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If you are getting a cat, most veterinarians recommend that you get it from a breeder. Choosing a breeder can be difficult.
To get the most out of your interaction with the breeder and to make sure you get the best possible kitten, be prepared to ask the breeder some questions. The answers and advice you receive will help you select the best and healthiest cat.
Here is a list of questions to consider asking your cat breeder:
1. Are the kittens’ parents “certified”? This means that certain breeds are often at risk for genetic conditions such as heart problems. Most of these diseases are inherited, meaning the disease is passed from parent to kitten. Many breeders will have their cats evaluated and tested for that disease and ultimately “certified” by a veterinary specialist to be disease-free. Know about the breed and if there are any common genetic problems
2. Ask to meet the cat’s parents. If possible, meet the kitten’s parents. Notice if they appear to be in good health and evaluate their overall temperament. Are they shy or well adjusted?
3. How have they socialized the kittens? Have the kittens been around other cats? Other people? Socialization is critical in kittens 6 to 16 weeks old. Proper socialization consisting of good experiences of a kitten with other kittens and lots of different ages, sizes and types of people will give you the best chance at having a well-adjusted cat.
4. What vaccines has the kitten had? How many shots has he received and when will the kitten be due for his next kitten shot?
5. Have the kittens been dewormed? All kittens are born with worms and routine deworming is recommended.
6. Have any of the kittens in the litter been sick? If so, what were the signs, the diagnosis and treatment?
7. What visits has the kittens had with the veterinarian? Have they been examined and declared “healthy”? If not, what problems have they had? Have they been on any medications?
8. What is their guarantee? What guarantee does the breeder give with their kittens? If the kitten is found to have a severe illness, what will they do? This is a difficult topic but one that is a lot easier to cover up front rather than later.
9. Recommendations? Ask the breeder for a couple references of kitten owners that they have sold within the past year. CALL them. Find out if the breeder was fair, if they were happy with their cat and how any problems were handled.
10. Do they have a breeders contract? Does your breeder require a breeder’s contract? If so, what is in it? Is the breeder willing to take back the kitten at any time, if you can’t keep it?
11. Limited registration. Some breeders require that you spay or neuter your cat by a certain age. If that is the case, that may not be a problem but it is best to know before you get your kitten.
12. What is the family history? Ask if the breeder has information about the breed line. For example, ask how long the cats have lived and what they have died from. Write it down. This may be important for monitoring your pet as he gets older.
13. What is the breeder currently feeding the kitten? Regardless of what they are feeding, it is ideal to continue feeding the same food for the first few days at home to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances. If you choose to change the diet, do it gradually.
14. Health certificate and certificate of sale. – Ask the breeder if he will supply a health certificate for the kitten issued by his veterinarian. Some states require also a certificate of sale.
15. Does the breeder belong to a breed club? Ask for references
Get your questions answered and feel very comfortable with your new kitten.
Proper and responsible breeding, appropriate health care and correct kitten socialization will make a big difference in how healthy your cat is and what kind of cat your kitten will turn out to be.