Celia Haddon - Cat Expert

Understanding animals through their behaviour



Start with the International cat care website (www.icatcare.org) and look up which breeds have which hereditary diseases or faults. Note these down. This is much more important than any pedigree.
Find a good breed society. There will be lists of kittens or breeders online. Breed societies have a code of conduct for breeders which is kept by good breeders.

  • Never buy online without visiting first. Never buy off the back of a van. Never buy somebody who offers to deliver (so you can’t see the conditions of the home.) Never buy if you don’t see the kitten with its mother.
  • Never buy from anybody who says: “We always have kittens available.” That is a kitten mill.
  • Is the mother cat and kittens kept in the house or in a pen? You want a kitten that is brought up in the house. If there are lots of cat pens in the garden drive away.
  • How do you socialise your kittens?  Avoid the breeder who doesn’t know what this means or gives a vague answer.
  • Can I come and visit before the kittens are ready? Check it out before committing yourself.
  • Are your kittens vaccinated? Good breeders vaccinate their kittens before selling them. Run a mile from breeders that don’t believe in vaccination.
  • Discuss any or all breed disorders (look at icatcare.org for these) with the breeder. For instance, ask if she has a certificate showing the mother is free from PKD (polycystic kidney disease) if the breed has this problem.  If not, do not buy. Your cat is likely to die young if it carries the PKD gene
  • Vet and vet nurse’s recommendation will be helpful but can only be completely reliable if they have seen the home conditions. (Untrained veterinary staff, such as receptionists, may not be reliable.) You must investigate further.


  • If there are too many adult cats in the house, do not buy. More than about 10 adult cats means this is a breeder for profit or an incipient cat hoarder. Kittens in these homes are more likely to come with diseases.
  • Runny eyes (particularly important for breeds with snub faces) or with snuffles in any of the kittens or household cats are a very bad sign. Do not buy.
  • Does the kitten approach you? Can it be handled? If it cowers away, it hasn’t been properly socialised.
  • Remember…You must see the mother with her kittens, not just the kitten or kittens. Sometimes bad breeders keep cats in a barn and just bring out the kittens. Run a mile if you are just shown the kittens. This is a kitten mill.


These notes are my copyright. I am also usually happy to have the exact words reproduced on websites, in return for a link, my name, and if permission is asked beforehand. I like to check the websites where it might be used. Email me via this website for permission which will usually be given. Organisations wishing to use them in print should contact me via this website. Copyright © 2007 Celia Haddon. All Rights Reserved.

Safety notice.

All normal safety precautions should be taken when dealing with animals. The advice in this section should be taken only at the owner’s own risk. All sick animals should be seen by a vet.

General advice of the kind found in this website is no substitute for an individual consultation with a vet or qualified behaviourist working on a vet’s referral.

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