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You can discover a lot about a breeder just by asking some questions, for example:
How many years have you been breeding cats?
How many cat breeds do you currently have?
How large is your cat breeding operation?
Can I see where your cats and kittens spend most of their time?
What congenital defects are present in this breed?
May I have any cat or kitten checked out by my vet before I adopt?
What happens if the cat gets sick? Is there a health guarantee?
Is this cat "pet quality" or "show quality", and why?
Any good breeder welcomes your questions - it signals to them that you are a caring buyer and gives them some reassurance that their cats would be going to a good home.
Kittens benefit from the extra time with the brothers and sisters for the first twelve to fourteen weeks, so most people think that's the ideal age to adopt a kitten. Some breeders will not let their kittens go to their new home before the age of 14 or even 16 weeks, because that's when the kitten's immune system is fully developed, and that gives the kitten a good amount of time to be nicely socialized.
How to learn about a kitten's temperament:
Play with the kitty - take the kitten away from her littermates to evaluate her interest level.
Check out her personality and how she reacts to you.
Don't just take the first kitten you see - take your time and check them all out. The one you pass up may have been a better match for you.
Bring some toys to see how playful the kitten is, if she is unafraid of people, and is outgoing and not shy.
You can buy a cat you have never seen if it's a rare or unusual breed that you've had your heart set on. But this sort of transaction requires a lot of trust by both parties, and you want to be sure you are dealing with a reputable breeder. If your have a trusted breeder then go ahead with the purchase, and have the cat shipped to you through an airline. Also see the cat travel tips on traveling by air in the "Travel & Moving" category.
Only breeds recognized by a nationâ€™s cat breederâ€™s association can compete for shows. The American chapter is the Cat Fanciersâ€™ Association (CFA.) Each nationâ€™s chapter may or may not recognize the same breeds as does the worldâ€™s largest breed registry, The International Cat Association (TICA.)
Some cat breeders are not scrupulous about what breeds are allowed in TICA or CFA sanctioned shows. They may sell a cat or kitten claiming that the breed is sanctioned when it is not or claim that a breed will be sanctioned "soon." Always check TICA or the CFAâ€™s websites for the most current list of recognized breeds.
TICA splits cat breeds into four categories for competition and registry purposes. These five categories are:
1. Championship Breeds: Conventional recognized cat breeds
2. Non-championship Breeds: Mixed breeds that can enter fun â€œHousehold Petsâ€ classes that do not go towards Best In Show
3. Preliminary New Breeds: Rare, recently developed purebreds with a limited following that cannot compete for Best In Show
4. Advanced New Breeds: Recently developed breeds that are soon to be recognized by TICA as a Championship Breed
Here are some tips on finding a breeder near you:
Magazines - There are several cat magazines that list breeders for most of the popular cat breeds. Some are: Cats, Cat Fancy, Cats USA, Kittens USA, I Love Cats, Pet Life, Your Cat.
Web sites - You can search the web for cat breeders and other resources.
Cat Clubs - Contact local and national breed clubs to locate reputable breeders. To find breed clubs near you, contact one of the national or international cat associations.
Cat Shows - Check local newspapers, cat magazines, breed club periodicals, or search the web for cat shows being held near you.
Veterinarians - Most vets can tell you who the reputable cat breeders are, and if their cats are healthy.
Classified Ads - Some reputable cat breeders use the classified ads, but be aware that there are "bad" breeders listed there too, so you should thouroughly investigate their operation before buying any of their cats.
If you find that you want the predictability and unique characteristics of a purebred cat (and are prepared to pay the high price for one), then your next step is to decide upon the cat breeds that are just right for you.
How to learn about the different breeds? I suggest that you look at popular cat magazines or search online, and attend a few cat shows in order to familiarize yourself with the cat breeds that interest you.
Cat magazines offer breeder advertisements, but these publications do not screen breeders, so it's best to be careful. If he's a reputatble breeder, he's likely to belong to a regional or national breed club and should be able to give you a referral to a breeder in your area.
Cat shows are an ideal place to see the finest examples of a particular pedigree, including some not commonly seen. It is also a good place for meeting qualified breeders, who may have just the kitty you desire. Most exhibitors are willing to answer questions (unless they are getting ready to show their cat), so ask for business cards and write down phone numbers along with notes about your conversation so you can remember later what was discussed regarding their cats or kittens.
Adult cats are available for adoption for many reasons, for example, the owners moved or died, allergies, and for other silly reasons. Even pedigreed cats may be available, either from breeders trying to sell of unneeded stock or owners who can no longer care for their pets.
Many of these unfortunate cats are wonderful pets and should be considered for adoption, as long as the cat or kitten is healthy and does not have any cat behavior problems, such as agression or litter box avoidance.
If possible, take the adult cat into a quiet room, away from the cages in the shelter, or away from the cats previous family. Then sit with her quietly so you can get to know her. You are looking for an outgoing cat who responds readily to your attention, and is calm and relaxed in your presence.
Many people make their choices based on a kittens looks. Some people prefer longhairs over shorthairs, calicoes over gray tabbies or hairless over bobtails. Looking for a beautiful cat is no problem, but make sure your kitty is more than just gorgeous. You need a cat that has a temperament you can live with, and that most importantly, that he's had adequate cat health care. Evaluating both of these things takes a little time.
One step in finding out about a kitten is to ask the owner about the kitten's mother.
If you are dealing with a reputable breeder, he will be happy to tell you everything that went into the development of your kitten, from how the mating was decided, to nutrition and what pet foods the mother received during pregnancy, and how the kitten was raised and socialized.
What if your friend what you to adopt their kitten? Well, you should ask about the mother's health and the environment the kitten was raised in. If the litter was hand raised indoors, and grew up with children and dogs to get used to, this kitten may be well socialized and may be an excellent pet for you.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|