There have been a number of threads lately, both here and on other social media sites from people buying their first pedigree and the difficulties they have faced. We are all capable of making a mistake, but unlike when you buy a TV that breaks after a week (which is very annoying but you can usually get a replacement and no emotion is spent) when you involve a living being, which you fall in love with very quickly, it can result in utter devastation, and a huge financial and emotional cost. I should know, its happened to me twice, once when I was seeking my first pedigree and fell into the clutches of a BYB and once when I really should have known better .... So I've started this thread because I'd like breeders and people who have bought pedigree cats to discuss the best way to find a reputable breeder, things to keep you eyes peeled for, and what specific questions you should ask. The first thing that becomes obvious with a lot of people is they don't do enough research. However where do you start? If you are totally outside of 'The Cat Fancy' it can be impossible to know where to begin. Breeders and those-in-the-know will tell you to approach the breed clubs or the registry. But when I started looking I'd never even heard of the GCCF, even though I'd read a number of books about cats. At the time I didn't have access to the internet, so I did what most people do, I looked in a paper and went to a breeder who was advertising in there. This was a mistake (see above). In the UK there are four registries: GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) http://www.gccfcats.org/ TICA (The International Cat Association) http://www.tica-ew.org/ FIFE (Fédération Internationale Féline) http://www.felisbritannica.com/ CFA (Cat Fancy Association) http://cfaeurope.org/en The GCCF is the only one based solely in the UK and is the most commonly used by UK breeders, the others are international registries, with TICA being the most commonly used of the three behind GCCF in the UK. (NB Breeders: Please could you comment and put links to registries within your own countries please) These registries will have links to help you find a breeder, a club for the breed you are interested in and have guidelines to help you select a breeder and chose a kitten. Make sure you understand which health tests your chosen breed should have and ask your breeder for details of their cats status. Make sure you see proof, no reputable breeder will be offended if asked to show clearance certificates. In the UK Langfords are the most commonly used genetic testing service, this link shows you the breeds they have genetic tests for, just click on the breeds name and the tests available are listed. http://www.langfordvets.co.uk/diagn...eneral-info-breeders/genetic-diseases-and-cat Some UK breeders will use other Labs, the other most often used is UC Davis, in the USA. https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/cat/ Other tests such as heart scans to check for HCM are done in a number of breeds. HCM is a complex disease, and the DNA test will not guarantee the cat is free from HCM, so beware of a breeder who claims it does. Note that heart scans must be performed by a specialist cardiologist not the local practice vet. Make sure you understand what paperwork you should receive when you buy your kitten. As a minimum you should get a pedigree sheet (the family tree), and the vaccination card showing what vaccines were given and when. You should also receive the registration document. This is printed by the registration body and lists the kittens pedigree name, its parents, its date of birth and its registration number. While some breeders retain these until proof of neutering most will give these to you on collection of the kitten. This link will show you what the paperwork should look like https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/pedigree-papers.454267/ Lots of breeders also get their kittens microchipped so you should receive the paperwork for that too. Most breeders will give you a pack with details of worming, fleaing and feeding. It may be a little booklet or just a sheet of paper but it is important. Show it to your vet so they can put a note of the dates and products used on your kittens record. The kitten may or may not be neutered prior to you collecting him/her depending on the breeders practice. Things to watch for when viewing kittens: Dirty bottoms/eyes/noses/ears Nervous kittens who don't relax and start to play after a few minutes of your arrival. Nervous adult cats. Dirty litter trays / feeding areas. Excessively bad smells when a kitten/cat uses the litter tray. Kittens/adults that don't want to be handled. Breeders who are reluctant to show off their cats. Kittens that are brought into the room from elsewhere (that you don't get to see) Breeders that are keen to get a purchase that day. Breeders who claim they health test but can't or won't show you the paperwork. Breeders who avoid answering the question.