Many people who want to add a pedigreed or rare breed of cat to their household are seeking out cat breeders as a way to find their next four-legged friend. Cat breeders are more common and accessible than some people think. However, if you are going to a cat breeder for the first time, you want to get as much information about them and their animals as you can before making a purchase.
Here, we go over the top 10 questions that you should ask a cat breeder and why doing so is essential.
Top 10 Questions to Ask a Cat Breeder
1. Why did you become a breeder?
While this may sound like an overly general question, understanding the breeder’s motivation is wise. If the breeder gives a seemingly disinterested answer, they might not be passionate about their work. That could reflect on how the animals are kept and treated. In addition, if the breeder’s answer only focuses on money, that might be another indication that the overall well-being of the cats is low on their list.
2. How often do you breed your cats?
A cat’s gestation period is approximately 2 months, meaning a cat could give birth up to five times a year. Having that many litters each year is not healthy for the mother cat. She will not have enough time to properly nurse or tend to her kittens if she gets pregnant too soon. A breeder should make sure that the mother cat can be bred safely when her kittens have properly been weaned. If a mother has too many litters, this could mean the breeder wants to sell as many kittens as they can and fast, without concern for the mother cat.
3. Are you a registered breeder through an association?
If you are looking for a pedigree cat breed on websites like the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) or The International Cat Association, all the breeders advertising there are CFA-registered catteries. What does that mean? Registered catteries must meet specific standards regarding the facility, enclosures, cleaning and sanitation, healthcare, and cat safety. If you look for breeders outside of those associations’ websites, be aware of potential scams. A handful of breeders could try to falsify registry documents to sell kittens without meeting the standards.
4. Has there been any history of diseases among your cats and kittens?
It is important to ask about any history of diseases among the kitten you plan to purchase. Genetic issues can get passed from the parents to your kitten.
5. What medical procedures are included with the purchase of the kitten?
Many breeders will include primary medical procedures done to the kitten before they go home with you. Those basics include a vet check, vaccinations, and deworming. Some kittens will have their DNA tested for HCM and PKD. Since these additions vary from breeder to breeder, it is vital to know what the breeder is offering so you can compare it to other breeders.
6. What kind of congenital defects are associated with this breed?
It might be tempting to buy a kitten based on cuteness and personality alone. However, you want to be aware of any potential congenital defects that are associated with this breed. Is the feline more prone to certain skin issues? What about issues with their eyesight? What’s their average lifespan? Having a conversation about these potential health defects should be considered when getting a kitten from a breeder.
7. What do you recommend feeding the kitten?
Some breeders will give you some food to get you started. This can give you an idea of what you can continue to feed your kitten. But it is good to get some other choices that are recommended by the breeder. In addition, you can inquire about food choices for them as adults. Experienced breeders will know which brands are the best for the kitten and cat.
8. What makes this kitten pet-quality/show-quality?
You might be going to a breeder because you are looking for a show-quality cat. You might also be looking for a pedigree cat for a pet. Whichever your choice, you want to know what makes the individual cat a great show cat or a lovable pet.
9. What guarantees come with the kitten?
If you are buying from a breeder, the cat can be costly because you are expecting a high-quality feline. But what if your kitten does get sick? Reputable breeders will have the proper paperwork and certifications verifying the kitten’s health. However, it is wise to inquire about any “what ifs” with the breeder.
10. What has been your favorite experience as a cat breeder?
Cat breeders will have so many stories about their experiences! Asking them to share some of their stories is a great way to bond and get to know the breeder on a personal level.
While it can be hard to ask some of these questions to a cat breeder, remember that an honest and caring breeder will be open with their answers. They will show how much they care about their cats and kittens and the reputation of their practices. A good cat breeder also wants to make sure their kittens go to homes where they will be cared for by loving owners. Asking these and other similar questions shows them that you will be an incredible cat owner.
Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock