I have always thought that it was unnecessary to pay money for a cat when so many need homes . . . until in the last 5-10yrs I've met friends' pedigree cats (of various breeds). Most have impressed me with their temperaments, which all seem to be the temperament that their breed 'advertises,' if that makes sense.
All my cats have been moggies, except for one free 'mistake' persian-x. Our old female cat was from a rescue, our tabby was rescued off the side of the road by friends. I do make regular donations and have done fundraising in the past to our local rescue. Now we're just down to the tabby and once we have a house I want to get another kitten. DH is happy with this plan as there are two laps and only one cat. Spike is pretty easy going with other cats.
I'm leaning towards a pedigree cat. I like the idea that we can pick the traits we want and have reasonable chance of getting them. I'd like a cat that's outgoing, loves people, playful, adapts well to change and doesn't mind travelling in the car. Not worried about looks, though would prefer short haired.
Spike ticks most of those boxes, except he's not thrilled about the car. He comes to a beach house with us once or twice a month, it's an hour in his crate, once he gets there he bounces out and loves it. He's also gotten much more wary of strangers to the point that he runs and hides when there's someone at the door. But he loves 'his' people and will usually come back out fairly soon. He's totally adorable
So what to do? Look for the 'right' rescue kitten? Hope that what you see in a kitten personality is the same as an adult cat? Come to terms with buying a cat and find a breed with the personality we want?
If you want to buy a cat, buy a cat. You don't have to justify it. Just like with canines and equines, there ARE responsible ethical cat breeders out there.
I've got me two altered moggies I love very much, who survived my house burning to the ground in December (one was burned but survived with no lasting issues). And someday I'd like to buy myself a Sphynx kitten from a reputable breeder.
I have had dozens and dozens of street cats, shelter cats, hobos, and "free kittens" from a box. I have also had 4 pedigreed Siamese over the years. There is absolutely a difference in consistency and temperament, and I say that loving all of them. But you can definitely tell why the pedigreed cats cost money. I still have a mixed pride today, but I think I will always have at least one pedigreed cat from now on. Disclaimer: I am talking about cats from GOOD, conscientious breeders, not kitten mills, not just a "breed" label. All breeders are not the same.
You don't have to justify it to anybody. It's your decision and your money. And yes, you could maybe find a purebred from a shelter, but that's most likely a cat with at least one "failed" prior home experience (maybe due to idiot owners, but still can have impact) and might well be from a BYB or kitten mill, too, which impacts health and temperament.
Best thing you can do is to find a good breeder. Questions to consider:
How long have they been breeding?
Ask for references from former kitten buyers. Any good breeder has folks who are quite willing to be contacted directly and happy to endorse breeder X. Not talking about a clipped "quote" posted on a site but actually emailing or talking to former buyers directly yourself. I'm a privacy freak, but I have been contacted myself on email (after the breeder asked if I would mind) by people looking at Siamese Source #3, the best I have found (Meezers 3 and 4 respectively), and I didn't mind talking to them at all.
Do they screen buyers and seem to really care themselves, or does anybody with a wallet qualify? I'm not talking over the top, worse than applying for human adoption, but if there isn't a contract and they aren't asking YOU question, too, be wary.
Will they always take back any cat of theirs in the future if needed?
How do they keep their cats? In cages? In the house underfoot? How many litters per year?
When you have found a good-looking breeder, tell that breeder what you want. They have a lot more experience in kitten selection than you do and can spot individual personalities in their kittens and matchmake appropriately.
I have both kinds. One Persian adopted from the SPCA (I think she was there because of issues with dogs/kids caused her to express her disapproval by pooping on beds repeatedly. She's cured of that now, and I have no kids/dogs.) One Persian purchased from reputable breeder - gorgeous and AWESOME temperament. One feral kitten adopted at 3 months old. She's a lovey dove with me and my husband, if anyone else is in the house you will. not. see. her until the guests leave. One more purebred Persian purchased from AWESOME breeder, this cat has the best personality I have ever seen. And am about to adopt a shorthair tuxedo boy of unknown age from a rescue, have no idea what his personality is, I am taking a chance.
Armando del Fuego, Best Boy Ever (almost always)
Member of the Not Too Klassy For Boxed Wine Clique
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I also say get what makes you happy, unless it's an exotic hybrid. Then I say, go research how breeders get to F5 so they can be sold to the general public and if you're still okay with it, then follow your conscience.
Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH
If I ever get a cat again, I'd look for an oriental shorthair. I like the quirky, people-loving personality and the lovely elegant body structure of these cats. I don't find the usual "domestic US cat" body structure or personality to be anywhere near as appealing. I like the ebony silver tabby color.
I would probably look for a rescue, but would buy from a breeder, sure, if that's what it took to get what I wanted.
Nothing wrong with buying a cat from a responsible breeder.
It's the people who dump cats (outside or in shelters), or let their cats breed willy-nilly, that are the problem. Not responsible people who buy from responsible people.
But I definitely agree with all of those who have said that if you go that route, go to a reputable breeder, not a kitten mill owner. With some breeds there might be natural predisposition towards certain ailments just like there are in dogs. I'd assume that reputable breeders would try to limit the expression of those genes in their breeding lines.
Thanks all. I don't have to justify it to anyone - just myself!
I'm hearing you on the reputable breeder thing, I've already had a look around and there are a few that seem to tick all the boxes.
Wendy - I'm verrrry interested in short haired orientals (and silver tabbies!). I think our Spike has a bit of oriental in him by his personality, face structure and what his mum looked like (my friends found the whole litter and mum dumped on the side of a road).
Epona142 - I'm glad your kitties are ok! While I've met a sphnix, which did have a lovely nature, they're not the cat for me.
There's no hurry as we still need to buy a house etc, but I want to figure out what I want, find a good breeder and book a kitten. The really good ones always seem to have homes already lined up.
I actually had a similar conversation with a friend the other day. I am not interested in adding another cat to the mix right now but down the line I would love a well-bred Burman. Check references, speak to multiple cat owners, attend some conformation shows in your area if possible, etc, etc. Most importantly, you have to promise to post tons of pictures if you do get a cat.
I understand the desire to get a known quantity in a cat. I'm committed to the free/shelter ones, so I opt for adults. In kitten world, I see why you'd want a purpose bred performance cat. In addition to checking out the breeder, I'd want to meet both parents.
I've bought three purebred cats from reputable breeders, and I loff all my boys. There is definitely a difference in purpose bred and...non purpose bred, IME. And I say that as someone who also has a rescued stray kitty, plus many other adopted kitties in the past.
I personally love all the pointed ones, especially mine, but I have to say that so far, the Birman is my favorite and my heart-kitty. He is totally laid back and chill. And cuddly. And drop dead gorgeous. Maybe odd, but I just look at him sometimes and my heart goes pitter patter. Which, if you're paying a fortune for premium cat food and otherwise the best life a kitty could have? Is a good thing, I guess.
I've always had free cats (barn cats, street cats, shelter cats), but a friend of mine really wanted a Sphynx. I think he's creepy, but she had the $$ and she bought one. She keeps a tumblr of pictures of him wearing outfits here if looking at bald cats dressed like Spiderman interests anyone: http://touperduper.tumblr.com .
Founder of the "I met a COTHer in a foreign country" clique!