|Posted on January 9, 2022 at 5:50 PM|
Tips on Selecting your Breeder: Quality & Value versus Price & Time
Before continuing your cattery search, you may want to take a moment to think about what you are offering to a kitten and her Breeder so that when you reach out, the Breeder will have a good sense of you and the home you will provide for their Siberian kitten. This is especially important today when most breeders have 1 to 2 year waits for kittens, or have closed their reservations and wait lists entirely.
As you explore various breeders, it can be very useful to have already identified your own 3 top priorities so you can rule in or out various breeders who will be compatible with your bottom line needs.
We hope this blog post on assessing options will provide a helpful scaffolding for you as you consider your needs.
Generally speaking, established, reputable breeders in the USA have a wait of 12-24 months for a kitten. If you are looking for a kitten “right away,” or just want to learn more about your options when looking for your Siberian kitten, read on to learn the characteristics of a cattery who can meet your needs.
The average cost for a Siberian kitten from a reputable breeder is 2500 to 4500. Breeders who test their kittens for Fel d 1 levels typically charge 3500 to 5500+.
The better quality the breeder, the more is offered, such as desexing, microchipping, nutrition, care (not caged, Siberians are handled frequently), desexing (spay or neuter), and very importantly, a complete and lengthy health guarantee. At a minimum, FIP, HCM, and PKD are covered for 3 to 5 years. The benefits a breeder offers you are typically reflected in the kitten purchase cost.
Remember, breeders who choose to “pass on” costs such as for microchipping & registering the microchip (75-100), or desexing (450-750+), are able to charge less for their kittens. In the case of desexing, they are also passing on the surgery risk for your kitten from them to you. If your kitten dies in surgery, that is a complete loss for you.
Qualities of a reputable breeder:
Your kitten has a robust genetic health warranty that includes all feline genetic diseases and FIP. If there is an issue, this means you receive a kitten. The warranty is not an increasing cost structure where year by year you are paying more of the kitten’s replacement cost.
Your kitten is raised in a healthy home environment with hardwood, tile, or a water impervious (not concrete), flooring. Kittens and cats are not treated like livestock. They are not caged, are not living in sheds, barns, garages, or basements, and are not locked up and isolated in remote areas of the home.
Kittens have had the advantage of being raised with dogs or being exposed to children, or other experiences that correlate with your own home environment. At the least, your Breeder has experience and is willing to support you in ensuring th is transition is effective.
Support to kitten buyers is based on years of experience breeding and placing kittens, plus a research based knowledge of the Siberian breed. One would hope to see a Breeder committed to ongoing learning, seminar participation, and ideally mentoring and support of other Siberian cat breeders.
Your kitten is lovingly handled and played with multiple times daily from birth.
Your kitten is not forcibly weaned, instead your kitten experiences a natural transition to raw or at least a quality canned food.
Your kitten is not separated early from a caged mom in order to be socialised before placement, kittens grow up naturally together with their mothers as pets in the Breeder’s home.
Your kitten is available to come home to you between 12 and 16 weeks, most typically between 13 and 15 weeks to allow proper, natural socialisation and maturation.
Your kitten is already desexed (spayed or neutered), and has recovered from surgery before homegoing.
Your kitten has been microchipped with the kitten's microchip registered to you for the lifetime of your Siberian, there are no annual fees, nor other fees if you need to update your information.
Your kitten is protected: treated preventatively to protect against coccidia, giardia, fleas, mites, heartworm, most intestinal parasites, and has been vaccinated twice for "distemper" viruses.
If a show type appearance (conformation), is important to you, ensure that your breeder is showing her Siberians successfully.
The long lived Siberian cat has a life expectancy of 11 to 13+ years. Even 15-17 years is not unusual for a Siberian cat. You will want those years to be happy, healthy years for you and your pet, with a comfortable relationship with your breeder should you choose to draw on it.
If you prefer to look for your kitten by price or speed of purchase, be aware that when you see a buy now option; photos and kitten prices listed to select from; kittens always available; or kittens for sale on Instagram or Facebook, generally these are large scale / commercial breeders.
Did you know that neither Instagram nor Facebook allows pets sales? In our opinion, a breeder having a quality website is a big plus.
There is nothing wrong per se in buying from large scale breeders, or breeders who meet fewer indicators of a top notch breeder. Simply remember to expect less support post purchase, less information on care and preparation, and a kitten who may have been raised isolated in an out-building, basement, garage, or kennel runs, or if raised inside the home has been penned or caged, with less human interaction, and generally little to no health guarantee.
We want to be clear that not every breeder with kittens available "right now," or at a low cost are scammers or kitten mills. They may be new, not effective at kitten placement, or have some other issue that is not a reflection on their Siberians.
Lower Cost / Lower Quality Breeders tend to have many or all of the following 12 characteristics.
Check carefully for the below characteristics to avoid as you explore each breeder's website, Instagram, or Facebook page.
1. Cattery is large scale.
2. Cattery continually has kittens available right now on Facebook, Instagram, Craigs List (huge no-no), or even on the website, especially if kittens are posted with a “buy now" option, no interview, or a minimal application form.
3. Cattery does not desex (spay / neuter), kittens or cats prior to your Siberian joining you, or if the desexing was done, it has not had time to safely heal (ideally 2 weeks for a kitten or male adult, longer for an adult female).
4. Kittens are not microchipped, or if microchipped, the chip is not registered to you, and you must pay to register chip.
5. Kittens are not vaccinated twice for distemper, nor treated preventatively to protect against multiple parasites with Revolution or Bravecto plus, Tozturzil, and Fenbedazole.
6. Cattery offers no health warranty, or a very brief health warranty, or a health warranty requiring an immediate visit to your vet, or a health warranty that does not include the most common genetic diseases and FIP.
7. Cattery may be located in the south, midwest, or southwest. The costs for Vet care and food are much lower in those areas and there are more large scale breeders. Lower Vet and other costs may be associated with a lower purchase cost to you.
8. The Cattery is importing entire litters from Russia or China to resell in USA. These kittens are typically only 8-11 weeks old (too young to leave Mama cat). This is occuring frequently currently. Be aware.
9. Sends kittens home prior to 12 weeks. Ideally kittens go home 12 to 16 weeks, with 13 to 14 weeks the sweet spot.
10. Kittens are available to be shipped cargo.
11. Cattery is a farm: either just large size and / or is registered with the department of agriculture as a commercial scale breeder.
12. Your questions are brushed off, or you receive no response at all. Conversely, an overly rapid, often pushy response may be the sign of a breeder who values sales over compatibility of fit.
The more of the above list a Cattery meets, generally the lower the kitten price, and the more challenges your purchase may bring for you.
Siberians typically range from 1,200 or so for kittens in large scale catteries who offer weak or no health guarantees and kittens who are not desexed or microchipped, to over 5,500 for kittens from breeders who desex, microchip, and test Fel d 1 levels in their kittens. Health warranties raise kitten costs.
Any Siberian kitten price below 1800 should raise your eyebrows. This may indicate a scam situation, or sick / uncared for / mass produced kittens. Be SURE to ask the breeder why her kittens are so inexpensive. This is a serious red flag.
To conduct a wider search for Siberian breeders, check out the https://www.siberiancatbreeder.info/apps/links/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Links page on our website. Listings there are a resource for you, not a recommendation, so please use due diligence.
We hope this information helps you consider your options and make the choice that is right for you.