Jane Goble of Feline Fun Factory and Feline Fun Cattery is well-known in both local and international cat fancies and is an experienced All Breeds Cat Judge with many years of experience behind her through her own breeding cattery (Mela Burmese). Although not strictly toy-related, Jane has generously spent her time preparing some much-needed advice to prospective kitten owners, which is highly relevant for all those considering a new feline family member.
From time to time we see complaints from would-be kitten owners that the breeders have been unresponsive. I have made a list of tips for prospective kitten owners which I hope will assist them when they reach out to the breeders:
1. Introduce yourself
2. Introduce your family. If you have children give their ages.
3. Introduce other pets, the species, number and age. Mention previous experience with the breed you are enquiring about and the reason you have chosen that breed.
4. Is the kitten going to be an indoor cat? If not give information on cat proofing and measures to keep your kitten safe from traffic and neighboring dogs. If you live in a complex or rented property, state that you have permission to have a cat living in your unit.
5. Do not be taken in only by outward appearance. Research the breed of your heart’s desire and be sure that you can meet its needs. There are some stunningly beautiful cats out there but if it is a high energy, athletic cat be sure that you have the facilities to ensure that it receives the stimulation that it requires, this should include an exercise wheel and hard wearing toys. You might be drawn to a cat with a magnificent long coat. Remember that it will require more bathing and grooming than other breeds. Do you have the time and motivation to maintain a coat like this? You may be considering a breed that is very interactive with humans and needy of human company. Are you able to give this cat the time that it needs? Perhaps consider 2 kittens to keep one another company.
6. If you have your name on more than 1 waiting list and are fortunate enough to get to the top of a waiting list, be courteous enough to contact the other breeders and ask them to remove you from their waiting lists.
7. If you have not done the above and you are contacted by another breeder to advise that they have a kitten for you give them the courtesy of replying that you have a kitten or your circumstances have changed. Do not just ignore the breeder. It takes less than a minute to reply that you are no longer wanting a kitten, it has taken the breeder a considerable amount of time to work through his/her waiting list, find your contact details and send you information regarding the kitten that you have enquired about.
8. It is unlikely that the breeder will have a kitten ready “urgently “. More so if a specific gender and colour is requested. You may need to wait a while. Most breeders are happy for prospective kitten owners to send a message now and again to indicate that they are still interested and to ask for a progress report.
9. Be considerate. Most of the breeders have day time jobs that they need to get up to, even if they have been up most of the night with a sick kitten or a queen delivering babies.
10. Breeding healthy kittens is a very costly exercise. The majority of breeders do it for the love of their chosen breed. The gene pool in South Africa is small and requires imports to renew that pool, this is a huge expense financially and emotionally. The stud males and queens who do not have kittens require premium food and veterinary care. The kittens and their mothers need constant access to quality food and care. Most times your kitten will come to you sterilised, microchipped and having received 2 core innoculations. Do not ask for discounts and “best prices”. I am sure you realise from the above that the breeder is already selling his/her kittens at a price that cannot be reduced.
11. Build a relationship with the breeder that you have researched and contacted. It is a relationship that can span a decade or two!