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Ethical vs. Reputable

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
The last thread was closed before I could post my thoughts on this subject, but I feel strongly that it is something worth discussing.

I think that we tend to conflate the ideas of what makes an ethical breeder versus what makes a reputable breeder. They are not the same concepts, however, a reputable breeder must always be an ethical breeder.

An ethical breeder will not knowingly breed sick cats, nor will they knowingly sell a sick cat. They vaccinate, worm, and make sure their cats are not bred unless sold as breeding cats. They use a variety of methods to test the health of their cats and are aware of the problems that exist in their breed. If one of their cats needs to be re-homed, they take responsibility for the situation. They do everything they can to screen potential pet buyers. They put the health and well-being of their cats first.

A reputation is paramount to being a reputable breeder. It is hard-won, and even harder kept. The only way one becomes a reputable breeder is by proving the quality of type and temperament of one's chose breed, and this can only be accomplished through the venue of showing. Shows are not about titles and winning, though that is fun as well. Shows are about having your breeding stock evaluated based on a very precise written standard. It's about seeking the opinions of experts in the fancy and making use of those opinions as breedings are selected and paired.

A reputation takes years to build, and one bad choice to destroy. A reputation is based on how well one deals with other breeders and pet buyers, how well one's cats meet a written standard physically, and how well those cats maintain their temperaments. When a breeder sells a breeding cat, their own reputation is on the line. While it might seem snobbish, elitist, or political to some, there is a lot at stake for those who enjoy the hobby and wish to continue to operate within the world of the cat fancy.
post #2 of 14
Good post FerrisCat but I think that something should be added to the ethical definition. To me, an ethical breeder is also very knowledgeable about the breed itself and strives only to maintain, or stay within, breed standards (aka pet quality).

The reason I think this should be added is because there are a lot of "breeders" out there that are doing so that meet all of the criteria you listed, but aren't necessarily doing it for the betterment of the breed itself. If you're thinking this falls under "reputable" instead, I would say that the distinct difference is "reputable" breeders strive more towards perfecting the breed, or meeting the highest standards (aka show quality).

I hope that makes sense. I'm not a breeder and don't know much at all about it, but know that when I look for any pure bred pet (like my aby) I always make sure that the person is well educated about the breed's standards and breeding only within them.
post #3 of 14
I'm not intentionally nit-picking, but IMO there is no "VS" in Ethical and Reputable. They must go hand in hand. You can't be one or the other and they must be the same concept, unless you are reputable only because your reputation is bad.
In the cat fancy it takes only one mistake for a smear campaign to start, so you have to dot all your i's and cross all your t's at all times. Even then the gossip machine puts your program at risk. It's quicksand out there.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals View Post
In the cat fancy it takes only one mistake for a smear campaign to start, so you have to dot all your i's and cross all your t's at at all times. Even then the gossip machine puts your program at risk. It's quicksand out there.
Similar to what I was going to say, agree it's not even necessarily one mistake could just be one rumoured mistake, especially with the internet things spread so fast.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I once purchased cats from a breeder who was very ethical, but other breeders questioned how reputable this breeder's cattery was. This breeder's cats were of excellent health and temperament and the breeder knew the lines exceedingly well. But this breeder did not show, as their personal life did not allow the free time necessary to show. Some might argue that this breeder was not reputable for that reason--in that they could not prove the quality of their lines through titles.

I think a reputable breeder must be ethical--we all seem to agree that this is a non-negotiable. However, an ethical breeder does not necessarily have to have a reputation in the show-ring. I am arguing that a reputable breeder earns their (good) reputation, and it takes significant time and effort to do that.
post #6 of 14
A topic I find very interesting.

I don't think that breeders are reputable if they're sitting at home breeding cats (even if they worm, flea, neuter, have a website etc) but don't visit shows, show their cats or visit other catteries. You must always be ahead of the game - always reading, always checking out websites and other show results, reading up on certain lines, studying photographs.

I have taken the first step in my cat fancy to help better my breed of choice - I've become the Exotic Breed Rep for my cat fancy.

ETA: I always think you should be constantly proving yourselves and your cats. For example my Nana & I had a litter 7 years ago tomorrow - the litter had 4 cats that won best in shows every single show. I think Nana racked up something like 20 Breeders Awards in one season. YUP that was 7 years ago - I've still got one from the litter here and she is SO not what we're looking for today in an Exotic. I could just rode on the success of that litter for my cattery name but nope I'm out there showing the country my new look, and doing OK too.

Nana & I always like to at least get our girls "Championship" status. The boys we at least try to Grand. The exception is our import, who we imported when he was 18 months old and wasn't used to shows.
post #7 of 14
As I'm still very new to CFA and TICA, I'd like to know if you have to show your cats abroad at some point to get a certain title for them?
In FIFé you do, and I'm now in a situation where both of my BSH studs have to be shown in another country to get the next title for them and that is going to be an issue (because of my own health and of course it's not that cheap either). I propably will take Kuura to abroad when I'm able to, but then again I'm going to breed in TICA, so are FIFé titles worth anything in that case? TICA is still so new here that they don't have shows very often..

I don't usually pay attention to titles, the pedigrees are what interest me more, and what the cat looks like in my opinion. I've seen many Europa Champions (the highest Fifé title) who just don't have anything what I like about in the breed (BSH).
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Northernglow... In both CFA and TICA, a cat does not have to be shown abroad in order to be titled, though it could be beneficial depending on the title being sought. CFA is divided up into geographical regions that include both the US and Canada.

There has been a fairly new trend of campaigning breeders flying out to the larger CFA shows in Europe in order to gain enough points for a National Win (NW.) However, this practice has become very controversial recently as not all cats entered in the European CFA shows are necessarily registered in CFA. Show rules have been proposed to curtail the number of points these shows can offer cats competing from the North American regions, but the practice is still permitted in CFA.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by FerrisCat View Post
Northernglow... In both CFA and TICA, a cat does not have to be shown abroad in order to be titled, though it could be beneficial depending on the title being sought. CFA is divided up into geographical regions that include both the US and Canada.

There has been a fairly new trend of campaigning breeders flying out to the larger CFA shows in Europe in order to gain enough points for a National Win (NW.) However, this practice has become very controversial recently as not all cats entered in the European CFA shows are necessarily registered in CFA. Show rules have been proposed to curtail the number of points these shows can offer cats competing from the North American regions, but the practice is still permitted in CFA.
I guess in Europe things are a bit different. With certain countries only having maybe one association.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats View Post
I guess in Europe things are a bit different. With certain countries only having maybe one association.
I think the logic is that cats are allowed to be entered in Championship without a registration number so that exhibitors can try out CFA without having to make a firm commitment to the organization. ACFA has a similar practice over here, as I was able to show two of my guys at their Maryland show without having registered them first.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by FerrisCat View Post
I think the logic is that cats are allowed to be entered in Championship without a registration number so that exhibitors can try out CFA without having to make a firm commitment to the organization. ACFA has a similar practice over here, as I was able to show two of my guys at their Maryland show without having registered them first.
We have the same thing here with TICA and I think CFA too. You can enter your cat once to a show without having to register it to the organization, but if the cat gets a title (or any points), you'll get them only if you register your cat to the organization in question. This is allowed propably because most of the European countries only have had FIFé shows before, and they are very different from TICA/CFA shows.
post #12 of 14
Agree with Nial - you have to be both - not one or the other and even if you can't personally show due to circumstances, if your cats are out there in the hands of other breeders/show people and are shown in championship or alter classes and are champions or grands THEN you are breeding to the standard and have quality cats.

So your reputation can still be confirmed. If you are ethical because you test your cats, are not overbreedding, etc. and yet not in the show ring (one way or the other) - then how in the heck can you possibly know if your cats are good enough for the show ring and are PROVING themselves?
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
I agree that a breeder should be both, that isn't even up for discussion. I am just arguing that ethical and reputable are two different ideas, one not necessarily inclusive of the other. I am sure we all know a number of breeders who are ethical but certainly not reputable because they do not (or cannot) show their cats.

In my real life, I am an English teacher. My entire livelihood is based upon the nuances and details of words and concepts.
post #14 of 14
Wow! What a thread....

IMO

Ethics, in bred to the human, you either have it or you don't.

Reps are built, and can be torn to shreds in an instant.

If you have the ethics from the beginning, you will get the reputation.

I know more than a few breeders who do not show anymore, in many instances, other people show for them and/or their reps are so solid, it can't be touched. And frankly there are one or two of them that I know who don't show BUT I would get a cat from them in a heartbeat, why? Simply because they maintain the standard.

My stand on ethics and reps...if you have the ethics, your rep should be able to withstand any and all bashing. And yes, eventually the two WILL go hand in hand.

As for the CFA talk - the category is called Novice. Cats not registered with CFA but IS registered with a recognised registry may show under this category. It is EXPECTED that should the cat be able to Champion/Premier (and or final or breed win as a kitten) that the cat be registered with CFA for future shows. And yes, this category is being sorely abused.

For FIFE, non Fife registered cats may be registered with Fife IF they attain a certain number of challenge certificates - registration only for breeding status, no other non fife registration required.

I have no idea what TICA does...lol.
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