- Visit the breeder at home. You aren’t breaching anyone’s privacy because this is now an “industry standard”. A good cat breeder is fully aware that a future owner MUST see kittens in the environment where they were raised and are happy to comply. He has nothing to hide, and it gives him an opportunity to show the quality of care the kittens receive.
- Check the overall health of the kitten. Check the kitten’s head, eyes, ears, nose, coat, and tummy for any abnormalities. Check other kittens in the litter as well. First, this will tell you if your kitten is healthy. Second, even if the litter shows symptoms of treatable illnesses, such as flea or ear mite infestations, these signs can reveal how responsible the breeder is.
- Gauge the breeder’s passion. Encourage the breeder to talk about his cats. You’ll learn a lot, both about the breed and the breeder. Trust us: good breeders—those who are in the business for passion—will talk a lot. They love animals, and they know everything about the breed. Of course, there are always shy people who are breeders, which doesn’t disqualify them, but we hope you get the point.
- Avoid the breeder if he tries to put too much pressure on you to buy. Good breeders don’t worry whether someone will take their kitten or not. In fact, they hold the upper hand because they’re often in a position to choose their kitten’s future owners. It’s not unusual for a cat breeder to ask a lot of questions about your experiences with pets, home condition, and reasons for getting a kitten. Don’t feel insulted by these questions, and rest assured that you’re getting a kitten raised by caring hands.
- Visit several breeders. When your heart wants a kitten, it’s tempting to say yes immediately. Instead, take a deep breath and do your homework. Try visiting three or four breeders in your area to compare litters. You may come to the conclusion that ALL kittens are cute, but when you place two litters side by side, you can easily spot the differences.
- If something is suspicious, take a step back. Maybe a breeder is refusing to provide a vaccination record, a contract of purchase, or a pedigree record. Stand firm, especially if he’s giving unreasonable excuses for going back on his promises.
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