Wednesday 3 August 2011

Tips on Buying a British Shorthair

Female Blue tabby British Shorthair Kitten
Photo by e³°°° (Flickr)

What should you do when considering buying a British Shorthair. Well, I think you have got to try and find the best breeder in your area or you might get lucky and find a purebred Brit SH that needs rescuing. This can happen but unusually because the documentary evidence that the cat is a purebred is probably not available to the rescue center.

It is said that you pretty well have to visit the cattery. This is to check out facilities, ask direct one-to-one questions and to let the cat chose you! One failing I feel of the cat associations is that they take no responsibility to rank their affiliated breeders or to ensure that they meet certain standards so it is hard to know who the good and bad breeders are.

Breeders are usually small businesses (hobby business) and they socialise their kittens by letting them run around their home interacting with other kittens, other animals and people including visitors.

There should not be so many kittens swarming around as to give you a feeling that the breeder is unable to give adequate attention to each individual. Kittens should be seen in the house not in sheds where they are not being socialised.

The kittens should not be fearful of the presence of visitors. Is the house clean and hygienic? Do the kittens look healthy? It can be hard to tell sometimes as some illnesses, even fatal ones, can show few obvious symptoms on first impressions and it is more difficult to be objective and observant when visiting a strangers house to select a cat companion that you are keen to adopt.

Rough indicators of kittens that are not in the best of health are:
  • runny noses
  • fleas in the coat (black salt and pepper grains in the coat - why not take a flea comb and test!)
  • dirty ears
  • traces of diarrhea (check the litter boxes and are they full of feces and urine?)
  • over-round stomachs
  • bare patches on fur.
Esther Verhoef gives the good advice that if there are signs of illness in the cats you should not visit another cattery in the same day to avoid spreading disease.

I would not accept any excuse from the breeder on the subject of apparent ill health in kittens.

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