person is breeding cats and isn’t showing, this should raise a red flag for you. Showing is a joy and allows breeders to get together and network, learning about the breed and have their cats judged against the breed standard by highly trained cat show judges. A reputable / ethical breeder is always trying to improve their breed, and attending shows allows them to verify they are building a better cat.

Showing is an indication that the breeder is committed to producing high quality kittens - not only striving for physical beauty, but genetic health and good temperament. Showing is expensive, and usually if someone is producing kittens just to make a buck, it is less likely they will go to the added expense of showing their breeding stock.

A breeder that isn't showing probably doesn’t have a lot of contact with other breeders and may not be doing a lot of healthy outcross breeding. They aren’t building a network of other breeders to work with and lean on. Most breeders who show, will choose to work only with those who do as well.

If you are speaking with a breeder and they say they dont show when asked (Do ask) then find out why they dont. IF there are no opportunities then this might be an exception to the general rule. If they say that the breed is not showable, make sure you’re working with a legitimate breed. Do your homework and know what you’re buying. There are new breeds out there, but there are also many people who are just trying to sell you an ordinary cat by convincing you that it’s something unique. Be darn sure you know what the breed you are buying looks like. There are many selling mixes as purepred cats for cheap prices. These are not a bargin. A mixed-breed cat is a still a mutt cat, no matter what you call it.

6. Do the parents of this kitten have titles in their pedigree?

It is not critical for the pedigree to show supreme grand champion titles, but it is sure a good indication that the breeder is trying hard to improve upon the breed. And if one of the parents lacks a title – especially a girl, it can be because girls can go into heat very early, and changing hormones can be very hard on coat and color and condition. This means that even a very high quality female cat might not show well by a year old. It varies from cat to cat.

The title “Champion” is nothing to jump up and down about. Just about any fair quality cat without disqualifying faults can accidentally earn this title. While it means the cat was shown, there are many cats of pet quality who have managed to have this title, particularly in less common colors and breeds.

You would like to see at least a few Supreme Grand Champions in the cat’s pedigree. It doesnt take long to learn what those titles mean. It is worth the effort on your part to find out what they mean. At the bare minimum it means that there has been serious effort to prove the cats as a quality example of the breed.

7. Does the breeder spay/neuter the kittens before they go home?

More and more responsible breeders practice early spay/neuter. This means that the kittens are spayed or neutered prior to leaving their homes. While it is the mark of a responsible breeder to do this, it is not necessarily the mark of an irresponsible breeder if they do not. A few breeders are still not convinced that early spay/neuter is safe (is it endorsed by the American Veterinarian Medical Association), and others argue that it is not a good option for their particular breed. Some breeders vets will not alter young kittens. There remains a few who prefer to wait until later.

If the breeder does not do early spay/neuter, ask for why they choose not to do so. If they say that “expense” as the reason, find another breeder. Early spay/neuter does not cost more. It is a reason to question where else the breeder is cutting corners.

8. If they do not practice ESN, do they have a spay/neuter agreement?

If the breeder does not sell kittens who have already been altered, that breeder should at least have some kind of spay/neuter agreement, unless that kitten is being sold contractually as a breeder. If the kitten is being sold as a pet without a spay/neuter agreement, this should be a big red flag. This breeder does not really care what happens to this kitten or what decisions will be made for it. This is not a breeder you wish to work with.

9. At what age does the breeder place kittens in new homes?

Responsible breeders sell their kittens at 12 weeks or older. Many do not sell their kittens until they are between four and six months old. There are some who argue that a kitten is ready to be sold at age 10 weeks; while many don't believe that this is best, it’s within acceptable ranges. However, any breeder who offers you a kitten younger than 10 weeks of age is not up on his or her research and doesn’t have the kitten’s best interest in mind. Run -- don’t walk -- from a breeder selling kittens so young.

A kitten younger than 10 weeks of age is not fully weaned or socialized. Most are not fully weaned or socialized until age 12 weeks or older. While some kitten buyers believe "the younger, the better" and that an older kitten will not bond, this simply isn’t true. Cats are not pack animals and are able to bond with new humans at any time through their lives, even into old age.

http://www.helmiflick.com

What IS true is that a kitten separated from their mother too young may not learn to bond properly at all. The weeks between six and twelve weeks of age are an important time for a kitten’s emotional and mental development. It’s during this time that the kitten learns "cat language" (the body language used by other cats), learns to socialize properly with mother and siblings, learns that humans are really OK -- most very young kittens largely ignore the humans around them -- and develops the confidence to face the outside world alone. By age twelve weeks, the mother-kitten bond is beginning to break naturally. A kitten separated from the mother and siblings before this process is over may have lifelong problems interacting with other cats; may never be able to bond with humans properly; be fearful, skittish, or shy; and develop inappropriate attachments to items.

Most kittens, left to their own devices, will become fully weaned between eight and twelve weeks of age. Most breeders begin introducing food sometime between four and five weeks of age, and the kittens gradually substitute mother’s milk with solid food. However, weaning is a process, not an event; kittens will continue to nurse and eat food together until they stop nursing on their own or Mom begins tiring of the activity and stops allowing them to nurse. The best solution for their emotional and physical health is to let the process take its course naturally.

More importantly, the six-to-twelve week period is a critical time for a kitten’s health development. This is the time when the immune system is kicking over from the immunity gained from mother’s milk to immunity gained from vaccinations. This is also a process and does not happen overnight. This period can be a stressful time for the kitten’s immature immune system. A kitten subjected to the extra stress of being taken from familiar surroundings, mother, and siblings on top of this immune system stress is far more susceptible to upper respiratory infections or digestive upsets, particularly diarrhea.

A six-to-eight week old kitten is an infant. Leave them with Mom and don’t work with a breeder who would force them to do just that.

10. What support do you offer to new owners?

A breeder should be a resource for a new owner, available by phone and/or e-mail to answer questions. You do not wish to work with a breeder who is not willing to be there for you, even after money has changed hands and the kitten has come home.

11. What paperwork do you give with your cats?

Never accept a pedigreed cat without proper registration paperwork. The paperwork is your proof that you got what you paid for: a registered (or registerable) kitten.

Avoid a breeder who tells you that he or she does not register kittens because it’s too expensive. Registration is very inexpensive: about $13 to register the entire litter, then about $13 each to register kittens individually. A breeder who cannot afford registration has no business breeding cats.

It is not good practice for a breeder to sell kittens without papers, even when the kittens have been litter registered. Some breeders do this on the theory that a person will not breed a cat who does not have papers, this is not is justified. I strongly believe that early spay/neuter is the only way to ensure a kitten will not be bred without the breeder’s knowledge or permission.

Some breeders withhold paperwork until new owner submits proof that the cat or kitten was spayed or neutered. This is a perfectly acceptable practice, as long as the breeder sends the promised papers promptly upon submitted proof of spay/neuter.

The papers are your proof that you have received what you paid for, and without them you have no way of knowing this. At the very least, you should get either the kitten’s blue slip or its individual registration slip if it’s already been individually registered under its name. The blue slip does not have to be signed. The registration slip should be signed on the back transferring ownership to you.

You should also request a pedigree -- partly because it’s fun to see where your cat came from.

12. Do you take deposits on kittens?

a. Do you accept deposits on kittens?
b. What if the kitten I want becomes unavailable?
c. Under what circumstances can I expect a refund of the deposit

This series of questions covers one of the areas where a large number of misunderstandings occur.

Many breeders accept advance deposits on kittens. In some cases, it may be the only way to ensure getting a kitten from a particular breeder, especially if it’s a rare breed or a desirable breeder to work with.

No breeder can guarantee how many kittens a queen will have, what colors, what genders, or how many will survive (even in the best catteries, kitten mortality is higher than you might expect. Even if they know how many kittens a queen is carrying, it’s not unusual for one or more kittens not to survive, particularly with a first litter). Be aware you might have to move to a future litter. Just be sure to discuss all eventualities with the breeder when placing the deposit.

If you are particular about a color and/or gender, you may have to wait longer -- sometimes several months or even a year or two. You need to know exactly what a breeder will do for you if your desired color or gender does not appear in a litter. Color is, of course, a matter of personal preference. Gender is not important if you are not planning to breed; there are few important personality differences between the genders in cats if they are altered. Is that color combination possible with a particular breeding? Will the breeder give you priority on another litter if what you want does not appear? Will the breeder refund your deposit on request if you decide to look elsewhere, or are you required to wait for another litter?

In general, the less fussy you are about color and/or gender, the more less likely you are to have to wait as long for a kitten.

Some breeders require a deposit to reserve a kitten, born or unborn. This is fair to ask, because while they are reserving the kitten for you, they are turning down other people’s requests for the same kitten -- other possible sales.

You need to ask whether the deposit is refundable or not, and under what circumstances. For example, some breeders will refund a deposit simply by request, but this takes you out of "line" for a kitten. Others will refund a deposit if the expected kitten dies or the desired color or gender does not show up in a given litter, but will not refund your money if you simply change your mind. Others will not refund deposits at all.

Be sure to get the stated deposit agreement in writing if you leave a deposit, and know what you are getting yourself into. The written deposit should state clearly the circumstances under which you can expect a full refund or a partial refund. Be sure to get a written receipt for any money you leave. Never rely on oral agreements in regard to money.

And don’t complain if you don’t get a deposit refund if you had signed a contract stating that the deposit was non-refundable! Read these clauses carefully and be prepared to accept the consequences.

13. Do you offer a written sales contract?

A sales contract specifies the exact kitten you are purchasing and any specific guarantees the breeder extends to you. It should list the kitten’s name, color, gender, breed, and parents, and should be signed both by you and by the breeder.

Be sure to read each line of the contract very carefully. Be sure to think about each clause and if you are willing to live with the consequences. If you sign a guarantee that states the breeder will not accept a kitten back after 72 hours, don’t expect to return a kitten after that time. If the breeder states you must get a veterinary examination of your kitten in a specified time, do it and save receipts; this can protect you later. If the breeder states "no declaw" and you intend to declaw the cat, bring this up now. Once you have signed it, and once the breeder has signed it, you are obligated to follow it.

If a breeder does not offer a written sales contract, demand one. It’s as much for the breeder’s protection as your own. Some breeders state that if they trust a person enough to have a cat of theirs that they trust them enough to sell without a written contract, but this gives you no protection if something goes wrong.

Co-ownership is not usual in a pet arrangement, though it is more common when selling show or breeder cats, particularly to a person new to breeding and showing. In this arrangement, the cat’s registered owner is legally a co-owner of the cat. Many breeders practice this for a variety of reasons, some good, some not. Some of the good reasons to co-own include mentoring new breeders.

14. What Genetic Problems Are In The Breed?

You will want to know what genetic problems are inherent to a breed - and whether the particular breeder is aware of any inheritable problems. Do your research before you ask this question so that you have an idea of what the answer to the question should be. That way you can better evaluate the quality of the answers you are given.

15. Do You Perform Any Testing On Your Breeding Cats and/or Their Offspring?

You want to purchase from a breeder who's up-front and knowledgeable about problems in the breed, and someone who's actively working to minimize any hereditary issues in their own breeding program. Expect to learn about genetic testing and tests for infectious disease. Typical tests might include:

16. Do you have a written health guarantee?

  • What conditions do you specifically guarantee against?
  • Are there any conditions that would void the health guarantee?
  • Under what conditions would you accept a cat back?
  • Do you offer a genetic health guarantee?
  • What shots and tests do you do on your kittens prior to placement?
  • Do you have any shots you do not recommend?
  • Do new kittens come with a veterinary health certificate? Could I get one if I requested it?

A health guarantee should, at the very least, specifically state the following:

  • guarantees that a cat is free of certain conditions at the time of sale. These may include internal or external parasites, known communicable diseases, and known genetic problems.
  • guarantees a period of time after sale in which the cat is guaranteed free of communicable diseases
  • states what vaccinations a cat has received and on what dates these were received
  • gives a time frame when a buyer must have the cat inspected by a licensed veterinarian to confirm the cat’s state of health

Some examples of conditions a breeder might guarantee against include:

  • FeLV (feline leukemia)
  • Ringworm
  • Fleas
  • Worms
  • Upper respiratory infections, including panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, and calici
  • Known genetic problems
  • FIV* (feline immunodeficiency virus)
  • FIP** (feline infectious peritonitis)
  • * Existing tests for FIV test for the presence of antibodies against the feline immunodeficiency virus, not the virus itself.

    ** Testing for FIP is actually inconclusive. A cat can be tested for FIP, come back with a high coronavirus titer, and never develop FIP. This is because the current FIP test does not test specifically for the FIP virus, but rather for the presence of coronavirus antibodies. A FIP titer measures the presence of coronavirus antibodies. A diagnosis of FIP can only be made based on symptoms combined with the test itself. A breeder offering guarantees against FIP is, at best, making a guess on the cat’s chances of developing FIP.

Some breeders will state circumstances under which they are not obligated to follow their health guarantee. This stands to reason, because there are things a buyer can do that will seriously compromise the cat’s health that are not within the breeder’s control. Most health guarantees with a void clause will state that allowing the cat to roam outdoors voids the health guarantee, because allowing a cat outdoors exposes it to a much wider variety of parasites, illnesses, and opportunities for injury.

http://www.helmiflick.com

You also need to get a medical history of the kitten to give to your veterinarian so you know what shots a kitten may have had. At the very least, a kitten should have had at least 2 vaccinations against rhinotracheitis, panleukopenia, and calici, commonly called the distemper vaccine. Other vaccinations depend on age and practice.

Some breeders also write in caveats against certain vaccines or practices. The breeder may believe that a certain vaccine does more harm than good and that they will not be held responsible for consequences if the buyer goes against the breeder’s advice on the matter. For example, many breeders caution against the use of the feline leukemia vaccine or the feline infectious peritonitis vaccine. They may also hold the buyer entirely responsible if the buyer chooses to use only homeopathic remedies for their cats instead of traditional veterinary medicine.

A veterinary health certificate shows that the cat was examined and found healthy at the time of examination. If the cat is shipped via airplane, a vet health certificate dated within ten days is required for him or her to fly.

One important clause of a health guarantee states the window of time in which a breeder will accept a cat back for health reasons for a full refund, a partial refund, or no refund.

17. How Do You Keep Your Cats?

Make sure you get a look "behind the scenes" to ensure the cats are kept in healthy conditions. Don't just take the breeder's word for it. If a breeder wants to meet you in a parking lot rather than in their home, that is a BIG red flag.

18. May I Have The Kitten Checked Out By My Veterinarian Before I Purchase It?

Do not buy a cat from a breeder who does not allow you to seek the advice of a veterinarian before buying. it's always important to get a professional opinion.

19. What happens if the kitten gets sick?

Not even the most reputable of breeders can offer a guarantee that your kitten is going to stay healthy. The new kitten may become ill within days your purchase, or it may be months before a congenital health defects becomes apparent. A reputable breeder should be prepared to tell you in writing how they will handle circumstances should your new kitten become ill or die.

20. What forms of payment do you accept? Do you accept alternate forms of payment, such as payment plans, credit cards, paypal, escrow?

There are two sides to this story. On the one hand, many breeders have gotten burned by buyers who have sent bad checks for kittens; it’s very difficult to collect on bad checks, particularly across state lines. On the other hand, buyers have also gotten burned by unethical breeders who take money and do not send promised kittens.

If you must send a money order or check through the mail, send it certified/return receipt so you have a record that payment was received.

Some breeders accept credit cards directly, and if you have that option, use it, even if you can pay for the kitten out of pocket. Simply send the money to your credit card company instead of to the breeder. This offers you whatever buyer’s protection is available through your credit card company. In a worst-case scenario, you could dispute charges. Credit cards offer you some protection.

However, becoming a credit card merchant is a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process requiring the breeder to submit to exhaustive credit checks and a costly application process. Plus, the breeder must purchase software or a card reader that will allow him or her to process cards through their bank network – at an outlay of several hundred dollars alone.

More breeders today are taking advantage of services such as PayPal (https://www.paypal.com) that allow them to accept credit card payments. If your breeder does not offer this service, encourage that breeder to check out these programs. The breeder may ask you to pay a little extra to cover the surcharge (PayPal, for example, puts a monetary limit on how much a single person can accept in one transaction or within a certain time period without getting a business account. This threshold is lower than what most breeders charge for a single kitten, so a cattery with PayPal access must pay a small percentage surcharge to use this service). However, it’s worth it to get the extra protection afforded by a credit card payment.

An option that is not used much today that could be a good benefit to buyers and breeders is using an escrow service. An escrow service acts as a go-between between buyer and seller. The buyer pays the money to the escrow service, which holds the money until the buyer has indicated that the seller has received the goods and that the goods are in satisfactory condition, at which point the escrow service pays the seller. If there is a problem with the kitten, the buyer can instruct the escrow service not to pay the seller. However, the seller also has protection: until the matter is cleared up, the buyer doesn’t receive a refund of the money either. The money is held by the escrow company until the problem is resolved. The only problem with escrow services is that they usually require some kind of delivery confirmation – and they have tracking numbers from UPS or Federal Express in mind!

21. Do you offer refund or replacement, and if so, under what conditions? Under what circumstances will you take a kitten or cat back?

Serious misunderstandings occur over this issue. This is an issue best discussed in advance before either side commits to a sale.

Many buyers assume that kittens or cats may be returned at any time for a full refund or replacement. While this may be true within a certain short period of time, this is rarely indefinite.

Some states have laws that require a cat or kitten can be returned for health reasons within a defined period – for example, the New York State Pet Lemon Law states a cat or kitten may be returned for a full refund or replacement within fourteen days. At present, the following states have pet lemon laws on the books: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachussetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. However, some of these laws apply only to dogs, not to cats. If you live in one of these states, contact your state attorney general’s office to find out the extent of your state’s law. Be warned, however: even if you live in a state with a pet lemon law, you may not be covered if you purchased the animal from a state that does not have one. Conversely, if you purchased a pet from a state covered by a pet lemon law and you live in a state that is not covered, you may have protection from that law. The important fact is the originating location of the pet, not where it ended up.

Laws aside, actual practice varies considerably. Some breeders do not offer refund at all – only replacement with an animal of approximately equal value. Some offer refund or replacement within a certain time frame, from as short as a couple days to as long as one month. Be sure you understand fully the time frame for refund or replacement, and the circumstances under which you can expect refund or replacement.

Some breeders only allow refund or replacement for health reasons. Others have a blanket return-for-any-reason-no-questions-asked policy. Many breeders will take a cat back at any time in its life, but will not offer a refund.

Why don’t breeders offer full refunds after a specific period of time?

Breeders most commonly offer refunds or replacement to protect buyers against unforeseen medical problems, failure to settle in, personality conflicts, and other problems. However, the period in which a breeder is actually responsible for problems is fairly short. The kitten quickly enters a period when he or she is influenced strongly by the environment of the new owner: what the owner feeds the kitten, the conditions in which the kitten lives, contact with new animals, etc., and any influence of the breeder lessens considerably. For example, a breeder once had a kitten returned because the kitten was suffering from raging diarrhea and had been for over a week since arriving at its new home. The breeder discovered that although she had sent the kitten to its new home with a supply of its accustomed cat food, the new owner had immediately changed the diet to the cheap food she was feeding her other cat. Within a couple days back on its accustomed diet, the kitten’s digestive system was back to normal. In this case, it was easily correctible, but she learned something valuable about the new cat owner and felt it was in the kitten’s best interests to offer the refund and place the kitten elsewhere.

However, a kitten is not an item that increases in value over time. It’s not like a rare gem or a collectible. It’s more like a car that loses half its monetary value the moment it’s driven off the lot and continues to lose value from there. Some owners feel justified in demanding refunds even months after a kitten sale on the theory that the breeder can resell the kitten and get the money back. This is not true. Even an older kitten of nine or ten months is much harder to place than a younger kitten, as most people, wrongly believing older cats or kittens are less able to bond with humans than younger ones are (wrong; cats are not pack animals and can bond at any age), so the breeder will have to accept a much lower price. Plus, beyond unforeseen genetic problems (detailed below), the breeder simply isn’t responsible for what has happened to the kitten in the intervening months or years since purchase. Its main influence has been the environment of its pet home.

Some breeders offer what are called “genetic health guarantees”, meaning that the breeder will offer a refund or replacement of a cat or kitten that dies of an unforeseen genetic problem within a set period of time, usually one to five years. The hitch to this is that they require this diagnosis to be confirmed through a veterinary necropsy (autopsy) at the owner’s expense. Don’t assume that you can demand a refund or replacement of a kitten who died without veterinary proof of the cause – and that the cause can be traced back to the breeder. Most breeders very much want to know if there are possible genetic problems and will be grateful for (though saddened by) the information.

Buyers should understand...

Pet ownership is a lifelong responsibility. A pet owner must be willing to assume emotional and financial ownership (and risk) of owning a cat. There are sad cases where a kitten is sold into a home and has recurring health problems right from the beginning, where a strong case can be made that this was the breeder’s fault. In these instances, the breeder should assume responsibility for rectifying the situation, and the pet owner should involve the breeder right from the beginning. The important thing is to find the kind of breeder who is willing and able to provide such assistance. A good breeder is horrified to discover one of the kittens he or she sold is having health problems and is eager to clear up any issues.

If there is one message a reader should come away with, it is this: Never, ever, ever view a pedigreed kitten purchase as a rescue. If you come across the (unfortunately somewhat common) instance of a sickly kitten in poor conditions, do not buy it. Too many people have come to grief over this very situation: buying a sickly, poorly-socialized kitten or cat from a breeder and viewing the purchase as "rescuing" a kitten from a bad situation. As pitiable as that kitten’s situation is, you are not rescuing it so much as you are encouraging a bad breeder to stay in business. You can bet that a breeder who is raising kittens in bad conditions will not back up that kitten with any kind of health guarantees or financial support for that kitten, so if you do it, you are on your own. If the kitten’s conditions are bad, report it to the appropriate authorities. Don’t encourage a bad breeder. Besides, if you buy, you are saving only one kitten, and doing nothing for the others that are there or will come into that situation later. If everyone stopped buying from bad breeders, such people would have no incentive to breed cats. It’s clear what that breeder’s priority is, and it isn’t the welfare of the kittens.

A good breeder puts the health, happiness, and welfare of the kittens before all other concerns, and this shows in clean conditions, the sparkling good health of the vast majority of the cats and kittens (even good breeders may get sickly cats from time to time through no fault of their own), and the good personalities of their kittens. Kittens from good breeders will be well socialized and will not be afraid of people. Some will be shyer by nature than others, but they will not act as if they believe people will hurt them. Well socialized kittens will adapt to new homes relatively quickly. No responsible breeder would release a kittens for sale who had a current contagious illness or external parasites such as fleas, ticks, earmites, or especially ringworm. In southern climates where parasites are endemic, internal parasites such as worms can occur even in a well-brought-up cat raised in good conditions; the good breeder gives kittens going to a new home a good general worming, and the good pet buyer repeats this at the kitten’s first veterinary examination.

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So You Want To Be A Breeder

You love your pedigreed cat, and you know other people would as well. She’s got a beautiful coat, brilliant green eyes, an a great temperament.   But before you begin imagining the adorable kittens you could breed and sell, it’s important to learn about the reality of becoming a cat breeder.

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