Know your needs and the breed. The best forever homes are the folks to spend time and meet the breed which they would like to own. This is easily done by attending a cat show(it will also help determine if anyone in your home has allergies to kitties. Googling cat shows by date, then contacting the show manager, before that show, to ensure the breed(s) you would like to meet are going to be represented at that show. The absolute best forever home are folks who previously have owned a Birman. I never worry about them. They absolutely know!
Know your breeders. Once you have settled on a breed, make sure your prospective breeder is reputable and qualified to provide an excellent kitten. Some good indicators are breeders who are affiliated with breed clubs, show their cats, provide health guarantee-registration-pedigree-shot record-instruction sheet/book, and will provide you pictures of the prospective kitten as it grows. While breeders with waiting lists might delay the obtaining of your kitten, it is a great sign that they have a healthy demand and that their quality is good.
Let the breeder know a little about your family, pet ownership history, expectations, and home environment. If there is a mismatch, it is better for everyone to know that early. Frank discussions regarding immunizations, neutering/spaying, and philosophies will make sure there are no misunderstandings. Reputable breeders will provide a contract which states that the cat may not be declawed.
Be clear about the personality you seek in your kitten. The Birman is normally a friendly, gentle, loving, and well-mannered kitty. They often will do what is called a 'love bite.' This means they will hold your hand(normally) and or foot, ankle, knee, etc. with their mouth. They don't bite. It is more like an attention getting and showing of affection. I discourage this behavior in my kittens, but did get an older girl from a breeder which did this. I could see her just well up with adoration and then, clamp! She would hold my hand. I did not have the heart to get after her for it, as she was so gentle. When this girl was retired, I found her a home and let them know about her eclectic love move. She is doing fine, and been with them several years! One customer wanted a more animated Birman. Took three litters to get a more precocious kitten. One customer had a deposit on a kitten which was too precocious for their two littler girls who were ages 4 and 6. I encouraged them to pass on that kitten. While disappointed, they waited and were very happy with the kitty they got!
Be prepared to wait. With the Birman, there are many colors and of course two sexes. If it does not happen in the current litter, it will, and the wait is insignificant to having the kitty you want.
Be prepared to place a deposit. Top breeders often require a deposit, in order to better provide and promise their kittens.
Know about cat care. Top breeders will often provide detailed instructions, food, toys, and I even give a text book on care. It truly is not the breeder's responsibility to educate pet owners on care.
Have a life plan for your kitty. If life's circumstances would change, a pet sometimes needs to be rehomed. Let family members know if you would consider them for your pet's future. Reputable breeders will have you sign a contract, promising the kitty will never go to an animal shelter. Kitty is your responsibility, once they are a member of your family.
At the end of the day, be prepared to love them as family and accept them for what they are. They are an animal, and their intelligence level is about the age of a 3 year old.
Copyright 2016 Margaret Garner. All Rights Reserved.