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.
DETERMINING THE REPUTABILITY OF A BREEDER
The reputable breeder spends large amounts of time and money on that which he/she believes to be in the best interest of the breed, the cats and those directly and indirectly affected by his/her actions. He/she sees their breeding program as an unfinished work that drives him/her towards excellance and perfection, whereas the "kitten producer" is motived by profit.
While the "kitten producer" is happy to sell quantity to whomever - dealers, brokers, etc., the reputable breeder insists on individual contact with prospective owners, and only places a kitten after careful and thorough screening. Direct contact is necessary to insure a mutual compatibility between the would be purchaser, the cat/kitten and the breeder. Because of 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/her goals of excellence and betterment of the breed. Because of those goals, NEVER would this breeder think to breed without knowing pedigrees or without holding the papers qualifying the dam and sire as breeder quality. A reputable breeder owns the right to breed, the papers proving such and has the pedigrees of his/her cats. This breeder is willing and able to educate and be educated. The reputable breeder has a willingness to answer questions correctly and cares about the concerns of potential new owners. He/she will allow visits to see the dam, and if availalbe the sire, and the kittens in their environment, when feasibly safe to do so. The "kitten producer" may offer seemingly good reasons to meet in places with available kittens, other than the raised environment.
Reputable breeders insist on contracts and require cats/kittens to be returned to them, if for any reason the purchaser is unable to keep the pet. This breeder shows a responsiblity to the breed and the cats/kittens they have produced. Health records, pedigrees and care information are a source of great pride to the breeder that is reputable, as well as sanitary, clean, healthy and happy environment.
The reputable breeder is excited by the prospect of furthering his/her education, through breed clubs, cat shows and seminars. He/she will take advantage of available resources. This breeder tends to live around his/her 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 them.
The reputable breeder realistically understands sometimes things go wrong, but maintains a responsibility to the situation, if within its power, and does what is necessary to rectify problems fairly. The reputable breeder does not abandon a situation.
The Ten Commandments of the Reputable Breeder
1. The Reputable Breeder places cats/kittens by contract.
2. The Reputable Breeder places cats/kittens with a health guarantee.
3. The Reputable Breeder insists and contracts the return of a cat/kitten should the purchaser be unable to keep the cat/kitten.
4. The Reputable Breeder carefully interviews prospective owners and has specific requirements to be met, i.e.; cat/kitten is to be altered, not allowed to roam outdoors etc.
5. The Reputable Breeder is willing and able to educate the novice. He/she happily answers questions regarding the breed and his/her breeding program.
6. The Reputable Breeder insists on being informed of health, genetic, or behavioral problems the cat/kitten may develop.
7. The Reputable Breeder does not have more cats/kittens then he/she is able to keep clean, healthy and socialized.
8. The Reputable Breeder spends individual time with each of his cats/kittens.
9. The Reputable Breeder is concerned with temperament as well as the health of his/her cats/kittens.
10. 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.