Find out what you should consider when choosing a breeder for your kitten to avoid the common pitfalls
Choosing your British Shorthair breeder
Once you have decided to get a kitten, it is entirely natural to want one right now...well...to want one yesterday! It is a very exciting time and a new kitten brings such joy to a household that it is easy to get carried away in the moment and overlook a few basic checks.
There are lots of excellent breeders out there, who are doing everything they can to ensure their kittens are as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, there are many other breeders keeping kittens in crowded and unsanitary conditions, that may not be immediately apparent to you, but could easily mean you end up with a kitten that has any number of infectious conditions. We have an excellent relationship with our vet, and she tells us that she constantly sees young kittens and puppies being brought in within a few days of being collected, with all sorts of nasty conditions. Make sure you do your research before you choose your British Shorthair breeder.
When it comes to living creatures, there can never be any absolute guarantees around health - it is impossible to say whether a human will be in perfect health in a week, a month or a year, and the same goes for cats, dogs, birds, horses and every other animal. However, there are precautions and measures that can be taken to significantly reduce the risks.
Do your research
- Take your time
- Do some research
- Speak to some registered breeders
- Find a British Shorthair breeder whose priorities match your own: is health more important to you than a show-winning pedigree? Many cats now are becoming more and more extreme, driven by the show circuit and competitive nature of winning championship titles. Consider what is most important to you.
- Ask about the way the kittens are raised. Kittens should only ever be raised around their own mum, and should never be sharing a space with any other cats or litters.
- The house should be fairly clean, and should smell clean. Kittens are notoriously good at making a mess - we can clean for an hour and 5 minutes later there are bits of litter everywhere! But there shouldn't be ingrained, old dirt and mess in the environment.
- Ask about the breeder’s cleaning regime and really quiz them on it - how often do they clean litter trays, how often do they clean floors, what do they use to clean with, how often are the kittens socialised, how are they socialised, do all the humans in the house work, or is someone home with the kittens in the day?
- Find out if the breeder is aware of Coronavirus, FIP and other infectious conditions. Ask them if their cats are tested for feline coronavirus (FCoV).
- All of our cats have tested negative for FCoV.
- Ask them what they do to reduce the risks of FCoV. Ideally they should be testing their cats. If they are not testing their cats then there is a 90+% chance that your kitten will have the virus.
- Cats should never share litter trays in households that are not FCoV negative.
- Kittens should only mix with their own mum and siblings - this is especially important if the breeder is not testing for FCoV.
Make sure the kitten is registered
Always check with any breeder who the kittens are registered with. Ours are all registered with the GCCF, and you can read more about the benefits of registration, and how to tell if a kitten is registered here. If their kittens are not registered, ask them why their kittens are not registered. In reality, the only reasons someone sells unregistered kittens are either;
One or both of the parents are not pedigree cats, but moggies, and you are being misled - you can read more about kitten sale scams here
The parents of the litter are too closely related to each other genetically to allow their kittens to be registered as the kittens are too inbred and at risk of serious health issues
One or other of the parents has a genetic disease which precludes any of their kittens from being registered
One or other of the parents is too inbred, which precludes any of their kittens being registered as their offspring would be at risk of serious health conditions
The breeder was not able to purchase any registered cats on the Active Register, as no other kitten breeder was convinced that they were responsible or serious enough to breed ethically,
The breeder did not want to pay a small amount of extra money to purchase a kitten on the Active Register, to ensure it was healthy and suitable to breed from.
Breeders will often say that an unregistered kitten is ‘still a pedigree’, or ‘just the same’...but you have to wonder why, if that is true, they wouldn’t be breeding registered kittens? Think very carefully about what you are told and consider whether it makes any sense.
Be prepared to wait
Be prepared to wait for the right kitten, from the right breeder for you. This may mean waiting a couple of months, or even more, but if it saves you from bringing home a sick kitten and all the additional costs and heartache that go with that, it will definitely be worth it.
If you are considering becoming a British Shorthair breeder, please consider what is required to reduce the risk of infectious conditions. You will find a wealth of knowledge in the articles on this website. It is absolutely vital that you choose only healthy kittens, or you will be perpetuating the cycle of poorly pedigree kittens that is so virulent already. If you are going to do it, do it right, first time.
Ready to choose a British Shorthair kitten? Visit our kitten page to see if we have any kittens available and when we are expecting more.