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Do your kittens live in the house with you?
With the exception of mothers with young kittens, and one of our boys, all of our cats live live in the main part of the house with us. Our young kittens and their mothers are kept in a special 'kitten room' for the kittens' first few weeks. They are then moved downstairs and are kept in a cordoned-off area that allows them to meet the other cats but without actually playing with them. Once we feel they are ready (and after at least their first vaccination), they are allowed out to play with the adults.
Do your cats have outdoor access?
Some of our older cats have access to our walled garden, but the breeding queens and Annas have never been outside except in a cat carrier! Apollo lives in a run, because he sprays (as most studs do), but he does not go into the garden.
Are your cats and kittens vaccinated?
Yes, all of our adults are vaccinated annually for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleucopenia Virus and Feline Leukaemia. All of our kittens will receive these same vaccines at around 9 and 12 weeks, and will not leave for their new homes until a week after the second vaccination, at a minimum. This is to allow time for full immunity to kick in, and for us to treat the kittens for any vaccination complications before their new owners collect them.
Do you use flea and worming treatments on your cats and kittens?
We treat our adult cats with Milbemax (worming) tablets every 2-6 months depending on risk category. Kittens are wormed at six weeks, and then every fortnight until they leave us. Our adults are treated regularly with Frontline to ensure that no fleas are brought into the house. This removes the need for us to treat our kittens, although if we ever thought there was a problem, our kittens would all be provided with kitten flea collars until the problem had been overcome. We also treat all kittens with Frontline before they go to their new homes.
What do you feed your cats and kittens on?
The main diet of our adults is a variety of 'dry' cat foods, mixed according to their individual needs. They receive mostly Royal Canin, although we also like Hills, James Wellbeloved and ProPac, and they will sometimes receive Whiskas, Purina and Iams, among others. Jinny usually has a special mix, which includes 'senior' food containing nutrients intended to support her joints etc. Call usually also has a special mix of Royal Canin Maine Coon biscuits mixed 50/50 with our standard adult mix. We have a 'light' mix, comprising a couple of brands of 'light' food, mixed about 50/50 with the standard adult mix - Ali usually has this mix, and Annas, Jinny and Call have all needed to be given this for short periods when they were looking slightly heavy. For our standard adult mix we have various preferred food types, but will pick from these according to what is available at shows etc. The adult mix usually has at least two or three different types of food mixed together. This prevents any of the cats becoming fussy and deciding that they will only eat one type of food.
Added to their dry food, they receive occasional meals of tinned cat food or 'wet' food pouches.
Our kittens are fed a mixture of wet and dry kitten foods. Wet food is normally fed three to four times per day, and the dry food is provided 'free choice' so that they can eat whenever they feel hungry. If you are purchasing a kitten from us, we will give you around a week's worth of whatever food your kitten has been on before leaving us. This can then be mixed with the food that you plan to feed it on, so that it receives a gradual switch from one food to the other.
Are your kittens litter trained?
Our kittens receive litter training from their mothers, and when they move downstairs they will also watch our older cats and copy them. Cats naturally like to go to the toilet where there is something that they can bury their excretions with. This means that even a cat that has never been shown how to use a litter tray will generally use one without problem due to their natural instinct to use the only thing in which they can properly dig.
Our kittens are raised on 'World's Best' litter, which is a corn-based cat litter. On first inspection it appears very expensive, because it costs more per bag than normal litter. However, it clumps extremely well, which makes it easier to scoop out used areas and results in one tray lasting far longer than would be the case with other litters. It is also totally biodegradable, and can therefore be flushed down your toilet, which saves having litter bags to dispose of - we use this litter for all of our trays, and have only one toilet in the house, yet have never once had a problem with any plumbing blockages. It comes in two strengths, and the stronger variety is very good at stopping odours. The final advantage to using this variety of litter is that it is non-harmful to the kittens if they eat it - a common problem with clumping litters is that they can cause blockages in the kittens digestive systems, but World's Best is processed just as any other fibre-rich food would be.
As the kittens get older, we then also try them with standard white clay litter, and wood pellet litter, so that they are used to various types when they go to their new homes. This gives their new owners the maximum flexibility of choice for what they want to use.
What happens if you can't find homes for some of your kittens?
We will keep them as pets. It's as simple as that. We would not breed one of our girls unless we were prepared to keep every kitten in that litter if they turned out not to be able to sell for some reason.
If I am not looking for a kitten at the moment, can I still visit you?
Yes, absolutely. We are always happy to have visitors for a good 'cat chat', and some of our cats will be delighted to have someone prepared to pay them extra attention. Since we have various different breeds, our house offers a unique opportunity to 'test' various breed to see which one might be right for you. We would genuinely rather have people come to visit and decide that the breed of one of our neuters would suit them better, than have someone take one of our kittens and then find that they are not compatible with that breed.
Can I visit my kitten more than once?
Of course - we would like you and the kitten to get to know each other as well as possible before it goes home with you. That way we are absolutely certain that you will be right for each other, and the kitten should settle in very rapidly because it will already trust you to protect it. It is, in fact, our preference that if at all possible you should in fact visit your kitten at least twice before you take it home.
Will I be able to meet my kitten's parents?
We would prefer that you meet the parents whenever possible, because it will give you a better idea of how your kitten might turn out. You will always be able to visit your kitten's mother, and also any of our other queens who do not have a young litter when you come to visit your kitten. Whether you can meet the father will depend on whether or not he is one of our own boys. If he is one of our boys, you will certainly be able to meet him, but if he isn't then the best we can do is to provide you with a link to the judges' opinions on him from shows. We know that isn't as good as meeting him, but at least you would know that he is friendly enough to allow a judge to handle him, which is better than nothing!
Do you take a deposit?
At present we would only ask for a deposit from you if you want a particular kitten and someone else expresses an interest in that same kitten. Then the deposit is a way for us to check that you are genuinely interested, since it would be horrible to tell someone that they couldn't have the kitten they had fallen in love with, only to find that it would have been available after all. Some people prefer to pay a deposit, however, because they then feel that they have guaranteed that the kitten is theirs, and if you want to do this, we are happy to give you this peace of mind.
I live too far away to be able to visit the kittens, can I still have one?
We will not send a kitten to live with someone that we have never met. Our kittens are our 'babies', and we couldn't risk them going somewhere that they would be mis-treated. If you live a long distance away, we can provide accommodation for a couple of nights so that you can come up for a weekend, should you wish.
If you really can't get up to visit your kitten, we can deliver the kitten to your house for you (we have delivered as far afield as Rugby and Cardiff), but we absolutely will not 'mail' a kitten to you. In this case, we would require a deposit to be paid in advance, and if, when we meet, we are not entirely convinced that you will look after our baby well, then we will take him or her away again, and the deposit will be refunded, less any travelling expenses.
How do I pay for my kitten?
We prefer payments to be made by postal order, cash, direct bank transfer or Paypal payment (including Credit Cards) when you come to collect your kitten from us. If this is not possible, we will accept cheque, but would need to see ID with an address and the same name as is shown on the cheque, and would require a deposit of at least 25% to have cleared before before you come to collect the kitten.
Are show kittens more expensive than pet kittens?
Absolutely not - our show cats are all pets first and foremost, and we would expect yours to be the same. Whether a cat conforms more closely to the breed standard or not does not affect how much it should be loved and cared for as a pet. Also, although we can say that a kitten looks like it should be a good example, cats can (and do) change substantially as they grow up, and a kitten that looks excellent at 13 weeks can become mediocre as an adult. In an ideal world, we would like to see all of our kittens being shown, regardless of their 'quality' in show terms. We know from our own showing that it is still great fun showing a poorer example - you get to meet the same great people and be part of the show 'world', and a nice temperament will outweigh a lot of faults in a neuter! This is particularly true, now that there is the 'Pedigree Pet' section, which is judged purely on temperament on condition, meaning that the 'quality' in terms of type does not matter.
Can I choose my kitten's name?
You can certainly choose the 'pet name' that you want us to use with your kitten so that it gets used to being called that. If you are buying a pet kitten, we are happy for you to choose a name as long as you use something in Scottish Gaelic - obviously we will not allow our kittens to go with a name meaning anything offensive or inappropriate. If you don't know anything about Scottish Gaelic, and would prefer us to provide you with a few options, from which you can choose the final name, that would be no problem. If you are buying a kitten for breeding, we would be happy to put some reference to your prefix in the name, and would consider allowing you to choose the whole name (in any language you like!).
Can I show my kitten?
We would be delighted to see our babies being shown. All of our kittens will be registered with the GCCF and can be shown at GCCF shows. In the case of any Variants (e.g. self burmese pattern Asians or solid-colour Ocicats), these would have to be shown in the Pedigree Pet section, where cats work towards the Master Cat title, rather than Champion or Premier. This would also be the best place to show any cats with poorer show 'type'. The only thing we ask is that you keep us informed of your kitten's progress - we would love to hear how our babies are getting on. If you need any guidance or support in getting into showing, please get in touch and we will be delighted to help you, including lending you a 'show kit' for your first show.
Do you sell kittens for breeding?
We will certainly consider breeding enquiries for any girl of suitable 'quality' and parentage. We do not, at present, sell boys for breeding. However, even with a suitable girl, there is no guarantee, since we would have to be completely happy that you are getting involved for the right reasons (i.e. not just because you think you will make money from it), and that you fully understand all of the potential issues that could arise. We will also not guarantee the breeding ability of any kitten sold - they are sold with 'breeding potential' only. What to do in the event that the kitten is unable to breed for any reason is covered in the kitten agreement that you will sign on purchase.
Do you use a kitten sales agreement or contract?
Yes, we do. All new kitten owners will be required to sign a kitten agreement before taking their kitten away, and it is a legally binding contract. Any breach of the contract allows us to re-claim our kitten and seek damages against you, but the same is true in reverse - the agreement gives you better protection against any possible breaches on our part! A copy of the agreement will be sent to you before you come to collect your kitten, whenever possible, so that you have time to read the agreement in full. If you are buying a girl for breeding, the agreement also lays down what you can and cannot do in your breeding programme, and whether or not you can sell kittens from that girl, for breeding. If there is anything in the kitten agreement that you are unhappy with, we are happy to talk it over with you and amend it if appropriate - the main purpose of the agreement is to protect the future of the kitten, not to restrict what you do.
What age can I collect my kitten at?
Kittens will be available for collection at an absolute minimum of 13 weeks (as per GCCF guidelines) - assuming the kitten has its second vaccination at 12 weeks, re-homing at 13 weeks allows a week for any vaccination reaction to occur. Kittens that are going as pets will also be spayed or neutered before going to their new homes. In this case they should be ready to go with you at around 14 weeks of age. This allows the same week for recovery after the second vaccination, with the operation carried out at 13 weeks, and another week allowed for recovery following the operation. As with everything else, though, the kittens' health and well-being come first, so if we feel they are too small or unwell to have their vaccination at the usual time, for example, then their arrival with you would be delayed.
Can I choose my kitten when I first meet them?
Assuming that you are looking for a pet, it is more likely that your kitten will choose you! If you feel a particularly strong bond to a particular kitten when you meet them, then it is only in exceptional circumstances that we would even consider allowing that kitten to go elsewhere. Such exceptions may be if someone has been waiting for a breeding queen, and the kitten that you have fallen for is the only girl of suitable quality in the litter, or if someone has been waiting a very long time for a kitten of a particular colour and your chosen kitten is the only one of that colour. Even then, it is likely that we would ask the other party to wait a bit longer, since we want our kittens to have the best possible bond to their owners.
How will I know if a kitten is right for me?
As long as you choose a breed that fits with your lifestyle and the relationship that you want to have with your cat, then your kitten should be right for you. When you come to meet our cats and kittens, we will introduce you to the various adults so that you can double-check that you are getting what you expect, and you will then be encouraged to interact with all of the available kittens so that you get the one that is 'your' kitten.
Do I have to keep my kitten indoors?
We do not dictate that you must keep your kitten indoors, and in fact, we consider the ideal to be that the kitten has access to a secure outdoor area. However, we would ask you to think about the possible issues with letting the kitten out and ask yourself why you are doing so. If you are letting the kitten out only because you feel it is unfair not to allow it out, please remember that your kitten comes from generations of cats that had no outdoor access or only access in an enclosure, and that it is unlikely to feel any desire to get outside. If, however, you are letting the kitten out because you feel that your house is too small to fairly be able to keep the kitten indoors without additional stimulation, and you cannot provide this, then we would prefer that it is allowed out. The exception to this answer, is that if you live next to a busy road, or other particularly dangerous environment, you must not allow your kitten out, unless you have a secure enclosure for it to go into.
If I change my mind once I have taken my kitten, can I get a refund?
No, and your kitten agreement will state this. It is a traumatic experience for a kitten to move home, and we do not want to see a kitten go through this unnecessarily. Before you take a kitten on, you should think carefully about whether you can care for it throughout its life, and should be committed to doing so.
We obviously do not want to see one of our kittens stuck in a home where it is not wanted, however, so if you do change your mind, we will take the kitten back, look for a new owner, and then arrange for the new owner to pay you for the kitten. You must bear in mind that if the kitten is a few months old by the time this happens, it is likely that you will get less from the new owners than you paid for the kitten (people tend to pay less for older kittens).
What happens if I can't keep my kitten for some reason?
The agreement you sign states that if you need to part with your kitten for any reason, then you must return your kitten to us, unless we have approved a move to a new home (e.g. re-homing your kitten with a family member). This applies regardless of its age and condition. You do not have to tell us why you cannot keep your kitten - although we may ask, you are not obliged to answer! If you do not return your kitten to us, and we find out that this is the case, we are entitled to seek damages against you.
In the event that you have to return your kitten to us, we will look for a new home for him or her, and will offer you whatever re-homing fee we receive from the new owners.
Do you provide anything with my kitten?
Yes. Your kitten will come with a pack containing its registry paperwork (unless we have not received it back from the GCCF yet, in which case it will be sent on as soon as we do receive it), signed pedigree, a copy of your signed agreement, the kitten's vaccination card, the microchip details, a kitten care sheet, your free Petplan or Agria insurance cover note, any additional details relevant to your kitten's care, and contact details for some useful organisations (GCCF, cat clubs etc.). You will also receive a starter bag of the litter that your kitten is used to, at least a week's worth of the food that it has been on, a couple of toys and a blanket that will have been slept on by your kitten and its family so that it has something that smells of home. For a small additional charge, we can also provide a kitten scratching post, litter tray, cat carrier, two bowls, a comb and brush, some extra toys, food and litter, and another blanket. The same applies to the provision of a 'show kit'.