Cat Breeder Interview – The Important Step #2

interview

Finding ethical breeders is hard. The cat breeder interview is the second step in the kitten buying process and the second article in our “#1 Comprehensive Kitten Buying Guide” series.

At this time, you have zeroed in on a breed or perhaps two and you have found some promising ethical breeders. So what’s next? Well, of course the cat breeder interview!! You need to interview each breeder and ask the same questions so you can compare apples with apples.

Good breeders welcome questions and will happily answer them. Texting or Facebook Messaging seems to be a new kind of communication tool many fancy; however, it does not convey tone or sincerity and is suitable only for first contact.

Please pick up the phone and talk the to each breeder. Any breeder that tells you they are too busy for an interview are very likely too busy when it comes to lending support to you and your new kitten if things go wrong.

In the previous article, “The Horror of an Impulsive Kitten Purchase“, we talked about questions you should ask:

ethical breeders

Now let’s go over each question and explain what answers you should be getting and what answers are “red flags“.

  • What is your registered cattery name and what registry are you registered with?
  • What contract do you offer and can you send me a copy to review?
  • What health guarantee do you offer?
  • What is included in the purchase price?
  • When will I receive the papers?
  • Can I visit your cattery? Or can I pick up my kitten in person (if the cattery is out of state)?
  • How old will the kitten be when it comes to me?
  • If I ever cannot take care of the cat any longer, will you take it back?
  • Do you have more pictures of the kitten and also pictures of the parents?
  • Do you own both parents?

Now let’s go over each question and explain what answers you should be getting and what answers are “red flags“.

ethical breeders
Kitten Pile!

Ethical Breeders – List of Questions

What is your registered cattery name and what registry are you registered with?

The answer is rather simple. Ethical breeders should give you the accurate spelling of their cattery name and let you know which registry they belong to, such as TICA, ACFA, CFA, etc. Please note that REFR or any other pseudo registries are a “red flag”.

What contract do you offer and can you send me a copy to review?

Again, the answer is super simple. The breeder should tell you that they have a purchase contract and be happy to email you a copy for your review. Anything less is a “red flag”.

What health guarantee do you offer?

The breeder should repeat what is guaranteed per their contract. If you hear something that is not listed, ask if it can be added. If the breeder then “back paddles”, you are looking at another “red flag”.

Many so-called ethical breeders “guarantee” their kittens for just the first 72 hours. Keep in mind that many issues have incubation periods of a week or longer. It would be acceptable to guarantee the kitten against FeLV/FIV for 72 hours; however, anything else should be guaranteed for 14 days.

In the case of hereditary issues such as HCM, PKD, etc. a guarantee should span several years.

What is included in the purchase price?

During the cat breeder interview, the breeder should tell you exactly what the purchase price includes. Many breeders unfortunately do not include spay/neuter or rabies vaccines. Offering a kitten with just one FVRCP vaccine is another one of those wonderful “red flags”.

When will I receive papers?

In the event that the breeder practices early spay/neuter, the kitten should come with papers. Otherwise, papers should be provided once proof of alteration has been provided. Kittens offered at a “substantial” discount if you don’t want papers is yet another “red flag”.

Can I visit your cattery? Or can I pick up my kitten in person (if the cattery is out of state)?

As of the writing of this article, COVID19 presents a challenge when it comes to visiting a cattery. However; the breeder should have no issues with the request to pick up the kitten at their home in person. Any breeder insisting to meet you at the local Piggley Wiggley parking lot is a “red flag”.

You can also ask ethical breeders if they offer FaceTime or Zoom or Skype so you can see the kitten “live” before you make a commitment and they should happily oblige.

How old will the kitten be when it comes to me?

All larger registries such as TICA, ACFA, CFA, WCF, etc. require their breeders to administer at least two inoculations before rehoming the kitten.

The first vaccine is given at 8 weeks of age and the second one follows 4 weeks later. Consider it a “red flag” if a breeder offers to let a kitten go any younger than 12 weeks of age.

If I ever cannot take care of the cat any longer, will you take it back?

Ethical breeders will not only respond to this question with a resounding YES!! but also refer you to the paragraph in their contract that handles the very issue.

They will tell you that you are responsible for any costs, such as shipping and updated vaccines; however, they will absolutely want to take their “kitten” back.