I have included this page on my website to help potential kitten buyers understand the different “faults” that can affect the breed and what makes a pet quality kitten, PET QUALITY.
A good breeder does what they can to use only the best of the breed in their breeding programs. But even when a breeder uses TWO top quality cats, they can produce kittens with faults. It’s just the way it is.
We then have kittens who are maybe not PERFECT (but really, who is?) that need PET homes because they should not be used in breeding programs due to the fact they have MORE of a chance then their parents did of producing kittens with the fault they have.
Those are the kittens that you see on our websites posted as:
Now, don’t get me wrong… some breeders will sell breeder and show quality kittens AS PETS as well. However, those kittens will be priced higher then kittens who are TRULY pet quality.
And, I’d like to make it clear that at Heart’nsoul pet quality kittens are treated no differently then breeder/show quality kittens. They are equally loved and cared for. They are groomed each week just as the breeder/show quality kittens are. They receive lots of love and cuddles and are not ignored simply because they are maybe not PHYSICALLY as great as their siblings. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - and I truly see all of my kittens as beautiful, regardless of their flaws.
The CFA breed standard will disqualify a cat if they have one of the following “faults”: locket or button. Kinked or abnormal tail. Incorrect number of toes. Any apparent weakness in the hind quarters. Any
apparent deformity of the spine. Deformity of the skull resulting in an asymmetrical face and/or head. Crossed eyes.
There are of course many reasons why a breeder may place a kitten as a PET. For instance, a Persian, Himalayan or Exotic kitten with a baby doll face (long nose) is classified as PET quality. Having an extreme face is what the standard calls for and as breeders we are "suppose" to produce kittens that come as close to the standard as possible. A baby doll face, IMHO, is not so much a "fault" but rather just some thing that causes them to be PET QUALITY kittens.
I have found that the most common “fault” in kittens is:
An asymmetrical jaw
The following link offers useful information on this “fault”.
Here is a little information from the above link:
“Persian cats are subject to teeth and jaw problems. Since Exotic Shorthairs have much of the same genotype as the Persian and Himalayan Cat, they too will suffer from same teeth and jaw problems. These cats can have crocked teeth, sometimes the baby teeth are crooked but the adult teeth will grow in normal which is straight.
They also suffer from a condition where the lower jaw, the mandible protrudes, meaning that it is longer than the top jaw, the Maxilla, and thus sticks out. This condition is known as asymmetrical Jaw, meaning that the jaws are not identical; one is longer than the other. As a result the teeth that are set in the bone stick out farther as well. A twisted mandible happens because the two jaws do not touch each other and the teeth may protrude outside of the lips. This condition can also cause the teeth to penetrate the roof of the mouth or jab or poke the gums in different places.”
It seems that most times, when kittens are born with SLIGHTLY crooked teeth or offset jaws, they “self correct”. In fact, I have seen kittens with jaws that do not meet up, that may be considered “asymmetrical” that have turned out to be symmetrical as adults!
In most cases, if the nose isn’t also crooked, the jaw will often self correct. Also, having an OVER BITE as a young kitten is actually a GOOD thing as the bottom jaw continues to grow as the kitten grows, which means that as a grown cat, the teeth should even out. However, if a kitten has an UNDER BITE, chances are it will only get worse or stay the same.
Again, an asymmetrical jaw may sound “scary” but most times, it causes the kitten/cat no problems. If a tooth needs to be extracted, it really isn’t all that big of a deal. In particular when the kitten will already be going under anesthetic for their spay/neuter surgery as a tooth can be extracted at this time for practically nothing (at MOST vet clinics). Unless SEVERE it doesn’t tend to cause them any problems eating or any discomfort.
Breathing problems CAN go along with an asymmetrical jaw.
Cats with a shorter muzzle, such as Persians, often have restricted nasal passages and this can cause breathing problems during exercise or in hot, humid weather. This goes for ALL extreme faced cats, regardless of whether they have an asymmetrical jaw.
However, when a kitten has a crooked nose (caused by the asymmetrical jaw), there is a greater chance that they could have difficulty breathing. However, I have not seen this happen all that often. There is a surgery that can be done to “open” the nasal passages if it is required but most times, it is not.
Kitten buyers need to understand that whether going to a breeder or a shelter, kittens/cats are living, breathing things. There is ALWAYS the chance, no matter how hard a breeder or shelter worker tries, that a kitten/cat will become ill. There is always a chance that there will be a kitten in a litter that has a fault. THAT IS LIFE. It is no different then having or adopting a child. Is there any guarantee that, that child won’t become ill? That, that unborn baby won’t have a “fault“ or "defect"? To have an animal or child that is “perfect”, well, you will have better luck winning the lottery! Of course, as parents we always feel that OUR children - human and fur - ARE perfect, lol!.
I feel it is important for kitten buyers to know upfront what they should (or could) expect when buying a kitten. I see no sense in lying or hiding the truth. I take pride in being honest which is why I have included so much information on my website for kitten buyers to read. BUT I AM NOT MAGIC. I cannot tell you the FUTURE of your kitten. I cannot PROMISE YOU that he/she will not have any problems. I can only do my best… to care for your kitten, provide good veterinary care, a clean environment, a healthy diet and lots of love until your kitten goes to you. If my vet or I felt that an issue would cause a family life long problems with their kitten/cat of if we felt that their kitten/cat would suffer in any way- it isn’t some thing that we would hide.