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Finding a Reputable Breeder

When you shop for a kitten on line, please be aware that there are a number of scammers out there.  If at all possible, meet the person and SEE the kitten.  I know this isn't always possible.  If you don't talk to the breeder in person, make sure you feel really good about every other aspect of the transaction.  I don't know all the permutations of the scams but they range from you sending money and no kitten arriving to perhaps a kitten arriving that is certainly not the kitten you thought you were purchasing.  A few red flags to watch for:

  • Poor communication

  • Excuses for not sending photos

  • Photos that don't look like the kitten described or shown on the website. (I've heard from several people telling me of someone advertising a kitten or kittens and using photos of a Mythicbells kitten.)

Why buy a kitten from a reputable, registered cattery?  If you are searching the Internet for catteries and for a specific breed of cat, then I'm assuming that you want a pedigree kitten.  A cattery registered with one or more of the major cat registries lends legitimacy to the cattery and the kittens born in that cattery.  There are several cat registries, with the CFA (Cat Fanciers' Association) and TICA (The International Cat Association) being the largest in the United States.  There are others in other parts of the world.  If you want to show a pedigree cat in a cat show, it must be registered in the appropriate organization.  Registration for each litter provides the vital information for the kittens in that litter to legitimize their heredity as pedigreed kittens.  This includes date of birth, name of father and mother, breeder's name, etc.   This ensures that you are, in fact, getting a kitten of the breed you are looking for.

If in doubt as to whether a cattery is registered with CFA you can check it out here: CFA Cattery Selection Tool  Go to "M" and scroll way down and you will find "Mythicbells."

A few guidelines:

  1. If you want a show cat it's important that you get some good advice and mentoring from a reputable breeder who shows his or her cats and knows the ropes.  I can't advise you on how to find such a breeder, but there are many out there and you can usually get a feel for them by the care with which they present themselves and their cats on their websites and in person.

  2. Never buy from a Pet store--you are asking for health issues and supporting kitten mills.

  3. Some reputable breeders do have a large number of cats, however, check them out carefully.  Visit the cattery, and expect a thorough tour.  You can possibly expect the males and maybe females with kittens to be in sectioned off rooms or large cages.  Some segregation is necessary with any breeding operation, and more so with more cats.  The premises should be spotless with no odor.  The breeder should be forthcoming, knowledgeable, and willing to answer all of your questions.

  4. If your objective is a pedigreed kitten, the parents should be registered cats from a registered Cattery (In the U.S: CFA, TICA or both) and the breeder should be able to produce copies of their pedigrees for you to see.

  5. Persian parent cats should be DNA tested for PKD or the off-spring of PKD negative parents (or grand parents).  Other breeds may have specific health issues for which they need testing, so do your research.

  6. The breeder should sell only with a contract that states certain health guarantees.  This can vary, but it's fairly standard to have at least a 1 year guarantee against fatal hereditary conditions and a time frame from 3 - 5 days in which you can have the kitten examined by your veterinarian to determine the kitten's health at the time of adoption.  You will also be asked to agree to certain things such as no declawing, keeping the cat safely indoors, spay/neutering, etc.

  7. The website should be up-to-date, be sure to check dates of births on available kittens, for example.  There are a LOT of defunct websites in the mix.

  8. Upon initial contact and throughout the entire proceedings the breeder should get back to you in a timely fashion and take the time to communicate clearly with you via phone or email.

  9. If you are buying a kitten sight unseen and having it shipped to you, be very careful.  Are communications clear?  Is the breeder helpful with frequent photos (they don't have to be 'showy' photos of kittens in cute beds of flowers, baskets, etc.  GOOD candid photos are fine, maybe even preferable).  Videos are nice, too, if the breeder is at all camera savvy.  Find out if the cattery and/or the breeder is on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube so you can follow and get to know them.

  10. Expect the breeder to ask you a lot of questions about your family situation, life-style etc. and be suspicious if they don't.

  11. Go with your gut feeling in regards to the breeder's honesty, willingness to help your kitten get started well, and to answer all of your questions no matter how small.

Art, photography,& web design by Molly Barr, © 2015, all rights reserved