So you want to become a cat breeder… now what?
by Carissa Altschul
Disclaimer: Any medical advice given in this article should be referenced with your vet before beginning treatment. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect any official policy or position of the Cat Fanciers' Association or the Persian Breed Council.
Making Your Inquiry
Once you have done your research, it’s time to start sending out inquiries to the breeders you have found meet your criteria. First, do not assume they have listed every cat they have available on their website. Many breeders do not update their own websites, so there tends to be a lag on their updates. Also, most top breeders will reserve their show kittens long before they have time to take pictures and/or place them on the website as available. So do not hesitate to inquire from a breeder that doesn’t have cats/kittens listed as available.
In your first email to the breeder (and most breeders prefer email to phone calls), be sure to include an introduction about yourself. This doesn’t need to be curriculum vitae, but you should include information about your general location, your past experience with cats (especially if you have any with the breed you want to buy for breeding), your intentions with your breeding program, and also what you are looking for from them. So many times, breeders receive inquires that read like this: “How much are your cats?” Most of the time, breeders will simply delete those emails. You don’t want to be overly wordy, but remember you are asking this breed to entrust you with a quality cat from their program, a cat they raised from birth and planned for so carefully. So they are going to want to get to know you before they will sell to you (or they should want to get to know you. A red flag should be if a breeder isn’t interested in getting to know you, just how much money you will pay them for their cat.)
Do not be surprised if they ask you to show a cat in the premiership class first. In fact, it’s better to send out inquires about getting a cat to show in premiership class before you even start trying to find a cat for breeding. What is premiership class? It is a class especially for neuters and spays 8 months and older (registered, pedigreed cats).
Many new breeders start in premiership class, and there are many good reasons why it is the best way to start. First, it’s an easy way to get a foot into the cat fancy without having to deal with the issues that come up with breeding. By showing (and titling) a cat in premiership, you demonstrate you are serious about exhibiting cats and this makes top breeders more willing to trust you with really nice cats. Second, the you can determine if raising and showing cats is really something you want to do before you actually commit a good deal of money into a program. Most breeders ask pet price for premiership quality kittens, though some will ask a good deal more (and those are the ones to avoid). Fourth, in showing a cat in premiership, a new breeder can observe many different looks of show Persians in the fancy and determine what look they want to model in their breeding program. Additionally, you can talk to many exhibitors and pick up a wealth of knowledge at the shows that will aid you greatly in your endeavor of being a show breeder. Those breeders that might not have talked to you when you attended the show as a spectator are far more willing to open up to you as a fellow exhibitor. Finally, if the new breeder decides after showing a premiership that showing is really not for them, then they only have the one cat, which is already neutered and a great house pet, rather than having to deal with placing out many cats they might have bought/bred.
Once you have sent out your inquiries, the next step is: be patient. Some breeders get many inquiries a day and may not have time to respond immediately. In general, if you haven’t gotten a response in about a week, most breeders wouldn’t mind a second email (with the same information about the first, with a quick preface that you are re-sending incase the first email got buried in the inbox.) Never get terse with a breeder. That’s a good way to end your chances with that breeder and any other breeders they work with before you’ve even begun. If you do not receive a response after the second email, it’s likely the breeder is not going to respond and it’s best to scratch them off your list and move on. If you really, really like their cats, you could try again in the future to see if you will get a response after you have gotten some more experience in showing & breeding.