If you truly have your heart set on a purebred, your best source will be a breeder. A good breeder isn’t so easy to find, though. As with any other business, when money is involved, ethics can get lost on the way to the bank.

A good Breeders :

• is very knowledgeable about the breed

• welcomes any questions you may have

• competes in cat shows

• offers references

• welcomes inspections of his/her cattery

• lets you see the parents of the kittens

• has all registration papers

• requires the buyer to spay or neuter the cat

• has documentation of health exams and vaccinations

• doesn’t sell any kitten less than 10–12 weeks old

• prohibits declawing

• specifies in the contract that the cat must be kept indoors

• doesn’t pressure you to buy

• displays a genuine love for the breed

• screens you to make sure her/his kitten goes to a good home • offers a refund and not just a replacement kitten

• requires the kitten be returned if you can’t keep him

Good breeders are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of their breed. They lovingly keep a very clean, healthy cattery, and are knowledgeable about cat health, nutrition, and behavior. Good breeders welcome questions and inspections of their catteries. They should also be willing to supply references.

To begin your search for a good breeder, start by attending the cat shows in your area. Even if the nearest one is a bit of a drive, it’s worth it. Good breeders show their cats. It’s a good opportunity for you to talk with several breeders. Unless they’re getting their cat ready to be judged, they should be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Raised underfoot is a phrase you’ll hear very often when talking to breeders. That means the kittens have been handled by and socialized to humans as opposed to being locked away in cages. Beware, though, anyone can claim that their kittens were raised underfoot; it’s up to you to decide if they’re truthful. Make a list of breeders and do research on them. Talk to veterinarians, join online breed groups, check blogs and online review sites. Visit the cattery; ask questions; carefully observe and handle the kittens. Remember, a registered kitten means he comes with an official-looking piece of paper. It doesn’t guarantee that he’s a well-adjusted kitten.

If the breed has congenital defects, a reputable breeder will openly discuss that and what she/he does to reduce that risk.

Look for a stock farmer un agency asks you plenty of queries. If a breeder is quick to sell you a kitten without inquiring about your home and lifestyle, that’s not the breeder with whom you should do business. The breeder shouldn’t release kittens until they’re ten to twelve weeks old. Don’t go with a breeder who is willing to let you have a kitten earlier than that.