Yes, I agree with Gaye, if pediatric spay and neuter isn't available, then withholding the blue slip is appropriate. There was a time I thought of breeding dogs, only a very few number of vets will early alter, as with dogs pediatric altering is even more rare, and there were no vets in Oklahoma that I found. I had thought of an idea of charging a alter fee of $100-$200 that was placed in a special account, that was returned after proof of altering. I thought it may give owners more of a push to get it done in a timely manner, as well as the owner may be more willing to listen and understand the seriousness benefits of spaying and neutering their pet. I never did breed dogs, so never did implement that plan, but it may be something that would work.
I agree with what has been said so far, I do believe keeping kittens until 12 weeks of age is important, as is educating pet owners regarding pediatric altering, other alternatives to declawing, (our contract states, no declawing, or it voids our 4 year warranty. I think for breeds that are more affected by HCM or PKD, breeding cats should be scanned on a schedule, as well as the felv/fiv testing.
A big part of breeding is asking many questions, as these babies are our responsibility, so making sure that they are going to good, stable homes is important.
I also believe that a good breeder also helps with rescue, if we can breed the breed, we should also help with either your breeds rescue, or other rescue organization.
I think a contract clause, stating that for any reason the kitten or cat has to be rehomed, I have the option of getting the kitten/cat back.
Signs of a bad cattery:
In my experience of visiting catteries, these are the things that make me cringe, and make me run.
Too many cats and kittens. Which in turn, usually means some form of illness is going on in the cattery.
Small cages is another reason I would run. I do believe that confining males and young kittens is required, but not in small cages.
How often are they breeding their queen? If breeding is frequent, it is a bad sign. However, some queens do need to be bred more often than others.
Hissy, I wish you well on your article. The more people who are educated about good and bad breeders, the better.