Choosing a Cattery


Looking for a new kitten is so exciting!

But with the price of a show kitty often being in the thousands of dollars, choosing a cattery to purchase from requires some serious research.

Sometimes it may seem like you are Alice in Wonderland... wondering where to look for that special kitty... and finding it as elusive as the smile on the Cheshire cat.

What Should You Look For?

There are two basic elements to consider when looking for the best cattery from which to select a kitten:

  • The quality of the cats
  • The owner's expertise, character and conduct

The Quality of Cats

"Quality" is not easily measurable. It is an opinion. In fact, it is the reason we have cat shows. The general quality of the cats of a cattery is the sum of a combination of things.

Let us suppose for a minute that you are thinking of purchasing a cat from a breeder... What questions should you be asking yourself BEFORE you approach them for a kitten?

  • How close do their cats come to the written standard of their breed?
  • How much winning have their cats done in the show ring?
  • What is the General Health of the cats? Have they been tested for hereditary health problems like HCM, HD, PKD? etc.
  • What are the Temperaments of their cats? Are the cats happy being shown? Are the females good mothers?
  • The Quality of the Pedigree: Are the parents/grand parents, and/or great-grand parents Regional or International Winners? Supreme Grand Champions? Are the lines well-known and desirable or a mishmash of unknowns?
  • The History of the Cattery: Is it a new breeder? Old? Well known? Unknown?

A cattery's reputation is seldom built on one or two cats, but on the sum of their cats over time. As a cattery establishes their own "look", other breeders will take note. One cattery may be known for cats carrying great coats, another cattery's cats always have small ears. A different cattery may be noted for having cats with great show temperaments... they have developed a reputation for certain qualities in their cats.

The Owner's Expertise, Character and Conduct

There is the part of a cattery's reputation that is determined by the quality of the cats... and then there is the part that is determined by the character and conduct of the owner.

Sometimes these two things are similar... and sometimes they are quite different.

A cattery's reputation, good or bad, is influenced by how knowledgeable the owner is and how the owner behaves.

Have you ever heard someone say, "So-and-so has beautiful cats but they are hard to deal with"? This type of owner may have good cats, yet may have a poor reputation because of their personal conduct.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are they knowledgeable about breeding, genetics, feline health, etc.?
  • Homelife: Are the cats obviously loved?
  • Is cat breeding and showing a business? A hobby? Is it simply a fun social activity? A passion? An ego trip?
  • Do they have large numbers of cats? Do they have tons of kittens every year?
  • Is their cattery clean? Are the cats well cared for?
  • Do they sell good cats to other people, or do they keep all their good ones for themselves?
  • Do they offer guarantees?
  • How do they handle problems when things go wrong over a cat deal?
  • Are they political?
  • Are they Cat Club Members? Do they work hard for the club? For their Region?
  • Are they known as a friendly person, or standoffish?
  • Are they known as a fair competitor... or someone who does a lot of politicking?
  • Are they a poor loser?
  • Do they congratulate winners?
  • Are they a knowledgeable breeder with long term goals?
  • Do they share and mentor with others?
  • Have they ever lost their temper in a show hall?
  • Do they gossip a lot?
  • Have they ever made a snide or nasty comment at ringside deliberately loud enough for other exhibitors or judges to hear?
  • Have they ever packed up in a snit and left the showhall early because their cat was losing?

Be Realistic, Be Patient

Looking for a new kitten is an exciting process. Be patient. Do lots of research. And if a kitten seems too good to be true - look twice .

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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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