The KZN Cat Club has put together a 5-part series on how to find your purrfect kitten, how to find a breeder, how to choose a breed and some helpful tips for preparing your home for your new kitten. Part 3 focuses on “Finding the purrfect breeder?”.
1. Determine the roles and responsibilities of your household and the limitations you may encounter.
2. Choose a breed.
3. Work on a budget range.
4. Find a cat club or organisation to point you in the direction of some breeder choices.
FINDING A REGISTERED BREEDER
Visit a local Cat Club’s or Organisation’s website.Visit www.kzncatclub.com or www.cfsa.co.za for a list of CFSA registered breeders.
Start contacting breeders. Most of the time a breeder prefers to be emailed with some information about you and your household as well as some reasons why you have chosen the breed, where you live and a bit about your lifestyle. State your intentions clearly whether you wish to have a pet, a cat to show or a cat to breed with.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE BREEDER
Ask about the living conditions of the breeder’s cats. How a breeder keeps their cats is going to give you an indication of their health, conditions and care.
What kind of testing they do for their cats for medical reasons that are pertinent to a breed such as HCM for Sphynx or Hip Displasia in Maine Coons?
What the kitten will cost and additional costs such as travel, medical testing, etc.
When they will have kittens available and how long the wait will be for a kitten? You may need to be patient to wait for a purrfect kitten and not rush into things just because a kitten is available sooner than another. If the breeder is unable to assist you or put you on a waiting list, then ask them for a referral to someone they work with or trust.
Ask to see pictures and videos of the kittens and their parents and/or grandparents.
Ask about potential health problems in the breed, temperament problems you may encounter, and if the kittens will fit in with your lifestyle (job, kids, quiet, busy, travelling, etc).
Ask if the breeder provides mentorship for breeding and/or showing should you be interested in getting more involved. Sometimes the Cat Fancy is a complicated landscape to navigate alone.
Ask about diet, appropriate toys, litter brands and what the breeder recommends if you have small children and other pets.
Ask if the breeder sterilises kittens prior to letting them leave. This is very important and separates the responsible from irresponsible breeders. Your kitten should be already neutered or spayed when you receive it unless it is a breeding cat sold with a breeding contract.
There is so much more but if you unsure of anything, just ask! Most breeders are very accommodating!
QUESTIONS THE BREEDER MAY ASK YOU
The breeder will ask you seemingly invasive questions about your lifestyle and other family members and pets. He/she should ask you whether you intend to keep your kitten indoors or will secure your property of escape and entry points, and various other questions to determine if the breed will fit in with your lifestyle and if any of their kittens would be a good fit for your family.
The breeder will want to get a feel for your intentions and may not be 100% comfortable with you getting a breeding cat off the bat if you are a novice. He/she may want to mentor you further. All of this is in the best interest of his/her kittens.
Next… PART 4: FINDING THE PURRFECT KITTEN & SCAMS