choosing breeders

SchrodingerCat

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I've been reaching out to a few breeders to get an American Shorthair. There is one breeder I really like that is close to me (and is both CFA and TICA registered and has show champions), but their prices are a lot higher than many other breeders I've found in different states ($4200). I've talked to him on the phone and he provided a lot of details into how they raise and socialize the kittens. The breeder also helps match the kitten to the home, rather than having the client pick, which is what I prefer given they are more familiar with the kittens than I am. They have very high google reviews and a lively instagram page. They have tons of photos from clients who shared how their cat got along with their dogs. Many clients also take their cats out on walks on a leash. The breeder also offered to give advice on how to train the cat to walk on a leash. This seems like the ideal breeder for me as these are the things I would like to do with my cat. The only concern was their price was more than I expected since other breeders I looked at had their cats around $2000. They are reputable breeders too (CFA or TICA registered and show their cats) and do early socialization, but lack temperament matching and have no experience with taking the cat outside. There is one breeder willing to coordinate with me regarding airport pickup (I am still undecided about it). However, some of them replied to my email saying they are not willing to sell their kittens to homes where they might be taken outside. Is this normal? The cat will be an indoor cat, but I would like to take him/her outside on a leash to explore the world. Since the cat will be under my supervision, he/she will not get into fights with other animals or get hit by a car. I guess the one remaining concern I can think of might be getting some disease. Is it common to catch a disease or can I prevent it by wiping my cat's feet when we get back home? I am still waiting to contact a few more breeders (I recently got pharyngitis and cannot talk on the phone right now). I'd appreciate any thoughts on this! Would it be worth getting the kitten from the expensive breeder that I like, or get a kitten from a less expensive but still reputable breeder out of state? I am still quite new to the cat world, so thanks for any input.
 

Furballsmom

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Hello
Other than what you mentioned are all the other variables the same between the breeders?



Is it common to catch a disease
Fleas maybe, but no, not really. I really like the methods and approach of the more expensive breeder.
 
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SchrodingerCat

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Hello
Other than what you mentioned are all the other variables the same between the breeders?
From what I can tell, it seems the other variables are the same: CFA/TICA registered, showing their cats, early socialization of kittens at home with children and their dog, health testing of the parents.

The major differences are: (1) matching the kitten's temperament with the owner's lifestyle, and (2) experience with training the kitten to walk on a leash. I think the first one is very important to me given that I have a dog. The expensive breeder says they specifically ask about whether the potential buyer has other pets or children, since the best homes for each of their cats will differ. For example a senior couple adopting a kitten may want one with a different temperament than someone who has young children. And they will do their best to match each kitten to the list of buyers. Most other breeders I've come across would let the buyer chose based on deposit order and male/female preference or marking/color preference without providing much information on temperament. I did ask one breeder if they could do a temperament matching as I want my future kitten to play with my dog (she has a dog of her own and socializes her kittens with her dog), but she said whether they play together is all chance and unpredictable. I agree this isn't something that can be guaranteed, but I would still like a higher chance of it happening (and I think it could be observed by seeing which kitten plays more with her own dog, but she doesn't seem interested in this). I think it may also be that she and some other breeders sell their kittens at a younger age, i.e., 12 weeks, while the more expensive breeder waits until at least 16 weeks, when each kitten's personality is more observable. It also seems like temperament testing/matching isn't that common among cat breeders, but it is quite common in dog breeders, many use the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test. I guess temperament testing isn't as common in cats, but I think using the breeder's experience is also a good way to ensure a good fit. I like the expensive breeder's approach and am considering getting a kitten from them, but I just feel their price is a bit too high, it's double that of most breeders. And the American Shorthair isn't an exotic or rare breed. Also, I saw a review by someone 4 years ago that mentioned their price was $2500 at the time, but now it's $4200, it seems like they may be a bit overpriced, maybe due to so many people buying pets during COVID. It's just a lot more than I expected. I know it's pay the breeder or pay the vet, and the price difference will not really matter after 15+ years of companionship. I'm just undecided about it and if they are really that much better than the average breeder.
 
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SchrodingerCat

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Oh, I just remembered, the more expensive breeder also makes their own raw food to feed the kittens. It wasn't something I cared about especially, but it may also have contributed to the increased cost. I just thought to add.
 

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I might have a different opinion here.

$4200 seems outlandish to me. Yes, purebreed cats are expensive and while I'm not familar with American Shorthair prices I can't image it's any different than any other purebreed cat.

For instance, Maine Coons range from about $1500-$2500 on average. I have one, so I follow dozens of reputable, ethical breeders and almost all of them fall in that price range.

There are some that charge a bit more for "special" colors and for poly paws (or even male since they are in more demand due to size) but others that do not differentiate on this. Personally I feel there's zero reason to charge an extra $1000 for these attributes and seems super greedy. I've seen some breeders go up to $6000 without even breeding rights. To me, that's just a huge red flag waving over them to stay away.

I'm fully aware how expensive breeding is. Again I follow many of them and also was personally in touch with one in particular that was incredibly transparent about all the hardships and joy that goes into breeding. Most good breeders have a monetary loss or only barely break even - it isn't their sole source of income, at all.

Now back to the 2 breeders you are considering it does sound like you prefer #1 in spite of the cost. Does that one have champions in their lines? Health tested? Spayed/neutered before going home? Can you see the pedigrees of the parents along with health testing results? I don't mean just doing a DNA test, I mean real, hands on testing for any disease prone to American Shorthairs such as HCM or hips? Do they expect you to continue feeding raw or consider that breaking the contact (this, would be a no-go for me personally).

Does the 2nd breeder meet the same criteria other than not picking the kitten best suited for your personality? Do you realize kittens can change as they mature? My girl was a cuddlebug as a baby but now at 4 years old, she wants to do her own thing and it's a rare thing for her to allow us to cuddle her (she is, however, very friendly and social - just more hands off).

I don't know if it's worth even telling breeders you want to leash train them. Most, probably do not want to have their cats go outside and are rightly concerned but if properly leash trained, doubtful any harm would come to them. If the contract does not specifically mention this, I'd would not bring it up.

What does your wallet say?

Which breeders kittens tug at your heart? I know with Maine Coons I have a very specific look that I prefer, which is to standard, well balanced and not extreme.

There are no bargains for well bred cats but I also won't pay an outrageous amount and would keep looking until I found the best breeder that matches my personal criteria which has to include pricing.
 

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I might have a different opinion here.

$4200 seems outlandish to me. Yes, purebreed cats are expensive and while I'm not familar with American Shorthair prices I can't image it's any different than any other purebreed cat.

For instance, Maine Coons range from about $1500-$2500 on average. I have one, so I follow dozens of reputable, ethical breeders and almost all of them fall in that price range.

There are some that charge a bit more for "special" colors and for poly paws (or even male since they are in more demand due to size) but others that do not differentiate on this. Personally I feel there's zero reason to charge an extra $1000 for these attributes and seems super greedy. I've seen some breeders go up to $6000 without even breeding rights. To me, that's just a huge red flag waving over them to stay away.

I'm fully aware how expensive breeding is. Again I follow many of them and also was personally in touch with one in particular that was incredibly transparent about all the hardships and joy that goes into breeding. Most good breeders have a monetary loss or only barely break even - it isn't their sole source of income, at all.

Now back to the 2 breeders you are considering it does sound like you prefer #1 in spite of the cost. Does that one have champions in their lines? Health tested? Spayed/neutered before going home? Can you see the pedigrees of the parents along with health testing results? I don't mean just doing a DNA test, I mean real, hands on testing for any disease prone to American Shorthairs such as HCM or hips? Do they expect you to continue feeding raw or consider that breaking the contact (this, would be a no-go for me personally).

Does the 2nd breeder meet the same criteria other than not picking the kitten best suited for your personality? Do you realize kittens can change as they mature? My girl was a cuddlebug as a baby but now at 4 years old, she wants to do her own thing and it's a rare thing for her to allow us to cuddle her (she is, however, very friendly and social - just more hands off).

I don't know if it's worth even telling breeders you want to leash train them. Most, probably do not want to have their cats go outside and are rightly concerned but if properly leash trained, doubtful any harm would come to them. If the contract does not specifically mention this, I'd would not bring it up.

What does your wallet say?

Which breeders kittens tug at your heart? I know with Maine Coons I have a very specific look that I prefer, which is to standard, well balanced and not extreme.

There are no bargains for well bred cats but I also won't pay an outrageous amount and would keep looking until I found the best breeder that matches my personal criteria which has to include pricing.
Price seems to vary by locality. I have friends out west who sell their pet kittens for more than twice what I got in New England. The vet expenses, food, show expenses and everything else has gone up tremendously. I am not saying the price is okay, just pointing out some possible reasons.
As for champions in the pedigree, unless things have changed since I stopped showing 4 years ago championship doesn’t mean a heck of a lot. Any cat that doesn’t have a disqualifying trait can champion. What you need to look for is grand champions, breed winners, regional winners or national winners.
A few breeders try to match the kitten to the family. I got my first stud because the breeder refused to sell to a woman who wanted a kitten who did not play. I always tried to match kitten to families.
I would not suggest following your heart. This is a business deal first. Don’t let an adorable kitten make your choice- after all ALL kittens are adorable, even ones that are sickly. Make certain all the correct boxes are checked first before you fall in love with a kitten or you may spend a whole bunch of money for heartbreak.
Now my situation is different because I would be looking for a show cat or one to breed so I wouldn’t mind spending the money for the cream of the crop ( if I was still involved).
For the record, I wouldn’t place a kitten with someone who took them outside. It is way to easy for them to slip out the door if they get used to going out. Where we live there are coyotes, fisher cats and a host of other things to injure or kill a cat.
 
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SchrodingerCat

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Yeah, I also feel that $4200 seem overpriced, since most other breeders sell their American shorthairs for around $2000-$2500, and I don't know if the extra price is really that worth it. All of their breeding cats are champions or grand champions. They posted on their facebook recently about one of their cats winning best of breed in a cat show they just attended. They don't charge more or less for special colors, patterns, males, females, all of their kittens are priced the same. They do genetic tests to screen for hereditary diseases in all breeding cats as well as specifically screen for HCM. They also have a 2 year health guarantee. They meet all the checkboxes of ethical breeding, just didn't expect the price to be so high.... They do not require that I continue feeding their raw diet. I guess it may be worth mentioning they are located in a more expensive region (that's why I have been looking out of state).

The second breeder is a bit harder to communicate with. I was referred to her by another breeder I found. I liked her website and that she socialized her cats with people and dogs. She is also okay with taking the cat outdoors on a leash (and has mentioned this on her website). She also has many grand champions and regional winners. However, when I contacted her she said her waitlist is already too full, so she referred me to another breeder in that state who has kittens available. The breeder she referred me to seems nice overall and active in responding to my emails, but she just recently immigrated to the US and has limited English skills, so it's been hard to ask about detail information. She doesn't have a website either, so it's hard to do research about her cats' show status or health tests. The communication difficulty plus out of states transportation fees in additional to not being able to match the kitten to the buyer are things that make me hesitant.

There are still some breeders I am waiting to contact (still waiting for my pharyngitis to go away so I can speak on the phone) so it's not all decided yet and it's not just between these two breeders. I should mention, I recently found a facebook group that connects potential buyers to breeders, called "American Shorthair kittens & Adults for placement". The breeders who post kittens there all have their kittens CFA or TICA registered. All three breeders I had been in touch are also in the group along with some other breeders. I was able to find links to a few different breeders' websites from there and plan to contact some of them. Some of them seem a bit new, so I worry if they may be less experienced, but at the same time, the newer breeders seem very passionate. With the facebook group, many of the breeders tend to list individual kittens for sale, rather than match the kitten to the family, and they also seem to provide very little information regarding the kitten's personalities online (but maybe I can ask).

I honestly don't understand why would some breeders think taking the cat outside is so risky. Dog breeders (even those that breed toy breeds that are smaller than cats) would expect their owners to take them outside. They are just as susceptible to wild life attacks as are cats, perhaps even more if they are smaller, but it's unlikely wildlife would attack a cat or dog if it's on a leash with a human nearby. I also don't think slipping out of the door is more of a concern for cats than for dogs. I train my dog to not run out of the door by himself and I would train my cat to do that too. Anyway, they would have their leashes put on before I take them out, so it's not even a concern. There are many cat harnesses and cat backpacks on Amazon with over 20,000+ sales and many instagram/tiktok videos of cats enjoying exploring nature with their owners on a leash or backpack. I guess I am looking for a very specific cat, so if a breeder doesn't think their cat can be like that, maybe it's a good indication their cats aren't the ones I am looking for.

Thanks for all the input! I really don't know what to decide, so all input is appreciated. :)
 

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Early on when I was breeding colorpoints a buyer took her cat outside. Eventually the cat slipped out and was killed by a coyote so it does happen. Cats can be trained but not like a dog. They are motivated completely different than dogs. You don’t only have to worry about wildlife, but disease or parasites ( tritrichamoas feotus for one). There are not vaccinations for everything. You do what you want, I was just addressing why I would not place a cat with someone who takes it outside.
 
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SchrodingerCat

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What did you decide to do?
Thanks for checking in! I still haven't decided yet, but I am leaning towards getting a cat from a less expensive breeder. I am not in a hurry (can wait for a few more months or even a year if needed). I've contacted another breeder today and am waiting to hear back. :)
 
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SchrodingerCat

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By the way, I've been trying to read up more about the American Shorthair, and I think it is a breed that I really like! It's a really good breed in my opinion. A very healthy breed compared to Scottish folds, more playful and cuddly than the British Shorthair, much quieter and less vocal than the Siamese or Burmese, much less grooming requirements than longhair breeds like the Persian, Main Coon, or Ragdoll. But I don't know why it's not as popular as those other breeds. And so many people on Reddit keep mixing up domestic shorthair and American shorthair 🤦‍♀️. Does anyone else like this breed? Are there any issues with this breed that I may be missing?
 

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Hi, I don't know about other negative issues, but my partner is very interested in the American shorthair, as they are a long lived feline with fewer health problems.

As you know, Domestic short hair (dsh) is just an inclusive term for a non purebred cat, but not everyone is aware of that.
 

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By the way, I've been trying to read up more about the American Shorthair, and I think it is a breed that I really like! It's a really good breed in my opinion. A very healthy breed compared to Scottish folds, more playful and cuddly than the British Shorthair, much quieter and less vocal than the Siamese or Burmese, much less grooming requirements than longhair breeds like the Persian, Main Coon, or Ragdoll. But I don't know why it's not as popular as those other breeds. And so many people on Reddit keep mixing up domestic shorthair and American shorthair 🤦‍♀️. Does anyone else like this breed? Are there any issues with this breed that I may be missing?
I was not aware it was even a breed until I started researching more. Domestic shorthair means they are not a purebred / pedigreed cat. It’s kind inaccurate to say pb maybe because most breeds have been mixed with a lot of other breeds and many came from the natural cats in the area.

For me, I looked at the time the breeder had been around, reviews, do they do health testing etc.
Just remember there are no guarantees even if they do, tests for hereditary diseases of parents do not guarantee your kitten won’t have them unfortunately, and any guarantee given in a contract is usually not for very long.
My siamese kitty’s breeder will not ship her cats because she doesn’t think it is safe, and I liked that.

I think $4000 and up is a lot for a cat with no breeding rights etc. Also there is no guarantee of “personality” so the breeder can pick the kitten but kittens can change as they age.
As far as outdoor walks, they could be exposed to parasites, fleas, ticks, diseases and escape etc. An indoor cat could also be exposed to some things by a leaf coming in the home or dirt on shoes etc.
 
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honestly don't understand why would some breeders think taking the cat outside is so risky. Dog breeders (even those that breed toy breeds that are smaller than cats) would expect their owners to take them outside. They are just as susceptible to wild life attacks as are cats, perhaps even more if they are smaller, but it's unlikely wildlife would attack a cat or dog if it's on a leash with a human nearby
thinking that way could be a fatal mistake for your pet where i live at in los angeles the coyotes here can/will and have snatched pets right off a leash while being walked by their owners.granted the coyotes have lost the fear of humans around here and associate us humans with a free meal.
 
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SchrodingerCat

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I was not aware it was even a breed until I started researching more. Domestic shorthair means they are not a purebred / pedigreed cat. It’s kind inaccurate to say pb maybe because most breeds have been mixed with a lot of other breeds and many came from the natural cats in the area.

For me, I looked at the time the breeder had been around, reviews, do they do health testing etc.
Just remember there are no guarantees even if they do, tests for hereditary diseases of parents do not guarantee your kitten won’t have them unfortunately, and any guarantee given in a contract is usually not for very long.
My siamese kitty’s breeder will not ship her cats because she doesn’t think it is safe, and I liked that.

I think $4000 and up is a lot for a cat with no breeding rights etc. Also there is no guarantee of “personality” so the breeder can pick the kitten but kittens can change as they age.
As far as outdoor walks, they could be exposed to parasites, fleas, ticks, diseases and escape etc. An indoor cat could also be exposed to some things by a leaf coming in the home or dirt on shoes etc.
Yeah, I am also thinking $4000 is too much. I know some toy breed puppies (since toy breeds have smaller litter sizes) from reputable breeders are around that price after covid, but I'm wasn't aware of typical kitten prices. I think I will go with a more average-price breeder, since you are right that personally can change as the kitten matures and some health issues are not completely preventable even if the parents are health tested. I've been taking a break with my search right now since I've been ill. I'm planning to be more active in contacting breeders when I recover. In the meantime, I'm doing more reading about American shorthairs and cats in general to be as prepared as I can to offer my kitten a good home.
 
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SchrodingerCat

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thinking that way could be a fatal mistake for your pet where i live at in los angeles the coyotes here can/will and have snatched pets right off a leash while being walked by their owners.granted the coyotes have lost the fear of humans around here and associate us humans with a free meal.
Oh wow, that's scary that they attack pets on leashes! 😱 I guess I am very lucky there aren't coyotes in my area. I am thinking it must be very stressful to walk a dog in areas where there are coyotes, or even just walking carrying a bag of groceries from the store.
 

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Yeah, I am also thinking $4000 is too much. I know some toy breed puppies (since toy breeds have smaller litter sizes) from reputable breeders are around that price after covid, but I'm wasn't aware of typical kitten prices. I think I will go with a more average-price breeder, since you are right that personally can change as the kitten matures and some health issues are not completely preventable even if the parents are health tested. I've been taking a break with my search right now since I've been ill. I'm planning to be more active in contacting breeders when I recover. In the meantime, I'm doing more reading about American shorthairs and cats in general to be as prepared as I can to offer my kitten a good home.
I hope you feel better soon and it's good to take your time to make a decision.
 
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