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What should I look for when choosing a breeder?

L8Apex

Savannah Child
#1
I bet this question and answer is on here but I ran different searches and couldn't find a solid thread that addressed it. My apologies if I missed it.

My basic concerns

What should a breeder present to me to show that they're a registered breeder and can this be verified via the web?

What age should a kitten be released to me?

What health records should I ask for and can these documents be verified?

I've been in the homes of a few different breeders now. What should the living conditions of the cats be like? This is prob a tricky question. I'll end up walking when i'm uncomfortable but others may have experienced things that cause alarm as well. But they are animals so there's a fine line there.

Thanks in advance for your help.

BTW
I've only rescued cats from the shelter in the past. I;ve had cats all my life. I love everything about the Savannah breed and plan to adopt a F4 in the very near future.
 

SavannahLuv

Site Supporter
#2
There are several good breeders on this forum that I would not hesitate to buy from. You can check out some of the breeders here: http://www.savannahcatchat.com/forums/savannah-cat-breeders/

Also, you say you're interested in a F4; however, I saw on one of your other posts that you are from NY... I hope you do your research as far as the legality of owning Savannah's where you live. I was under the impression F4's were illegal in NY and a good breeder will not sell to a state where it's illegal to have Savannah's. "Savannahs are completely illegal in the five boroughs and F5 SBT and later are legal everywhere else in the state." If you live in NY, I really hope you do the responsible thing and do not purchase a F4 if it's not legal to own.
 

L8Apex

Savannah Child
#4
Im not in NY. I responded to someones post who purchased in NY. I live in MD.
Thanks for the separation age and I'll read that article now.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#5
I bet this question and answer is on here but I ran different searches and couldn't find a solid thread that addressed it. My apologies if I missed it.

My basic concerns

What should a breeder present to me to show that they're a registered breeder and can this be verified via the web? You can check the TICA website for breeder registration.
Here are some tips for choosing a breeder http://savannahkittensandcats.com/choosing-a-savannah-cat-breeder/

What age should a kitten be released to me? 12 weeks is the youngest age a kitten should come home

What health records should I ask for and can these documents be verified? Vaccinations, wormings, proof of spay/neuter if the breeder does that before the kitten leaves for new home. These are available by giving you copies of all vet visits. If the breeder worms and vaccinates him/herself, ask for the records although in the case of a disreputable breeder, I don't know how you verify that the breeder indeed gave the vaccinations.

I've been in the homes of a few different breeders now. What should the living conditions of the cats be like? This is prob a tricky question. I'll end up walking when i'm uncomfortable but others may have experienced things that cause alarm as well. But they are animals so there's a fine line there.
Cats & kittens are messy but still, litter boxes should be fairly clean, no bad odors other than intact male stink if the males are indoors, clean food/water bowls. Cats can be raised outside or indoors in cages and/or free to roam the house. Cages should be fairly clean -- no gunk that looks old stuck to any surfaces. Ask how the breeder socializes the kittens. This isn't an exhaustive list and you have to rely on gut instinct as well.

Thanks in advance for your help.

BTW
I've only rescued cats from the shelter in the past. I;ve had cats all my life. I love everything about the Savannah breed and plan to adopt a F4 in the very near future.
ALL Savannah cats are illegal in all 5 boroughs of NYC. F5s and later gens are legal in other parts of the state.
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
#7

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#9
What should a breeder present to me to show that they're a registered breeder and can this be verified via the web?
Is being a "registered" breeder because you want to make sure that the kitten comes with TICA papers? The breeder or cattery does not actually need to be registered to register kittens, the parents need to be registered, hence that is what I would more care about. Being a registered cattery actually doesn't mean anything too much, except that the breeder pays TICA a fee, as TICA are not the police so they are not inspecting a place and making sure all is well. They will however ban a breeder if animal cruelty charges are found against them, so you could check their name against TICA's banned list I guess, www.tica.org

What age should a kitten be released to me?
TICA recommends a minimum of 12 weeks, 16 weeks is really ideal but most pet buyers are too impatient to see the benefits in waiting. 12 weeks allows a kitten to have had two vaccinations at least 2 weeks apart at an age where their immune system might mount a good enough response to hope for good resultant immunity. A kitten is also psychologically more mature and able to handle big changes in their life. This is where 16 weeks is advantageous as in my experience kittens at that age are very outgoing and confident, hence transition easier than a younger kitten. People assume the younger the kitten the more they will bond, but the younger the kitten the more devastating the change of home is to them.

What health records should I ask for and can these documents be verified?
You should be getting vet records for your kitten, and you should be able to verify them with the vet listed. If the breeder gives all vaccinations at the cattery then I probably might request a health certificate which would be an additional expense but the kitten would go to a vet and the vaccination dates verified by them. Most breeders that vaccinate themselves put the little sticker off the vaccination bottle on a vaccination record card which shows that it was done. I would be wary of a breeder that just gave you dates on a bit of paper or even just told you they were vaccinated at X and Y weeks.

What should the living conditions of the cats be like?
You are correct, it IS a tricky question. Those that have not had breeding cats are not aware of the difficulties and compromises needed to house intact hormonal cats versus spay/neutered pets. For example, stud males cannot live free in the house for many reasons. Not only does their urine reek significantly more than a neutered cat but they tend to wish to spray it around to advertise their presence. Additionally a breeder needs to control breeding times, and also an intact male can be aggressive to what they perceive as threats therefore be too dominant with any other pets in the home. Hence there's not really much choice but for a stud male to be confined to an enclosure mostly outside... obviously with a sheltered area too. I find it upsetting that the cages marketed online for cats are often tiny, http://www.catsplay.com/premium-cat-home-enclosure-7500 is obviously unacceptable for long-term confinement of an adult cat. I have seen it used for kittens but generally that is when they are given regular playtimes outside of this. It's not how I prefer to have my kittens but breeders that have multiple litters might use this. Some catteries like mine keep their female cats as their pets, this engenders a LOT of work, as intact hormonal female cats tend to spat more often than their altered counterparts, but they also tend to spray when in heat. Cleaning is continual when you decide on this. Some breeders adapt by shutting up the females when in heat to reduce that cleaning, and some have to juggle which cats are out freely in the house at one time as some simply won't get along. How they are housed in between might vary between a room of the house and a cattery enclosure. And then some breeders find it simplest to have a cattery setup, with enclosures hopefully large enough for the cats in them to be able to run and play a bit. It may depend on your comfort level on how acceptable you as pet owner find the latter situation. Many find it hard to see animals in cages like that, and I somewhat agree...although if spacious enough and enough stimulation it isn't bad at all, especially when they have access to outdoors. There ARE cattery setups that make me feel ill where the cats are crammed together and you can sense how unhappy they are.
A couple things I might mention that I think is common to the uninitiated, firstly is that intact male urine is close to skunk in intensity, hence a cattery might well smell terrible when you first walk in even if everything appears cleaned. So distinguish between dirt and grime and that odor which can be daunting to cope with. Some use deodorizing cleaners, some enzyme cleaners but it really is a challenge! And if a cattery has a number of males they can go on pee wars trying to outdo each other :-(
Secondly, if kittens are to be viewed, realize that a breeder might have cleaned their room or pen half an hour before you arrived and it might appear totally trashed when you enter. Kittens en masse are a tornado of messiness! You have to live with a litter of kittens (especially a high energy cat breed like the Savannah) to understand just how much mess they can make in a matter of minutes. So distinguish between that kind of mess and ingrained dirt of lack of cleaning.

I hope some of this information helps!
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#10
I agree with everything Brigitte has said. I think the best way to find a responsible and ethical breeder is to ask for references - and check them. You can also check here to see if anyone knows a breeder you are interested in purchasing from. Most of us won't outright trash another breeder, but if you don't get stellar recommendations I would think twice about using that breeder.