CHOOSING A CAT BREEDER –
SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
By Brittney Gobble
This is meant to simply help point out a few things to help you in your search for your new little family member! Remember to still do your research and follow your instincts…if something doesn’t feel right, run the other way!
One important thing that a reputable breeder will have is a clearly written contract. This will include the health guarantee as well. This helps provide pet owners with confidence that the breeder will still be there for the kitten should something go wrong. It will often give clues about the breeder’s concern for their kittens; things such as asking that the kitten be offered back to them in case of rehoming and requiring that the kitten receive proper veterinarian care.
Every good breeder should be registered with at least one major cat association! This is non-negotiable! With the Lykoi, we are only recognized as a breed by TICA. Yes, I know many pet owners don’t care about registration papers as they never plan to breed or show, but there are also important reasons for ensuring that you do receive those papers from your breeder. If a breeder doesn’t know anything about their bloodlines or worse lacks paperwork on their breeding cats this is a huge red flag. Even if they explain it away by saying their family member lost the papers, or that they never planned to show so it didn’t matter…it does matter! If they don’t know their cats’ parents’ names, how can they know if those cats had health risks? How can they know they aren’t inbreeding very closely related cats, and what if both of those cats come from high risk lines? These are things that are signs of a responsible breeder! Sadly there are already couple of people that are claiming they have Lykoi, and they do not. To have confirm that a cat is a Lykoi, it has to be bred to a registered Lykoi (there is no DNA test at this time, and appearance alone is not 100% accurate). Please be careful when purchasing a Lykoi kitten from anyone not shown on our website. You risk either paying money for a sick kitten that is not a Lykoi at all, or a Lykoi that could be inbred.
Not all breeders use these, but don’t let the fact you have to fill out a few questions deter you from contacting a breeder you are truly interested in. These just often help the breeders to make sure you are prepared for a baby and to help match you with your perfect little one.
When I am looking at working with a new breeder, or possibly adopting from a breeder, one thing that is truly important to me is that the breeder has the kitten spayed or neutered prior to placement. No reputable Lykoi breeders allow any kittens to leave them intact! Some breeders of other cat breeds still do spay/neuter contracts where the pet owner is required to have the surgery completed and provide proof by a certain date. Unfortunately many dishonest people use this as a loophole to breed their pet. A pedigree kitten without papers can still sale for $700 (or more), and the temptation is too much for some people. Reputable breeders choose to help protect the Lykoi breed by having the sterilization done prior to the kitten leaving. Another benefit is that this gives the new family assurance that the kitten did great during the surgery and is ready to just come home and play, play, PLAY!
A reputable breeder is there for support and often becomes a friend! Remember, the kittens belonged to the breeder first. We were the first to look into their eyes, we were the ones that watched like mother hens to make sure the babies gained weight and were healthy…and we want to know about our babies as they grow up. Silly stories, cute photos, and of course health concerns…these are all very important to a caring breeder!
A good breeder will not seem put out by your questions concerning the health of your kitten. I know from experience that sometimes it is hard to respond back right away, but I am always happy to answer questions asked by my kitten families…even if it seems silly to them! This is a sign to me that the new family is thinking ahead and looking out for their new baby.
You know how a sponge soaks up water? Well that is how a good breeder is when it comes to learning about health! Every year new discoveries are made about feline health. A reputable breeder will spend hours studying these to ensure they make the best decisions possible when mating their cats. Another thing they will do is follow the guidelines of health testing for issues within their breed…such as HCM scanning, FIV testing, FELV testing, as well as any disease tests available. There are also DNA color tests available…and if a breeder believes they are working with one of the colors that are seen less often (more rare), then they should make sure to do these tests to confirm color.
And one final thing…
If it seems too good to be true…it probably is! Most Lykoi kittens have an adoption fee of $1950-2500. If you find a kitten with a significantly lower adoptions fee, you should be cautious. Over the years I have had so many families contact me for advice after adopting a cheap kitten only to end up with thousands in vet bills and the breeder just ignores them or disappears. I would love to tell you that if you adopt from a reputable breeder that your kitten will be perfect, and it will be all sunshine and roses…but that wouldn’t be honest. As hard as a breeder tries, there may be kittens that have an unexpected health or genetic issue arise. A reputable breeder will have done everything in their power to try to give every kitten an opportunity to live a perfect life…but sometimes things still happen. The main sign of a reputable breeder is if that breeder still sticks around if something goes wrong. And if it is an issue that was the fault of the breeder, then that breeder will take responsibility, instead of trying to find a way to blame the pet owner.