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A few questions for breeders

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have come to the decision that I would like to adopt a Sphynx, and I have a few questions for the breeders on this board about what I should be looking for. Some of these questions may be really stupid, but I really want to know.

When I look for a cattery is there an organization that certifies them, or should I be judging it simply on how clean they are, that the cats aren't kept in cages unless giving birth, or for a supervised "time out"?

If the kitten is fixed when I buy it, should I offer to reimburse the breeder? I'm asking this question because I know that spay/neuter can be expensive for an entire litter.

Do most breeders breed full time? Is breeding and showing their full time job, or do some have a career outside of it?

Do most breeders ship their cats?

Thank you SO much for your time...
post #2 of 14
When I look for a cattery is there an organization that certifies them, or should I be judging it simply on how clean they are, that the cats aren't kept in cages unless giving birth, or for a supervised "time out"? The breeder should be a member of a cat organisation such as TICA, CFA, CA or similar. Membership in a cat organisation won't guarantee that the breeder is a reputable one though. You still have to take a look on the cattery situation. How are the cats housed? Are the cats healthy (don't bring a sick kitten home!)? Are the cats well socialized?

How's the chemistry between you and the breeder? It's important you get along well because you want support in your breeder. If anything happens you wanna be able to call your breeder for advice.

If the kitten is fixed when I buy it, should I offer to reimburse the breeder? I'm asking this question because I know that spay/neuter can be expensive for an entire litter. No, the breeder has to think about these kind of things when he/she prices the kittens. You shouldn't have to pay anything extra in order to get a spayed/neutered kitten.

Do most breeders breed full time? Is breeding and showing their full time job, or do some have a career outside of it? Breeding is a hobby, not a job.

Do most breeders ship their cats? I don't know what most do but I won't ship a cat (maybe abroad to another if I have references from a breeder I know). Either the buyer come to me and pick up the cat or I deliver the cat.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Now for a silly question, how do you come up with you kitty's name? I've noticed they are quite long and complex; is there a theme?
post #4 of 14
If the kitten is fixed when I buy it, should I offer to reimburse the breeder? I'm asking this question because I know that spay/neuter can be expensive for an entire litter.

A breeder of moggies - ie owner of a moggie shecat who did get a litter, who is giving away kitties practically free, has those difficulties yes and surely appreciate such generous help. You do help each other.
A pedigree breeder takes pay, quite good pay - for the spaying too if necessary. But. Observe, kitty sold already spayed is sold as pet and is usually cheaper than kittys of probable show-quality or of breeding quality. Ie if you do ask the breeder about a fine kitten who should do well on exhibitions - and you get a spayed kitten "he will do well in the castrathe-class" - bevare; risk very big he is selling a pet-quality kitten to you. This kitten of course surely wonderful friend and pet, you may even exhibit it. Why not? But you probably wont win anything with it...

Do most breeders breed full time? Is breeding and showing their full time job, or do some have a career outside of it?
It is very unusual as job giving the living. And it is very unusual they are going plus on serious breeding! Perhaps some very big catteries. These get price reduction from veterinarian, these buys food in big sacks = cheaper. etc.
But it IS almost a fulltime job, so it is quite common the breeders are feks housewifes. Or having invalid-pension of some sort.

Do observe one exception:
There are breeders and "breeders". Serious breeders, who think about developing of the race. Who think about welfare of their cats. These participate in exhibitions. Use good cats for the breeding - transporting the queen to a suitable Sir perhaps 500 kilometres. etc.
"Breeders" think only about money. They may be ok cat-owners - at best, not all are illdoers, but they do everything as cheap as possible (for themselves). No or very few exhibitions. The easiest and cheapest Sir. The same Sir for all queens. The females must give birth often, perhaps twice a year every year. Cheap food. If seriously ill = the long sleep. etc...
Yes, the "breeders" are of course going plus. Otherwise they would never do it, wouldnt they?!
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Now for a silly question, how do you come up with you kitty's name? I've noticed they are quite long and complex; is there a theme?
It is free. It is usual the catterys name is part of the name. After it; free after the breeders imaginations.
Yes, they often use themes. One reason is to make it easier to know which litter the cat comes from.

It is very common the first litter is A- litter, next B-litter etc.

Or first litter / first year perhaps Old grecian gods, next Mexican gods etc...


The new owner usually gives the cat a new everyday name. Or several...
But in the papers it is always the breeders long - and often fancy - name.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Now for a silly question, how do you come up with you kitty's name? I've noticed they are quite long and complex; is there a theme?
I name after different themes but it's up to every individual breeder.
post #7 of 14
1. Clean cattery, cats look happy and healthy.

I also want to look at pedigrees to see any inbreeding, champions, grand champions (preferably). Even if you don't plan on showing your kitten, its nice to know you have quality and not just 2 cats being bred.

Also, check out for vaccinations, tests on the adult cats.

2. You might offer to reimburse for cost of spay/neuter, but more then likely that cost is already calculated in the price of the pet they are selling. Ask the breeder.

3. Unless its a kitten mill, its NOT a full time job - even showing/judging is NOT a full time job. Remember showing/judging only takes place on the weekends - not during the week. Many breeders have full or part time jobs or may even be retired.

4. I would say the majority will ship kittens/cats. If they don't, they do state the fact in their websites.


With names: some breeders already name the cat (but you can nickname him/her anything you want. Some leave it up to you; some have a guideline to follow.

For examle, with Birmans - they always are named by a certain letter in the alphabet for the year. - 2006 Birmans will have D names; 2007 will have E names. You HAVE to go by that rule. For my cattery, I named my cats with "T" names as the cattery is TC. While it was not required to name them with T names, I encourage it and the owners had no problem with it.
post #8 of 14
When considering the purchase of a pedigreed cat of any breed, there are several questions you will want thorough, clear answers to ... your breeder should be prepared to give you as much information as you feel comfortable with and do so in an easy-to-understand way. If you need clarification on any question, ASK for it. Don't wait for the breeder to volunteer information - know what you want to ask prior to the interview - write it down beforehand and remember to try to be as considerate of the breeder's time as you can be. Listen carefully to the breeder's answers, take note if you think you might need to go back and ask questions later. Listen for obvious signs of frustration or shortness from the breeder - she should not become annoyed by your questions, rather she should welcome them and encourage you to ask away!

You will want to determine whether the breeder is an active member in good standing of one or more recognized pedigree registry associations. If not, move on to another breeder. Responsible breeders register their cats PERIOD. There is never an exception to this. Once you determine the breeder is registered with one or more recognized pedigree registry organizations, contact them - many of the registries also maintain records of complaints filed against breeders or have taken action against them for violation of various organization rules or ethics.

Does she also register all of the litters she produces? If not, why not?

What is the health history of the prior generations? How old did they live to be and what did they die of?

Has the kitten had its shots (as to see a written record of the vaccinations received, date they were administered, the specific brand of vaccine and the legible name, address and phone number of the vet who administered them) and been checked over by a vet? Have both parents been checked and declared negative for Feline Leukemia and FIV? Many breeders will administer vaccinations themselves - however, just as many vets won't recognize these vaccines and will require a kitten to be re-vaccinated - watch out for this. If you purchase a kitten, you will want to request written confirmation that a vet has seen and examined the kittens at least twice and that he/she has administered safe vaccines using the accepted vaccine protocol be included with your other documents.

Does the breeder have a written sales agreement which clearly outlines what she expects from the buyer and what the buyer can expect from the breeder? Demand one - it may just turn out to be the most important document in your filing cabinet at some point.

What kind of health guarantee will the breeder offer in their sales agreement? What specific health issues does it include and when does it expire? Are there conditions upon the guarantee, such as vaccinations which should not be administered which will void the guarantee? The sales agreement should also very clearly state whether or not the kitten can be used for breeding - most breeders won't allow this for a pet placed in a family home - and should include a very clearly defined spay/neuter clause which specifically prohibits breeding along with what consequences or financial obligations the buyer will have to face should they breed the kitten anyway. Most often, the breeder will withhold the pedigree/registration papers as well as the transfer of ownership documents until written confirmation that the kitten has been spayed/neutered has been received. There should also be a clause which covers declawing, outdoor access and remedies for resolution of disagreement between the buyer and the breeder. One of the best indications of a good breeder is their willingness to take the kitten back in the event you cannot keep it. At no time should a breeder ever allow one of her kittens to end up in a shelter or worse, tossed away outside.

Is the price of the kitten substantially higher or lower than the amount charged by other breeders in your area for similar kittens? Prices may vary from breed to breed for kittens, but most breeders of a specific breed will usually sell pets for about the same amount. If the kitten or cat is significantly less expensive than kittens of that breed from other breeders nearby each other, ask why. If there is no logical reason - just "that's what I charge" or "this kitten is sold without papers" - stay away. Likewise, if the cat seems to be significantly more expensive compared to other breeders, stay away. Be careful of a breeder who charges significantly more for a "rare" color or pattern. Many times, the rare colors and patterns are not yet accepted by the registering organizations and actually should be sold at a lower price.

Ask the breeder for references, both from their veterinarian and previous kitten buyers. Contact these references. Ask buyers of kittens or cats if they would purchase from this breeder again. If they say no, ask why - was it the wrong breed for them or were there problems dealing with the breeder?

Ask when you can schedule a preliminary appointment to meet the breeder in person and to see the kittens' parents. Make completely certain that this visit does not obligate you to placing a deposit on a kitten. This visit gives you the best overview of how the cats are being managed. There are several points to consider when visiting the cattery. When you first walk into the house, look around for a general feeling of cleanliness. Do not be concerned if you notice a faint "cat odor" especially if the breeder keeps a whole male stud in her home. This is to be expected. However, if there is an overwhelming odor that nearly knocks you over, politely decline continuing the visit and leave. You will want to meet the queen and the sire if he is on premises and look them over carefully. Many breeders will not allow you to handle their studs. Do not be concerned if this is the case when you visit. Intact male cats kept in a breeder's home may or may not be confined or caged. While other breeders may disagree with me on this, caging a stud is not an unacceptable thing when considering their nature and propensity to be aggressive with people. It is for the protection of the cats, the residents of the home and any visitors to the home that males may be confined. It does not denote an irresponsible breeder. If the sire is on premises and confined or caged, you will want to make certain his enclosure is clean and free from debris, that water and food bowls and present and fresh, litter pans or trays are clean and scooped and that the stud has a warm, clean place to recline. There may be a strong odor of "stud spray" wherever an intact male cat is kept however, this is also to be expected and should not be a huge factor in determining whether or not this breeder is the right one for you. If there is also a strong odor of feces or spoiled food, then yes, that's not a good sign, but the smell of stud spray is normal where males are kept. The queen and kittens should have a space to themselves, many will have a "queening cage" or other set up specifically designed to keep the kittens safe and provide the queen with a comfortable place to raise her kittens. This place should also be clean and free from debris. There should be a separate litter arrangement for the queen and kittens if they are old enough, and food/water bowls should be clean and fresh. If the kittens are older, they should not be kept full-time in a cage, but rather have a room in the house where they have free roam to explore, run, stretch developing muscles and play. All cats should be clean and healthy (no runny noses or eyes and no sneezing), be of the proper weight, fur soft and dry, and the cats should display good temperament.

Be prepared to answer questions about yourself and about your living/family situation. For a breeder, selling a kitten is like finding adoptive parents for a child. They are very concerned that the kitten's new owners have the resources and knowledge to provide a high quality and quantity of care including regular veterinary care, high quality food, love and attention. They may request references and written approval from landlords. You will be asked about your experience in owning cats and what other pets are in the household.

Get to know the breeder and his/her cat family, if possible. The breeder can be one of your best sources of information for any adjustment problems your cat may have in making the move to your home, also if any health problems arise. Many breeders love to keep in touch with people who have purchased their kittens.

Do try to find a breeder in your area, or within a day's drive. Shipping cats and kittens is never a good idea if it can be avoided. Even if you must purchase a kitten from a far-away breeder, do try to visit the breeder's facility at least once. If the kitten must be shipped, try to make arrangements to fly home with it - in the cabin with you.

Don't buy a cat or kitten over the Internet from someone you don't know. Never buy a kitten sight-unseen. The Internet is a great information resource for many things but it is only a first step in finding the right breeder for your new pet. You can research breeders online, find out who has kittens online, even meet the breeder online, but then follow up with personal attention, a visit to the cattery and perform all the evaluation techniques outlined above.

You may also be able to find a breeder or more about a specific breed of cat by attending local cat shows and talking with the breeders and exhibitors. Keep in mind that they are there to promote their cats, so they may be a bit preoccupied with the show, but most love to talk about their cats. Ask how often they breed their females. More frequent breeding may cause stress and health problems in the queen/kittens. Do not prepay for an unborn kitten, however a deposit for a kitten with payment in full when you pick up the kitten is reasonable.

I sincerely hope this answers your questions. As always, if you have more, feel free to ask.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wow, everyone has great information! I'm printing out this thread and keeping it to use when I start to look at catteries.

Now for a few more questions about queens and studs:

About how often should a breeder have a litter from one queen? I've read about once a year, but I'm somewhat unsure. Also, should I ask how many litters that queen has had?

Is it okay for a breeder to bring in a stud from another cattery? I know in the dog and horse world this is normal.

Is it okay if I ask about the breeder if he or she works with a local shelter volunteering time and or money?
post #10 of 14
About how often should a breeder have a litter from one queen? I've read about once a year, but I'm somewhat unsure.

Yes, once a year is surely common especielly if the cats are also family-cats. Fife - the big european organisation, says maximum 3 litters in two years.
One point is not to wearn down the queen. Onother is it is no good if same queen or stud have too many descendends. Of course, it is some differance if they go on as breeding cats or if they are spayed and being pets.

by the way. The queen shouldnt be too young or too old. Especielly if it is first time they shouldnt be above 5 years.
A queen who did had several happy deliveries and is in excellent condition do manage also as 13-year; but no serious breeder would do that without a really excellent reason. Or bred a 7 year for first time.

Also, should I ask how many litters that queen has had?

Yes, why not?! If no other reason, you want to know the kinship of your cat.
But if it is many litters, say more than 5-6, let the bells ring. And check the references.

Is it okay for a breeder to bring in a stud from another cattery? I know in the dog and horse world this is normal.

Oh yes, it is pretty normal, yes even usual. No good to use the same combination too many times. But again: are the kittens sold as pets or breeding cats??
A serious breeder do often change stud; they may borrow studs from each other, or use some new private stud, perhaps a nice young tomcat they met at a exhibition. Or son to a excellent stud they met at an exhibition.
All serious breeders do much work to find suitable good Sirs.
It is one of the signs to find see difference between serious breeder and "breeder" the millman.

Is it okay if I ask about the breeder if he or she works with a local shelter volunteering time and or money?

It is OK to ask, but dont expect too much. It is probably they give away some food who do became little too old. Perhaps they give some advice.
But very few breeders will volunteer, they are afraid to get in contagion, distemper and other nasties.



One thing more. Gayef did wrote much and excellent. She did wrote a lot about taking references.
You shouldnt of course not overdo it. Take references first when you are on buying as next step, not everytime you do phone a breeder.

Otherwise people will tire on being ask about references if you misuse it...
But of course do always take references if you are unsure, something is perhaps fishy. In these cases the references are double important. Not only to stop the transaction, but very often to free the breeder of suspictions.

One little example: You visit the breeder. It smells awful. You go immediately out as Gayef said. But who knows, one of the cats did perhaps poo moments before - and it smells...
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
[b]
A serious breeder do often change stud; they may borrow studs from each other, or use some new private stud, perhaps a nice young tomcat they met at a exhibition. Or son to a excellent stud they met at an exhibition.
All serious breeders do much work to find suitable good Sirs.
It is one of the signs to find see difference between serious breeder and "breeder" the millman.
I think this is more common i the Scandinavian (European?) countries than it is in the US or Australia, it more common with "closed catteries" in those countries. But that's just what I think, I can't say for sure.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol View Post
I think this is more common i the Scandinavian (European?) countries than it is in the US or Australia, it more common with "closed catteries" in those countries. But that's just what I think, I can't say for sure.
Yup, it is more common in other places than it is in the US due to the risk of contagion and to minimize the spread of disease.

US Breeders will still take a queen out to stud (or for those of us who have our own studs) or will take in a queen to our studs but most catteries in the US are closed to "foreign cats" (that is to say - cats not of that specific cattery).
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef View Post
US Breeders will still take a queen out to stud (or for those of us who have our own studs) or will take in a queen to our studs
I wasnt talking about who is visiting whom. I talked about avoiding the same combination in multiple exemplares.

Yes, this is surely a difference. In US it is a believe very common with early spaying of kittens sold as pets. Ie most kittens ARE sold as pets. So strictly genetically is is at most one from every litter who is sold as breeding cat.
Therefore it doesnt matter much if the same combination is repeated many times. Most are spayed and sold as pets, only a few are sold as whole.

We dont have much of this. All cats are sold as pets at full price, and most can be bred och showed upon.
So is in any case in my race, the swedish-skandinawian Russian Blue.

The average standard is very high. Practically all cats do have breeding-quality. Most can be exhibited with chance to get Champion title.
Although of course fewer are of BestinShow / International Champion quality.

So almost everyone are sold at a rather high "standard"-price. Most gets pets and are spayed/neutered at about one year, without any breeding, but some will get breeder. Quite many do exhibit.
Price-reduction only in those cats who are medically unsuitable for breeding... usually about 10%.

So. As almost every kitten is a potentially breeder, it is also necessary to think about suitable combinations...
And as most studs are homecats preciselely as most queens, they tend to have short carriers, and becomes harmonic castrathe after one or two years.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef View Post
Yup, it is more common in other places than it is in the US due to the risk of contagion and to minimize the spread of disease.

US Breeders will still take a queen out to stud (or for those of us who have our own studs) or will take in a queen to our studs but most catteries in the US are closed to "foreign cats" (that is to say - cats not of that specific cattery).
Yeah, that's what I thought. It's getting more and more common here in Scandinavia to at least co-own studs with one or two other breeders (that you know very well) and that's almost like having a closed cattery... just that the cattery involves 2-3 households and the litters are registred with different prefixes depending on in which household the litter is born.
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