Reputable breeders are not only happy to answer questions but also welcome them as the sign of the caring buyer they want to share their cats and kittens with. You can find out a lot about the breeder by asking a few questions. Try these and listen carefully for the right answer:

 

  1. How long have you been breeding cats? How many breeds do you have? You're looking for someone who has been breeding cats long enough to know what they are doing, someone who concentrates on one breed, or maybe two related ones

  2. Have your breeding cats been shown or championed?  A breeder who shows their cats is a good thing! Showing is a sign of someone who has confidence in their cats and also someone who's not just into breeding to make a buck. This lets you know the cats fit the standard and you are getting a quality cat.  It differentiates reputable breeders from those who are just breeding to fill the world with more cats or to make money.

  3. What genetic defects are prevelant in this breed? How are you breeding to avoid those defects?  Do you test your breeding cats for these genetic/infectious diseases?  You want someone who's up-front and knowledgeable about problems in the breed, and someone who's actively working to minimize them.  Maine Coons have a specific set of health issues that a reputable breeder should be knowledgable about ; HCM, PK-Def, SMA, FIV, & FeLV.  Reputable breeders will also perform genetic testing on their breeding cats.  They should be willing to show you documentation on test results to confirm the parents are free from disease and genetic issues.  DO NOT BUY from a breeder who will not show proof of health! 

  4. How large is your breeding operation? Where do your cats spend most of their time? You're looking for someone who isn't overwhelmed with cats, so each kitten can get the care and socialization that are so important. Make sure you get a look "behind the scenes" to ensure the cats are kept in healthy conditions — don't just take the breeder's word for it.

  5. What makes this kitten or cat "pet quality" or "show quality"? Most people looking for a pedigreed cat end up with "pet quality" because of the large expense associated with acquiring "show quality" cats, and because breeders prefer to place their "best" cats with people whom they know intend to show them. A knowledgeable, reputable breeder can honestly assess a kitten's show potential and explain what "defect" classifies the animal as pet quality. A pet-quality cat is in no way a lesser companion. Very few cats are born with the traits they need to be truly competitive in the show world. Their markings may be wrong, or their coats may not be lush enough. Their ears may not fold forward or curl back as their show standards dictate, or their "expression" may not match the ideal for their breed. These missing traits don't mean those kittens aren't beautiful or loving. As long as their faults aren't health- or temperament-related, such cats are wonderful prospects for purchase or adoption.

  6. Whenever possible visit the cattery.  Are the cats caged or part of the family?  Is the location/cattery visable clean.  Your gut instinct is a good indication once you've visited the cattery location on whether to proceed with a purchase or not. 

  7. How have they socialized the kittens? Have the kittens been around other cats? Other people? Socialization is critical in kittens 6 to 16 weeks old. Proper socialization consisting of good experiences of a kitten with other kittens and lots of different ages, sizes and types of people will give you the best chance at having a well-adjusted cat. 

  8. Have the kittens been seen by a veteranian for a health check?  What vaccines has the kitten received? Have the kittens been dewormed?  Have the kittens been examined and declared "healthy" by a veteranian? If not, what problems have they had? Have they been on any medications?  Most kittens at 12 weeks of age have received 2 sets of distemper vaccines and will be due for 2 more rounds of vaccines once taken home before the age of 16 months.  All kittens are born with worms and routine deworming is recommended.  

  9. Do they have a breeders contract? Does your breeder require a breeder's contract? Is there a health guarantee?  If so, what is in it? Is the breeder willing to take back the kitten at any time, if you can't keep it?  A good breeder will have a detailed contract that is required to be reviewed/signed before you take possession of the new kitten/cat.  A health guarantee is a sign of a good breeder who acknowledges they desire to produce and place only the healthiest kittens/cats.  Keep in mind this guarantee is often contingent upon spay/neutering, feeding program, no declawing, and keeping the cat indoors. 

  10. What is the breeder currently feeding the kitten? Regardless of what they are feeding, it is ideal to continue feeding the same food for the first few days at home to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances. If you choose to change the diet, do it gradually. What you feed your pet is very important to their long term health!  

  11. Does the breeder answer all of your questions? A good breeder has nothing to hide and should be happy to engage in conversation while answering all your questions.   

  12. Ask for references of other catteries they work with? A breeder that works with several catteries is a good sign of health and quality.  Reputable breeders will have a good network of other catteries they work with.    

Questions To Ask a Breeder?