All Photo and Text Copyright Life with Ragdolls 2013~2015
Below is information gained from my personal experience working with Ragdoll breeders and other owners.
Some good questions to ask are:
1. How long have you been breeding Ragdolls for?
Ideally you are best off looking for someone with at least 2 years of experience, so they know what they are doing, but I myself, am a new breeder, but I have owned Ragdolls for almost 12 years now, so I wouldn't put off buying from a new breeder (with the exception that I was buying a pet quality kitten) from someone that previously had Ragdolls for years like I did.
2. Why did you choose Ragdolls to breed?
I, personally chose Ragdolls to breed because simple enough I love the breed, two and I want to improve it, plus I've always had a fairly big desire to show, but not all breeders are like this, sadly some poor breeding cats are chosen for profit and to make a quick buck off of, these are kitten mills or backyard breeders (there is a difference). Stay away from these people!
3. Do you show? Why or why not?
Personal preference, but I truly care about the Ragdoll breed as a whole and I do care if the breeder shows, especially if I am buying a show or breeder quality kitten. If I was buying a pet quality kitten, then I couldn't really care much, but you're also wanting a cat that is (and looks) like a Ragdoll. But remember, just because a breeder doesn't show that doesn't necessarily mean that the breeder is a bad breeder and just because a breeder does show that doesn't mean that they are a good breeder, please choose wisely. If you're looking for (and buying) a show or breeder quality kitten, then you definitely want some show winning cats in your kitten's pedigree!
4. What congenital defects are found in Ragdolls?
A breeder of any animal not just related to Ragdolls, should be knowledgeable about their specific animal as a whole and know how to avoid the problems that their type (or breed) of animal typically can have. Example given; I will NEVER buy from any Ragdoll breeder ever, ever, again that doesn't test for HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), this is a very deadly heart disease commonly found in Ragdoll cats (this is what killed Nico and Renato). There was a test for HCM that came out specifically for Ragdolls in 2005. Run, don't walk, if any breeder does not test for HCM and is unwilling to show you proof of the test results given.
5. How are you breeding to avoid those defects?
See above and read question number 4. Example given; only breeding HCM n\n cats instead of p\n or even worse, p\p cats. 'P' stands for positive\positive (this means that the cat is carrying two genes for HCM from both of it's parents), 'N' stands for negative\negative (this means that the cat does not carry any HCM gene from either of it's parents), or the cat could be positive\negative (this means that the cat is carrying one positive gene from one of it's parents and one negative gene from the other parent). As a general rule of thumb, only buy kittens from breeders with negative\negative cats!
6. How large is your breeding operation?
Ideally, the breeder should have no more animals than she\he can emotionally, physically, and financially take care of. If the breeder has, say 13 female breeders, and 2 male breeders, that's 15 litter boxes. To me, that is way too many cats, breeders or pets. I myself, would never have more than 4 pet cats (I prefer just 2 though) and never more than 8 breeder cats. I currently have 4 cats, 3 pets and 1 breeder, but I can emotionally, physically, and financially care for all of them, to me I do not have a lot of animals, plus I now have 2 pet ferrets and I am getting female breeder Ragdolls and a fish tank. Some people think that is way too many animals to care for, to me it is just right. I prefer small scale Ragdoll breeders with no more than 1 male and 4 females, the less animals you have typically means that they will be more healthy and with less animals means that the breeder can devote more time into their breeders and kitten litters.
7. Where do your cats spend most of their time at?
This will usually tell you how much socializing your kitten received (if any) from your breeder. Are the cats and kittens raised around children? Other pets? If so, what kind? Ages?
8. Do you breed full time? In other words, do you have another job?
I personally have two jobs; one out on the beach, and one working with my Ragdoll cats. I prefer breeders that have two jobs. If they are solely relying on their breeder cats to make them money, you gotta think about why they are actually breeding Ragdolls and for the real reasons? I'll bet that they are trying to make a profit off of the animals and make a living out of it, this is not healthy for them or their animals. This is a bad breeder and someone you do not want to buy from.
9. What types of health guarantees do you offer?
The breeder should offer at the very minimal of a 1 year health guarantee (I actually believe it is illegal to sell anyone a puppy or kitten in Florida without at least a 1 year health guarantee) I purchased Zayd in Florida and his breeder gave me a 5 year health guarantee. Some breeders will refund your money (or at least half of it) if the kitten is to die of a genetic defect when the kitten is still covered in the breeder's health guarantee, other breeders will offer another kitten if the original kitten died (with the proof of a necropsy report, most breeders require this). However, no matter how good the breeder is, no one can offer a 100% health guarantee on any living thing and make it happen.
10. What happens if the kitten gets sick?
See above. This should be included in the breeder's health guarantee (regardless of how long it is). Also, the kitten should have saw a vet at least once before coming to you (this is not your fault if the kitten didn't, it's the breeder's).
11. Do you have any fun adoption stories to share with me?
A good breeder should be more than happy to show off some happy tales (and tails) from their past buyers. Note: you maybe buying from a new breeder and you could very well be their first ever customer, a good breeder should tell you this.
12. What makes this kitten 'pet' or 'show' quality?
This isn't terribly important, (unless it is important to you), it is important to me though which is why I am including it in my list of questions to ask. At the very bare minimal, the kitten or cat should have a soft, non-matting coat, with blue eyes and a pointed coat, but this doesn't necessarily mean that the cat or kitten is a full registered and purebred Ragdoll. Ask to see pedigrees for proof! Pet quality means that the kitten cannot be shown due to a major incorrect marking, example given; a Mitted without a white chin, a Colorpoint with white anywhere on the body, or a Bicolor with white on the tail or a Bicolor with coloring inside the inverted 'v' of white in between the mask. A show quality kitten or cat means that the cat is eligible for showing in one of the major cat associations around the world (such as TICA, CFA, ACFA, etc), the cat has perfect or near perfect markings, a great build, size, etc. Anya, Nico, and Zayd are\were show quality, Tadpole and Renato were pet quality.
More questions answered Thursday!
Ps: Happy Birthday to my father today!