How the price of the kitten is calculated
Whenever someone decides to buy a cute, fluffy kitty for their family, a major stumbling block is always the cost. People see the price tag and wonder why it is so expensive and think that it may be better to buy a kitten at a pet market or a pet store.
Well, it’s definitely up to you to make your choice! I am not going to mention all the disadvantages of notorious pet markets here – there are plenty of horror stories about them on various Internet discussion boards.
What you really need to decide is what kind of kitten you would like to have – 100% purebred or “1/4, 1/8, 1/16-Persian (or some other breed)”.
If breed is not what is important for you, you are welcome to pick a “free to a good home” kitten, and it will become a devoted friend and a member of your family!
A truly considerate owner loves their pet not because it is purebred but just because it exists!
You can simply give a home to a scared, whiney stray baby-kitten you come across in the street. This will make you really happy – because you are taking care of a poor orphan, giving it shelter from a strange, frightening world where it had been left alone. If, in such a hard time, you give this kitten a warm home, good food and – most importantly – a helping hand of a loving master – believe me, it will bring you luck and happiness! You will never regret having opened the door to your flat – and your heart – to that tiny fluffy baby!
However, if you are irrevocably “in love” with a certain breed of cats and it is the only one you want to keep in your home, I am now going to try to explain how the price tag for a purebred kitten is formed.
The cost of a kitten is determined by a large number of factors, including the popularity and the demand for this or that cat breed at the moment.
Another extremely important factor which influences the kitten’s price is the reputation of the cattery and the breeders. Kittens from famous breeders are often much more expensive.
Moreover, even in the most famous catteries the kittens for sale can be of different classes, namely:
PET – household pets that are to be neutered, without the right to breed them
BREED – are allowed to be bred
SHOW – the kittens that take part in cat shows and can be bred
SHOW-NEUTERED – neutered cats that can still take part in shows (animals that retain obvious breed qualities, although their breeding programmes had been stopped for various reasons)
The price tags for kittens of different classes vary, despite the fact that all of them may have been born in one and the same litter, and the cost of taking care of them is the same as well.
However, this does not by any means suggest that kittens of one class are worse than from another one! They were all born from the same award-winning parents, are “pure-blood”, are litter trained, scratching post trained, well-bred and completely socialized. It is just that nature gave some kittens clear breed traits essential for their show career and breeding, while others might have slightly larger ears, or a longer nose, or a tail shorter or longer than the breed standard requires… All in all, there are plenty of factors which influence a kitten’s show-quality. But just because of these minor non-compliances with the standard, a kitten does not become less loved by the breeder or the owner who has decided to welcome the pet as a member of their family. Moreover, you probably won’t notice these non-compliances if you just want a fluffy friend and are not going to start a breeding program for him/her.
There is a widespread notion that the sole purpose of a breeder is to make money out of the kittens they sell. I hope that my story will dispel this false myth!
Professional cat breeding is not a business!!
If people do it only in order to earn money – they cannot really be called breeders!!
Breeders are in some way similar to artists because they carefully pick pedigreed males and females for specific breeding programme with the purpose of getting a litter that would totally comply with the requirements for the breed and make their boldest dreams real!
Professional breeding is more of a hobby that involves a great deal of expenses – material and non-material, because a breeder shares a part of his soul, a whole sea of love and great tenderness with each member of their furry family!
Let’s now turn to the price of the kittens.
First of all, a breeder buys males and females for their breeding programme. For example, one male and two females (of show quality) will cost them between 25,000 and 100,000 rubles (about 800-3,000 USD) – depending on the reputation of the cattery where the cats are bought and the latter’s breeding qualities.
In order for the cats to be able to take part in a breeding programme, a female must get a grade, whereas a male has to get at least a Champion’s title.
Titles and grades can be obtained at a show. The cost of taking part in a show varies in different systems but can on average be estimated at 3,000 rubles (about 100 USD) per animal – that means 9,000 rubles (300 USD) for three animals.
Apart from the grade, a cat needs a rating which has to be earned at a large number of shows in different towns! So, a breeder continues to take part in shows, including those organized by different cities and even countries, trying to earn more titles. Besides the cost of the participation in the show itself, you have to pay for travelling and accommodation for at least one day. And don’t forget you are supposed to take part in about four shows every year!
A tent for the show costs 2,500-6,000 rubles (85-200 USD).
A pet carrier is 800-2,500 rubles (25-85 USD).
Various cosmetics are 15,000 to 30,000 rubles (500-1000 USD) per year.
Before copulation, a cat needs some medical tests – add another 2,000 to 5,000 rubles (65-165 USD) per animal.
Sometimes the pets need a house call of a vet – that’s about 3,000 – 5,000 rubles (100-165 USD).
The prices for veterinary medicines, vitamins, homeopathic medicines for a pregnant or nursing female start from 3,000 rubles (100 USD), depending on the situation.
Vaccinations range from 400 to 1000 rubles (13-33 USD) per kitten.
To register the litter and get the pedigree documents for one kitten you have to pay 500 rubles (about 17 USD).
You also need super-premium class food, toys, scratching posts, litterboxes…
What about time, love, care, nerves, sleepless nights – how much do they cost?
In an average litter, there are three kittens; and one female cat can give no more than 3 litters per year (according to the rules set by the show federation), in order to give the cat some rest between the litters. However, the breeders themselves do not usually let their cat have more than one litter per year because they love their pets and do not want to make their life a “chain” of giving birth to more and more kittens. Every fluffy ball that appears in our family is dearly loved and cared for!
Therefore, when a breeder sets a price tag of, say, 15,000 rubles (300 USD) for a kitten – it is the minimal price intended to at least compensate for keeping the animals (not counting the price they had paid for the kittens’ parents)!
In different regions, the average prices for certain breeds are not the same: for instance, 15,000 rubles is considered to be a reasonable price for a kitten in Moscow, but not in Voronezh! It is really not fair, since some of the local catteries offer excellent animals that are even sold to people from other cities.
Let’s look at an example:
The average prices of kittens in Moscow in 2010 were the following:
A PET-class kitten: 20,000-30,000 rubles (660-1000 USD)
A breed-class kitten: 35,000-100,000 rubles (1150-3,500 USD), depending on the sex of the kitten.
In the regions of Russia, the prices are a little lower, in Europe and the USA – a little higher. (according to the information published in the “Friend” magazine, № 1, 2010)
Not all the kittens are sold as breed-class; most of them are pet-class (are to be neutered). Not all the kittens are even sold for the minimal price which is supposed to compensate for the expenses. Sometimes the breeder sells the kitten for an extremely low price to a wonderful person who loves animals but cannot afford to pay a lot. Every breeder wants to find their fluffy baby kind and loving owners who would treat the kitten like a human child, take hare of him and love him. That is why the sites of many catteries say: “I reserve the right to refuse to sell a kitten at any time, without having to explain the reason”. This is done to prevent “undesirable” customers, who, unfortunately, are quite common nowadays, from buying a kitten.
Last but not least:
Sometimes, for various reasons connected with the breeding programme, breeders sell not only kittens, but also young or even adult cats. Some people are apprehensive about buying pets older than 3-4 months, but there are a number of important advantages about such animals.
A grown-up kitten is more independent; its teeth have changed and you can see the bite, as well as the breed qualities which are not so evident and prone to change in smaller kittens. Sometimes by this age the breeder has already been shown to experts who give a professional evaluation of its traits.
As for the cat being playful, some breeds (including my favourite Persians) like to play all their life and can easily get used to a new master at any age, provided that they are loved and cared for.
So, if you have made up your mind to buy a purebred kitten, choose a cattery you like, talk to the breeder, and if your intentions are really kind, I am sure everything will work out just fine!
I wish you all the best and good luck with choosing a pet!
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