How much are your kittens?
My kitten prices are average for the breeds I work with, and currently I charge £400 for all breeds. These prices include full vaccination (for flu, enteritis, and leukaemia),microchipping, neutering, and registration with GCCF and in some cases TICA also (or instead of). I also provide 4 weeks Petplan insurance cover with every kitten, plus free food samples, toys, a cuddly blanket, advice sheets, microchip registration with PetLog and of course a full pedigree, registration papers and vaccination certificate. These prices are for pet/show neuter kittens; for a potential breeding queen it’s £50 more. I’d advise caution if you are offered kittens of these breeds for significantly lower prices.
Why are your kittens so expensive?
You need to take into account the expenditure that responsible cat breeders incur when rearing a litter of kittens. If they don’t own the sire of the litter, there is the expense of travelling to stud, plus the mating fee (which can be £200 or more). Then you have the cost of extra food for the pregnant queen, and if the litter is born in winter, extra heating costs. If there are birth complications and a caesarean section is needed, this can cost up to £1000. Once the kittens are weaned, they need large quantities of high quality (expensive) food to ensure optimum health and growth, not to mention vast quantities of cat litter. Then we have the cost of vaccinations – I pay around £50 per kitten per vaccine course), microchipping (luckily I do this myself, but still have to buy the chips and of course I also had the initial considerable expense of the implant gun and scanner) and neutering (currently I pay £45 for females and £35 for males – many vets charge double those prices, or even more!) Now consider that a pedigree puppy is usually sold at less than 12 weeks of age, has only had one (or even no) vaccinations, has not used cat litter, and has not usually been neutered – and is not toilet trained when you bring him home! Yet pedigree puppies are often far more expensive than kittens, and most people expect this to be the case. Perhaps now you can see that kitten prices are very reasonable……
Why can’t I take my kitten home until she’s 16 weeks old?
Kittens are “traditionally” homed at 8 weeks of age or thereabouts, because this is the time when most puppies are homed. We need to remember that cats are not dogs; they have completely different needs and kittens should most certainly remain with their mothers until at least 12 weeks of age to ensure good socialisation and development of immunity. A kitten should receive a full course of vaccinations prior to homing, and the first of these is not normally given before 8 weeks of age at the earliest, with the final injection ideally needing to be given at around 16 weeks, to ensure the best possible immunity to panleukopenia, a killer disease also known as feline enteritis or parvovirus. Up till 16 weeks, maternal antibodies can interfere with the efficacy of vaccination. Additionally, GCCF strongly recommend all breeders registering with them not to sell their kittens under 13 weeks of age. Many responsible breeders, myself included, are now choosing to have their kittens neutered (if not intended for breeding) prior to letting them go to new homes, so that the new owner does not have to worry about arranging a suitable date for it to be done. At present this is still a fairly new practice in the UK, despite having been commonplace in other countries for more than 20 years. The earliest most UK vets will neuter a kitten is at around 13-14 weeks, which fits in well between the 2 vaccinations. Therefore, allowing for vaccination and neutering, my kittens are homed at approximately 16 weeks. This might be slightly younger for males, as the neutering is less invasive and stitches are not necessary. Please read Barb French’s excellent article on why responsible breeders do not sell kittens under 12 weeks of age.
Surely neutering at such a young age is cruel and can cause long term adverse effects?
I’m glad to say that this is nothing more than an old wives’ tale. Early age neutering has been practiced in countries such as the US, Australia and New Zealand for well over 20 years, and long term follow up studies have shown absolutely no adverse effects. In fact in other countries, kittens are often neutered at 10 weeks or less. It’s actually less stressful on a kitten to go to the vet with its litter mates, and come home again to mum and a familiar environment, and from my own experience, they do recover faster at this age than a slightly older kitten. My kittens come home, tumble out of their carrier and head straight for the food bowls as if nothing had happened! Early neutering is by far the best practice, and is something that more and more breeders will be doing over the next few years. The Feline Advisory Bureau, in conjunction with The Cat Group (UK based) has an excellent article or you can simply search the web on “cats early neutering” to find pages of references, all of which confirm that there are no adverse effects.
Do cat fancy associations such as GCCF approve of early neutering?
Yes they do – GCCF has a page on its website emphasising the benefits.