Screening Potential Buyers
A Breeder's Guide
A lot of recommendations have
been made available to pet seekers advising them on how to choose a responsible
breeder with questions to ask, references from previous buyers, visits to the
cattery, etc., but not much has been made available to breeders on how to screen
our inquiries. In my opinion, it is equally, if not more, important to know as
much or more about the inquiring party as they know about us. Knowing the care
and love our kittens are provided in our homes I am more concerned about where
our four month old kittens, whom we have loved and protected since birth and
before, are going to spend the rest of their lives. With many thanks to all who
have contributed to this endeavor here are the questions your fellow breeders
are asking of their inquiries to help ensure a more successful placement. These
are for reference only and not all who contributed are asking every one of them;
this is a list of all the questions I was advised of at the time of this
printing. I hope you find them useful.
Complete name, address and phone numbers
Length of time at current address
Length of time at previous address
Family members and ages
Living arrangements (married, single, divorced, partner, etc)
Have you ever owned a (your breed) before?
Have you visited or contacted other breeders? If so, what was your
experience with them?
What is your definition of a reputable breeder? What do you expect?
Who will be responsible for the primary care of this cat?
Does anyone in your household have an allergy problem with cats? Asthma?
Current pets, type, ages? Have they been neutered/spayed? If not, why
Previous pets; where are they and how long did you have them?
How many cats/pets have you owned in the last five years?
Have you ever had to give up a pet? If yes, for what reason?
Under what circumstances would you consider having a pet euthanized? (put
Do you own or rent? House or apartment? If renting, are you allowed pets?
Landlord’s name, address, phone number.
What amount of time will this kitten be allowed outdoors? (There’s a
better chance of catching them with this one if they think we approve of it)
If allowed outdoors will it have the run of the neighborhood or will you
confine it in some manner? (pet run, harness, only if you are with it, etc.)
Name, address and phone number of your Veterinarian?
Do you want a male or female?
When this kitten is altered do you want it declawed, too? (This lets you
know their feelings on this issue)
How will you handle any clawing problems you may encounter with your
What do you do with your pets when you go out of town?
If you were placed in a position where you could not keep the cat, what
would you do?
How much time will this kitten be left alone per day?
How and what will you feed this kitten?
Where will this kitten sleep? (“Anywhere it wants” is the ideal
Where will you keep its litter box? (This provides some insight on how
your kitten will be cared for and regarded)
Does anyone in your household smoke?
What type of personality are you looking for in a cat?
Why are you interested in this particular kitten? (One of my contributors
was told they wanted the cat because its color went with their décor!)
What made you decide this was the breed for you?
Are you interested in a pet, breeder or show cat? If breeder or show,
what experience do you have, what breed did you work with and what registries
did you show in? Are you willing to be mentored?
Have you any previous experience with this particular breed? What do you
know about it?
What would you do if your cat misbehaves? How do you plan to
discipline/train your cat?
It may take several weeks for your kitten to adjust to its new home; how
will you handle this transition period?
What are the top three qualities or characteristics you are looking for
in your new pet?
Tell me about the last time one of your pets was ill; how did you handle
Are you interested in a kitten or young cat? Male or female?
Would you be interested in a retired breeder or older cat?
In addition to these questions your fellow breeders use to help them
evaluate prospective buyers there were many comments, too. The one that came up
the most was “LISTEN” when speaking to your inquirer. Engaging them in
casual conversation will often result in them letting their guard down and
telling you things as their new best friend they wouldn’t tell you as “the
breeder.” Asking you for a
reduced price because they just can’t afford that much for a kitten should
make you wonder how they will afford the premium food and Vet bills they may
Another contributor told me the buyer
wanted the kitten shipped on Tuesday because that was his day to go to the
airport. A few well-chosen questions about his purpose at the airport revealed
that was the day he shipped his dogs. After asking if he shipped many dogs, he
bragged he was one of the biggest suppliers of cats and dogs to the pet shops!
He did not receive a kitten from this breeder.
The stories go on but the most important
thing is to listen and go with your gut instinct. Contradicting statements,
vague answers, inquiries that appear to be a “mass mailing,” etc., should
send up red flags in your brain. Have they asked you any questions such as what
you feed, what type of litter do you use, etc.? If not, this is a red flag, too,
to me. If you have doubts, ask the lists you belong to if they have had similar
inquiries from this person. Be willing to share information. Just because you
don’t like a certain breeder as a person is no reason to let them place a
kitten in harms way, is it? Who pays the price, the breeder or the kitten? Think
it, Ladies and Gentlemen, if we can read our cats by their behavior and know
when something isn’t “just right” then reading those people who contact us
should be a breeze if we are willing to put forth a little effort. If you are
placing cats for the sake of placing cats then this article has probably fallen
on deaf ears because all you want is to “move them out.” For the vast
majority of you who care about the homes your babies go to I hope you have found
something you can use in this article. If it helps prevent even one kitten from
going to the wrong home I will be very happy indeed. If you feel this article
might be of some benefit please feel free to pass it along as you see fit.
by Pete Meisinger HattKatts Cattery Norwegian Forest Cats of Distinction