There are about 40 breeds of cats, and you’ve done your
homework and found the one with just the right personality and energy level for
you. Now, how do you find a good breeder so you can be sure your new
kitten is healthy and well adjusted? We asked Allene Tartaglia, executive
director of the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA.org), the world’s largest
registry of pedigree cats, for some tips.
Keep your little kitty healthy and happy. Get advice about cat health and
behavior from experts at WebMD.
Q: There are ads for kittens in the newspaper, on the Internet, and, of
course, there are those adorable kittens in the pet stores. Where should I buy
my new kitten?
A: Ideally you want to buy your new pedigree kitten directly from a breeder.
Of course, that could be through the Internet, through the newspaper, or by
meeting breeders at cat shows. We generally steer people away from pet stores
because there’s not a lot of human interaction in pet stores. You don’t meet
the breeder, you don’t know where the kitten came from, how long it’s been
there, anything like that.
Q: How old should my kitten be when I bring him home?
A: Most breeders will keep kittens until they’re 4 months old. That’s when
they’re more socialized. Kittens socialize slower than puppies and they need
that time with their mother and their littermates. They also have most of their
shots by then. Some breeds do mature a bit faster than
others, but generally it’s between 3-4 months.
Q: Do purebred cats have more health problems than mixed-breed
A: Not really. In fact, breeders know if there are any health problems in
their line and then they breed to avoid that. Breeders will get DNA testing of
the parents and the kittens. It’s kind of a tradeoff. A kitten you get from a
shelter may pick up an upper respiratory illness from all the other cats there.
But if you’re looking at the genetic end of it, the gene pool is much larger
with what we call random bred cats.
Q: Will someone who breeds cats to show sell me a kitten if I don’t want
to show it?
A: Absolutely. They will require you to neuter or spay the kitten, but they
will sell you a kitten. The whole idea behind breeding is you’re breeding to a
standard. And certainly, a high percentage of the kittens that are bred are not
going to be perfect specimens of that breed, so breeders are happy to sell them
Q: What questions should I ask to determine if someone is a good
A: How long have they been breeding? Do they show their cats? Do their cats
have any titles? What breeds do they work with? Good breeders may not show all
the time, but they’re still concerned with improving the breed and that’s what
they’re breeding for, not just to sell kittens.