Choosing your cat is a very important decision. The cat will be your family member for a long time so it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Can you provide a safe home for this being for the next fifteen to twenty years?
If you have made your decision, along with your family if you have one – you need to figure out what sort of cat suits you and your lifestyle. Online you can find many guides to different breeds to read up on their characteristics – I promise you there is much to choose from. In this process you might find yourself with the question ”why should I pay more money for a pedigree cat when I can get a house cat with the same look for less money?” This is an excellent question to ask and not one with an obvious answer. But I will try to write down the pros of buying a cat with a pedigree.
- You know sort of what you’ll get. Of course cats have different personalities but breeds often have characteristics that are quite specific. Do you want a more active cat or one that enjoys cuddles on the sofa? Do you want a fur that is easy to manage or do you want a breed that requires more maintenance? Reading up on the breeds gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
- Health. As in many animal breeds, whether you are looking at dogs or horses, different breeds struggle with different types of health issues. Within the different breeds serious breeders are working hard to minimize the risk of getting animals with health issues. For some of these defects and diseases there are even mandatory health programs for specific breeds to follow. Of course you can never eliminate diseases completely but serious breeders are consciously working to maintain a healthy breed.
- Support. When you have bought your kitten from a serious breeder you are often given lifelong support. Of course we are happy and excited when bringing a new family member home. However, sometimes things happen. Maybe there are some behavioral issues that comes up after a while that you don’t know how to sort? Or maybe there is a genetical defect that comes up after a few years?
- Regulated breeding. As a breeder connected to an organisation such as FIFe (which we are a part of, however there are others as well) the breeding is regulated by the terms of the organisation. For example the amount of litters a female cat is allowed to produce within a certain time frame. A female cat theoretically can have 4 litters per year. For the cat this means no time to recover from the strain of the body is put through when giving birth and feeding the kittens.
Of course you can get all this if you buy a mixed breed as well, and sometimes that choice suits the individual more. As long as you make a conscious choice when choosing and that you are aware of what you are buying. However, today you can see adds of all sorts of mixes where they are claimed to be half and half of each breeds. Unfortunately genetics does not work like that.
So what is my advice? Read a lot before you decide, whether you buy a pedigree cat or not. What is it that you are looking for? What health issues are common? etc. When you finally have decided, see several breeders and ask many questions. Have the parents been tested for defects or diseases? What was the purpose of this mating? What is the breeders knowledge of the parents backgrounds? Look closely at the cat mom (and dad if possible) to get an idea of their personality. And trust your gut, if you feel something isn’t right, don’t buy.
Last note; if you are not looking for anything specific, think about adopting from a shelter. There are many cats in all ages looking for a home.