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PURCHASING A KITTEN

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Choice of male or female kitten:

In my experience, if the cat, is neutered, then there is little to chose between them. It is said that neutered cats are much friendlier, and don't have gender specific habits, such as spraying.

It is not only males which do spray, females can also. Consideration should be taken, that unneutered female's run a higher risk of diseases, such as uterine infections (pyometra).

Temperament:

Temperament can be much more easily predicted in a pedigree cat.

Health:

Most pedigree cats come with Insurance. It is best to make sure exactly what that covers. What vaccinations have been given, and any the breeders feels, might be needed in the future, suck as FELv.

No kitten should ever leave its mother before at least 8 weeks old (Moggie) and pedigree 13 weeks of age.

Kittens offered at 5 or 6 weeks often do not have all the skills they need, that are learned from their mothers. Most kittens aren't fully weaned at that age either, and early forced weaning, can lead to emotional and physical problems.

If you have decided on a pedigree cat, take time to search out reputable breeders. A cheap kitten, from a backyard breeder, is not always cheap.

They could well, come with flu or the additional cost of vaccinations, and no insurance. All in all, if your cheap kitten becomes ill, and you have to pay vet bills, it is no longer a cheap kitten!

Look on the internet, and seek out the different breed clubs. Some I have inserted on my links page:) Be ready to ask questions of breeders, because most breeders will ask many of you.

A good breeder certainly expects you to ask questions, and actually encourage you to do so. If the breeder doesn't ask questions and is to ready for you to have one of their kittens, then wonder why!

Checking out a healthy kitten:

A healthy kitten, should have a cool damp nose. Any sneezing or nasal discharge (clear or purulent) may indicate an upper respiratory problem, such as Flu.

Eyes

Their eyes should be clear and bright, with no discharge of any kind. If the Haw (3rd eyelid) is visible, it may indicate a health problem. Although in the Oriental and Siamese, it can be normal.

Ears:

Ear canals should be clean, and not smell. If they do smell, and are dirty, this could indicate ear mites. If the cat holds its head on one side, shakes their head often, this might suggest an ear infection.

Stomach:

The stomach should be soft, and cause no pain when handled. If the cat cries out when touched, if its stomach is swollen, this could indicate worms. Check to see if there is a bulge, where the umbilicus was attached.

If there is a bulge then this could indicate a Hernia. This is different than a Floating Sternum, which causes no health problem. A floating sternum, is an extra piece of bone, on the cats rib cage.

Rear End:

The area around the anus, should be clean and dry.

In males, both testicles should be descended, into the scrotum. If the male has only one testicle, it should not be used for breeding, as this can be carried on to future generations.

Also when he needs to be neutered, the operation takes longer, because the vet needs to find the missing testicle. This testicle, really does need to be removed, because if left in the male there is a higher risk of it becoming malignant (cancerous). This type of neutering always takes longer, and veterinary charges are higher.


Coat condition:

The coat should be free from any fleas, scales or sores. If there are larger areas of hair loss, the kitten may have mange, mites or ringworm.

Skeletal irregularities:

If you are buying a kitten for breeding or showing, run your fingers along the length of the tail, to check for irregularities and/or kinks. Also a hernia, and a floating sternum, if anything is found then that kitten should not be breed from, and if shown any no awards would be given. In a pet kitten none of these irregularities affect health.

During your visit, you will be able to assess the kitten's temperament. Be wary of a kitten who just sits there when put down, and seems withdrawn. A kitten of any breed, should be interested in all that is going on around them. Very young kittens however, do tend to need lots of sleep, so this should be taken into consideration, if the breeder allows you to view early. Also, if you visit on the day, or the day after of vaccinations, the litter could be very quiet for that reason.

Lastly, check what vaccinations the kittens has already received. I normally tell, prospective owners, what vaccinations my kittens have already had.