So how can you tell whether you’re dealing with a reputable Savannah cat breeder? Finding one that is registered with TICA is probably a good starting point. But in narrowing down your leads, here are a few tips and advice to guide you as you look for the right breeder:
- The breeder will be competent enough to talk about the litter’s history and pedigree. Each kitten should come with its own registration form, and the breeder should be willing enough to discuss with you the kitten’s history, the stud and the queen that produced this litter, how many litters the queen and/or the stud has produced, what generation the kittens are, and how you should go about registering your own kitten with TICA.
- Some familiarity with the stud and the queen should also be in order – what you are looking for is a good background on the parents, their health history, breeding history, and even their unique temperaments. During this exchange, you should be able to tell whether the breeder genuinely cares about his Savannah cats, and how much care was taken in the selection of the parents, and how the breeding, pregnancy, queening, and the weaning process went. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you have – a good breeder will be more than willing to answer them for you.
- While no breeder will be able to give you a 100% health guarantee on your kitten – a breeder telling you that your cat is 100% healthy should already be a warning sign – the basic health checks should already have been done. Be prepared to discuss vaccinations, deworming, and even spaying or neutering. A good breeder will be very interested in the welfare of your kitten, and should also encourage you to call whenever you have any questions or concerns.
- Be prepared to answer questions propounded to you, too. A responsible breeder wants their kittens to end up with a good home – and because Savannahs are pretty unique in the kinds of homes and owners they would be good with – the breeder might be asking you questions about your lifestyle, how many other pets you have, the type of house you live in and what accommodations the kitten will be living in, etc. Given the recent spate of Savannah cats being surrendered to shelters, responsible breeders have been screening more rigorously as to which owners can and should be allowed to own Savannah cats. Don’t be offended by this – just as you’re making sure that he’s legit, he’s doing the same with you, too.
- It’s probably a safe bet not to consider purchasing a Savannah cat from a breeder that breeds more than 2 other cats. Savannah cats take a lot of energy, time and attention. If your breeder’s cattery produces more than a few purebreed cats, it probably isn’t a sign that he knows what he’s doing – but rather a sign that he may be spreading himself a little too thin, and not able to give each litter of kitten the kind of care and attention that they deserve and need.
- A reputable Savannah breeder will not sugarcoat the merits of the breed and gloss over their less-than-fine points. Each cat has its merits and demerits, its good points and bad. It all comes with the package. Being able to take proper care of a Savannah cat means knowing precisely what it means to care for one – and a good breeder will expect you to have done your own research, too.
- A reputable breeder will be quite willing to show you the premises of his cattery, or to take you on a tour of their facilities. Look around. Is it clean, do the animals look well-taken care of, are they properly socialized and naturally curious and friendly about you? Do the cats have a natural outdoor enclosure in which they can exercise? Cats that are easily spooked and seem unaccepting of strangers might be a warning sign that the kittens are being raised without any proper socialization.
- And finally, a reputable breeder should be willing to take back your kitten if you should ever find yourself unable to take care of it. This is really after the fact, of course, and one that you’ll probably never have to recourse to if you yourself are willing to put in the full responsibility and commitment of Savannah cat ownership.