|Purred: Sun Feb 21, '10 1:46pm PST |
|Speaking as a novice breeder of Maine Coons, and as someone who has been showing MCs with the CFA for two years, I have to disagree with the opinion that cheaper cats are not as good as more expensive cats. Having seen hundreds of Maine Coons (and a lot of Persians as well) at cat shows, I can say that some of the most famous catteries here in Japan (and Japan produces some very fine cats) are resting on their laurels. They charge a huge fee just so the cat you get has a famous cattery name on its pedigree, while producing cats who are not as fine as the cats they originally created. I bought 6 cats from a breeder who is not very active in the cat show world (he simply didn't have the money to put a cat in a show every weekend). His cats included some very superior specimens of the MC breed. Harvey has a few faults (not massive enough, not enough of a nose dip, splayed ears), but he managed to become the #16 MC Premier (=spayed/neutered cat) internationally in last year's season. I myself am now producing kittens who are both show cat material (with a few exceptions--they are related to Harvey and some have the same straight profile profile problem) and very affectionate.
I have a so-called backyard breeder in my neighborhood who charges enormous fees for her inferior cats. If you engage her in conversation, the first thing she talks about is death of the kitten--and I know someone who bought two kittens from her that died within two years. Pet shops in Japan also charge enormous fees. The cats come with pedigrees, but you don't get to see the pedigree until you've bought the cat. Not that all the cats are sick or bad, but some are, and they are simply too expensive. To make myself clear: my breeder would charge $600 to $800 for a Maine Coon with a pedigree with ancestors who were mostly Champions. I myself charge the same. The backyard breeder in my neighborhood, and the pet shop nearby, charge between $2000-3000 for inferior cats. I've been told by a CFA judge and a breeder who often imports cats from the U.S. that you can get a very good Maine Coon for much less than that--under $1000.
But some people believe that more expensive cats are necessarily better than cheaper cats. When my breeder raised his prices, he found that his cats sold more quickly. What is important is to use the Internet to learn about breed standards for Persians (the Cat Fanciers' Association is a good place to start). I highly recommend that you also do research on how to find a good breeder. Here's a link about finding a good Maine Coon breeder, but the advice can be used for any breed.
The key points are: a relatively clean cattery (if you have more than a dozen cats, yes, there will usually be some odor), meeting the parents (not always possible if the kittens were bred by a rent-a-stud), and seeing how the kittens and adult cats in the cattery react to you. The adult cat my breeder called "shy" would sleep on my feet when I visited him. That is a good sign. When buying a kitten, to be safe, do not pick the shyest one. Harvey was totally clueless when I bought him. He wouldn't look me in the eye, and hated having his paws touched. After a year and a half of showing him--which involved intense grooming--he is now my lover boy, and will put his paw in my hand when he sleeps. But that's Harvey. It's better to choose a kitten/cat who is affectionate from the start.
Regarding Persians, there are show Persians, who have smushy faces (the forehead and chin project beyond the nose and mouth, making it difficult for them to eat) and doll faced Persians, who have more of a snout. Persians are high maintenance cats. You have to groom them regularly, and because of current breed standards, tend to shed tears that are unable to go through the nasal passage. Tears leave unsightly stains, and need regular cleaning. If you don't have the time/desire to spend a lot of time taking care of your cats, I would advise you to choose another breed.
If you are still convinced that you want a Persian, and if you have no intention of showing/breeding the cat, I would, as other posters have, advise you to seek out a Persian rescue site, or buy a retired show/breeding cat from a cattery. I would also advise you to go to a few cat shows and sit in on the Persian judging rings--you will get information about what a good/bad Persian is. Cats live long lives, and you want to choose a cat who will be a good companion. All kittens are cute. But do some research, and don't think you have to buy the first cat you like.
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