This article is all about dollars and cents. Let’s be honest; cats can be expensive, especially if you’re buying purebred. There are a number of reasons why you might want to fork out the cash for this kind of cat, and if you have the money, then go ahead and do it. But if you’re on a budget, a purebred simply isn’t for you.
Money, Money, Money
To start, if you’re looking for an affordable option, then consider adopting a cat. When you adopt from a shelter it usually will only cost you about $50 to $100, and you’re also providing a home for a cat that is in need. On the flip side, when you purchase a quality purebred it can set you back anywhere from $300 to $1,200.
The price that you’ll pay for a purebred is going to depend upon the color and breed of the cat. Pet-quality kittens are considered the lowest in quality because often they have innate flaws. Heck, we all do. Sometimes a cat will have a tail kink or underbite. Though many will find these flaws delightful, others just don’t want it.
A breeding-quality kitten from a respected breeder is roughly $500 to $1,000 or more. There are written standards for each breed and generally there will be no aesthetic flaws. Now, if you want to take it to another level and buy a show-quality kitten, it will cost you from $1,000 to $3,000, and can go all the way up to $15,000.
Show-quality cats are the highest in quality, and there are many variations in the cats that fall into this category. But for the most part, if you’re purchasing a show kitten, it should be the creme de la creme. That’s the price that you pay for good genetics.
The high-end breeds that fall into the lower cash bracket include Siamese, Maine Coon, and Russian Blue. The color of the cat’s coat always affects the price. Take for instance the lilac point Siamese. They have light-colored eyes and bodies, as well as grayish purple markings on their ears, paws, and faces.
The lilac point Siamese can cost 20 percent more than the traditional seal point Siamese. That’s because the latter has a darker body and darker markings. Higher-end breeds include Sphynx, Bengal, and Siberian cats. They are so expensive because they feature exotic colors. The colorpoint Siberian can cost 25 percent more than the others.
What You Should Look Out For
When purchasing a cat, there are several things that you should look out for during the buying process. When rescuing a cat from a shelter, be sure that the cat is neutered or spayed. This is often done at the rescue shelter. In fact, it’s a requirement for adoption, as well as initial vaccinations, deworming, and vet check up.
When purchasing from a breeder, be sure that the cat comes with registration papers, a health certificate, deworming, etc. You also should require proof that the cat tests negative for leukemia and immunodeficiency. Some breeders will also give you a sample bag of food for the cat to eat when they come home.
When purchasing from a non-local breeder, you may need to have the cat shipped to your door! Whether by ground or air, this can set you back $150 to $300. When looking for quality shipping services, check out the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International.
Who doesn’t like a discount? When you adopt a purebred adult cat, or purchase a retired purebred from a breeder, you are going to pay a lot less. We’re talking $100 to $300. If you’re looking for a cat rescue organization by breed, go to PurebredCatBreedRescue.org.
Tips For Shopping
• Before you start shopping for a cat, be sure you know what breed you’re most interested in. The Cat Fanciers Association is a great resource for looking at different breeds and figuring out which is best for you. They also offer a handy breeder referral service.
• Before purchasing a cat, be sure to investigate the breeder, just like you’d with anything that you really care about. Go to the International Cat Association online for a list of reputable breeders, and to read reviews.
• When you visit a breeder, be sure that you ask a lot of questions in terms of the kitten’s grooming needs, special diet, temperament, and health concerns. You also want to meet the parents of the kitten, and see what their temperaments are like.
Why a Registered Breeder?
It’s highly important that you choose a registered breeder when buying a purebred. When you purchase from an unregistered breeder, you’re getting no guarantee about the cat’s history, and sometimes they won’t even give you papers. They don’t perform routine checks on their animals, nor do they do DNA tests for genetic diseases.
When you purchase from a breeder, there’s a good chance that the kitten will be microchipped. They will also be treated for parasites, vaccinated, and desexed. Imagine how much money you’re going to save when all of this is done for you, instead of having to run around town to get it done by professionals.
We talked about this briefly, but now we’re going to drive it home. For how long can the health of your kitten be guaranteed? Any breeder worth their salt is going to provide you will all this information before you purchase the kitten. In fact, it is their duty to do so.
What’s Compelling You to Buy the Cat?
When purchasing a cat, whether purebred or no, it’s impossible for emotions to not get wrapped up in it. That’s why you need to keep a level head. Purchasing a cat because it looks sad or sick is a bad idea. You’re not doing the cat any favors, nor are you going to make them spontaneously happy, just for the fact that they’re living in your home.
Purchasing from an unregistered or unethical breeder does not make you a hero. In fact, you’re perpetuating something that just needs to go away. Essentially, you’re buying into their stock and supporting what it is that they’re doing. What it’s going to mean for you down the road is a ton of expenses and vet bills.
Examining Your Priorities
When it comes to purchasing a cat, it’s time to do a little soul-searching. Which breed is right for you, and why? Do you want a cat that is constantly by your side? Or perhaps you want a cat that is more independent? Consider things like coat length, color, and temperament. For some people, choosing a hypoallergenic cat is the right way to go.
Health and Happiness Are Key
You can purchase the most pristine purebred and still be left with an unhappy or unhealthy cat. A good way to tell how your kitten is going to end up is by looking at the parents. Their nature is going to tell you what your kitten’s nature will be like when they grow up.
Does the kitten look happy and healthy? Then you’re on the right track to finding a cat that is perfect for your home. Another thing that you can do is check the kitten’s ears, bottom, nose, and eyes. You can tell when a cat is healthy, and when it is not. Clear, vibrant eyes without crusting or discharge are key.
In terms of other healthy factors, be sure to look at the cat’s gums. A healthy pink color is what you want, as well as white teeth and no bad breath. The coat should be shiny and soft, without bald patches or fleas. There should not be a greasy feel to the coat, because if this is the case, they have not been well-groomed by their mother.
In terms of the kitten’s body size, they should be well-nourished and not scrawny. There’s a difference between scrawny and slender, so be sure to know what is common for the breed. They should have a nice round belly, but not pot-bellied.
In terms of the kitten’s personality, they should be naturally confident and outgoing. When it comes to energy levels, most kittens are either 100% energy or they’re sleeping. There’s very little variation. They should be comfortable around strangers, and curious about new people.
Any good breeder is going to be asking you a lot of questions, because they’ve raised the kitten since birth and care about what house it’s going to. They want to find the best possible family, and by asking questions, they’re making sure that that’s you! After all, a healthy cat can live for up to 20 years, so finding the right match is important.
Now that we’ve explored the general price of regular cats and purebreds, you probably have a lot to think over. Making sure that you find the right cat for you is tremendously important. It’s an investment of time, money, and love, and choosing the right cat can have a major impact on your life.
Take the time to find the right breed, the right breeder, and the kitten that is going to light up your life. If you have to spend a fortune to do all that, then so be it.
"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."
-- Terry Pratchett