- Ask the age of the kittens. They should stay with their mothers until they are around 12 weeks old.
- If you visit before taking your Siberian kitten home, look closely at both the kittens and the adult cats for any visible health problems. Eyes should be bright and clear, with no discharge. Kittens should be bright eyed and should feel substantial and strong, not thin or scrawny.
- Ask if the kittens have been health checked by a vet. Care before the kitten comes home should include vaccines and worming as well as screening for any hereditary diseases.
- Ask if the kittens have been microchipped.
- Choose your veterinary practice and schedule a check-up quickly once the kitten has joined your household
3. Do you participate in cat shows? Why?
Reputable breeders often show (in the USA, typically within CFA or TICA), but you should get the distinct impression that the show is a means to an end (to get peer review to make sure their cats are of high quality, to work to improve their chosen breed, to participate in the breeding community) rather than to brag about wins.
4. What congenital defects does this breed have?
THE ANSWER IS NEVER “NONE.” Siberian cats are one of the healthiest breeds out there, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be concerned about. Every cat should be tested for kidney and heart mutations at a minimum, and we’d argue that the more you can look at, the better.
Red flags to be aware of
- Indicates that the breed is unrealistically ideal – for example, has no health problems, is perfectly hypoallergenic, will live longer than is possible, has a temperament that is flawless, will never scratch no matter what, etc.)
- Doesn’t seem to know a lot about the kitten you’re inquiring about – you get the impression that they have a ton of kittens and that gender and color are the major identifiers of each kitten. If asked about personality, you get a vague “Well, of course she’s sweet and adorable” instead of specifics.
- Goes out of their way to say negative things about all other breeders – it’s fine for a breeder to be proud of what they do differently and arguably better than their peers, but they shouldn’t tell you that there are no other trustworthy breeders or that you should buy only from them.
- The breeder doesn’t ask or isn’t concerned about what kind of home you’ll provide for the kitten.
A special note on spay/neuter
The vast majority of good Siberian cat breeders have all their pet kittens spayed or neutered before they leave them – or require you to do so within a few weeks of coming home with you. This is not because we’re trying to “prevent competition” or keep you from having the fun of a litter. It’s because – first – Siberian cats are sort of the breed of the moment and there are lots of unscrupulous breeders trying to get their hands on them. If you want to be a good breeder, we’ll be happy to help you, but we don’t want you or anyone else to be a bad breeder. Second, and more practically, living with intact cats is a huge pain in the neck. The girls start going into season at around six months old, and boys often forget their good bathroom habits at about the same age. Sometimes – rarely – unneutered males can resist the temptation to mark and spray and can be good house pets, but most owners are not that lucky.
So for your own comfort, convenience, and for the sake of your kitten, we’d encourage you to buy only from a breeder who requires spays or neuters.