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.


1.      Complete name, address and phone numbers

2.      Length of time at current address

3.      Length of time at previous address

4.      Family members and ages

5.      Living arrangements (married, single, divorced, partner, etc)

6.      Have you ever owned a (your breed) before?

7.      Have you visited or contacted other breeders? If so, what was your experience with them?

8.      What is your definition of a reputable breeder? What do you expect?

9.      Who will be responsible for the primary care of this cat?

10.  Does anyone in your household have an allergy problem with cats? Asthma?

11.  Current pets, type, ages? Have they been neutered/spayed? If not, why not?

12.  Previous pets; where are they and how long did you have them?

13.  How many cats/pets have you owned in the last five years?

14.  Have you ever had to give up a pet? If yes, for what reason?

15.  Under what circumstances would you consider having a pet euthanized? (put to sleep)

16.  Do you own or rent? House or apartment? If renting, are you allowed pets? Landlord’s name, address, phone number.

17.  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)

18.  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.)

19.  Name, address and phone number of your Veterinarian?

20.  Do you want a male or female?

21.  When this kitten is altered do you want it declawed, too? (This lets you know their feelings on this issue)

22.  How will you handle any clawing problems you may encounter with your kitten?

23.  What do you do with your pets when you go out of town?

24.  If you were placed in a position where you could not keep the cat, what would you do?

25.  How much time will this kitten be left alone per day?

26.  How and what will you feed this kitten?

27.  Where will this kitten sleep? (“Anywhere it wants” is the ideal reply!)

28.  Where will you keep its litter box? (This provides some insight on how your kitten will be cared for and regarded)

29.  Does anyone in your household smoke?

30.  What type of personality are you looking for in a cat?

31.  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!)

32.  What made you decide this was the breed for you?

33.  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?

34.  Have you any previous experience with this particular breed? What do you know about it?

35.  What would you do if your cat misbehaves? How do you plan to discipline/train your cat?

36.  It may take several weeks for your kitten to adjust to its new home; how will you handle this transition period?

37.  What are the top three qualities or characteristics you are looking for in your new pet?

38.  Tell me about the last time one of your pets was ill; how did you handle it?

39.  Are you interested in a kitten or young cat? Male or female?

40.  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 encounter.

    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 about it.

    Face 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.

 Compiled by Pete Meisinger HattKatts Cattery Norwegian Forest Cats of Distinction


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