I think that is a valid question. After all, so much is done on line these days. RagaMuffin kittens may be placed on the other side of the country or even on another continent. Most breeders, including myself, do not welcome cattery visits. In my case, my cattery is my home. Inviting strangers that may or may not be seriously looking for a kitten can be a biohazard for household cats and even more dangerous, a safety concern for me.
I have previously blogged about scam breeder web sites. I also blogged about recommended health clearances that should be performed on breeding cats. But, the Facebook post made me think more about how a RagaMuffin kitten buyer may discern quality and responsibility in a breeder.
Several years ago, I found out about the Cat Fanciers’ Association Cattery of Excellence certificate. For a cattery to achieve this, an annual inspection by a licensed veterinarian is required. While I am a veterinarian, CFA does NOT allow me to inspect my own RagaMuffin cattery. Every year, CFA mails me a form that needs to be filled out and signed by a veterinarian after a home visit.
To achieve status of a Cattery of Excellence, several areas must pass inspection with a good score. The first one is the overall facility. The physical layout of the cattery must be described on the form. Since the cattery is my home, the living areas of the breeding cats, litters, and non breeding cats must be clarified. In my case, the breeding females occupy approximately 66% of the house. The litters are generally confined in a bedroom when young. The rescues, retirees and breeding males have 34 % of the house plus a large fenced in cat proof outdoor yard. I call the door between the two areas the “birth control” door.
Lighting, ventilation, cat safety, heating and cooling are evaluated. Caged facilities must have a minimum requirement of room for each cat. While I do have two large walk in cages for times when confinement is needed such as after surgery, I rarely confine a kitty in one. Most of the time, a RagaMuffin will simply take advantage of the open door and jump on a shelf for a nap.
Feeding and water is another area evaluated. Cats must be fed fresh food on a regular schedule and have a continuous supply of clean water. Bowls should be kept clean and not have old or moldy food supplied. At iCandy, RagaMuffin cats have quality dry food available at all times and are fed canned food twice daily. Canned food plates are washed after use.
Cleanliness and sanitation is taken seriously on the form. Accessible, clean litter pans should be available at all times. Litter should be managed in order to remain refreshed and clean. In my case, I use clumpable litter and scoop twice daily.
Health care is also assessed, including vaccinations, overall appearance, including weight and grooming of cats, parasite control and prompt medical care for sick cats. As a veterinarian, this is easy for me. I do keep records on each cat in a notebook for reference. I even have a schedule for nail clips and comb outs.
Last but not least, socialization of the cats is important. It can be difficult with a house full of cats to ensure everyone gets attention. It’s part of the job of being a breeder.
Having my cattery evaluated every year is one way I can ensure kitten buyers KNOW that the kittens are raised in a clean, healthy environment. I am proud to say, iCandy RagaMuffins has been a Cattery of Excellence since 2016.