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How to choose a healthy pedigree kitten

Do not rely on those who are selling pedigree kittens to give you information about pedigree diseases. Many breeders are ignorant about the problems occurring in “their” breed. And while there are many excellent breeders, there are some that are just in it for the money.

These are unscrupulous when hoping to make a sale. You cannot be sure that the information they give you is either true or up to date. It is essential to find an independent opinion. International Cat Care (www.icatcare.org), a charity which disseminates up to date information about hereditary diseases is the first place to look, if you are going to buy a pedigree kitten.

They have detailed information about inherited diseases which is updated regularly. They also give details of which tests are available and may hold a breeders’ register for kittens. These registers will list breeders who have had their stud cats and breeding females tested and found to be clear of the disease. Finally, it is important to check out how the breeder keeps the kittens. They must be brought up in the house, not in a cat pen. So you need to find a breeder who has one litter at a time. Shun any breeder who claims to have kittens “always available”.

Do not buy from pet shops, garden centres, online sites that are not devoted to cats only, kitten farms, or the back of a car. Always inspect the kittens and their premises before you buy. Occasionally unscrupulous sales people will show you a kitten indoors, which has been brought in there from an outbuilding. So look around the premises as much as possible. The other breeders to avoid are those who have the idea of giving extra special care to their kittens – not realising that a rough and tumble regime is far better for the future pet.

The kittens born in a quiet room and sheltered from the outside world, will always be relatively fearful and nervous adult cats.

Also beware of breeders with fancy ideas about home diets. Kitten food from your local supermarket is better for a growing cat than any home-made diet. Indeed some home diets recommended may prevent your kitten growing up with a healthy body.

Good breeders will want to check you out to make sure their kittens have getting a good home. So be prepared for lots of questions from them. The more they care about their kittens, the more they will want to ask.

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