questions to ask breeders

Discussion in 'Sphynx Cat Questions?' started by Luvmysphynx, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Luvmysphynx

    LuvmysphynxSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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    Okay, I'll admit I know little about what constitutes a responsible breeder with cats, I've got a lot more experience with dogs! I've had a breeder contact me that has a beautiful female retired breeder she wants to re-home that I'm thinking about. However I need to make sure that I'm NOT supporting a BYB in any way! The cat is spayed and microchipped, what other questions should I make sure I ask, and what should I look for? She's asking $400 for her, which I realize isn't a bad price for a sphynx, and if she where in a rescue I would pay that without a second thought, but from a breeder? I don't want to walk away feeling like I helped that breeder make her last few dollars at the cat's expense! If I'm going to accept a cat from a breeder, I want to be as indepth as possible in my screening of them, and really make sure they know their stuff and are doing their part to better the breed, not just added to the pet overpopulation problem!
     

  2. admin

    adminAdministrator Staff Member

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    Hi Luvmysphynx,
    I do breed sphynx cats.Those are very good questions. From what I have seen with breeders of the sphynx are two different types of breeders, like me, my Sphynx are my pets and are treated like pets, I could never imagine "retiring" my baby. I have my cats because we love them dearly and are blessed to have little ones once in a while, and these little kitties are treated as if they are ours until they go to their new home. Then there are breeders who do this just for the money, when the female can not breed any more they find them a new home to make room for the new female. (I have nothing against this practice as long as the cats and kittens are treated humanely, but this is not my style.) So that being said, I would just look for the basic issues you would find when buying or acquiring any pet.

    Are they caged frequently with little human contact.
    If caged, are the cages clean and free of urine and feces.
    Does the home have a pet friendly atmosphere to it.
    Are the litter boxes clean.
    Is there available food and water to all the pets in the house, how do the other pets seem to be in the home, well groomed, good weight?
    Sit with the cat for a while, play and interact with toys with them, are they lively, seem happy?
    Do they have medical and shot records available?
    This should be a starting point for you. Im sure other members will have more to add.
    Good luck on your quest!! Hope to see some new kitty pics!:ThumbsUp::Laugh:
     
  3. Luvmysphynx

    LuvmysphynxSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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    Okay, my experience as a dog breeder is probably really going to show, but is health and genetic testing a standard in the cat world? I know with my showdogs, it's generally accepted that all responsible breeders do certain testing, somewhat dependant on breed, but at a minimum, eyes should be tested and CERF certified, depending on breed, hips, patellas, and thyroid should be x-rayed (or bloodwork done by approved lab for thyroid) and OFA or Pennhip certified, and some breeds, hearts should also be tested by ultrasound prior to breeding, and additional health or genetic testing should be done depending on what common problems are in the particular breed. Is this common practice in the cat world? What's the youngest a cat should be bred the first time? How many litters max should a responsible breeder allow a cat to have before spaying her? I've never gotten a cat from a breeder other then a Ragdoll kitten I rescued from a breeder that was going to kill him, just because he was the wrong color (he was an orange lynx, which is not an approved color for Ragdolls). As a very occasional breeder of show dogs, I do have very high standards when I breed one of my showdogs, and I'll admit - I expect anyone else who brings an animal into a world full of animals that already need homes to meet the same standards. I want to make sure if I give a breeder ANY money that they're doing their part to truely preserve and better the breed, not just breeding to make extra money!!!!
     
  4. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    If Brooke and I have not posted enough of this issue, every person looking at a sphynx, owning a sphynx or even considering ownership should be asking as to whether or not the breeders have been screened NEGATIVE for HCM within the last 12 months (after their first birthday). Breeders should not only be scanned negative by a cardiologist annually, they should routinely be tested negative for FIV and Felv (heartworms are now being tested with the new Idexx Snap test, no fee has increased as Idexx is now simply offering this in addition to the other two tests).

    I, personally, do not recommend to anyone that vaccinations be administered at home, by the breeder, unless they are personally receiving vaccinations from their veterinarian, keeping them at 50 degrees or less until use (that includes home transport) and are skilled at giving them. Inappropriate administration of vaccinations can cause major problems in the future for a cat. All cats in the cattery should be vaccinated (again, by a vet) at very least for FVRCP and rabies. This not only allows mom to pass on antibodies to the babies she's nursing, it will lower the chances of babies contracting anything before leaving the cattery.

    Anyone that takes a good look in general at sphynx will realize there is very little difference in price, in general. Most breeders ask between 1000 and 1500 for a kitten. For this price, you should receive, at very least:

    Registration (ideally, TICA and CFA)
    An altered kitten from HCM negative parents
    Exam, vaccinations and deworming from a veterinarian (age dependant)


    That being said, for an adult that has been a breeder, I would be most interested in whether or not the cat has been HCM screened. Most cats having HCM start showing cardiac issue around the age of 3. It's important that a breeder think highly enough of their "pets" and their line to be certain they're doing what is best for the breed and not simply breeding because they can sell kittens (even though this is an expensive breed, many do it as cheap as possible in order to make as much money as they can).

    Another thing I am hoping will begin heavier in trend is blood typing. Approximately 15% of sphynx will be blood type B. The rest will be A (a very slim margin will be AB, but less than 0.5% of cats in the US are AB...it's almost not worth mentioning at such a small percentage). Most breeders have never heard of neonatal isoerythrolysis. It's a condition, much like in humans, where mom's blood type does not match baby's blood type and severe complications can ensue. If the breeder you're looking at already blood types and HCM screens, they're ahead of the game and likely one of the better people to be purchasing from because they're wanting to stop problems before they even start.

    What I would advise against doing would be purchasing from people that will openly admit that their kittens don't come with papers. The sphynx breed is new enough that this shouldn't be happening. Most of this starts when pets are sold under a "spay/neuter" contract and the owner sees an "easy" way to make some money and ignores the requirements of the contract. Technically, this is illegal but many people slip through the cracks because there are so many pets available on the market for purchase these days. I have yet to see someone that is breeding paper-less kittens that HCM screens or even ensures their adults negative for FIV and Felv. I would not just walk but RUN away from people who breed animals on this accord, even if the price tag of 300-800 is appealing.
     
  5. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    Cats generally don't have the bone-related problems that dogs do. Luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, deafness (aside from some breed prediliction) and eye problems (again, mostly breed related), etc don't occur in cats. HCM is the BIGGEST DEAL FOR SPHYNX! That being said, thyroid testing is a great thing to do--especially since cats are predisposed to hyperthyroidism. I would recommend that breeders check annually starting at the age of 5 for hyperthyroidism--relatively speaking, young cats don't have hyperthyroidism unless there's something major going on underlying even further than a metabolic disease. In such a case, they would be a poor choice for breeding.
     
  6. Luvmysphynx

    LuvmysphynxSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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    Please click one of the Quick Reply icons in the posts above to activate Quick Reply.
     
  7. Luvmysphynx

    LuvmysphynxSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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    Well, the lady that has this cat is supposibly a vet, I haven't gotten a response on the HCM question yet. She did say this cat has been shown a few times, and she's retiring her because she didn't make a good mother.

    What's the youngest a cat should be bred?

    I have a couple other breeders who've also offered me retired cats now, I don't mind going that route but need to know what standard to measure them by since I'm definatly not a show cat person or cat breeder!!! Thank you for all your help Pittrottmommy!
     
  8. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    I would not recommend breeding a cat under the age of 1 year. It's the same with humans, women are not fully developed until they are about 21 years of age. Having a baby at 14 isn't adviseable. Most mothers, regardless of age, do very well to take care of their young but it's easiest on the body if the cats are bred no younger than 1 year and no older than 5.

    Being a vet, she should have supreme records on her babies and she should be doubly able to have the cats checked for HCM as there are likely fellow vets she knows that possess ultrasound (or she does it herself). I still recommend to everyone, regardless of whether or not you have a breeder, to have your pet checked for HCM annually after the age of 1. It's easier to treat something before it becomes a huge issue. It's better to know your cat has HCM when it's young...than to found out post-mortem.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Brooke

    BrookeBanned

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    Hi Luvmysphynx,
    PitRottMommy beat me to it! I can tell you from personal experience, you will absolutely want to know that this cat -and her parents- have been scanned for HCM. (In fact, don't just ask - see the proof. I simply asked, and was lied to!) That answer could potentially save you lots of money and, even worse, lots of heartache.

    I agree with what admin said earlier, I can't imagine getting rid of a cat just because she isn't a baby machine anymore! That wouldn't be my style if I were a breeder.

    That being said, I hope everything works out in your favor and you have a healthy new sphynx soon! How exciting for you! Did this offer come from that yahoo group?
     
  10. Luvmysphynx

    LuvmysphynxSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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    Good note on HCM, I'll have to look into having Oogie tested. I'm hoping she has, she sent me a bunch of pictures, and even from the pictures you can just see the personality in this cat! I think she's be a great match for Oogie, but I want to make sure I'm covering all my bases first! There's another family with a 7 year old male on an online classified ad site in Utah I'm starting to lean towards, honestly I'd rather give an older cat that'll be harder to place a good home rather then support a breeder!
     
  11. Luvmysphynx

    LuvmysphynxSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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    Yes, this offer did come from the Yahoo group :). There's also a lady in TX with 2 bonded females, one being 8 years old, and a lady here in Vegas that all have Sphynx they're trying to rehome! Boy I wish I was a millionaire and had endless time and space!!! 2-3 cats is all I have the time and energy to care for properly!!! I never realized how many Sphynx really needed good homes!
     
  12. sydkat7

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    Luvmysphynx, I'm so glad to hear that the Yahoo group has given you SO many options...and so quick, too! I just knew that if you posted there, you'd find some folks with sphynx to rehome (that aren't posted on petfinders.com and such).

    It was the same way with me, too, when I posted there last January, I also had some options to adopt one of four sphynx cats from a shelter (NOAH) in Boston, MA rescued from a irresposible breeder in NJ. I was seriously considering flying from Denver to Boston to see the cats, but then the opportunity to adopt Piglet was offered to me...and she was a heck of a lot closer to me than the other cats. :Wink:
     
  13. Moonstone

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    I'm a breeder in france, I do HCM every year, I have the blood type of my cats, fev fiv tests are made when the cat arrive at home, and as the cattery is closed (no outside breeding and no foreign cats at home for breeding) I do fiv and felv one time only.
    I only have one litter per year, sometimes not, and pay attention to my cats. The frist litter is always afer 1 year for the female and for the male. I do only small litters because if something wrong I want to save the babies, and i want the mom to be in good condition, not too tired with babies, and i'm not doing kitties for kitties.
    I want that all my cats and babies are healthy and good mind.
    I take my holidays for the birth date to help the future mom...and so on.

    It's not my job, it's only a passion, that costs more than the incomes....

    When I sell a kitten or a retired cat , I always give all tests copy to families because I think it's normal.

    Concerning the choice to have retired cats, I will only say : if we want to do a good job and not only to breed the same couple of sphynx, just to have sweet babies, we are obliged to change our males and females regularly. We are not doing babies, we are working on the breed, and we have health issues, standard issues...

    All my cats are like pets at home, they are well treated, but I'm obliged to have retired beloved cat. when this happens, I look for THE good family for my BELOVED CAT, and i ask for regular news, and regular hcm scans for them. I refuse to sell them if I 'm not convinced that my sweet heart will not be better in his new famil than with me.

    Exemple, I accepted recently to sell Hanky (2 years old - only breed 1 litter) to a young family, after I refused 4 times to other demands. I sell hanky becaus he's not enough in the good standard. If I continue to breed whith him I will not do a good job, but only kittens to sell. It's not my purpose, not my objective.

    The "honest" price of a retired in france is about 350 euros.
    For the future hanky's family, who has not a lots of money I accept to sell Hanky for 150 euros only and I propose to pay 50% of the hcm test I ask them to do when He will be 4 years old cat (upon recept of the invoice and the results.)
    I prefer to loose money and be sure he will be the king in his new home, it's very important for me.

    He's already fixed, and has 2009 shots, and was dewormed in april, so that the new family will not have money to spend this year with him. He has a herpes virus in the left eye, I say it, and give them the price of the lysine meds they have to give him every day, to be sure they will have no bad surprise with hanky and for me, no bad surprise with the family.

    I send them regular video and pictures like for the babies, because they have to wait untill july 21. It helps them to wait...

    So please, don't think that all breeders that sell retired cat are not cat lovers and not honest persons, or anything else.

    We have an objective for the breed and we do the bests efforts, and we love our animals too.

    We are loosing a lot of money when breeding like this, because studs and queens are very expensive, when wanting good quality (3000-4000 euros each) but it is our passion.
     
  14. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    I think this is entirely acceptable. A closed cattery is about the only acceptable way that someone could test only once for FIV/Felv. I've found it more acceptable to blood test in Europe than the US (probably because we have more type A cats here and they have more type B cats there). At any rate, I think you've set a good standard, Moonstone. A good breeder should lose money doing what they love---isn't that how the best hobbies are anyhow?
     
  15. Moonstone

    MoonstoneLairian

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    In Europe I heard about 20% of B blood type in the sphynx breed. the risk exists. it's important to manage this risk.
    yes...hobbies are expensive...no doubt !
    :BigSmile:
     
  16. Brooke

    BrookeBanned

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    Moonstone,
    Good to hear you have such high standards for your cattery. :ThumbsUp:
     
  17. Luvmysphynx

    LuvmysphynxSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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    Exactly my thoughts! I hold other dog breeders to a VERY high standard if I'm going to buy a dog from them, and expect them to do the same to me. If I'm going to get a cat from a breeder, I want them to meet my high standards for responsible breeding as well, thank you all that have helped me learn how to determine what that consists of for cats!
     
  18. Moonstone

    MoonstoneLairian

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    Thanks !
    :ThumbsUp:
     
  19. Moonstone

    MoonstoneLairian

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    you're welcome !
    :BigSmile:
     
  20. ElGatoLoco

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    When I got ButterBall I don't think I asked my breeder any questions. She had hundreds of pictures and videos posted on various sites throughout the internet. I know you can't be for sure whether a picture or video would constitute a responsible breeder but in my case it did. I would comment on her pictures and videos from time to time and we developed a friendship. I never even knew she was a breeder. A year later I decided to get a sphynx and told her. Consequently I was a little surprised when she said she had one available. I could tell by the conversations we had that she was a good person. She never tried to "sell" me. When it was time for little ButterBall to come home, she was hesitant. At that point, I knew I wouldn't be dissapointed.

    Another thing a possible new parent might consider is choosing a kitty that isn't ready to be taken away for his momma kitty. That way you could get pictures and updates and get a real feel on how the kitty had been raised. It worked for me.
     
  21. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    With the information that's been posted, did you contact the breeder to ask whether or not HCM screening has been done (of all things, probably one of the more important)?
     
  22. ElGatoLoco

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    Actually I have not. I'm a little worried I suppose. He had to got a clean bill of health from the vet to travel but I'm not sure if scanning for HCM is part of that process. To be totally honest, I haven't even read up on HCM. I'll probably do that tonight and ask my breeder.
     
  23. PitRottMommy

    PitRottMommyBanned

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    A "clean bill of health" literally translates into "yep, looks healthy from the outside". HCM isn't a normal screen, it's a test that you must ask for. Your veterinarian may not be aware that Sphynx are predisposed to this problem. Many veterinarians won't pick up a heart murmur unless it's a grade 3 or higher. You MUST be your pets advocate. Screening for HCM is a good plan, especially if your breeder did not. Sphynx are at a higher risk for HCM from parents who weren't screened. One or both parents could have been positive, which heightens the risk of HCM in their babies. In Maine Coons and Ragdolls, HCM has been found to be genetically linked. While it's undetermined if it is in Sphynx, it's extremely likely. Especially since many HCM positive cats have produced HCM positive babies.

    As many people continue to point out--it's not cheap; but at the expense of your pets life, is it worth it?

    I'll write an article soon on HCM so everyone knows what to look for and what they're up against. You're a lucky owner if HCM is diagnosed since there are medications to slow the progression of the disease. However, other owners will simply find their cat dead...without any outward signs of problem. Even worse are the owners who'll find their cat paralyzed in the back end secondary to a Thromboembolis...who will require euthanasia because there is no effective treatment.

    Outward signs aren't the first sign...you have to go looking for the first sign. That's done through ultrasound, the best test available for this heart condition...at least until we have a test to diagnose it genetically.


    Sami
     
  24. Brooke

    BrookeBanned

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    I'd like to add to the HCM topic...my apologies if anyone is getting sick of hearing about it, but this is a topic that's very dear to my heart...

    HCM can occur in cats whose parents test negative for it, too. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to scare people. I've just experienced it first hand, it is not something to be denied. Even knowing that your cat came from a breeder who scanned for HCM, doesn't mean that you shouldn't consider having your own kitty scanned a few times in his lifetime. You probably have a better chance if his parents are HCM free, but it is not foolproof..Early detection is key. With early detection, I would likely still have Harold by my side.

    In my case, I don't know Walter's history at all, so it's especially important that he is tested. He is now 2 years old, so I'm saving up to get his first echo done. Its been recommended to me that it should be done at this age, and again 2 to 3 years from now (if all looks good this time).

    The scans are pricey, but the cost of aggressive late stage treatment is much more expensive - trust me!! But, I just learned a few days ago of a local breeder who will let me bring Walter in with her when she brings her group in for scans, and take advantage of her breeder discount - Half price! :ThumbsUp: So, there are lower cost options out there if you dig around a bit.

    ...stepping off my soap box...
     
  25. ElGatoLoco

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    Thanks for the warnings everyone. I have come to the conclusion that right now, all I can do is educate myself as best I can and hope for the best. I hope that doesn't sound neglectful. ButterBall is due for his one year checkup in a few months. I'll ask the vet at that time and we can decide together on what the next step should be.

    I think I'm losing my mind today. Ball's litter box was filthy earlier. I took it outside to wash it down and was a little disgusted at myself for letting it get that bad. Oh well, it's all cleaned up and smelling better now. I've been a bit under the weather the last few days but am feeling better tonight.