Our member MServant shared with us the experience of buying her first purebred cat, a beautiful Russian Blue named Mouse. Mouse was bought from an ethical British breeder. The process MServant went through offers us a great example of what buying from an ethical breeder is like.
Finding a Breeder
I chose to adopt a Russian Blue as I live in a quiet apartment, and Russian Blue cats are believed to be content as indoor cats and like to be in a quiet environment. I thought about having two cats, but I had previously had two sisters and as they got older one of them bullied the other. With little space in the apartment for cats to avoid each other I was worried it could happen again.
I spent a lot of time thinking about my options for acquiring a new cat. Buying a pedigreed cat was one of them. I started by looking at endless cat association web sites, breeder web sites and the GCCF site. Finally, I approached the breeders I felt comfortable with, the ones that weren't just business-like.
I contacted potential breeders via email and phone calls. These helped me assess the breeders and find a cattery I liked. Once I decided on a cattery, I didn't meet up with the breeders until the kitten was old enough for us to meet up. This was due to the geographical distances in my case. Had I been able to meet the breeders and their other cats, as well as meeting the kitten's dad, I would have done so.
Visiting the Cattery
During my visit, the breeder told me all about how they worked and the contract they used. They also introduced me to all of their cats, including the parents of my kitten. I had full access around their home where the cats were, so I could see the conditions all the cats lived in, not just a little show area where I could meet my baby.
It was fine for me to visit as often as I could get there, and any questions I had were answered quickly and clearly. They also had clear information about how they limited the number of times their queens were able to reproduce and the veterinary care that they had access to. I was also shown their registration documents and family history.
I felt the breeder wanted to know about me as much as I wanted to know about them and their cats. I was glad to learn that they had kept in touch with other people who had adopted their kittens. No one else was visiting my kitten, and I felt confident that I wasn't being led up a garden path in terms of bringing him home. In my case, they were even happy for me to choose the name that went on to his registration documents after their prefix.
The contract we signed stated that I had to take a kitten that was neutered and keep him as a domestic pet only. The minimum age for adoption was 14 weeks, and only if his vaccinations were completed at least a week before the adoption date. The contract also stated that the kitten was to be neutered and chipped prior to adoption. The kitten was insured from birth, and I was asked to keep him insured and was given a transition period to arrange my own coverage. Both parties had to sign and keep a copy of the contract.
The breeders were able and happy to socialize the kitten appropriately for what I was bringing him home to, and everything was planned ahead to keep his separation from his mother as low-stress as possible. My boy was spoiled rotten and was still getting drinks from 'Mom's Milky Bar' when I brought him home at 15 weeks!
Taking Mouse Home
Payment was made in full on the day I went to collect my baby blue boy. No down payment was asked for like I have heard some breeders do. All UK registration papers and family history documents were complete and given to me together with instructions on what I had to do to get them transferred to my name. All the vaccination and health paperwork were provided as well, so I had them the same time as I paid and collected my kitten.
I was then given full information on things like the food and litter he was used to, and a little bag of food to take with me. They even gave me one of his little toys to keep (and it's still one of his favorites!).
I introduced my boy to his new vet the day after he was adopted. My vets were impressed with the process we had followed and with how healthy my boy was. Mouse has had health issues since adoption, but I am confident the breeders had no history to indicate this. The breeders have followed with interest how his health has developed over the past couple of years. We continue to chat about what the significance of his health problems might be, and I can see how my breeders have been concerned and looked into it with the interests of their cats and future kittens at heart, not seeing this as some financial burden.
We are in regular contact, and I have also been introduced to other people who have adopted their cats. It is like a happy extended family that comes with your adopted cat. I feel even more confident now that they are caring and reputable cat breeders than I did when I first met them, and have no doubt that their main priority and interest is their love of cats, and not financial. I just wish that I could adopt more of their cats and am envious when I speak with others who have gone back to them to adopt and increase their blue families. I take it as a good sign if someone happily goes back to the same breeder!
Anyone buying a pedigreed cat should verify the legitimacy of the breeder, and check the registration documents for the parents. They should also be concerned if being asked for money up front, or if expected to take the kitten or cat without immediately being given -
See and bond with your kitten or cat before you adopt and take it home, and make sure you are right for each other, and that you are comfortable with the people who have purposefully introduced your new cat into this world!
- the full registration documentation
- veterinary and vaccination records
- insurance documentation
- and written adoption contract