If you are looking for a cat with a specific look or personality, consider one with a family tree.


Buying a purebred kitten can be the start of a wonderful new relationship if you do your homework. Attend a cat show to see many different breeds in one place.

Kittens come in all sizes, personalities, colors, patterns, and coat lengths. Thousands are available at animal shelters nationwide, and they are as cute as they get. But if you are looking for a particular type of cat, you may go to the shelter daily or check with rescue groups online and not find what you are looking for.

This is when you can turn to a responsible breeder who breeds the type of cat that meets your needs: for example, a cat that is bred to be outgoing or active; which has a particular type, length or pattern of coat; or whose personality and activity level are suited to your lifestyle or home environment. Cats may not vary as much in size and appearance as dogs, but individual cat breeds have some distinct characteristics that make them the perfect choice for some people. Purebred cats have been selected for specific personality or behavior traits over many generations.

People choose a purebred kitten when they want to know what the personality and size of a cat will be when it grows up. They may take into account how they want to spend time with a cat (going for a walk or snuggling on the couch) or whether the breed is known to be playful, trainable, or dog friendly.

Shorthair or randomly bred domestic longhair can also come in a variety of temperaments and activity levels, but these are the surprise wrappers of the cat world; it is not easy to predict their personality or behavior if nothing is known about their parents, grandparents or more distant ancestors.

Health is another factor. A kitten with a family tree comes with a known family medical history. This does not mean that they will not develop certain diseases, but if they are purchased from a reputable breeder, they will come with a written health guarantee against inherited diseases. The sales contract should provide for a replacement kitten without forcing you to give up the original cat you love. It should also state that the breeder will take the cat back at any time if you have to abandon it.

If you have your heart set on a cat with an unusual pattern or color, a purebred kitten may be the way to go. It’s not impossible to find a spotted tabby kitten in a shelter, but it’s not common either. This look is most commonly seen among Bengals, Maine coons, savannas, and Egyptian maus.

Are purebred kittens perfect? Not necessarily. And the Imperfect can be exactly who you want to bring home – that is, if you don’t intend to show it to him. Some kittens have cosmetic flaws that make them unsuitable for the ring but perfect for family life. They have the same predictable traits as their show siblings, but lack the perfect markings a cat needs to be successful in the show circuit. They also benefit from good nutrition, health care and early socialization provided by a responsible breeder.

Find out beforehand about the breeds that interest you. The websites of the Cat Fanciers Association (cfa.org/races) and the International Cat Association (tica.org/breeds/browse-all-breeds) are good resources.

When visiting a breeder, the cattery should be clean and uncrowded, says Marybeth Rymer, DVM, who has two Abyssinians. Cats should be calm and easy to handle.

Ask breeders about health history, genetic issues, and what cats like to live with. Dr Rymer says health issues should include whether the cattery has had cats with feline infectious peritonitis in the past five years; had problems with diarrhea and Tritrichomonas organism; the measures taken by the farmer to prevent these diseases; and whether the breeder performs genetic testing appropriate for that breed and testing for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Breeders need to be open with their answers. Move on if they are unwilling to share health information.

“Don’t feel like you have to buy that day,” says Dr. Rymer. “Consider revisiting the cattery to confirm your first impressions. “??


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