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Thirteen questions to ask a breeder

There are many questions you might wish to ask a prospective breeder. However, there are many questions you might not think to ask if you have never purchased a pedigreed animal before. It's important for you to understand your legal rights, your own responsibilities, the breeders' responsibilities, and areas where misunderstandings occur most. In the vast majority of cases, the breeders you encounter will be ethical, responsible folks trying to do the best by their cats. These questions will help you make sure that is the type of person you are dealing with.


1. What do you think is special about this breed?

Beware the breeder who does not wax poetic about the virtues of their breed. Most breeders are happy to tell you everything about their breed and why it’s the best breed in the world.

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

2. Do you show your cats?

Showing is not necessarily vital to whether it’s a good pet or not, but showing is a good indication that you’re working with a serious breeder. There are some breeds of cats, particularly rare breeds that are not accepted in a lot of associations, where the person may not show a great deal. This may simply be due to lack of opportunity. Alternatively, they may breed a style of cat that does not conform to breed standards but is an acceptable alternative, such as the "doll-faced" Persian or the traditional or applehead Siamese.

However, in most cases, if a person is breeding cats and isn’t showing, this should raise a red flag for you. Showing is not only fun, it’s an opportunity for breeders to get to know one another, network, and have their cats judged against conformation standards. A quality breeder is always trying to improve the breed, and showing is one way to check the progress of the breeding program.

A breeder who is not involved in the show community probably doesn’t have a lot of contact with other breeders, probably isn’t working with other breeders, and may not be doing a lot of outcrossing as a result (breeding out to unrelated lines). They aren’t building a good network of other breeders to rely upon. Breeders who do show (the majority of them) usually will not work with a breeder who does not.

If the breeder indicates that they do not show, ask why. If they tell you that the breed is rare and opportunities are scarce, this may be OK.

If the person tells you 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 people who are working with new breeds, but there are other people who are just trying to sell you an ordinary cat by convincing you that it’s something special. Be sure you know what your breed looks like. This sounds silly, but there are a few people who have tried to pass off mixed-breed cats as pedigreed ones, even when they looked nothing like the breed in question. Also beware of people trying to sell something as a “mix” – a local paper here advertised “Siamalayans”. There is no such breed; they were advertising these as a mix of Himalayan and Siamese. A mixed-breed cat is a mixed-breed cat, no matter what pretty name you put on it.

3. Do the parents of this kitten have titles? If so, what are they?

Again, while it isn’t strictly necessary for a pet to come from high-titled lines, it does indicate that the person is trying to improve the breed and is breeding quality animals. Don’t worry if one of the parents lacks a title – particularly a female. Since females can go into heat at an early age, hormones can have an adverse effect on their coat and condition. This means that even a top-show-quality female cat might not be able to be shown when she turns 8 months old.

Also, with some breeds in some associations, one or more of the parents may be “AOV” (any other variety). These are cats that are pedigreed members of their breed, but may be of a nonshowable color, or have a conformation issue. For example, a straight-eared Scottish Fold cannot be shown as a Scottish Fold, but it is an important and valuable member of a breeding program. The cat may be of top quality in every other way, but because the ears did not fold, the cat cannot be shown. This is not only acceptable, but in this case it’s the mark of a responsible Scottish Fold breeder to use straight-eared Folds in their breeding program.

Don’t be too impressed with the title “Champion”. Just about any pedigreed cat without actively disqualifying faults can earn this title. While it means the cat was shown, there are many cats of truly pet quality who have managed to earn this title, particularly in less common breeds. A minority-breed cat can usually get this title in a single show. It’s not even particularly difficult. In a “big” breed such as Persian, Maine Coon, or Siamese, the Champion title is a little more difficult, simply because there is occasionally competition for the necessary points.

You want to see at least a few Grand Champions (in some associations, Double, Triple, Quadruple, and Supreme Grands) in the cat’s pedigree. Do a little homework to find out what the titles in question mean in the association in which the cat is registered.

4. Do you practice early spay/neuter?

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. Not all breeders are convinced that early spay/neuter is safe (it is), and others argue that it is not a good option for their particular breed, which may certainly be true. Some breeds are slow developers and should not have this surgery so young. Some breeders go to vets who will not alter young kittens. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for not practicing early spay/neuter.

If the breeder does not do early spay/neuter, ask for their reasons. It should raise a red flag if the breeder cites “expense” as the reason. Spaying or neutering at a young age does not cost more, and it should make you wonder where else the breeder is cutting corners.

5. If you do not practice early spay/neuter, do you have a spay/neuter agreement?

A breeder who 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 specifically for breeding purposes. If the kitten is being sold as a pet without a spay/neuter agreement, this should be a warning for you. 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.

6. At what age do you place your 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 I don’t personally 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.

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 ten 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 $10 to register the entire litter, then about $10 each to register kittens individually. A breeder who cannot afford registration has no business breeding cats.

Some breeders will give a transfer slip to the new owner. This transfer slip should reflect the sex and color of the kitten, and shows that the litter was registered. You will be able to register the kitten individually with this transfer slip. So, the most money that a breeder must pay to register kittens is $10, assuming that the breeder registers only the litter and leaves it up to the buyer to register the individual kitten themselves (which is fun, because then you get to pick out the kitten’s registered name yourself). Sometimes, particularly with an older kitten, or if the breeder is fussy about names, the kitten will come already registered. In this case, the transfer slip will be the kitten’s individual registration paper with the ownership signed over on the reverse side.

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, but this is no guarantee this will not happen.

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 transfer slip (CFA breeders call this the "blue slip" because . . . well, because it’s blue) or its individual registration slip if it’s already been individually registered under its name. The blue transfer 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. In New York State, for example, a pedigree at the time of sale is required by law.

9. Do you take advance deposits on kittens?

a. Do you accept advance deposits against unborn 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.

Some breeders accept advance deposit against unborn kittens. This can be a risky move because, of course, 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).

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? For example, if you desperately want a calico Persian and the breeding in question is between a blue female and a black male, calico offspring is genetically impossible. 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 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.

10. Do you offer a written sales contract?

a. What are the important points of your sales contract?
b. Do you require co-ownership of a cat?

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.

Unfortunately, sales contracts rarely hold up in a court of law. However, this can be a critical document should a dispute arise between you and the breeder. While it may not hold up as a document for a regular lawsuit, it can be a crucial piece of evidence in small claims court both for you and against you. It is best for all parties to discuss a sales contract thoroughly before either party signs, and both parties should do their best to adhere to the contract. If you sign a contract knowing you will break it, you are committing fraud. If a breeder fails to live up to his or her side of the contract, you have an important tool to gain restitution.

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.

Unsolicited opinion here:  I am not a proponent of co-ownerships in most cases, and almost never with the sale of pets. While this can be useful for new breeders and building a mentor relationship, it is also a situation that can set the stage for conflicts. If a problem arises between you and the co-owner, you may find yourself in a bad situation. The signature of all registered co-owners is required to transfer ownership of a cat. You may find yourself in a position where you want to alter and pet out a cat, and you are prohibited because the co-owner will not sign off either on the altering or on the registration slip. I have known many breeders who had serious falling-outs with co-owners who were reduced to altering and giving away co-owned cats without papers because a co-owner would not sign off on ownership -- even when the cat in question is beyond breeding years, is not a good breeder, or has disqualifying show faults. Enter co-ownerships with care.

My personal opinion is that if a person trusts me with their cat, they trust me to make the right decisions by that cat, but this is a more difficult position to advance until you are more experienced and better known in the fancy.

11. 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 FIP 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. It is less specific than the FIV test because it cannot even isolate FIP from other coronaviruses, of which FIP is only one. 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 highly educated 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.

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. A

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.

12. What forms of payment do you accept? Do you accept alternate forms of payment, such as payment plans, credit cards, or 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.

All breeders accept secure sources of funding, such as cash or money orders. Never pay cash for a cat unless you trust the breeder implicitly. Paying in cash leaves no record of payment beyond a written receipt (and if you must pay with cash, demand a written, dated receipt signed both by you and by the breeder. If you have reason to worry, consider getting the receipt notarized). If you must pay with cash or with a money order, choose the money order; at least you have the receipt from the purchase of the money order. This does not prove the person received the money, but it does prove the money order was purchased for the specified amount. If the breeder accepts bank checks or personal checks, you may also opt for that.

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 (http://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!

13. 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 friend of mine 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 dry cat food, the new owner had immediately changed the diet to the cheap canned 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.

A few final thoughts

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 I would want any reader to come away with, it is this: Never, ever, ever view a pedigreed kitten purchase as a rescue. If you come across the (fortunately rare) 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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