I've designed this FAQ to help answer some of the most frequently asked questions of breeders by (sometimes new) owners of cats/kittens. Some of the questions are specific to the Persian breed, but many of them are applicable to all breeds. I hope you find this useful,
Did you know that the #1 reason pet cats are given to animal shelters is because of litterbox problems? Inappropriate soiling (in other words, not using the litterbox) is a complex problem that can be brought about by a variety of causes - sometimes more than one at a time. Here's a few things to try:
I put a pee pee pad under food bowls & easy solution that we have found. We use two bowls and "nest" one bowl inside the other. The outside bowl is also slightly taller than the inside. The gap between the two bowls is about 1/4 an inch - big enough to catch the pieces of food, but not big enough that the cat(s) can get their paw down there and scoop it to the floor. Once a day, we remove the smaller bowl and dump the food back into it from the larger bowl. This is really cut back on waste and keeps the area around the bowls cleaner!
Aggression in cats can sometimes be hardwired into their brain, but there are things that we do sometimes that can make it worse. Here's a few ideas to consider:
Some cats really think they want to get outside, but we know, as good owners, that very little that is good awaits for them out there. Whether it is feral cats/dogs, coyotes, errant teenagers, disease, poison, or cars, there are far too many dangers lurking outside for the average cat. Some cats get in the habit of "door darting" - trying to charge out the door whenever it is opened. Here are a few suggestions to attempt to curb the behavior:
One of the advantages of buying a Persian kitten from a reputable breeder is that he will be accustomed to regular bathing. Grooming is not the terrible chore some people believe, and can be soothing and enjoyable to both cat and owner. When a cat is kept bathed and clean, there is need for only minimal combing or brushing in between baths. Also, a clean cat does not have problems with hairballs. Clean cats do not shed the dander that causes many people to have allergic reactions. Most Persians need baths every 4-6 weeks to look their finest, but some can go longer intervals. Here is our recommendation on how to bathe a cat:
In worst-case situations, if your Persian should become badly matted, do not try to comb or cut out mats. Either take him to a professional groomer or your veterinarian to be clipped down into a “lion” cut. The cats don’t mind, and it is much better to save them and you the pain and aggravation of trying to remove mats. Some Persian owners routinely have all or part of their cats clipped for summer.
YOu shouldnt have this problem with my cats BUtT if you do try this ...Many cats have some eye drainage, though the flatter-faced, longer-haired cats tend to have more than other breeds. There are some factors - like seasonal allergies and actual eye infections - that can lead to more watering than usual, but, in most cases, some orange or brown color tears from Persians is not a sign of a bad infection. The tears from cat's eyes can be colonized by bacteria much the same way that sweat in human armpits can be. In the case of cats, it causes discoloration, in the case of humans, it causes odor. In both cases, it's not particularly a risk if kept under control.
For Persians, a warm, wet wash cloth applied gently to the eyes once a day will keep their eyes clean and the fur beneath their eyes from staining. In some case, especially with lighter colored cats, the fur stains very easily and it's difficult to keep it perfectly clean. A good product to use is Eye Envy. Another one that is favored by breeders is Anna's Tear Stain Remover. Both products work to keep the tears clear rather than discolored and to reduce overall staining. Neither is a "miracle" type stain remover - it does take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to completely remove eye stains with daily (or twice daily) cleaning and using a grooming-type powder. We do not recommend "bleaching" the hair with any peroxide or other bleaching agent. It's very dangerous to use such products around the eyes; additionally, it damages the hair in such a way the new stains will come back and be worse than before.
It is important to keep your cat's eyes clean, as infection can develop if the eyes are "crusty" from dried tears.
The best way to avoid mats and hairballs is to bathe your cat regularly.
Remember that all the cats in your house do need baths - sometimes a cat can get a hairball from grooming another cat.
It seems that some cats often use the litterbox, but not everything stays there. Many times this can be easily avoided by getting your cat a "sanitary trim." Any groomer or vet will be familiar with the term. They will use clippers to shave the hair on the back end, under the tail, and perhaps also some down the inside of the back legs. This will save you and your cat a lot of angst over dirty bottoms!
If your cat repeatedly has loose (soft, runny) stools, you might want to consider changing their diet to a food with better nutrition and/or see your vet for a stool check.
Some longhaired cats seem prone to dunking their enter ruff in their water every time they drink. If left alone, this water can lead to a "mildewing" effect on your cat's skin - which of course is not good for them! It also smells pretty awful. And then the mess they make in the water dish and all around it!
If you have a "ruff dunker," there are three options to consider:
Many Persian cats often will sneeze now and again as a result of the extra eye drainage they tend to have. Random sneezing without a visible green or yellow discharge is not really much to worry about. However, if your cat is sneezing out wads of thick green/yellow mucus, it's time for a vet visit.
Persians have shortened airways due to their flattened faces, however, they will still have all or most of the folds that are found in the nasal passageways for the purpose of filtering dust and other impurities before air reaches the lungs. The flattened face has a bit of an "accordion" effect on the folds. When a Persian is breathing very rapidly or breathing hard, you are likely to hear some noise as the air whistles through those folds. This is normal and not a cause for concern. If you cat seems to be in respiratory distress all the time, you shoudl consult with your vet and perhaps find a specialist vet that can do a surgery to remove some of the more obstructive folds in the nose to allow your cat to breathe more easily. Most Persian breeders try to breed for cats with large nares (nostrils) in order to allow our cats to breathe without difficulty.
As mentioned in the eye staining section, Persian cats are often subject to more watery discharge (which may or may not be discolored) from their eyes than other breeds. This is primarily due to the fact that Persians have large, bulgy eyes. They produce more tears in order to clear out dust or hair that might get in their eyes. If you notice your Persian has more tears than a normal clack, this by itself is not indicative of infection needing veterinary treatment. It is part of the normal Persian grooming to wipe a Persian's eyes once or twice a day with a warm, damp towel. However, if you find your cat's eyes are swollen with thick, mucus-like discharge, or crusted shut, or you can see damage to the eyeball itself, you should get your cat to the vet immediately for treatment.
If your cat has an occasional bout of diarrhea, it's not cause for concern. However, if your cat is repeatedly having loose, watery, or diarrhea stools several times a day, you should take it to the vet immediately. Do not attempt to administer human medicines for diarrhea without a vet's instructions.
If your vet cannot find anything wrong with your cat, we were told of an odd mix of two foods for cats with poor stools that cannot be medically treated. We've had great success! It's a 50/50 mixture of Pro-Plan Chicken and Rice (Adult) and Science Diet Sensitive Stomach. We are not exactly sure how or why it works - but it has WORKED for us and other breeders with cats with chronic diarrhea that would not respond to any medical treatments.
It is normal for cats as they get older to lose some weight. However, if the weight loss is occurring rapidly, and/or your cat is not old, you should take it to your vet for a check up.
Not drinking water is a very serious concern and you should take your cat to the vet immediately.
Fleas and ticks are easily avoided on cats with correct treatment. The "flea and tick" medicine you can buy at the store usually isn't effective; neither are flea collars. In fact, some of the over-the-counter medicines are actually extremely toxic to your cat. It is also VERY important to realize that meds that are recommended for dogs are often deadly to cats. You should never used a medicine meant for a dog on your cat unless you are directly instructed by your vet. Your best bet is to ask your vet to prescribe a medicine such as "Revolution" for your animals. Revolution (or other like meds) are once-a-month treatments administered to the to the skin between the shoulders. It's easy to do. There really isn't any reason for a cat (or dog) to have fleas if you are taking proper care of it and using the right medication.
Sometimes, cats get tired just like we do. But if you notice a change in your cat's behavior over several days, it's time to make a trip to the vet.
PKD is an inherited, autosomal dominant disease that is found primarily in Persians, but is also showing up in Exotics, American Shorthairs, Birmans, American Wirehairs, Maine Coons, and some other breeds. Even a small percentage of random bred "mutt" cats have it. For the most part, breeders are aware of the disease and very few actually use cats with it. However, should your cat be diagnosed with PKD, the first thing to do is to double check. A DNA test from UC Davis can confirm if it's truly PKD or another kidney problem. If your cat does have PKD, there is no cure, though your vet might suggest some treatments. Most cats with PKD live an average of 10-12 years of age, though some live less and some much longer. Keep your cat on a high-quality diet and give it lots of love and care. When their kidneys do fail, giving fluids is an option to help keep them alive longer, but remember at some point, it will only be prolonging the inevitable and the quality of life of the cat should be considered.
Many breeders are adamant about only using certain brands of food. Over the years, most of them have tried a variety of foods with their cats and they have learned from experience what foods are truly best for cats.
In our experience, cat foods would ideally be nearly 100% "raw" diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, however, they would eat some vegetable matter (and thus, derive those nutrients), in the stomachs of their rodent and bird prey. But most of their diet should be meat. If you have the time and means to feed your cat a raw diet, look into the "BARF" diet.
Not everyone has the time and means to feed all raw, so, failing that, you want to use the best quality "kibble" food. Food that contains grains and gluten are NOT good for your cat. Cats derive very little nutrition from these, so they have to eat more food in order to meet their nutritional needs. Eating more food means using the litterbox more, which means more work for you. Also, their stools are likely to smell worse (more waste) as well as be "softer" (more mess!) While some high-quality foods cost a good deal more, cats will need to eat less of them to get the same or better nutrition. The key is to read the ingredients. They are listed in order of highest % first. Many grocery store foods start with "corn." Not good foods. As I said, the best foods will not have corn, gluten, or grains. We use Iams and fresh select and other I have put on here BUT you can try these also if you can fine them and can buy it, Premium Edge Kitten and Chicken Soup For The Cat Lover's Soul - Adult for cats. There are many foods with similar formulations to these two foods that are also very good.
The answer to this question will vary from breeder to breeder, but here is our answer.
Pet quality cats are cats that do not meet the written standard in some way and/or have some fault that would not make them a good cat for a breeding program. In many cases, they are nice quality cats, but they aren't "good enough" to be kept whole and to contribute to a breeding program. We strongly believe that only the best cats should be used in breeding programs - the rest make wonderful pets for people to own, be owned by, and loved. (Which is why it's very important to us to have sweet-natured cats, as well as healthy lines). Just because a cat is "pet quality, it does not mean they are 2nd class "kittycats" - just that they are not what the written standard calls for, so they shouldn't be used for breeding.
Breeder quality cats are, to us, cats with no major faults, but over all have something to add to a breeding program. Oftentimes, cats that we feel are "breeder" quality can be shown and even win some at shows, but they are not the level we consider to be "show quality."
Show quality cats are, to us, cats that are clearly superior, in terms of the meeting the written standard. They will possess a number of good traits and no major faults. They are cats that, when presented in good condition, can win and win often. They cannot just have good traits, but they must also be cats of vigorous health and good temperaments
It is a common misconception that a Persian is of "show" quality if the nose appears to be "short." Of course, a "short" nose for some people might be a "long" nose to others.. it's a very difficult concept to nail down. However, a show quality Persian is so much more than a "short nose."
These are just a few of the traits that a show cat must have. Something else that many cats lack is an overall symmetry - every part trait should work with the other traits - not one thing should stand out or it draws from the beauty of the cat.
When you get a new cat, you should always remember if you have a resident cat or cats, they do have feelings, and it is important to respect them. Additionally, any new addition should be kept in isolation for at least a few days to be sure they didn't bring home any sickness (we isolate most new cats for 4 weeks, but since we have young kittens often, we have to take more precautions than the average owner.)
First, before you bring home your new cat/kitten, decide where they will live their first few days. Pick a room that is NOT frequented by your current cats very often. For example, a spare bathroom, a utility room, or a spare bedroom. If your current cats sleep every night with you, putting the new cat/kitten in the bedroom with you is the worst place possible. You will upset your current cat(s) and possibly end up with some "presents" left in places other than the litterbox. Have the litterbox, food, and water prepared before your bring home the new cat/kitten. Find out what kind of food the breeder (or previous owner) has been using so you can have that on hand to make the transition easy. If you want to switch foods to whatever food you use, do so slowly.
When you bring home the new cat/kitten, carry it in the carrier all the way to the new room. While you may be tempted to pull it out and shove it in the face(s) of your current cat(s), resist this temptation. Put the cat/kitten in the carrier in the new room. Open the carrier and let the new cat/kitten come out on their own time. If the cat/kitten seems very upset, leave the room and let them have some quiet. If they are out quickly and wanting affection, give them some affection, then leave the room and give your current cat(s) lots of extra love to remind them you still love them.
For the next few days, keep the door closed. Let the new cat/kitten and the current cat(s) smell each other under the door. Watch your current cat(s) for signs of stress. During this time, take the new cat/kitten for a wellness check to your vet (as well as a test for FeLeuk/FIV. Any new feline member should be tested for these two diseases before being allowed to be with your other cats). If everything checks out and all the cats involved seem to be ready to meet, open the door a little and let the new cat/kitten explore the house from that room. If a fight happens, take the new cat/kitten back to the room for a few more days. A little hissing is ok, but a full-blown fight is not.
Hopefully, the new cat/kitten and the current cat(s) will quickly integrate into a happy household and you will be a happy owner of more than one cat!
This is one major area we tend to detour from the commonly accepted "Guide to Buying A New Kitten" that are written in books and the internet.
If you are able to visit a breeder in their home, take time to inspect the kittens/cats you do see. They should be clean and healthy, as well as perky (though they might be somewhat hesitant at first meeting you.) You should expect that the parts of the home you are able to see should be cleaned and neat. Since the breeder knew you were coming, they should have taken the time to neaten/clean up the public areas. If the house is dirty for a visit, you can imagine when guests are not expected, it would probably be far worse. There should be no strong odors, but it's likely that some cat might have just used the litterbox and some slight odor might be detected. But if you feel like the smell is going to knock you out, it is probably not the best idea to purchase a kitten from that location.