Monday, March 1, 2010

What You Need to Know Finding the Right Pet

I have just spent quite a while discussing with a client online about getting herself a new cat. Her old one
had to be euthanized a few months ago and it's time for her to move onto to loving a new one. Her experience has been typical. She wants to adopt a young female, not necessarily a kitten, but young. She has all the financial and emotional resources to take excellent care of a cat. She plans to keep her inside (less likelihood of trauma, parasites, getting lost or stolen). She will give it the best veterinary care available including spaying (neutering). She is young enough (early 50's) that she won't have to establish this cat in her will. She is a piano teacher and works at home in a lovely neighborhood. This cat will be classically trained!
Well, no shelter will allow this nice lady to adopt. They want to do a home visit, but they don't have enough
staff to do one any time soon. I wrote the lady a letter of support, that I knew her well, have taken care of her cats for years and that she is an excellent candidate for adopting. No go from a veterinarian. Not good enough. So she must be interviewed and she goes for it. I can't imagine them finding anything notorious about her that would prevent them from approving her for adopting. She finds the cats she wants. They have chosen another cat for her, for what reason I don't know. Finally, this nice lady goes to the back of Cat Fancy Magazine, finds a cat she is interested and makes the call. This cat is $1,500 she is told. She has no interest in showing or breeding cats, she just wants "pet quality", as I had advised her. She will probably end up at the nearest pet store and get a kitten or cat with dubious papers from somewhere in the midwest and a
useless guarantee. "A guarantee is no guarantee" as they say on the Simpsons and this goes for pets, too.
Try to locate someone who has adopted a cat from this person or go to a cat show and meet the breeders and the cats' parents. This is your best way of knowing what you are getting. And by no means buy a cat for $1,500 that you do not plan to show or breed.

What is happening here is breeders breed and sell at the highest cost. The end up with dogs and cats they cannot sell for breeding or showing because of minor  (or major) defects. Too tall, too short, wrong color,
eyes to big, too small, tail too long, too short, nose too long, not long enough. Whatever! Each breeder decides what they think is show quality and realistically they cannot truly tell until the animals is a year or so older. So find a reject from a good breeder (what's good?) and ask for Pet Quality. They know what you are talking about. Pet stores are sometimes good and sometimes not. There's no way to know. The pet store near me in Burke does the best job I have ever seen but they still ask for way too much money. It's a racquet that reminds me of the used car salemen of old. Promises and guarantees they can't keep. You know why they offer guarantees on living, breathing animals? Because they guarantee requires you to bring the dog or cat BACK to the store and get another animal. I've never yet met an animal lover who would do this. That is why the breeders are so sure their guarantees will never be used.

A good breeder will have owners you can talk to who have adopted from them. They will have ribbons and all sorts of proof that their animals are the best. They will have had many tests done at the veterinarian for worms etc. They will be happy to show you the parents, at least one of them. They will want their pet to have a good home and ask you to have it spayed or neutered. They will call you next week to see how things are going.  And they will sell you a pet quality pet for half price.