The price.

What does a kitten cost?
If you haven’t bought a kitten for a while you might be surprised by the cost of a pedigree kitten. The Tonkinese is not a ‘money’ breed (nor are the Siamese or Burmese) and this means that the breeder makes basically no profit on a litter of kittens. If you add in the cost of keeping breeding cats through the year when they’re not having kittens (they only have one litter a year), then there’s no way you could make a profit from selling your kittens. There are some breeders who 'breed for profit' and the only way to do this is to cut back on food and veterinary care. I have seen cats bred - or exploited - this way and sometimes have had to pick up the pieces when someone has bought a kitten from this sort of breeder, and frankly it sickens me.

There are ‘money’ breeds such as the Egyptian Mau, Bengal or Selkirk Rex, which started out expensive because the breeders had to import bloodstock from abroad (usually America) and have had to invest heavily in order to create enough viable bloodlines for the breed to survive. Stud fees are often very high, particularly for imported cats who may be paying off the cost of 6 months of quarantine on top of their purchase and shipping cost. They remain expensive until the breed is well established, and sometimes continue to be costly simply because if people will pay high prices for that breed, then the breeders think, why not?

Cat breeding is considered a hobby by the tax-man, but dog breeding is taxable as it is treated as a business. Consider this:

The dog breeder usually sells a pup at about 6 weeks of age, it’s barely weaned, not litter trained, and it has no vaccinations. It hasn’t been eating the breeder out of house and home for 8 weeks or more, and it comes with almost nothing except a pedigree. It’s quite likely that the breeder has their own male dog who has fathered the litter, as male dogs are not routinely castrated the way male cats have to be to stop them from spraying urine. So they haven’t had to build, heat and maintain stud quarters, nor have they had to pay any stud fees. If you’re buying a young gun-dog, even untrained you may pay £3000 for a pup.

Reputable cat breeders do not sell kittens until they are 12 weeks old, by which time they have been weaned for weeks; they are house-trained, registered, and fully vaccinated. The last half of those 13 weeks has cost the breeder dearly in washing bedding, huge quantities of food and litter, and finally the heavy cost of first and booster vaccinations. Most kittens also come with a trousseau of goodies: bedding, food, litter and toys, to help them settle in their new homes. Even before the litter has been born the breeder has had to pay for blood tests to ensure the queen is healthy before taking her to stud, and has had to pay stud fees (since very few cat breeders keep their own studs, and even if they do they have the heavy cost of housing him). The mating doesn’t always work, so the breeder may have had to pay blood tests and stud fees more than once.

Please note: there are disreputable breeders selling ‘cheap’ kittens under age, unregistered and unvaccinated. Please do not buy from these breeders as the kittens are usually not what they are advertised to be, they are often sickly, and many die before maturity. These breeders will not take any responsibility for a kitten after sale, and you may find yourself with massive vets fees and no way to hold the breeder responsible. You get what you pay for with kittens, and if you want a healthy, happy baby to bring home and enjoy for many years, don’t cut corners with your first decision.

A pedigree kitten raised as well as possible on high-quality foods such as raw rabbit and other goodies may have cost the breeder around £800 to get it to the point where it is ready to leave home. That’s assuming the breeder hasn’t had to take the queen or kittens to the vet for any reason during pregnancy or rearing. A scan during pregnancy might be £60 or more, a caesarian section will cost upwards of £650 - it’s always out of hours of course, and always an emergency. A mild tummy bug running through the kittens might mean a visit to the vet, and the way the kittens can tear about the place and play wild games with each other, minor injuries sometimes happen. A cautious breeder will always check with the vet if they have any concerns, even if it turns out to be nothing, and all this costs money.

In between breeding, the queen rests for a year, and she still needs food and care just the same as when she has kittens. Usually breeders don’t consider this as part of the cost of breeding, as their cats are much-loved pets all the year round, and there would be normal costs in keeping any cat. There are some conditions which only occur in un-neutered females, so there are some veterinary costs that you wouldn’t normally have to pay with a neutered pet.

So it may seem like a lot of money for a kitten, but it’s not!

If you think you can’t afford this sort of price, then perhaps you need to consider the basic cost of keeping a cat. Pedigree breeds, no matter how hard we try and how carefully we breed, can sometimes be more vulnerable to illness than Domestic non-pedigree cats. Vets fees can be pretty high, particularly in major cities. Insurance can cover major costs, but you will still have to pay the excess, which is usually around £70-£100 per illness. If you would struggle to find the purchase price of a pedigree kitten, then a pedigree cat may not be for you.

Rameses kittens are currently £550.

People sometimes ask me if I will offer a discount if they buy two kittens. Unfortunately they don't cost any less to breed and rear if you buy two together! What would you do? My kittens are available to their new homes at 12-13 weeks of age, fully vaccinated, with food, litter, toys, bedding, registration and starter insurance cover if you wish to take it out (I do NOT use Agria insurance from the GCCF, as they offer me a bribe/kickback on every policy taken out and I consider this unethical, and possibly illegal). The GCCF plans to introduce a 'better breeder' list on their website. Since the only thing you have to do to be listed here is pay a fee, I do not intend at this time to subscribe.