how to find cat breeders

Find Cat Breeders with Solid Reputations

When it comes to finding the perfect feline friend, many people automatically think of adopting a cat from their local shelter or rescue organization. While this is a wonderful thing to do, and there are plenty of cats in need of homes, it’s not the only option.

If you’re looking for a specific cat breed, you may want to consider finding a good cat breeder instead. But with so many breeders out there, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one? To help make your decision easier, I’ve put together a list of 30 extremely important questions you can ask any potential cat breeder prior to a commitment of buying a kitten from them.

best cat breeds

Which Breed is Best for You?

Let’s slow down a bit because you need to be absolutely certain that the breed of cat you’re looking for is the right fit for you and your family. Do plenty of research on the internet, in books, and talk to as many people as you can who own the type of cat you’re interested in.

It might be a good idea to visit a local cat show so you can see the different breeds up close and personal. Talk to reputable breeders in person. Once you’re confident that you’ve found the right cat breed for you, then you can move on to finding a good breeder.

types of cat breeders

Different Types of Cat Breeders

There are three primary types of cat breeders: Show, Hobby, and Commercial.

  • Show breeders are generally considered to be the best type of breeder, as they are very knowledgeable and passionate about their chosen breed. They produce purebred cats that meet specific standards set forth by cat fancy organizations.

  • Show breeders are also very selective about which cats they breed, and they will only breed the very best to maintain the quality of their bloodline. As a result, these breeders are usually more expensive than other types of breeders. However, you can be confident that you’re getting a high-quality, healthy kitten from a reputable and legitimate breeder.

  • Hobby breeders are dedicated to their chosen breed, but don’t necessarily breed their cats to show standards. Some of these breeders may have started out as pet owners who simply fell in love with their cat and decided to breed them. Others may have started out as show breeders but decided to downsize their operation.

  • Hobby breeders are usually a good choice if you’re looking for a specific breed of cat but don’t want to pay show breeder prices. However, it’s important to do your research on any potential hobby breeder to be sure they produce healthy, good-tempered kittens that meet the breed standard in appearance.

  • Commercial breeders are people who breed cats for the sole purpose of selling them and are also known as kitten mills. They typically generate too many litters per year and their techniques cause health problems or congenital defects.

  • Commercial breeder cats are usually kept in cramped, unsanitary conditions with little to no human interaction or socialization. As a result, these kitten mills often produce unhealthy cats that have behavior problems. They are more likely to have genetic diseases due to inbreeding as well. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid commercial breeders altogether.

reputable cat breeder

How to Find Reputable Breeders

Unfortunately, not all breeders are considered to be good breeders, so it’s important to do your research before choosing one. Some of the advantages of buying from a good cat breeder include:

  • The best breeder lets you choose the specific cat you want.

  • A good cat breeder is knowledgeable about their cats and can answer any questions you have.

  • A reputable breeder allows you to visit their facility, meet the kittens, and see the parents prior to making a purchase.

  • Good breeders will usually provide you with a health guarantee for your new kitten.

  • You can be sure that your kitten comes from a good home and has been well cared for.

  • A helpful breeder can provide you with references from other customers.

  • Good cat breeders will have an excellent reputation within the cat fancy community and be a member of one or more cat fancy organizations.

  • A reputable breeder usually specializes in one or two breeds and have in-depth expertise about those breeds.

  • Good breeders are passionate about their cats and want to ensure they go to good homes.

  • A good cat breeder will be able to provide you with a contract that outlines your rights and responsibilities as the new owner.

bad cat breeder

What are Some Red Flags of Bad Breeders?

Bad breeders can be easy to spot if you know what to look for. Unfortunately, many first-time buyers aren’t sure what constitutes a good breeder and end up being scammed, so they may unwittingly purchase from someone running a sub-par operation. Here are some key things to watch out for:

  • Refusing to let you see the kitten’s mother

  • Not having health certificates or registration papers

  • Selling kittens younger than 8 weeks old

  • Not allowing you to visit the facility where the kittens are raised

  • Not providing information about the kitten’s health history

  • Not having a contract or guarantee

  • Charging more than the going rate for the kitten

  • Asking for payment in cash only is a bad sign

  • Breeding too many cats or too many kittens per year

  • Not being able to answer questions about the breed.

If you happen to encounter a red flag, it’s best to walk away and find another breeder.

Good breeders will be happy to answer all of your questions and want to make sure they trust you with one of their kittens. Checking for bad reviews will also help you weed out the unsavory, backyard breeders and find the right breeder.

Reputable breeders are passionate about their cat’s health and want to ensure they go to good homes. Commercial breeders only care about how many cats they produce for pet stores to make money.

A potential pet owner looking for healthy cats should avoid pet stores altogether. If you want to buy a kitten without any health issues, you’ll want to look elsewhere for your new kitten.

most reputable breeder

So, How Can You Find a Reputable Cat Breeder?

Here are 30 questions you can ask potential breeders you’re interested in contacting to see if they meet the proper qualifications. This should help you find a cat breeder and alleviate any doubts or anxiety you might be feeling. You don’t need to ask every question, but if you simply refer to a few of the more important ones, you should be confident providing their answers fall within the necessary parameters.

1. How long have you been breeding cats?

A prominent breeder will have at least five years of experience. This shows they are committed to breeding and serious about producing healthy, high-quality cats.

2. What made you decide to start breeding cats?

They should reply with something such as a love for the breed and a desire to improve upon it. Avoid breeders who got into breeding for money or as a hobby without doing any research first.

3. Which cat breeds do you specialize in?

Most breeders will typically only work with one or two breeds. This allows them to become experts on those breeds and produce the highest quality cats.

4. How many litters do you have per year?

A good rule of thumb is no more than two or three litters per year. This shows that the cattery is not mass-producing kittens for profit. It also proves they have the time and resources to properly care for each one.

5. What are your cat's living conditions like?

The breeder should keep their cats in clean, spacious, and safe conditions. The cats should have plenty of room to move around and should not be kept in cages.

6. How do you socialize your kittens?

Kittens should be socialized from a young age so that they are comfortable around people. A good breeder will handle their kittens frequently and expose them to a variety of people, sights, and sounds.

7. What are common health problems with your breeds?

A good breeder will be able to tell you about any health problems that are typical in their particular breeds. They should also provide an answer with what measures they take to avoid these problems.

8. Have any of your cats ever had health problems?

If the breeder has been breeding for a while, it’s likely that at least some of their cats have had health problems. The breeder should be able to tell you about any health problems that have arisen and how they were dealt with.

9. What do you feed your cats?

A good breeder will only feed their cats a high-quality diet that is appropriate for their age and health status. Avoid breeders who feed their cats a cheap, commercial diet.

10. Do you have a written contract?

A legitimate breeder will have a contract outlining the rights and responsibilities of both parties. This contract must protect both the buyer and the breeder.

11. What is your refund policy?

Their refund policy should be reasonable and protect the buyer in case of a health problem. Avoid breeders who do not offer a refund policy.

12. Do you offer health guarantees?

A proper cattery will offer a health guarantee that covers the kitten for a certain period of time. This shows that they are confident in the health of their kittens.

13. What vaccinations will my kitten need?

The breeder should tell you which vaccinations your kitten requires and provide you with a schedule for each of the vaccinations.

14. Do you ship kittens?

Some breeders ship their kittens, while others do not. There is no right or wrong answer here, but it’s important to ask so that you know what to expect.

15. How do you select your breeding cats?

The breeder will explain exactly how they select their cats for breeding. They should only breed cats that are healthy and have good temperaments.

16. How many cats are typically in a litter?

Litter sizes can vary, but there are usually about four to six kittens per litter. This allows the breeder to focus on quality rather than quantity.

17. Are your kittens registered with a cat association?

When the breeder has a membership with a cat association, their kittens will likely be registered with that association as well. This shows that the breeder takes their work seriously.

18. Can I see your breeding cat's pedigrees?

The breeder should be able to provide you with the pedigrees of their breeding cats. This shows they are knowledgeable about the cat’s lineage and that they are capable of producing high-quality kittens.

19. Do you offer tours of your facility?

An acceptable breeder will be happy to show you around their cattery. This allows you to see the living conditions of the cats and meet the breeder in person.

20. Do you have references I can contact?

A decent breeder will provide you with a list of references. These are people who have purchased a kitten from the breeder and can attest to their good character.

21. What are the goals for your breeding program?

The breeder’s goals will tell you a lot about their priorities. A good breeder will be focused on producing happy, healthy kittens.

22. What do you do with your retired breeding cats?

The cattery will likely have a plan for the cats who are no longer breeding. A responsible breeder will either find homes for them or keep them as pets.

23. What are your terms and conditions?

A written set of terms and conditions that outline the expectations of both parties should be available. This helps to protect both the buyer and the breeder.

24. How do you screen buyers?

A good cat breeder will make sure the buyers are a good fit for their kittens. This helps to ensure that the kitten goes to the perfect home.

25. When can I take my kitten home?

A legitimate breeder can tell you when the kitten will be ready to go home. Kittens must be at least 8 weeks old before they leave the breeder’s care to give them time to be socialized with other cats and people.

26. Will I have breeding rights with my cat?

This all depends on the breeder. Many breeders will charge extra for breeding rights while others spay or neuter each kitten to protect their vested interests.

27. Do you have any questions for me?

Breeders often have a list of questions that they ask all potential buyers. This shows they’re serious about finding the right home for their kittens.

28. What type of health or congenital problems are tested?

A good cat breeder will test their cats for common health problems including heart disease, kidney disease, and other genetic disorders. This ensures that they are producing healthy kittens.

29. What food does my kitten need?

Your kitten should already be eating high-quality food therefore, the breeder should tell you what food they recommend and where you can purchase it.

30. How can I contact you if I have any more questions?

The most reputable breeders give you their contact information so that you can reach them if you have any more questions. This shows that they are committed to supporting you and your kitten.

While you don’t necessarily need to ask every question on the list, this does give you a good starting point. Asking the breeder even a few of these questions will help you to get a better understanding of their operation and whether or not they are a good fit for you.

Final Thoughts

When finding cat breeders, it is important to ensure that you are getting a healthy, well-socialized kitten. The ideal breeder will have a solid understanding of genetics and breeding practices, while also being able to provide you with information about the parents of your kitten.

Beware of breeders who only seem interested in making a sale. These individuals are likely more concerned with profits than with the welfare of their animals. Only work with breeders who are willing to answer your questions and who seem genuinely invested in finding good homes for their kittens.

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