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Finding a Pedigree Cat

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Tigermoon, Apr 30, 2017.


  1. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    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.
     
    #1 Tigermoon, Apr 30, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Excellent post @Tigermoon. :) I hope we can have it as a sticky.
     
  3. urbantigers

    urbantigers PetForums VIP

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    If you are after a popular breed, be extra wary. Breed such as British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Persian, Bengal (not an exhaustive list) for example. These are the breeds that backyard breeders are likely to breed as they know there is a huge market out there for people who want these breeds and they also know that a large proportion of these potential buyers are after pets (as opposed to show cats), often first time buyers, and not always bothered, or educated about, what paperwork a breeder should provide, or what is the appropriate age for a kitten to go to his new home.

    I'd advise anyone interested in a pedigree to go to a cat show, preferably a large cat show. That way you get to say multiple examples of the breed you're interested in and also get to chat to breeders.

    Look at breed clubs. Most have kitten lists. Doesn't guarantee everything will be fine but it's a good starting point.

    Don't pay a deposit to reserve a kitten until you have visited and viewed. You should see mum and kittens, and dad if the breeder owns the sire. Trust your gut instinct and if you're uncomfortable with anything, walk away.
     
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  4. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    I have made this a sticky though, sadly, I think most people will have bought a kitten from somewhere, whether reputable or not, before they come on to a site like this.
     
  5. vivien

    vivien PetForums VIP

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    Thank you Lynn as you say. Some people may well have already bought a kitten before coming on here. This is what happened with me and my Bailey. But at the time I didn't know about this lovely forum. It was only because I was pouring my heart out on a Ragdoll site that the lovely chinablue introduced me to this forum after Bailey passed away. If it wasn't for her sending me lots of lovely photos of the litter of Ragdolls she had at the time I wouldn't of ever got a pedigree cat again. I also have to give great credit to catcoonz she was a great help when looking for my Maine Coon. Unfortunately poor Yogi got sick within a week of us getting him. But he is still here with us thank goodness.
    Thank you @Tigermoon for this brilliant thread. It will help people not make the mistake I made with Bailey.

    Viv xx
     
  6. Justyna.D

    Justyna.D PetForums Junior

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    I wouldn't trust anybody who is willing to let kitten go earlier then 12-13 weeks old, without both vacc, insurance etc
    Only proof that kitten is pedigree is paperwork
     
  7. Justyna.D

    Justyna.D PetForums Junior

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    I seen a lot of adverts of 'full pedigree' kittens but not registered - for numbers of reasons. Whatever 'breeder' tells you - most common reason why they not register kittens is because they can't - mum or dad is non active, they are close related, or simply not registered. The other reason could be to many litters. Queen can have no more then 3 litters in 2 years - it is important for her wellbeing.
     
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  8. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    There are a huge number of ersatz 'ragdolls' around, but there are BYBs for any breed you care to mention.

    Some queens have no problem at all with 3 litters in 2 years, and there certainly isn't a GCCF rule about it.
     
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  9. Justyna.D

    Justyna.D PetForums Junior

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    I'm sure I seen it on breeding policy, not sure if that was gccf - no more then 3 litters in 2 years and Queen older then 6 years should be retired
     
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  10. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    Not there anywhere I can find.
     
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  11. urbantigers

    urbantigers PetForums VIP

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    Indeed there are, sadly. But if a breed is not well known by the general public there is not much of a market for BYBs as not the same demand. I'd imagine BYBs would try to cash in on what is popular.
     
    #11 urbantigers, May 1, 2017
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  12. Justyna.D

    Justyna.D PetForums Junior

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    I can't find it now, that could be World Cat Federation, anyway we all know BYB's have as many litters as possible without thinking about cat wellbeing.
     
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  13. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    WCF is an umbrella organisation, not a registry.
     
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  14. Smuge

    Smuge PetForums VIP

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    A very helpful list @Tigermoon thank you for posting

    I am now at the very end of the process and am over the moon with my breeder, but the thing I found most difficult about finding a breeder was verifying anything they said, this was especially difficult as I am not part of the "local cat community." There is very little to stop a BYB saying they are tested, registered etc so I was keen to look into it more beyond simply being told everything was in order. I did eventually verify everything and in time got rave reviews, but it certainly took a fair bit of digging - im not sure that's something all buyers do. One thing that made me feel comfortable early on was that money was never an issue, she told me the price during the first phone call and money was never mentioned again until I emailed to double check the figure a few weeks ago - she wasn't even interested in a deposit, if she is just in it for a quick buck? she isn't very good at it lol

    Another thing that I loved seeing but had never previously considered? The Breeder had cats from her line that were very clearly not used for breeding due to age/health (injury) etc, they were just loved pets - this is one thing I will definitely look for in the future as I think a breeder having cats that have nothing to do with breeding is a hugely positive sign

    My kittens mum is a bit skittish around strangers and the kitten itself just pretty much just sat in our hands purring for the entire visit (around 8 weeks) so not a lot of playing etc but after a little while her sister spent the next hour exploring every corner of the room. I think ours (who we are already madly in love with - we slightly worry it borders on obsession :p ) was just a bit shell shocked by being picked up and cuddled by giant strangers. I know this may fall under a couple of your flags (come to think of it the kittens were brought in from another room - she had 2 litters and rather a lot of kittens) but the stud, and other pets in the household were all super friendly and I absolutely believe the breeder when she says that the mum is just a lap cat who doesn't like strange humans much at first - I got the impression she was very much a favourite though.

    I hope this thread helps other future cat parents find a great breeder :) I found the process extremely stressful
     
    #14 Smuge, May 1, 2017
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  15. Justyna.D

    Justyna.D PetForums Junior

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    I know that :) Like I said, I can't remember where it was
     
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  16. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    Yes and no. I, like many other breeders will seek pet homes for my retirees as they are far happier in a home without calling queens, playful kittens and less feline crowding. Whereas some breeders do keep their retirees. I have noticed that the age of retirement can influence the way a breeder manages their feline family. For example I retire girls from breeding very young, at 3 or 4 years of age, whereas other breeders will retire at 8 or even 9 years of age. It wouldn't be practical for me to keep every retiree as I'd soon be well over 30 cats and personally I don't think that is good for health or well being, and I'm not sure how I'd give each cat individual time.

    Having said that I do have two neutered cats here. One I bought as a pet, with no intention of breeding from her at all. I'd always fancied a Chinchilla Persian so eventually went and got one. The other is a retiree and I've kept her because I promised her breeder I would, even though to be honest I think she would be happier as an only cat.
     
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  17. QOTN

    QOTN PetForums VIP

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    I always took the attitude that I loved my cats more than breeding. Sometimes for years I had very few kittens but that was preferable to outing my cats I loved. In the end it meant I gave up breeding and that was no bad thing either!.
     
  18. Rose Vally

    Rose Vally PetForums Newbie

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    very helpful
     
  19. JuliaRoberts

    JuliaRoberts PetForums Junior

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    I must say, it really annoys me when I see an advert for a kitten which states that 'they will not be registered because we are selling them as pets only'. They are trying to hoodwink people. These days backyard breeders are selling their kittens for up to £500! They can't be trusted - they won't have put the work in that justifies selling at those prices.

    I agree with a previous poster who says that if the kittens are not registered then it's most likely because the parents are not on the active register.
     
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  20. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    Or one of both of the parents are not registered. More money to register is another scam, at the most it's £23 for a GCCF kitten. if it's the only kitten in the litter (or the only one registered) and the breeder doesn't have a prefix.
     
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