Purebred or Rescue?

Hidden Paw Cat Club

An American Cat Fanciers Association Cat Club


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Purebred or Rescue?
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How do you decide between getting a purebred or a rescued cat or kitten?

All cats can bring you joy and love and a little mischief.  How do you decide between a purebred or rescued cat? Adopting a rescued cat will save a life.  Many people tell me the most loyal and bonded cat to them is a cat they rescued when it was an adult.  Some people love particular look or behavior trait.  Deciding what is important to you will guide you in deciding how to acquire your feline family member. 

When you want a particular look, temperament or other qualities that are found in a certain breed you want a purebred cat.  The next decision is a kitten or cat.  Breeders sometimes have retired breeding cats they will place for much less then the cost of a kitten. They almost always come already altered.  Many will have won titles which indicate they are good representatives of the breed.  The disadvantage of an adult is the color you want may not be available. A kitten offers the option, like a new house, of getting just what you want if you are willing to wait. Also, many people love watching the kitten grow. We suggest attending cat shows and talking to breeders and looking at their cats. Become familiar with the ‘Breed Standard’. It details how the cat should look to be a good representative of the breed.  Also, look at the pictures in the advertisements in cat magazines to get an idea of the proper look of the breed. Breeders will put pictures of their best cats in the advertisements. To find cat shows near you check the show page in Cat Fancy magazine. The classes of purebred cats you’ll be interested in are ‘Pet Quality’ and ‘Show Quality’.  If you think you may want to show you new cat against other purebred cats you should tell the breeder and look at show quality cats and kittens.  Ask the breeder what makes the cat a pet vs. show quality cat.  With purebred cats the difference between pet and show can be very small. Such things as the ears are too big or small. The tail is too short. They are qualities that will make a difference in the show ring, but not as a loving companion.  If you are looking for a show quality kitten the breeder may show you some older kittens. That is because it is easier to judge that the cat will be a real show quality cat when it is a little older. You should expect to pay $500 or more for a pet quality purebred kitten and half again to double that for a show quality kitten.  Some breeds are more popular and thus more expensive then others. Purebred cats can sometimes be found in shelters and rescue groups. However, you may not want to wait for one, or travel to a far away shelter.  Some breeds like Bengals, Maine Coons and Persians have rescue groups that specialize in that breed. A rescued cat seldom comes with registration papers. Be very cautious of a rescue cat advertised as a specific breed unless it is in a breed specific rescue group. While the cat may not have papers, the group can usually tell if a cat truly is a specific breed. Many large long haired cats are marked as Maine Coons in many rescue groups, but few truly are.

If you want a sweet companion a rescued cat should be your first choice. Shelters and rescue groups have a rainbow of colors, patterns and coat length.  An initial advantage to a rescued cat is they are much less expensive.  Reputable shelters and rescue groups will provide you with a medical history of what has been done to the cat while in their care.  It should be spayed or neutered, tested and negative for FIV and FeLV, current on vaccines for its age and treated for fleas and worms. If the cat was surrendered to them they may have past history.  Groups that use the foster home model can usually give a good assessment of the cat’s personality and how it gets along with other animals.  Depending on the foster home the cat may have also been exposed to children and dogs.   

Whether you chose purebred or rescue can have the fun of showing off your cat. ACFA has a long and proud history of encouraging the showing of non purebred cats. We call them House Hold Pets (HHP).  These are the beloved companions of their owners.  Many are every bit as beautiful as any purebred cat.  ACFA awards national titles to them, just like the purebred cats. It isn’t uncommon to see a purebred cat and their rescued buddy sharing a cage at the show. The awards for the HHP means just as much as the award for the purebred cat to their owner. Whatever your choice please spay/neuter and love them.

 For more information on buying from a breeder please see out Buying From a Breeder page