Determining A Breeder's Reputability
by Brigitte McMinn, copyright 1999
Reprinted from The Bengal Bulletin, Summer 1999
The defining difference between that of a Reputable Breeder and a "kitten producer" is the concern and the responsibility the person shows towards his/her breed, breeding program, fellow breeders, and his/her individual charges; cats/kittens and purchasers thereof.
- The Reputable Breeder spends large amounts of time and money on that which he/she believes to be for the best interest of the breed, the cats and those directly and indirectly affected by his/her actions.
- The Reputable Breeder sees his/her breeding program as an unfinished work, a creative masterpiece that drives him/her towards excellence and purrfection. Whereas, the "kitten producer" is motivated by profit. While the "kitten producer" is happy to sell quantity to whomever; dealers, brokers, ... the reputable breeder insists on individual contact with each prospective owner and will only place a kitten after careful and thorough screening. Direct contact is necessary in order to insure a mutual compatibility between the would be purchaser, the cat/kitten and him/herself. Because of this great concern on the part of the reputable breeder, he/she will help the novice purchaser select the cat/kitten that is compatible with their lifestyle, personality and expectations, even if it means talking them out of a cat/kitten. Screening is necessary to ensure a successful placement and this is foremost with the reputable breeder.
- The Reputable Breeder is concerned with pedigrees and the breed standard is of utmost importance to his goal for excellence and the betterment of the breed. Because of the goal of betterment in mind, NEVER would this breeder think to breed without knowing the pedigree or without holding the papers qualifying the dam and the sire as breeder quality. A reputable breeder will own the right to breed, the papers proving such, and will have the pedigree of his/her cats as well. This breeder is willing and able to educate and be educated, has a willingness to answer questions correctly and cares about the concerns of the potential new owner. He/she will allow visits to see the mother and if available, the father, and kittens in their environment when it is feasibly safe to do so. The "kitten producer" may offer seemingly good reasons to meet in places with available kittens other then the raised environment.
- The Reputable Breeder insists on contracts and requires that the cat/kitten be returned to him/her if for any reason the purchaser is unable to keep the pet. It is this breeder who shows responsibility to the breed, and the cats/kittens they have "created" for the lifetime of this pet. Health records, pedigrees and care information are a source of great pride to the breeder that is reputable as well as a sanitary, clean, healthy and happy environment.
- The Reputable Breeder is excited at the prospect of furthering his/her education through breed clubs, cat shows, seminars and will take advantage of available resources. This reputable breeder tends to live around their cats/kittens. Every opportunity to participate in activities with other reputable breeders ensuring them that their breeding program compares to others within their breed group is looked upon favorably by this reputable breeder.
- The Reputable Breeder realistically understands that sometimes things go wrong but, he/she maintains a responsibility to the situation, if it is within his/her power, they do what is needed to rectify a problem fairly. The reputable breeder does not abandon a situation.
The 10 Commandments of The Reputable Breeder
- The Reputable Breeder places cats/kittens by contract.
- The Reputable Breeder places cats/kittens with a health guarantee.
- The Reputable Breeder insists and contracts the return of a cat/kitten should the purchaser be unable to keep the cat/kitten.
- The Reputable Breeder carefully interviews prospective owners and has specific requirements that are to be met i.e: cat/kitten is to be altered if the breeder is not already practicing
early altering, cat/kitten is not allowed to roam outdoors, etc.
- The Reputable Breeder is willing and able to educate the novice. He/she happily answers any/all questions regarding the breed and his/her breeding program.
- The Reputable Breeder insists on being informed of any health, genetic,or behavioral problems the cat/kitten may develop in it's lifetime.
- The Reputable Breeder does not have more cats/kittens then he/she is able to keep clean, healthy and well socialized.
- The Reputable Breeder spends individual time with each of his cats/kittens.
- The Reputable Breeder is very concerned with excellent temperament in his/her cats/kittens as well as excellent health.
- The Reputable Breeder makes him/herself available for advice and help to other breeders, and throughout the life of the cats/kittens he/she has placed.
This is not meant to say that these are the only
determining factors of a Reputable Breeder.