Questions for Cat Breeders

If you are thinking of adopting a Ragdoll cat, here are the right questions for cat breeders to ensure you are choosing the right breeder.  Please know that no cat breeder is going to answer all these questions, but rather these are guidelines.  Hopefully, they have already provided many of the answers on their website.  

Blue-eyed Ragdoll cat by a window.

If you take the time to look around a cat breeder’s website and read about them, you can gain a lot of info that way.

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A List of Questions to Ask Cat Breeders

1. How long have you been breeding Ragdolls?

Ideally, you’re looking for someone who has been breeding Ragdolls long enough to know what they are doing. Also, I look for breeders that concentrate on Ragdolls. I am crazy about Ragdolls, and I want my breeder to be also!

2. How did you pick Ragdolls to breed?

Again, you are looking for someone who is interested in the Ragdoll breed for a good reason.

3. Do you show? Why or why not?

This is a touchy one for me. As I really don’t care if the cats are shown, but I do care if they are interested in spending time with their cats and playing with them. But a breeder that shows their cats are really into the breed and the advancement of it.

4. What congenital defects are in Ragdolls?  Did the breeder run pro-BNP or DNA tests (to avoid HCM) on both parents?

Breeders should be knowledgeable enough to know what defects the Ragdoll breed carries and how to minimize them in their breeding. They should be upfront with you. As any pure bred, will have its problems.

5. How are you breeding to avoid those defects?

See above

6. How large is your breeding operation?

I prefer smaller breeding operations because then the breeder has more time to spend with their litters and get them more people orientated. Usually, the less the number of cats, the healthier the living conditions will be.

7. Where do your cats spend most of their time?

You’re wondering if the cats get socialized properly. After all, one of the benefits of getting a cat from a breeder is knowing its history and knowing if its been exposed to dogs, other cats, birds, etc.

8. Do you breed full time? In other words, do you have another job?

I prefer breeders that breed full time, as you know they are concentrating on what they are doing. However, there are excellent breeders that have full time jobs as well. So this answer alone isn’t a reason to eliminate a breeder.

9. What sort of health guarantees do you provide?

Your breeder should offer some sort of health guarantee, but no breeder (even the very best) can offer a 100% health guarantee. Some breeders will replace the kitten, should it develop a disease or defect as listed on their health guarantee.

10. What happens if the kitten gets sick?

This should be listed on the health guarantee. Also, the kitten should have seen a vet before coming to you.

11. Do you have any fun adoption stories to share?

This will show you how much the breeder enjoys the adoption process and feels passionate about what they do.

12. What makes this kitten or cat “pet quality” or “show quality”?

This isn’t terribly important, unless it is important to you. “Show Quality” just means that the cat has the proper markings as designated by the CFA or TICA.

13. Do you keep some of your cats for your own?

This shows you whether or not the breeder is doing the breeding for a business or as a business and a hobby. You want the ones that do it as a hobby too, as that means they truly enjoy it.

14. How old is your oldest cat that you’ve bred?

This gives me an idea of the longevity of the breeder’s lines.

15. What is your favorite Ragdoll look?

I usually ask this one out of curiosity. The breeder that likes seal Ragdolls like me is going to predominately breed seals.

16. May I speak with three people that own your cats?

The breeder should have this list ready to go because you always want to ask for referrals!

17. Do you raise your cats underfoot?

This means, “Are the cats raised in your home?”. Some breeders have a separate part of the house or separate building in their backyard where they keep the cats. If the cats are raised underfoot, most likely, they will be used to sounds like the dishwasher, the washing machine, the vacuum, etc. before they come to you. I would recommend underfoot cats only.

18. Can you send photos of the parents before I adopt a kitten? Or do you post the parents on the website?

The breeder should be more than happy to show off the two cats that she or he decided to breed to make your fabulous kitten. You should see if you like the look of the kitten’s parents to be sure, the kitten will have a similar look you desire.

19. Do you send the kitten’s pedigree when you adopt a kitten?

You are, after all, purchasing a purebred kitten. You should care about their pedigree.

20. Will it be a problem if I request, and want to pay for, the CatGenes DNA testing before I accept a kitten?

You might want to do this to make sure your kitten is healthy. If you are planning on breeding your kitten–and buying breeding rights to it, then you absolutely need to have this done to make sure the Ragdoll lines stay healthy.

21. Can I visit your cattery?

The pandemic and all the after effects have changed cattery visits. So this depends now…

If a cattery is clean and organized, then a breeder should allow you to visit and see where you kitty comes from. If they are opposed to it, red flags should go up–and you might wonder what they are trying to hide. However, there is a distinction between a “kitten visit” and a “cattery visit”.

Some breeders might have their cattery incorporated into their home and may not be comfortable allowing perfect strangers to go through their home. However, they may be okay with you staying in their living room, for example, to meet a kitten you’ve seen on their website that you’re interested in.

It is important to understand that some breeders are protective of their homes. So be sure to get clarity. Even by visiting their living room, you can learn a lot about their cleanliness and their cats (if their house cats are interested in you and hanging around or if they are scared and hiding).

22. If a possible adoptee cannot visit your cattery, are you willing to talk to your adoptee on the phone?

If the breeder is unwilling to take the time for a phone conversation, what will she/he be like when you have a problem?

23. How do you honor your health guarantee?

The breeder should be willing to pay for the vet bills associated with the claims made in the guarantee or take the kitten back and offer you a replacement.

24. What if a kitten gets adopted and the customer is unhappy with a kitten, what do you do?

The breeder should take the kitten back–if she or he cares about her or his cats and their well-being. However, this does not mean you will get a refund.

25. How are your kittens registered?

For example, if you want to show in CFA, in order for a kitten to be CFA registered, the parents and cattery have to be CFA registered. If they’re not, you have to go through a process of registering via pedigree. A little more time-consuming.

26. Are you capable of including the kittens maturing pattern since birth?

This is a good measure about how much attention and time is spent with the kittens.

27. What vaccination brand do you use? And what vaccinations are given, when?

This will help you know the research the breeder does and the quality of their vet–be sure to double-check with your own vet and see what s/he thinks of that brand.

28. What are the kittens fed?

Again, this is a good measure of how the importance of the cats to the breeder. If the breeder is feeding grocery store-bought food, like Meow Mix, more than likely, their cats’ health isn’t the first priority and should draw red flags for you.

Important Questions to Ask a Breeder

As you’ve seen, there are so many questions to ask a potential breeder before making the purchase and getting your Ragdoll cat. A reputable breeder will take the time to talk to you and answer your questions, but it’s best to start with the most important ones. As mentioned above, the cattery website might provide some answers, so make sure you go through that as well. 

The most important questions concern health, so you should probably start by asking if the kittens have been seen by a veterinarian and if they have a health certificate. A responsible breeder works with a vet to be able to provide the best of care to both the kittens and the parents. 

The kitten’s health tests, deworming, and vaccination will be included in the health certificate and constitute a kind of guarantee that they will grow up to be healthy. 

The vet will also perform (or will have performed in the past and have issued a clean bill of health) tests on the parents to make sure they do not suffer from genetic diseases, which can be transmitted from the parents to the kittens, such as polycystic kidney disease, epilepsy, or hip dysplasia. Cats with these illnesses are not fit for breeding.

You should also ask about health issues that the parents might suffer from because this will give you an idea of the kitten’s genetic potential, about the health problems it might develop over the years. 

Another important question to ask the breeder is whether or not the kitten is spayed/neutered when you get it. Recent medical research shows that kittens can be neutered starting from 6 weeks of life, but it is ultimately up to the breeder when this happens. While some prefer to neuter the cats before they go to their forever homes, others provide recommendations for neutering later on at the age of 6 months. 

Don’t Make a Decision Just on Pictures

Ragdoll kittens are a delight to see, but you need more than just pictures to choose your companion and a good breeder knows that. You also need to get to know the cat’s temperament as well before you can take it to its new home. Socialization is a very important factor because you need to see if you and the cat have chemistry. So contact the breeder and set up an appointment to meet the kitten. 

Timeline of Getting a Ragdoll Cat

Getting a Ragdoll cat from a breeder is very different from buying a cat in a pet shot. It’s not as simple as paying for the kitten and taking it home to meet its new family. With breeders, it takes more time. Here’s why! When you decide you want a purebred Ragdoll and find the right cattery for you, the kittens may not even be born yet. 

It many cases, a cattery offers you a kitten from the litter to come. In the meantime, you can still meet the parents and decide if you want a male or a female. Once the kittens come, you can pick the one you want, but still, you won’t be able to take it home right away. 

It will still need to stay with its mother to get a good start in life. In fact, a breeder who is not in a hurry for you to take the kitten is most likely one who cares about the cats. The kitten should be at least 12 weeks of age before you can take it home, but getting it at 14 weeks is even better. 

The breeder will provide you with information about the cat’s vaccination schedule, as it will likely have some shots left before it completes the full list, as well as other treatments it might need in the neet future, for worms or other issues. They will also provide details about the kitten’s diet so that you know what to feed it from day one, and how to take care of it every day. 

Once you get the kitten, you should have a vet who will continue to monitor the cat in the long run. If you are comfortable taking the kitten to the same vet that the breeder works with, you can, but if not, make sure you have an alternative right away. 

Do You Offer Any Support?

This is one of the important questions to ask the breeder and for most of them, the answer will be yes because they will want to keep in touch and find out how the kitten is doing. The breeder will also provide information about caring for the kitten, specific advice about caring for Ragdoll cats. Some breeders provide support for spaying/neutering if the kitten has not yet been desexed at an early age. 

FAQs

For the final part of this article, we’ve saved the most common questions about what you will get from the breeder, but also what the breeder will ask you and of you so that you’re prepared for this important meeting.

What will the breeder ask me?

Up to this point, we’ve gone through the most important questions to ask cat breeders and what they have to provide when you get a cat from them. The breeder will have some questions of their own to ask you. They will want to know how you’ll be able to care for the cat, so they will ask about these things.

Where you live – providing enough space for the cat is important and the breeder will want to know if you can do that. 
How much time you have to spend with the cat – cats may be independent animals, but they’re still not a good fit for those who travel a lot, so be prepared to answer some questions about availability. 
If you have experience with cats – this will help the breeder know what information to offer you about caring for the kitten. Don’t worry if you haven’t had a cat before, being willing to learn is all that the breeder wants to see. 
If you have other animals in the house – the breeder will want to know if your house is cat friendly, so they will want to know if you have other animals because these may or may not be a good fit for the new cat. 
If you can afford to care for the cat – this is an important aspect that the breeder will touch upon, so be prepared to provide proof of income. Caring for a Ragdoll cat comes at a certain cost and the breeder will want to know that you are able to support it.

What should a breeder give you?

The breeder will give you the kitten along with a pedigree that attests that it is a purebred Ragdoll cat, who its parents are, and what achievements they have.

They will also give you the kitten’s health certificate, which includes information about the cat’s current state of health, tests that have been performed, and treatments that have been performed, including deworming, vaccinations, and neutering.

Do you have an additional question suggestion to add to this list of questions for cat breeders? If so, please contact Floppycats.com.

…and ABOVE ALL, you should be able to ask for as many photos and ask as many questions as you need to so that you feel comfortable with the huge decision you are about to make.

After all, if your new kitten lives as long as my Rags did, you are making over a 19-year commitment to an animal!

There should be no doubt in your mind that this is the right breeder and the right kitten.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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2 Comments

  1. Mary Stromberg says:

    I am interested in the Ragdoll that is listed in Superior, WI and Duluth, MN.

    Mary Stromberg

    1. Mary, I am not sure what you’re referring to – other than maybe VERY old posts. We are not a breeder or a rescue. We only courtesy post on our Facebook page and usually they are adopted within a few days.

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