How to Buy a Purebred Cat
Whether it is the prestige of owning a purebred cat, the desire to get involved with showing and breeding, whether it is love of a certain breed; there are some things a person needs to know before buying a purebred cat or kitten.
What is a Purebred Cat?
A purebred cat is one with registration papers to state that it is of known breeding and a known breed. The registration papers indicate the animal's parents, and often grandparents, showing that they are the same breed. Registration is only proof of pedigree, not quality.
In most areas animals advertised as purebreds must come with registration papers at no additional charge, in fact under the Pedigree Act in many areas, a kitten cannot be advertised as purebred and offered at one price with papers, and one price with out.
Reputable Cat Registries
CFA – Cat Fanciers Association
ACFA – American Cat Fanciers Association
TICA – The International Cat Association
Every cat breed has pros and cons as fitting to a persons lifestyle. Each breed also has some health problems commonly associated with it. Although good breeders try to avoid these concerns, some are related to the breed standard. For example, cats with short faces, such as Persians, have health problems associated with having short faces.
Each cat breed has a typical behavior associated with it. This behavior might be a pro in some homes, and a con in others. For example Bengals (a newer breed still not accepted by some registries) are more active and do not do well if kept in apartments, where as Persians are ideally suited for apartment life, however the Persian cat will require daily grooming or can develop painful hair mats and they are prone to having issues with using their litter boxes.
It is up to every potential buyer to make notes of what they want in a cat, and what they do not want. Behavior needs to be on top of the list, followed hair length, and appearance.
A person should not only read up about traits common in certain breeds, they should try to see cats of that breed and speak to the cats owners. It is easy to only want to hear positive things, but being aware of the negative is very important. Cat shows are excellent places to learn more about different breeds (and places to find breeders).
It should also be noted that some breeds are very hard to find in certain areas, especially the Rex breeds which are those that are ideal for people with allergies. It is never recommended to buy a kitten without seeing the parents and talking to the breeder. There are a lot of scams revolving around buying kittens through the Internet. As such its a good idea for a person to select a few similar breeds that they like and try to find one in their area. It is not uncommon to have to drive a few hundred miles (or kilometers) to find a breeder.
Finding a Good Breeder
Good breeders take their purebred cats to shows to prove their worth as breeding animals. They also take them to the veterinarian for checks (and certification) on genetic health.
Reputable cat breeders do not advertise litters of kittens for sale, nor do they ever sell kittens to a pet store.
Good breeders advertise in Cat Magazines, and at shows. They are known to cat clubs and breed rescues.
Reputable breeders get waiting lists for kittens before even breeding their cats, as such a person wanting a purebred kitten needs to start looking early.
Good cat breeders generally only have one breed of cat, and only breed them once a year.
Picking the Kitten
Female cats cost more to spay than a male costs to be neutered, however even neutered males on occasion will still spray.
The breeder will know the personality of each kitten, which is more playful, which is more shy. They will also have a good idea of which ones are better representations of the breed. The breeder can help you pick the right kitten. Of course kittens will change in personality as they get older.
Never take a kitten that is under 6 weeks of age, ideally 8 weeks is best. This is critical not only for health reasons, but a lot of socialization skills develop when kittens are between 5 and 8 weeks of age.
Never pay for a kitten that has not been vet checked, vaccinated, and wormed. All reputable breeders will have this done in advance, and will provided vet certificates showing when booster shots are needed.
Get everything in writing, and make sure you get proof of payment and/or deposit. Ask the breeder what kind of guarantee the Kitten comes with (all good breeders have some sort of health guarantee and genetics guarantee).
Get the registration papers signed over to you. Cats advertisted as purebred must come with registration papers at no additional charge.
Pet stores do not sell quality animals, they get their Kittens from mass breeders who worry only about profit, not about quality.
It is very common to see kittens advertised as a certain breed - remember without registration papers to prove it, this is probably false advertising. For example tail-less kittens are often marketed as Manx's even when they may not be, as well any large fluffy tabby is often marketed as a Maine Coon. If these cats do not have registration papers, they are not legally purebreds.
Expect a good breeder to ask you a lot of questions too, as they want their cats to go to good homes, they have every right to screen you.
Never pay a cent for a kitten that has not been seen by a vet or come with health guarantees.
Many “Back-Yard-Breeders” market themselves as reputable breeders, however good breeders always have show records, and championship titles for their cats earned prior to breeding.
Cats without registration papers are not worth more than any vaccinations done to them prior.
If you just want a pet you can adopt a domestic cat from your local animal rescue, SPCA, or humane society.