FINDING A REPUTABLE BREEDER
Many unsuspecting pet owners will buy a cat from a breeder uninformed. How do you know if you are dealing with a reputable breeder? Often, it is hard to tell a "good' breeder from a "not so good" breeder. Here is a great website:
Any kitten you select will be with you, on average, around 15 years. It is very important to find a kitten that you will love and that is healthy. I highly suggest doing as much research on finding good cats as possible.
1.) Adopt from a breeder that offers a contract and a guarantee. Not only does this protect the breeder's interests, it protects you, the buyer.
2.) Do NOT adopt any kitten that is less than 12 weeks old, many reputable breeders will not send their kittens to their new homes until they are 16 weeks old. A kitten that is younger than 12 weeks old is too young! If the kitten placed in a new home and is younger than 8 weeks old - that actually breaks some state laws.
3.) Only go to a breeder that allows you access to see the cattery. If someone does not want you to see the cattery, there is may trouble there. You should see the cats live in conditions that are comfortable and the cats are socialized, playful and healthy. Check the eyes for clearness and clarity, make sure the noses are clear and not wet. Kittens should appear robust - ribs and backbone should not be visible.
I recommend that before you adopt a cat, if you can to go visit several different catteries, see what they are like, the differences may surprise you and open your eyes to something you may not have noticed if you had only visited the one.
4.) NEVER take a sick kitten home. Most pet adopters are not equipped to deal with kitten sickness like breeders are. If a breeder lets a sick kitten go - they clearly do not have the kitten's best interest at heart. You will end up spending a small fortune at the vets for a sick kitten and it may even end up dying. Many states have pet lemon laws that do not allow for this.
5.) Most breeders require this anyway, but ALWAYS take your kitten (this goes for ANY new pet) to the vet within 48-72 hours of bringing into your new home. Most pet adopters are not knowledgeable enough to truly determine if a cat/kitten is healthy/sick. Only a professional should do that. For $30-$40, you will have piece of mind that your animal is healthy and "proof" if the animal is not.
6.) Do NOT be compulsive about adopting your cat/kitten. Most reputable breeders only have a few litters a year and there are usually waiting lists or many interested in adopting kittens. If a breeder has every color and type of kitten available - this is unusual and can indicate a backyard breeder with too many cats. This kitten will be with you and your family for many years to come. Waiting 3-6 months for the cat of your dreams is well worth the wait.
7.) Ask the breeder what they test for, ask what issues are specific to the breed. They should test for: FIV, Feline Leukemia, cardiomyopathy. Ask to see copies of the paperwork, if a breeder gets offended that you ask, move onto a new breeder. They may not want to give you a copy for confidentiality reasons, however, they should be open to allowing you to view them.
8.) Try to figure out how many litters there are... socialization of the kittens is extremely important. I am only comfortable having 2 litters at a time. If there are more than that, it is harder to get those kittens socialized. It is not impossible... but much harder to do.
9.) Ask yourself, "Do I feel comfortable with this breeder?" Do you feel the breeder cares about what you want from your pet? Do you feel like you can call this breeder if you need to, even for 'silly' stuff, like what kind of litter to use? If you do not feel like that is the case, move on. Breeders create these cats, and should be willing to help them in every way.
10.) Sphynx pet kittens cost $1500. Breeders are $2000-$3000. This is the fair price for Sphynx. You usually get what you pay for - if the cost is much less and there is no reason listed, I would be very skeptical that the cat is from a reputable breeder or going to be healthy. The breeder may be skimping on care of the animal. Locating a retired breeder Sphynx is a good way to go to find a less expensive Sphynx that is healthy and well socialized. The cost of retired Sphynx (older than 8 months) usually ranges from $400-$800 and can be dependent on age. A cat that is 1 year old have a higher adoption fee than a cat that is 4 years old. Retired Sphynx are great because they are affectionate and playful at any age!
11.) Adopt from somewhere local if you can. This can be easy or hard depending on the rarity/popularity of the breed and your location. Flying cats can be stressful for the cats and there is no way to return a cat without paying the $120 - $180 fee for the return flight.
You can check www.breedlist.com or www.kittysites.com or http://www.tica.org/homepagetoc.htm for breeders in your area. This does NOT mean all listed on these sites are reputable/ethical breeders. You STILL must determine that yourself.
12.) Advertising Imports... Imports are not necessarily any better than something that is not. It should not go into the cost factor of a cat. (i.e. increase the cost to you)
13.) Do not let a breeder convince you to take a kitten with breeding rights if you are not interested. Breeding is challenging, emotionally and financially draining, and a lot of hard work. It takes love of the breed and true devotion to it... that is required to *do right* by the animals!
14.) Recently, there have been some pet buyers that have had breeders change the price (higher) on them. Make sure you get a WRITTEN price with some sort of breeder confirmation before you send your deposit in so it cannot be changed.
15.) Deposits should not be more than than 1/3 the cost. Deposits are used to demonstrate there is a real interest in the kitten. By putting a deposit down, it means the breeder will turn away other potential adopters. It is also used to cover the cost of the alter. Deposits that are higher than this may be questionable.
1.) MYTH: A breeder that has been breeding for years is a "good breeder".
This is not necessarily true. It can be an attribute if the breeder maintains current knowledge and is updating her breeding practices as science gets more advanced. Also, time in the breed does not teach ethics.
2.) MYTH: The breeder has a contract, this means he/she is standing behind his/her cats.
NOT ALWAYS! It is an important step, but one must take a look at the 'bigger picture'. First, what is the content of the contract? Most breeders will have genetic guarantees for 1, maybe 2 years. Most genetic issues will not show up until after 1 year. Is your cat certified (free of infectious diseases) by the vet before you get him? Are you required to take you cat to the vet within 3 days of receiving him? The answer should be yes!
3.) MYTH: A vet reference means the breeder is "gold"
Not always. Be careful about vet and other breeder references. A vet is bound by confidentiality. You can always ask and speak to a vet, if she has high praise, then most likely that is fine. If you find the vet is tight lipped and vague, he may have something he cannot tell you because the breeder will not allow it!
Breeder references can be good, but still remember to be careful. Generally, yes, you should ask the for references, but remember a healthy dose of skepticism is always good.
4.) MYTH: A breeder that is a registered cattery in TICA, CFA, FiFe, ACFA, etc. is reputable and ethical.
This is not always true. While all reputable breeders are registered in at least one organization - these organizations are primarily registering bodies that generally do not get involved with ethical issues with breeders. Basically, they register cats and establish rules for shows and registration... they are NOT the cat breeder police. Because of this, there are unethical breeders that have cats registered with some association(s).
5.) MYTH: The breeder seems so nice, so they must be a good breeder.
This is not true. Everyone can be nice when they want to be - especially if they are trying to make a sale and are interested in money! There are many breeders that appear nice, but are either ignorant of proper feline husbandry or just don't care. The breeder should have a heartfelt interest in where her cats go and not necessarily tell you what you want to hear. Some of the breeders that appear more demanding and ask more questions are that way because they care about their cats and not making money. If the breeder cares about the cat's well being in your home, there is a good chance that will be a good cat for you to adopt.
5.) Pretty website saying the right things. Must be a good breeder.
Not necessarily. Even the unethical breeders know what to say and can take good photos and make pretty websites. The most common one I see is "Handraised, underfoot"... I have seen this on website of breeders I know have more than 20 cats and cage them! Do not believe everything you read!!!