What You Need to Know About a Cat Breeder’s Contract
The contract that you sign when you buy a cat from a breeder is more than a simple bill of sale. It describes your rights and the seller’s rights in the transaction, sometimes for the life of your pet. A pedigree documenting the history of generations in your cat’s family line may accompany your contract.
A written breeder’s contract can take many forms; its stipulations can be negotiated between you and the breeder. Many factors come into play – whether you intend to show your cat, for example, or whether you are permitted to breed it.
A responsible breeder is more than happy to discuss every aspect of your cat’s future with you, to ensure the cat is getting a good home. But even if the two parties are best of friends, a comprehensive contract helps guarantee they will remain this way.
Bill of Sale
The bill of sale, or proof that you have paid the breeder or his agent for your cat, may contain some clauses required by law. Certain states, for example, require that a breeder or pet store take a pet back and refund your money if the pet becomes ill within 48 hours from the time of purchase. Before you pay anyone for a cat, review your state’s or municipality’s laws concerning pet sales.
The bill of sale should included the following information:
- Breed, sex and color of the cat
- Date of birth
- Registered names (and numbers) of the cat’s sire and dam – sometimes withheld until you document you have had the cat neutered or spayed.
- Breeder’s name
Once the basic provisions of a minimal health guarantee and lineage are included, either party can add provisions to the breeder’s contract.
- Health. Many breeders want to follow your cat’s health and agility throughout life so they can trace any problems or strengths in the lineage. You may find that your breeder is willing to guarantee good natural health in your cat for one or two years. In return, he may ask you to seek prompt veterinary care any time your cat exhibits any unusual health problem. Occasionally, a breeder will even require you to give him a necropsy report if your cat should die without a veterinary diagnosis.
- Reproduction. Unless you buy your cat to compete in shows, your breeder could require that you neuter or spay your pet. Or, a clause in the contract could specify that you will neuter your pet at some point in the future, if the breeder determines that your adult cat does not exhibit the best standard characteristics of the breed. The contract also might specify that you should not breed a female until she is 1 year old, because having kittens too young would not be good for her or the kittens. It may also suggest that you hold off on breeding a male until after 1 year of age until conformational flaws not apparent in the young kitten have had a chance to manifest themselves.
- Show cats. An entire set of rules governs the breeding and purchase of cats that are to be raised to compete in championships. Briefly, you may require a guarantee from the breeder that your cat is fertile and free from hereditary defects. The breeder could require that you show the cat for a specified period of time or until it attains a title, such as grand champion. Some breeders may require a cat to be shown before it can be used for breeding.
- Finding a new home. Your breeder’s contract could require that you notify him if you have to give up your cat. Besides having wide contacts with trustworthy people who might be interested in adopting your cat, the breeder wants to be sure he can follow your cat through life. Breeders often remain so involved in the lives of their cats that they will care for your pet if you can no longer keep him/her, or if you must be away from home for a long time.