HOW TO CHOOSE A PEDIGREE KITTEN Celia Haddon
Start with the Feline Advisory Bureau website (www.fabcats.org) and look up which breeds have hereditary diseases or faults.
Find a good breed society. There will be lists of kittens or breeders online. Breed societies have a code of conduct for breeders.
1. Is the mother cat and kittens kept in the house or in a pen? You want a kitten that is brought up in the house. If there are lots of cat pens in the garden drive away.
2. How do you socialise your kittens? Avoid the breeder who doesnâ€™t know what this means or gives a vague answer.
3. Can I come and visit before the kittens are ready? Check it out before committing yourself.
4. Are your kittens vaccinated? Good breeders vaccinate their kittens before selling them. Run a mile from breeders that â€donâ€™t believe in vaccination.â€
5. Discuss any breed disorders with the breeder. For instance, ask if she has a certificate showing the mother is free from PKD (polycystic kidney disease) if the breed has this problem. If not, donâ€™t buy. Your cat is likely to die young if it carries the PKD gene.
6. A vetâ€™s or vet nursesâ€™ recommendation will be helpful but can only be completely reliable if they have seen the home conditions. (Untrained veterinary staff, such as receptionists, may not be reliable.) You must investigate further.
VISITING YOUR KITTEN.
1. If there are too many adult cats in the house, donâ€™t buy. More than about 10 adult cats means this is a breeder for profit or an incipient cat hoarder. Kittens in these homes are more likely to come with diseases.
2. Runny eyes (particularly important for breeds with snub faces) or with snuffles in any of the kittens or household cats are a very bad sign. Do not buy.
3. Does the kitten approach you? Can it be handled? If it cowers away, it hasnâ€™t been properly socialised.
4. You must see the mother with her kittens, not just the kitten. Sometimes bad breeders keep cats in a barn and just bring out the kittens. Run a mile if you are just shown the kittens.