Questions Your Breeder May Ask
A responsible breeder will also ask you questions before agreeing to sell you a kitten. Some of these questions may seem very personal, but don't take offense. Caring breeders are attached to their cats, and want to make sure their special kids go to loving, responsible homes. In fact, a breeder who seems eager to sell to just anybody may be a bad bet. If the breeder isn't concerned about finding good homes for the kittens, how much care do you think he or she put into breeding the kittens in the first place?
Expect the breeder to ask questions about your lifestyle. For example, he or she may ask whether you will be away from home a great deal, whether you have young children, your housing situation, whether you own or rent, and if you're willing to keep the cat indoors (many breeders require this as a condition of sale). The breeder may ask what you will feed the kitten, and your views on declawing and spaying and neutering. The breeder may want to know what you would do if you couldn't keep the cat any longer. He or she may ask how much you know about the breed, and whether you're aware of the grooming and care commitment the breed requires. The breeder may ask if you've owned cats before, and what happened to them.
Visiting the Cattery
If your conversation with the breeder goes well and you feel you've found the right one for you, schedule a visit to the cattery if possible, because then you can see how the kittens are raised. When you visit, let your eyes and nose be your guides. Does the place smell clean, or does it reek of urine and feces? A cattery should be clean and tidy, but it also should look comfortably lived in. If it's antiseptic and spotless the cats are likely kept in cages and allowed little human contact. Handling is just as important to a kitten's upbringing as quality food and medical care.
Do the breeding cats have a spacious environment in which to live rather than tiny cages? While it's often necessary to keep some cats penned to ensure controlled breeding, particularly the stud males, the pens should be clean and spacious (with at least 27 cubic feet per cat), and the cats should not be kept constantly in these environments. Are the cats comfortable around people, or do they seem unused to human contact? Are toys, scratching posts, and other cat items in evidence, or do you get the impression the breeder views cats as just a moneymaking venture? If the breeder is not willing to let you visit the cattery, be wary. Ask yourself what it is that the breeder doesn't want you to see.