Choosing Your New Cat
Basic Feline Care
Think adoption First! PETCO encourages you to adopt your new cat from a shelter or another reputable animal
welfare organization. Purebred cats are often available in shelters. Check with your local cat fanciers club to find
the names and numbers of local cat breed rescue groups dedicated to your desired breed. Remember, when
you adopt an animal, you save two lives – the life of the animal you adopted, and the life of the animal you just
made room for in the shelter.
If you have decided to buy a purebred cat, do some research to find the breed that is right for you, your family,
and your living arrangement. Then buy from a responsible breeder who will sell you a guaranteed healthy,
carefully bred animal that will be a member of your family for many years.
Research Your All breeds are not alike. The best place to see good examples of the different cat breeds and
Chosen Breed connect with breeders is a recognized cat show. There are several purebred registries that
offer shows. You can look up their schedules on the internet or in the calendar section of cat
magazines. The major registries in the United States are CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) and
TICA (The International Cat Association). These registries also can provide contact
information for breed rescue groups.
The breeders at these shows are showing their finest specimens, and are usually happy to
tell you all about their beloved cats. Always ask an exhibitor when the best time would be to
talk with them. If someone is preparing to take their cat into the show ring, step aside and
return when they are not so busy. Breeders often have brochures and photo albums that you
can look through
Ask about your chosen breed’s characteristics. Explain what you are looking for in a pet cat –
lap cat, companion, show cat, etc. Does your chosen breed fit into those desires? How much
grooming time does this particular breed require? How much exercise and interaction? Some
breeds prefer to sit on the sidelines and coach, while others need to be the center of any
activity in the house. Does this breed truly fit with your idea of the perfect pet cat?
Interviewing Once you’ve narrowed down your list to one or two chosen breeds, start interviewing
the Breeder breeders.
Ask the breeder lots of questions about their cats, and visit the cattery if at all possible. See
the sire and dam, or at least their pictures, and look at their pedigrees. Are there show titles in
your kitten's ancestry? A breeder who shows is constantly striving to improve the breed, not
just to produce sellable kittens. Beware of too many mother/son or other close family crosses.
Some are done purposely, but too many can indicate a problem. In some of the rarer breeds,
the gene pool is smaller so more inbreeding may be done. This increases the possibility of
genetic faults being passed down. Ask your breeder about it. If your concerns are not
addressed, look elsewhere.
How many cats does the breeder have, and what conditions are they kept in? Look into the
cages. Are they kept clean? Intact males and females have to be kept separately, so don't be
surprised if some are caged. On the other hand, you want your kitten and his parents to be
well socialized and used to being handled. Do the cats and kittens appear healthy and
friendly? Runny noses, runny eyes, and sneezing may indicate poor health.
Ask the breeder to provide references from former buyers. Are they happy with their cat and
his health? Did the breeder honor the contract and provide help when they had questions? A
committed breeder wants to know how her cats are doing.
Your chosen breeder may not have kittens available right now. Get on a waiting list for the
next litter. (Some breeders may require a deposit.) A responsible breeder does not have lots
of kittens ready to go at all times. Their focus is quality, not quantity.
© 2004, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. All rights reserved. (0315)
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Choosing Your New Cat
Basic Feline Care
The Guarantee Expect to be asked a lot of questions about your lifestyle and how you plan to care for your
new kitten. A breeder should be very picky about the homes their kittens go to, and most will
require you to sign a sales contract. You may be required to spay or neuter your cat, keep it
indoors, and agree not to declaw your pet, among other requirements. There may also be a
clause that requires you to return the cat if at any time in its life you can no longer keep it.
In return, you should receive the cat's registration papers, its pedigree history and a written
health guarantee. You fill out and mail in the registration forms to the registry with the
required fee. The breeder may hold the registration until your cat is spayed or neutered.
Remember, papers to do not guarantee quality. Registries register cats, but do not police the
Most guarantees require you to have your new kitten examined by a veterinarian within a few
days after purchase to verify its health. One of the benefits of buying a purebred cat is you
can find out its genetic health history. The breeder should be able to tell you what hereditary
defects are found in this breed, and if it appears in any of your cat's ancestors. Guarantees
may also cover traits specific to the breed. For example: folded ears in a Scottish Fold cat.
Guarantees general y include a buy-back clause, or an offer for a replacement kitten if your
chosen kitten should develop any genetic defects.
Pet or Show A breeder prepares her kittens to be show cats from birth by handling, grooming and
Quality? socializing them. But not every kitten grows up to be show quality. Most faults are things the
pet owner might not even notice: ears set too high, missing tooth, growing too big, etc. These
faults may keep it out of the show ring, but will not keep it from being a wonderful pet. Pet
quality kittens tend to be less expensive than possible show quality ones. If you want a show
cat, you will probably pay more, and the breeder might want to keep breeding rights.
You don't have to have an unaltered, purebred cat to show. Most shows have classes for
altered cats. Even mixed breed cats can be shown in the household pet category.
Stressed out Kittens found in shelters can become wonderful lifelong companions. Often the shelter
Kittens environment can be very stressful, and a kitten’s true personality may not be apparent at first
glance. The additional stress of being confined and handled by many strangers can also
depress their immune systems. Be sure to have your new kitty checked by a veterinarian
immediately, ideally before you even take it home.
Look out for runny noses or crusted eyes, uneven movement, dry fur, lack of energy or lack of
appetite as these may be an indication of a health issue.
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SKU 944785 © 2004, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. All rights reserved. (0315)