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Take It From a Vet: Don’t Buy a Purebred Cat

At the clinic, people have a lot of excuses when they say they “need” a purebred.

Persians make for a striking picture, but does anyone really need to buy a purebred cat? By: bfra07

Why would anybody buy a purebred kitten?

Bring on the hateful comments from cat breeders and Persian and Bengal lovers and the like. But I ask them: Have they ever been asked to euthanize healthy kittens and cats because there are more felines than homes?

Both as a veterinarian and animal-loving person, I am firmly on the rescue side, not the breeding side. This goes for dogs and other critters as well.


This is the stuff I hear when folks tell me they just had to buy a purebred kitten:

  • Excuse: I had a Persian cat when I was a little kid. I need another one.
  • Answer: You are not a little kid anymore. Grow up. Give a great cat or kitten a home that needs a home — your home. But if you just want a trophy cat, I don’t know what kind of a cat lover you are.
  • Excuse: I searched all over and could not find a kitten, so I had to buy a Himalayan.
  • Answer: Searched far and wide, and no kittens anywhere? Nope. No kittens anywhere. Nope. All kittens gone from the planet. Hmm…
  • Excuse: I want to know what I’m getting, so I want a purebred from a professional breeder.
  • Answer: Yeah, good luck with that. It’s a minefield of all kinds of cat breeders out there, so buyer beware. Find a reputable breeder if you must have a purebred.

Side note: If you have a “funny” feeling that all is not cool in Crazy Cat Lady Land, where the urine stench is overwhelming and you would not even take a drink of water in that house, think before you buy.

Some of my clients have paid a lot of money for a sickly kitten just because they felt bad for the little puffball. They are “rescuing,” in a sense. I can understand this. Just know that the hundreds of dollars you put down for your skinny, sneezing, drippy-eyed purebred kitten is your down payment — veterinary bills will follow.

Cats without pedigrees can be just as beautiful, entertaining and loving as their purebred counterparts. By: maria-isabel

There Are Great Breeders

Now that all you cat breeders and purebred caretakers are mad as cats out of hell at me, let me say some positive things about great cat breeders and beautiful cats.

I have worked with some excellent breeders. One fabulous breeder of Maine coon cats worked relentlessly and spent a lot of her own money to improve the breed, never inbred and did anything she could to help with research on feline diseases and congenital defects. Furry hats off to these dedicated cat lovers.

The breed rescue folks are also dedicated people. I do pro bono work for a local Siamese rescue group. These women devote their own time to finding surrendered Siamese cats great homes and doing absolutely everything medically the cats need. Consider adopting your next cat through a breed rescue group.

Centuries of Feline Beauty and Exotica

Purebred cats, in almost all instances, are incredibly striking. Gazing into the piercing blue eyes of a Siamese or observing the posture and sculpted body of an Abyssinian transports one to ancient lands of pharaohs and pyramids.

Ancient cat statues at the Metropolitan Museum are breathtaking. I marvel at the fact that humans have helped to keep these breeds alive for thousands of years. But I wish we could keep all cat (and dog) breeding to a minimum — in other words, not breed for profit, not breed animals with congenital defects (more prevalent in purebreds), and not support bad breeders and pet stores.

Consider these excellent tips before adopting a cat:

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Give Adoption a Chance

People must think twice before buying a kitten. Giving a kitten or cat in need a place in their heart and their home is a wonderful thing.

As much as I see the beauty in a purebred cat, please never tell me they are more beautiful than our 1-eyed Seymore; our 20-pound longhaired Magua; or our tiny, longhaired, blue-eyed white Florent, who lived for 17 years despite a severe congenital defect called the Tetralogy of Fallot.

Last week, animal control brought in an 8-month-old cat with multiple wounds, not yet neutered, fleas, parasites and ear mites. My technician took him home. She says he is, of course, the best cat in the world. Rescue this soft, gray kitty with white feet rather than go out and buy a Bengal kitten for $800 to $1,600? I’m in that camp.


I hope everyone thinks to adopt or rescue before purchasing. But if you must purchase, please do it as responsibly as possible.


This pet health content was written by a veterinarian, Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD. It was reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, and was last updated Oct. 13, 2018.