When adopting a cat from a breeder, as with adopting one from a shelter, it's essential to make the right choices. You must also select and follow the kitten's progress until the moment you can bring it home.
Laws regulating cat breeding in America and Europe
Laws regulating cat breeding in the United States and Europe can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. Here, I will provide a general overview of the key aspects of cat breeding regulations in both regions, but it's essential to note that the specific laws and regulations can differ by country, state, or locality.
Laws regulating cat breeding in United States:
Animal Welfare Laws: The United States has federal and state animal welfare laws that govern the treatment of animals, including cats. The federal Animal Welfare Act primarily regulates commercial breeding facilities, known as "kitten mills."
State and Local Regulations: Most cat breeding regulations are at the state or local level. These regulations may include licensing requirements, standards of care, and zoning regulations. Some states have specific laws related to the breeding of certain cat breeds or the prevention of cruelty to animals.
Spaying and Neutering: Some localities may require cats to be spayed or neutered unless the owner has a valid breeding permit.
Anti-Cruelty Laws: Anti-cruelty laws apply to all animals, and they prohibit inhumane treatment, abuse, and neglect.
Laws regulating cat breeding in Europe
Cat breeding regulations in Europe can vary widely between countries, but there are common themes:
- Animal Welfare Laws: Many European countries have comprehensive animal welfare laws that cover the care and breeding of cats. These laws typically address issues such as shelter, care, and protection from cruelty.
- Breeder Licensing: Some European countries require cat breeders to obtain licenses or permits, and these permits may come with specific requirements related to breeding practices and the care of cats.
- Spaying and Neutering: Some countries encourage or mandate the spaying or neutering of cats, particularly for pet owners who are not registered breeders.
- Breeding Standards: Some countries have breed-specific regulations or standards for breeding practices, particularly for pedigree or purebred cats.
- Anti-Cruelty Laws: All European countries have laws against animal cruelty and neglect, which apply to cats.
- Identification and Registration: Microchipping, identification, and registration of cats may be required in some European countries to track and regulate breeding.
It's crucial to check the specific laws and regulations in your country or region, as they can change over time. Local animal control, governmental authorities, and animal welfare organizations can provide information and guidance on responsible cat breeding practices and the legal requirements in your area.
The European Union may also have overarching regulations related to animal welfare and breeding practices, which can impact member countries.
Assessing the Cat Breeding Establishment
The general condition of the breeding facility and the professionalism of the breeder will guide your decision.
When visiting the premises, pay particular attention to cleanliness, the space available to the animals, and the structures (beds, shelters, outdoor areas, places where they can rest or play, cat trees, and other toys).
The breeding facility should also have a good reputation. Don't hesitate to inquire in forums, with veterinarians, or through social media.
Observe the cats and kittens in the breeding establishment you visit. Study their behavior to see if they are curious and active.
The degree of socialization is also a critical point to consider. An establishment that offers to give you a kitten before 8 weeks of age should be avoided.
Early weaning is completely prohibited and has consequences for the animal's health and behavior. The young feline should be able to interact with its mother, other cats, if possible, animals of other species, and, of course, humans.
Lastly, gather sufficient information about the mother's temperament because a significant part of the kitten's behavior is inherited from its mother, both genetically and through mimicry.
Ensuring the Cat's Breed at the Breeder
For a cat to be considered a purebred, A cat should typically be registered with a recognized cat breed registry or association to be considered a purebred.
The specific organization to which a cat should be registered can depend on the breed. Still, there are some widely recognized and respected cat breed registries that operate in the United States, Britain, and Canada.
These organizations maintain breed standards and pedigrees for various cat breeds and ensure that purebred cats meet those standards. Some notable cat breed registries include:
The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF): The GCCF is a major cat registry in the United Kingdom, overseeing the registration and promotion of various cat breeds.
The Canadian Cat Association (CCA): CCA is a well-known cat registry in Canada responsible for registering and promoting purebred cats.
Each of these organizations has its specific requirements for registering cats as purebred, including pedigree documentation and adherence to breed standards.
Cat breeders and owners need to work with the appropriate registry for their region and breed to ensure the proper registration and recognition of their purebred cats.
Adopting a Cat from a Breeder: Choosing the Kitten
It is advisable to choose a kitten well in advance of the age at which it can leave the breeding establishment.
In some cases, the breeder may announce the pregnancy of the future mother, and buyers put an option for the kittens to be born. Or the kittens are already born, and you visit the establishment to choose yours.
Afterward, you will visit your chosen kitten multiple times until it is old enough to be handed over to you. This allows you to get to know the animal better, monitor its development, and see the care given by the breeder.
Documents required when adopting a cat from a breeder
Documents to Request: The identification of kittens born in a breeding establishment must be provided by the breeder. In other words, the breeder cannot sell a kitten that has not been identified by tattoo or microchip.
The identification card, which attests to the placement of the electronic chip and contains all the kitten's identity information, is one of the documents that the breeder must provide to you.
The breeder is also required to show you the vaccination record of the mother and her kittens. Even in the case of a free adoption, the breeder must provide a veterinary certificate detailing the health status of the feline.
A sales certificate must also be provided, including information on the cat's identity, breed, and the selling price.
When adopting a cat from a breeder, it's essential to ensure that the process is responsible and ethical. Breeders may have specific requirements, but in general, the following documents and considerations are typically involved in a responsible cat adoption process:
- - Purchase Agreement/Contract: A written contract or purchase agreement should outline the terms and conditions of the adoption. This document may specify the cat's purchase price, return policies, health guarantees, and any other agreements between the breeder and the adopter.
- - Health Records: The breeder should provide detailed health records for the cat, including vaccinations, deworming, and any medical treatments the cat has received. You should also receive information about the cat's birthdate, microchip details (if applicable), and any health testing done on the cat's parents.
- - Pedigree or Registration Papers: If you are adopting a purebred cat, the breeder should provide pedigree papers or registration papers from a recognized cat breed registry (such as CFA, GCCF, or CCA, as mentioned earlier). This proves the cat's lineage and verifies its breed.
- - Spay/Neuter Agreement: Many responsible breeders will require adopters to spay or neuter the cat if it has not already been done before adoption. This helps control the cat population and prevent the cat from being used for breeding purposes.
- - Care Instructions: The breeder should offer guidance on how to care for your new cat, including feeding recommendations, grooming needs, and general care tips.
- - Kitten Socialization and Behavior Information: If you're adopting a kitten, the breeder might provide information on the kitten's socialization, behavior, and any training that has been done.
- - Feeding Recommendations: Breeders often have specific recommendations for the type of cat food they have been feeding the cat. It's important to follow these guidelines initially to maintain consistency in the cat's diet.
- - Carrier or Transportation Arrangements: Be prepared to transport your new cat home. The breeder may provide a carrier or have specific transportation guidelines.
- - Emergency Contact Information: Ensure you have the breeder's contact information in case you have questions or concerns after adopting the cat.
- - Health Guarantee: Some breeders offer a limited health guarantee, which may cover certain genetic health conditions for a specific period after adoption. Review the terms of any health guarantee in the contract.
It's important to thoroughly review the contract and documents provided by the breeder before completing the adoption. Responsible breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their cats, and they should be open to addressing any questions or concerns you have during the adoption process.
Remember to research the breeder's reputation and ethics before committing to an adoption.