First, put "pet shop" right out of your mind. No reputable breeder, of any kind of cat or dog, would even consider selling an animal to a pet shop. Pet shop prices will always equal or exceed what a reputable breeder would charge. And you cannot evaluate the conditions the kitten was raised in, or meet its parents.
It is important you find a breeder you are comfortable with. The breeder should be registered with either a local or international cat club. Don't be afraid to ask questions, such as how long they have been breeding for, if they can provide references. Do they guarantee the health of the kitten & if so for how long? Is it ok for you to e-mail or phone them with any queries once you have the kitten at home?
Do they guarantee the health of the kitten & if so for how . Any breeder worth their salt will be happy to provide you with as much help as is required after you've bought your kitten.
Don't buy a purebred kitten from a pet shop or an unregistered cattery. You will not be supplied with the cat's papers & you don't know anything about the cat's history. Almost all unregistered breeders offer no guarantee with the kitten, many don't perform routine checks on their animals. Many breeders sell kittens microchipped, fully vaccinated & already desexed. This not only saves you time running around organising it yourself but it often saves you money because breeders are able to pass on their veterinary discounts & therefore save you money. NSW law states that cats obtained after 1st July 1999 must be microchipped, so pet shops are required to sell kittens that have had this done, but most pet shops/unregistered breeders don't sell their kittens desexed & they will also require an additional vaccination, which can work out costly in the long run.
You may think you are saving money buying from an unregistered kitten but more likely than not you end up greatly out of pocket because their kittens are often sick & require expensive veterinary care.
Selecting Your Kitten
This is very important and you need to take care when doing this. It is advisable that you contact breeders several weeks in advance as they often have waiting lists for their kittens. You should be allowed to go & choose a kitten when the litter is around 7-8 weeks of age. You can make a selection then and watch what they do as they play. You can also see which kittens are outgoing and those who are a little quieter. Once you have chosen your kitten you should be able to get updates on the progress of the kitten as the next six to eight weeks go along.
Take a look around the cattery, does it look & smell clean? Steer clear of a cattery that has too many cats kept in cramped & dirty conditions.
Try to take a look at the parents, their nature will give you a good indication of what their kitten’s nature will be like. Does the cattery look clean, do the cats appear happy & healthy? When you are deciding on a kitten give it a discreet look over, check it’s ears, eyes, bottom & nose. Never buy a kitten with discharge coming from the eyes or nose or dirty ears. The kitten’s coat should look & feel healthy, you should not see or feel any dry skin or scabs. There should not be a greasy feel to the coat, which could mean the kitten has not been properly groomed by its mother.
Prices of pedigree cats can vary. This is because breeders sometimes sell cats that may have a minor flaw. This could include incorrect eye colour, a slight kink in the tail or something else that makes it less than perfect to breed from & show, but doesn’t have any effect on the cat’s health or personality. So, if you are buying a pedigree cat just as a pet & you don’t plan to show or breed from it, a pet quality cat will be ideal. These are cheaper than show & breeding quality cats. When you speak to the breeder let her know exactly what you want your cat for. If you want to show your cat, you will pay a little more for a show quality cat. Generally breeding cats are the most expensive to buy.
Many breeders will ask you a lot of questions, this is because they have raised these kittens from birth & want to make sure that they are going to the best possible home & that you, the buyer are fully aware of the responsibility of owning an animal that can live for up to 20 years.
Some questions the breeder may ask you are...
Do you plan to for the kitten to be indoors only?
Many breeders won't sell their kittens to people who plan to let their cats outside, unless they are either supervised, in an enclosure or on a harness. Too many cats are killed on the roads.
How Much Time Do You Spend At Home?
If you are out for long hours daily the breeder may recommend you get a second cat. This is because a cat left for long hours daily will get lonely & could even become destructive.
Questions for the Breeder
When you go to choose a kitten it is important to ask her what you get for your money. The most common questions are...
Is the kitten desexed?
Does the breeder regularly check her cats for infectious diseases? Such as FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency virus) & FeLV (Feline Leukaemia).
How many vaccinations has the kitten had? When is its next one due? You should get a signed vaccination certificate from the breeder.
Does the kitten come microchipped?
Has the kitten been regularly wormed?
Does the kitten come with official cat club registration papers? If so, do you get the papers when you pick up your kitten or when you show proof the kitten has been desexed? Will the pedigree be transferred into your name or kept in the breeder's name? Some owners don't mind what name the official pedigree remains in, while others do. It is better to sort this out before money has exchanged hands.