Owning a pedigree cat/s can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience for many cat lovers – but there are plenty of things that need careful consideration before getting one of your own.
The added expense, additional care and potential ethical concerns in relation to breeding practices are all things that require further investigation.
Petplan takes a look at these topics to help you decide whether owning a pedigree cat is right for you…
Pedigree cats can be expensive
Around 90% of cats in the UK are ‘moggies’ (a cat that does not belong to a recognised breed). Pedigree cats are far rarer and may be considered more ‘special’ and, as a result, can be more expensive.
Pedigree cats are bred specifically in order to have certain physical characteristics and some may show some breed related behaviors. For example the Siamese is known for being more noisy and ‘talkative’ versus a moggie.
However, breeders may sometimes sell cats with a minor ‘flaw’ which do not meet the breed standards, such as incorrect eye colour or coat markings – which would make the cat not quite suitable for breeding purposes or to show. However, its health and personality would not be affected and these types of cat are often less expensive.
Always make sure you are able to afford, not only the cat, but the cost of their general care for the years ahead.
If money is no object though, then an Ashera cat may be for you. The breed is the most expensive in the world and regularly sells for more than £20,000.
There can be some health problems associated with pedigree cats
There are a limited number of cat breeds that can be bred to produce pedigree cats compared to moggies.
The ‘gene pool’ therefore is much smaller which can lead to these cats being subject to inbreeding and more susceptible to inherited health problems.
Some cats such as Persians have a significantly flatter face, and can suffer from severe brachycephalic syndrome. This means these type of cats typically have small nostrils and a soft palate which is too long and can often cause breathing difficulties. Jaw deformities are another concern, which can lead to dental disease and issues when eating and drinking.
Cats with brachycephalic syndrome also often have tears streaming down their face as the tear ducts cannot follow their natural path draining properly into the nose. This requires a lot of care from the owner to clean the face regularly and take extra care when grooming.
Ragdolls are particularly prone to carrying a gene that leads to the development of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that can lead to heart failure at an early age. However, screening tests have made it easier for breeders to eradicate this problem.
Polycystic Kidney Disease has become common in Persians, Exotic Shorthairs and some related breeds. It’s a dominant disease that is inherited very easily. Small liquid filled cysts develop in the tissue of the feline kidney, which can multiply, grow in size, and can lead to fatal kidney failure.
With genetic screening now available, breeders are working to try to eradicate the problem. You should always ask the breeder to show the PKD certificates for the parents of your kitten.
Make sure you do your research and, if you do decide to get a pedigree cat, ensure you buy from a reputable breeder that has received good reviews (whether online or through friends) and is registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy Breeder Scheme.
And, as always, ensure you have the correct cat and kitten insurance if you do decide to buy a pedigree cat.
Make sure you are buying the right breed for your lifestyle
When selecting a pedigree kitten you should take into consideration the environment you have to offer.
If you do not have a garden or you live in a flat, you should consider a breed that is more suited to an indoor only lifestyle. Your cat should be in an environment that they are comfortable with, while meeting their needs will also help you build a strong relationship with them.
You should also research the breed characteristics as different breeds do vary significantly in terms of the time they may demand from you. For example the British Shorthair is easy going and laid-back, whereas an Abyssinian may be more demanding of your time as they are extremely playful and enjoy fetch!
When selecting any kitten (whether it be a pedigree or moggie) always ensure the mother is present.
Try to visit them a few times so that you are able to pick up on any particular behavior traits and assess whether they would fit well in your home. Seeing the mother cat’s behavior can give you an indication of what your chosen kitten’s behavior may be like.
Make sure the kittens and cats appear healthy. They should have:
- Clear and bright eyes
- White teeth without excess tartar
- Ears clear of any thick black or brown wax
- Smooth nails
- Shiny coat
- Non-runny eyes and noses
If they haven’t already, most private breeders will allow you to take your kitten to a vet to be physically examined before you fully commit to ownership. You should also ensure your kitten has received the initial vaccinations required from a vet before you purchase them.
With the correct care and knowledge, being a responsible owner of a pedigree cat can be very rewarding.
You should be aware of the challenges and concerns specific to each breed before you buy to ensure your pet remains healthy, happy and receives the care they deserve.
Do you have any experience with owning a pedigree cat? What are your top tips or pieces of advice? Let us know below…