I find a pedigree kitten ?
Having researched and chosen your desired
breed, the first port of call would be to call the Governing
Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) or the Cat Association of
Great Britain (CA) who are registration bodies for pedigree
cats. Their details are given at the end of this article.
Both organisations will be able to provide you with contact
details of a suitable Breed Club that caters for your chosen
breed. Alternatively, both the GCCF and CA list cat clubs
on their web sites, and many clubs now have their own web
sites; you may be able to email directly from the club web
site and request the club secretary to provide you with
information of breeders with kittens available. Alternatively,
you could purchase a cat magazine in a newsagent and check
breeders' adverts for kittens available. Many breeders advertise
in the local press too. If, after reading books and magazine
articles, you are not sure which breed you want, why not
visit a cat show to see all the different breeds and the
different colours and patterns which exist; you will not
be able to buy a kitten at a show, but you will be able
to talk to the owners and breeders about the characteristics
of the different breeds.
Never be tempted to buy a pedigree kitten
from a pet shop or dealer: no breeder who cares about their
kittens will sell through a third party - they will wish
to meet the new owners and make sure that they are suitable
for their kittens.
What should I ask the breeder ?
Once you have found a breeder, give them
a call to discuss the availability of kittens. They should
be able to tell you what kittens are available, and the
quality of that kitten. Pedigree kittens normally fall into
one of three categories:
Show quality pedigree kittens are
the most expensive to buy, because their breeders consider
them outstanding examples of the breed, based on a standard,
and anticipate that they will compete well at shows.
If you wish to buy a show quality kitten, consider buying
from a breeder with a proven track show record.
Breeder quality pedigree kittens
are kittens that fail to meet the show standard in some
small way, yet they possess enough good qualities, in
addition to their pedigrees, potentially to produce
outstanding offspring. Breeder quality kittens may sell
for slightly less than show quality kittens.
If the breeder comments that pet quality
kittens are available, be sure to find out why the breeder
considers them so, and ask the breeder to point out any
faults in the kitten. Many breeders will sell only their
very best kittens for showing or breeding but will be quite
happy for a kitten which is sold as a pet to be shown as
a neuter, provided that the kitten has no major faults and
the new owner accepts that it will not necessarily be a
Many breeders will only sell male kittens
to be pets or show neuters because they do not wish them
to be used at stud.
When you make enquiries about kittens,
be honest about what you are looking for. If you think that
you may wish to breed from your kitten at a later date,
or may wish to show it, say so. Do not try to get a cheaper
kitten by asking for a pet, since you may find out later
that its kittens are ineligible for registration or that
it cannot be shown.
What you then need to find out :
Age of the kitten
Reputable breeders will not sell kittens below 13 weeks
of age, which is in line with GCCF guidelines. CA specify
a minimum of 12 weeks of age. This is because both organisations
recommend that kittens are fully vaccinated against FIE
(Feline Infectious Enteritis) and 'cat 'flu' before they
leave the breeder. This should have been completed at least
a week before the kitten leaves home, in order to minimise
the stress to the kitten and to ensure that it is fully
protected before it goes to its new home.
Temperament of the
kitten and its suitability to your lifestyle.
This is a very important subject, as some pedigree cats
will not adjust well to a life without companionship if
you are out at work. If your circumstances mean that you
are away from home a lot, it is kind to consider two kittens
to keep each other company. Ask about breed characteristics.
Sex of the kitten.
Both male and female kittens make excellent pets when neutered.
Kittens should be neutered at around 4-6 months of age.
A few breeders will have their pet kittens neutered before
they sell them.
Toilet habits of the
Do ask if the kitten is litter trained, and what type of
litter it is used to, as sudden changes in procedure may
upset your kitten's habits.
The grooming requirements
of the kitten.
Some pedigree cats like Persians require a lot of commitment
from their owners. Ask the breeder how much grooming is
required for the kitten.
Has the kitten been
You should not purchase a kitten that has not yet received
its vaccinations. When purchasing, you should be provided
with a certificate of vaccination signed by a vet.
Is the kitten insured?
Many pet insurance companies now offer breeders a 'free'
six weeks insurance period. Moving to a new home is a very
stressful period for a young kitten, and so insurance is
always welcome to overcome any problems within that period.
Is the kitten registered?
Most reputable breeders will register their kittens with
either the GCCF or the CA. This will prove to you that the
kitten's sire (father) and dam (mother) are registered cats.
It may act as an indication that you are not dealing with
a breeder who has obtained pet quality cats and is breeding
them for profit purposes.
How much is the kitten?
Prices of pet kittens vary from area to area and from breed
to breed. If you are doubtful of the price quoted, double
check with the club secretary what an acceptable price is
for that breed.
Visiting the breeder
Having questioned the breeder on these
points, the next stage is to visit the breeder at home to
view the kitten. Potential buyers should always see kittens
in their home environment. When viewing the kittens, you
should not be alarmed or upset if the breeder asks you to
disinfect your hands before touching the kitten; it is for
the kitten's protection and is a perfectly acceptable and
responsible practice. You should avoid visiting different
breeders on the same day, as you could be responsible for
passing on infections from one kitten to another.
Assess the kitten's
Firstly, you should be able to see how the kitten has been
reared. Is it well socialised and friendly, or is it scared
? Obtaining a well-socialised kitten is essential. Frightened
cats do not make the best pets, they are sometimes impossible
to handle and groom.
Ask where the kitten
has been reared.
Is it outside in a cattery, or is it inside with constant
attention from the breeder ? Kittens which have been reared
outside may find it very difficult to adapt to a normal
Ask the breeder if
it is possible to see the sire and dam of the kitten.
Breeders often use male cats owned by other breeders, so
do not be suspicious if this is the case, and the male is
not on the premises. The mother should be available however,
and the breeder should have no hesitation in showing her
to you. It is possible that if she has reared a large litter,
she may not look in the best condition: some queens will
put all their energy into feeding their kittens and become
very thin in the process despite being fed an excellent
diet. Longhaired queens may have had their coats trimmed,
at least underneath. Apart from this the queen, like the
kittens, should look clean and healthy.
Ask to see the whole
This will allow you to see how socialised and healthy they
Ask to handle the
Is the kitten in good health and in good condition ? It
should have bright, clear eyes and an alert personality.
The size and weight will vary between breeds, but the kitten
should feel solid and well covered. A healthy kitten should
not sneeze or show mucous discharge from its eyes and nose.
The ears should be clean and free of wax. The anus should
be clean and not show any signs of diarrhoea. The coat should
be clean and not show any signs of parasite infection. To
inspect the kitten for fleas, check in the coat for grains
of black dirt, which is flea excrement. Beware of any scabby
patches on the skin, since these could indicate that the
kitten has ringworm. Play with the kitten and check how
it reacts. Is it playful and relaxed, or is it fearful and
unused to being handled ? If so, look elsewhere for a more
Ask the breeder if
their cats are free of Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
Responsible breeders will have had their cats tested for
these diseases, and will be able to assure you that your
new kitten will test negative to these diseases.
Ask about breed-related
If you are buying a Persian or Exotic Shorthair kitten,
ask if both parents have been screened for Polycystic Kidney
Disease (PKD). This hereditary disease can lead to an early
death from kidney failure, so it is sensible to seek a kitten
whose parents have certificates to say that they are clear.
Ask if the kitten
has been wormed.
It is important that cats and especially young kittens are
wormed on a regular basis.
Ask to see the kitten's
This is a record of its ancestors. It should show the names
of the kitten's parents, grand parents, great grand parents
and great great grand parents, together with all their breed
numbers and registration numbers. Ask if the kitten is registered
or is able to be registered: if either parent is registered
on the Non-Active Register with GCCF or is endorsed 'not
for breeding' with CA, the kitten cannot be registered with
either organisation. This is particularly important if you
are planning to buy a kitten for showing or breeding. If
you are planning to show or breed, you will need to check
that the pedigree is acceptable for this: some matings will
produce kittens which make excellent pets, and which may
be acceptable for breeding, but cannot be shown - these
are often known as 'variants', such as the shorthaired kittens
from a cross between a Balinese and a Siamese.
Ask to see the vaccination
The kitten should have received two doses of vaccine, usually
with a 2-3 week interval in between. The kitten should be
vaccinated against FIE (feline infectious enteritis) and
'cat 'flu' as a minimum requirement. Many breeders also
vaccinate against feline leukaemia as well.
Ask the breeder to
point out any faults on the kitten.
For example, it may have an incorrect dental alignment,
or maybe be a male with only one testicle. Ask the breeder
the effect of these faults, and if veterinary intervention
may be needed, and if so, the anticipated costs of such
veterinary care. If you may wish to show your kitten, ask
if there are any faults which preclude this. For instance,
a tail kink is no problem at all in a pet kitten but is
not acceptable on the show bench.
Ask about diet.
It is important that you feed the kitten what has been recommended
by the breeder, as sudden changes in diet can lead to upsets.
Take your time
Do not feel rushed to make a decision. Most breeders will
be happy for you to go away and think about the kitten -
some will even insist on this. After all, it is a very long-term
commitment for you to provide love and care to the kitten
for many years.
Make sure that both you and the breeder
are happy about the kitten sale. If you do not think the
kitten is what you are looking for, do not hesitate to say
so; the breeder will then know that the kitten is still
available for sale and will not be put in the position of
refusing further enquiries. On the other hand, if you do
want the kitten, make sure that the breeder is prepared
to reserve it for you if it is not ready to leave home.
If the kitten is not yet old enough to
leave home, the breeder may ask for a deposit to secure
the sale of your chosen pet. This is quite acceptable, but
do ask for a written receipt for the deposit, giving full
details of the kitten which you have booked. Ask if the
deposit is refundable if you change your mind.
Collecting your kitten
When you collect your new kitten, you should
make sure you have a suitable cat carrier. Please do not
carry the kitten unsecured and never ever drive with a cat
loose in the car. You should have all accessories ready
at home - food supplies, feeding bowl, water bowl, bed,
litter, litter tray, grooming equipment etc.
The paperwork you should receive from the
breeder is as follows :
Registration/transfer slip which
you and the breeder complete to transfer the kitten
into your official ownership
Hard copy of the kittens pedigree
If GCCF registered, a copy of the
Code of Ethics.
Insurance certificate if the kitten
Diet sheet outlining the kitten's
care and dietary requirements. The breeder may ask you
to sign an agreement to ensure that the kitten is neutered.
Receipt for payment in full. It is
strongly recommended that you have the kitten checked
by your own vet within 48 hours of purchase.
If, for any reason, you have to part with
your kitten, please do contact the breeder before doing
so. Many breeders will take the kitten or cat back at any
age or, if this impossible, help to find it a suitable home.
Some insist that anyone who buys one of their kittens must
sign an agreement that if they have to part with the kitten
in future, they will contact the breeder first.