4 Potential Problems with Cat Breeders

If you've decided that you'd like to purchase a pedigreed kitten from a breeder, here's some information about problems with cat breeders you should be especially alert for:

1. Lack of Knowledge about the Breed

A good breeder should be a fountain of special knowledge about the cats they breed. They should be able to tell you all about unique genetic traits or personality traits for that breed. The breeder should be aware of allergy sensitivities and other special medical problems associated with the breed. Ask these kinds of questions, and select a breeder who can answer them in depth.

2. Unsafe or Unhealthy Catteries

Many new owners find that they've brought home a sick or injured kitten, because of dangerous conditions in the cattery where the kitten was purchased. These can be related to overcrowding, medical neglect, (delayed or omitted vaccination or failure to properly consult the vet.), poor diet or separating the kitten from its mother too quickly. (A kitten should stay with its mother for 12 weeks.)

3. Questionable Business Practices

Some breeders demand full payment for a kitten before it is born, and others will try to sell you kittens before you ever see them with sales over the internet or through catalogs. Responsible breeders do not engage in these practices, and you should avoid anyone who does.

4. Cat Abuse

Visible wounds or fearful or aggressive behavior from a kitten in the cattery may be signs that the cat is a victim of abuse. You should be alert for such signs.

Important Cautions

Ask your breeder to provide references and contact these people, particularly past customers and vets.

Make sure your breeder is registered and in good standing with the Cat Fanciers Association. It's also preferable that the breeder participate in the Association's yearly inspection program.

The best breeders usually show their cats in competition. Try to find a breeder who has a history of winning in cat shows.

Any breeder who advertises or represents that a kitten is pedigreed should be able to produce documentary proof of registration for the kitten, and the kitten's parents.

Ask the breeder to provide records detailing the kitten's complete health history, and verify that vaccinations and proper exams have been timely.

Make sure you have a firm written commitment from your breeder to take the kitten back or take responsibility for treatment if it's sick with a hereditary disorder or an illness contracted while still in the cattery.

Take your kitten to your own veterinarian within 48 hours after you receive it from the breeder. Your vet should fully review the kitten's medical history, examine the kitten thoroughly, order necessary medical tests and update vaccinations.

Do not hesitate to report any signs of neglect or abuse to the Cat Fanciers Association or to local law enforcement authorities when appropriate.