I distrust buyer references because honestly, do you think any breeder is going to give you the name of a person who had a bad experience with them? I don't think so. They are only going to give you the most glowing, happiest, satisfied people as a reference, don't you think? Most likely the best you can do is call whatever registry association the breeder lists with and ask if they have an avenue for you to be able to search for breeder complaints. They may not, but you never know - there might be someone who can help there.
As for visiting the cattery, I wholeheartedly agree. You can tell a lot more about how the cats are cared for by seeing for yourself than anything else. It won't tell you if the cats are of good, healthy bloodlines ... you would have to do a lot of potentially expensive and time-consuming research in order to accurately determine that ... but if you go into a breeder's home and see filthy, overflowing litter boxes, food molding in the bowls, water fouled, the cats look unhealthy, the odor brings tears to your eyes and gags you - run away quicksmart. If they keep a whole male, then EXPECT to smell him. It shouldn't be overwhelming, but it will be detectable. It is the nature of the beast and has to be taken into account.
As for caging ... I know there are several breeders here who claim they do not cage their males. OK, so maybe they don't. But ... the majority of breeders who keep a male do use an enclosure of some sort. Whether it is a separate room or cage-type room built within a room ... whatever. Breeders do cage males. It does not mean they are bad breeders or that you shouldn't buy a kitten from them. It is a common practice (at least in the US anyway) and should not deter you from getting a kitten.
Queens and kittens are sometimes caged for a short while from birth until the kittens are mostly consistant with using the litter box. Again, this should not be a determining factor when considering whether or not to buy a kitten. There are all kinds of different breeders/people and as many different ways to do things among them - some might use for instance, a double show cage or similar set up for their queening cages. Others might have a designated space in a bedroom of their home. I know some who provide a cardboard box and then discard it after the kittens are older. I don't know what other breeders do, probably whatever works best for them I suppose, but I use an extra large dog crate as my kitten cage. ~My queen chose it~ to deliver her 2nd litter. When I tried to move them out into the more suitable nest I had provided for her, she moved them right back into that dog crate and it has been her place of preference to have her babies ever since. What should deter you in terms of caging is a litter of 10 to 12 week old kittens constantly confined in cages. They should have free roam of at least one whole room if not the whole house.
If you've gotten this far and are comfortable with everything else about the breeder, the time now comes to be choosing a kitten. You will want to sit on the floor amongst the kittens and let them come to you. If you reach out and try to grab one, you will most likely find they will be skittish around you and you will not get a true sense of their normal demeanor. Just sit quietly, maybe have a toy or treat in your hands to offer should one get nosey about you and just observe them. They should be active, curious, easy to engage in play behavior ... they should appear to be clean and of a weight proportionate to their size. They should not be sneezing a lot nor should you see goopy eyes. They should not be scratching a lot, digging at their ears or grooming their behinds a lot. Permit the kittens to behave normally and then just wait a little bit. More than likely, one (or more) will seek you out and try to engage you in some way. If you are lucky enough to have one decide that you are a great thing upon which to curl up, purr and take a little nap, then consider yourself chosen and take that kitten home with you. *smile*