Here’s how to recognize a good breeder, step by step
You have your eye on a Foldie you saw online, but you’re not sure: Will this sweet kitten grow up to be a healthy cat? Can I trust the breeder?
When I try to find out if a breeder seems responsible, I go about it like this:
- First, I look at their website: Are they affiliated with a reputable association, such as CFA, TICA or WCF?
- Do they write that they perform basic health testing on their breeding cats, such as FeLV/FIV, PKD, HCM?
- Are their kittens at least 12 weeks old when they leave their mothers and siblings for their new home? Very important to make sure your cat gets that unflappable Foldie personality!
- Are the kittens spayed or neutered before leaving? This is important in order to prevent future backyard breeding.
- Do the kittens come with their own pedigree papers at no extra charge? Are they vaccinated, chipped and dewormed?
- Does the breeder offer a health guarantee and references? Do they have ratings on Google or their Facebook page? Are they recommended in a large Facebook group with hundreds of members? Are you able to talk to unbiased people who already got kittens from them?
- Search for the cattery and breeder’s name together with words like “review”, “complaint” and “sick” to see if anything shows up.
If they still seem OK after all of this advance screening, then it may be time to get in touch with them via email.
- After some friendly conversation, I would ask if they x-ray the Fold parent annually to make sure they don’t have OCD (though no Fold breeders are able to guarantee that a kitten will not develop it at some point in their lives) or hip dysplasia. And do they run a gene test on the Straight parent to make sure they don’t carry the Fold Gene.
- Next, I would want to visit the cattery or video chat with them and ask to see the kittens with their mom and to see the dad, too. The important things here are:
- One parent should have straight ears.
NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES IS IT OK TO BREED FOLD TO FOLD ‼️
- If the cats are kept in cages or confined spaces, this is a dealbreaker
- I would look at how the kittens move, if their tails are of normal length and flexible, if they are active and like to play, climb and jump. If they are sleeping, I would ask to chat again another time.
- Finally, if I have a good feeling about the breeder and they took the time to answer all of my questions, I would ask for documentation with the results of health testing for the kitten’s parents. Because, sadly, some breeders claim on their website that they test when, in fact, they don’t (or not enough). Very few buyers ask for the test results, so they usually get away with it, too.
If you are hoping to get a Scottish Fold kitten who will grow up to be a healthy, well-adjusted member of your family for many years to come, it is up to you and you alone to choose the right breeder. This is going to be someone who cares enough about the health of the breed that they invest their time and money into getting their animals tested – and are able to prove it! This is your best chance of getting a strong and vital cat, but please be aware that even with the best breeder, there is never a 100% guarantee.
My tip: Find a good breeder – someone who is a member of a reputable association, someone who knows their stuff and is known on the cat show circuit. Or someone who is highly recommended in an online community, such as in a large Facebook group with hundreds of members. Because these are the breeders who have accountability for their actions. People know who they are and they have a reputation to lose. You should contact other members of the group privately who have bought kittens from them and get the real story.
Always ask to view both of your Foldie’s parents – in advance via video chat before you commit to buying your kitten. Your kitten should live with its mother and siblings until adoption day – at the age of at least 12 weeks, better 14 or 16 weeks. Look for that one parent has straight ears and that the mother and babies are not kept in a cage.
I also recommend using the Breeder Questionnaire as a guideline when talking to a breeder, so you know what to ask.
If you feel unsure about a particular breeder, please join the Facebook Group Scottish Fold Info Community for support. 💜