A cat from a breeder or a shelter?

Shelter or breeder cat

Should I get a cat from a breeder or a shelter?

So you have decided to give a cat a home – congratulations! Once you have made this decision, the real work begins. One of the first decisions for future cat owners is whether to get your cat from a breeder or an animal shelter. Maybe you are longing to own a particular breed, or have already made contact with a breeder. However, if you do not particularly care about your four-legged friend’s appearance, do not mind if you get a short-haired or a long-haired breed and would be happy with any coat, size or colour, anything could happen! You may even decide to give a pet from a local shelter a loving new home.

Finding the right cat is often a case of taste and attitude! No matter whether you choose to buy from a breeder or a shelter, there is no right or wrong decision. The important thing is that you and your cat start a happy partnership!

Does your cat’s appearance and character matter to you?

Pedigree cats are bred over generations with the aim of achieving specific breed goals. To obtain pedigree papers, you need to meet the breed standard of the particular breed club or association. This not only applies to your cat’s appearance, but also to its character. Siamese cats, for example, are considered to be intelligent and social, while British Shorthairs tend to be quiet and suitable for living indoors. Wildcat crosses like Savannah cats are the latest craze in the cat world, but they require an experienced hand and controlled exercise, so they are not for first-time cat owners. Although you may not need a pedigree certificate to keep your cat as a pet, only a cat with papers and from a breeder affiliated to a certain breed society is recognised as a pedigree. Long-haired, short-haired, calm or lively – if you want to know exactly the kind of cat you want to bring home, then a breeder is the way to go.

breeder cat © pfluegler photo / stock.adobe.com

There are many cats of all sizes, ages and breeds in shelters – many of them will also be pedigree breeds. Animal lovers without a set idea of their dream cat can find a great range of cats in an animal shelter, all looking for a caring new home. Even mixed cats have their own beauty, whether they have been intentionally or unintentionally cross-bred, and may resemble certain breeds or simply exude their own unique charm.

How important is knowing the history of the cat?

Papers will show that a breeder is a member of an association that regularly checks the type, health and temperament of their cats. Cat owners buying from a breeder can also get to meet parents and siblings of their own kitten and will know exactly the cat they are bringing into their home. You can also estimate appearance, size, attitude and character.

A cat from an animal shelter, however, can be a real surprise. Veterinarians will often be able to tell you a lot about the animal’s character and how it has behaved in the shelter, but this is not comparable to the experience a breeder will have of its animals. It is rare that you will get to meet the parent cats or siblings of a cat from an animal shelter.

How much does a cat cost from an animal shelter or a breeder?

Everything, of course, has its price. Depending on breed and if the parent cat has won any show prizes, a cat from a breeder can cost a considerable amount of money – but they are worth it! Breeding is an expensive hobby and a responsible breeder will be able to provide you with all veterinary examination papers and the parent cats’ papers, as well as giving the kitten at least 12 weeks to grow and learn everything it needs to know with its mother and siblings. During this time, the cats will of course need to be fed and checked regularly by a vet, which all adds to the cost of breeding. Never trust cowboy breeders who offer “pedigree cats without papers”! Money has been saved somewhere along the way, whether it is in mating parents without checking their health compatibility, not allowing the queen enough time to recover between litters, overall health care, genetic tests for hereditary diseases, or diet.

Even a cat from an animal shelter will not come cheap. For every week, month or year that the cat is in a shelter, the owners will have to pay for its care. Neutering or surgery are often necessary, and the building itself will need maintaining. There are also many hungry mouths to feed in a shelter, so animal welfare groups will generally charge a small fee for a cat. This is usually around the £100 mark and will not cover the costs incurred. This fee also encourages future pet owners to think careful before adopting an animal, rather than rushing into a decision that they later regret and resulting in the cat being mistreated or abandoned.

Animal Shelter cat © rbkelle / stock.adobe.com

Is there a “better” choice?

One point to consider is that pedigree cats from a breeder will nearly always find a good, loving home – more so than animals that have been left at a shelter. Bringing a cat home from an animal shelter could be helping prevent that cat from being put down. The small contribution you will make for that cat will go some way to covering costs and could help prevent a cat from suffering more that it already has in its life.

Are you looking to breed in future?

Anyone thinking about becoming a breeder in future should generally choose a cat from a breeder and subsequently join a breed association. Crossbreeds of any type, colour and size can be found in abundance in shelters and running wild, so demand for these is not very high. Only pedigree cats should be purposefully bred, and this should be done under the supervision of a breeding association.

Anyone just looking for a loyal new family member and not interested in breeding in future will generally be happy with a cat with no pedigree or papers.

The big decision: a cat from a breeder or a shelter?

As previously stated, there is no right or wrong decision when choosing your new cat. Often your gut feeling can be crucial. Many pedigree-loving cat owners end up taking home a rescue cat – and vice versa!

Whether you are picking a cat from a breeder or a shelter, we wish you and your cat a great time together!

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