Q: What type of food do you feed?
A: We feed Diamond Naturals Active Cat, Chicken Meal and Rice. This is an affordable premium cat food. It is high in protein, and the number 1 ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is simply a dried version of chicken and pound per pound, chicken meal offers quite a bit more nutrients and protein than chicken does. This cat food contains no corn, wheat, soy, or bi-products (which are difficult for cats to digest). It is not completely grain free because it does contain rice, however, all cat foods must use some ingredient as the "glue" to hold the kibble together, and many grain free foods simply use a starch or starchy vegetables like potatoes as their glue, so I feel comfortable with the rice being there. The Diamond food also contains pumpkin and probiotics which help keep the digestive system running smoothly and help keep the immune system boosted. I really like this food because it allows for ordinary people on ordinary budgets to be able to afford to feed their cats a quality food without breaking the bank. You can purchase an 18lb bag at Tractor Supply or Rural King for somewhere between $22 and $26. For wet food, we feed 4LIFE or Diamond Naturals varieties from Tractor Supply and Rural King. All of these products can also be ordered online. Most places will give free shipping for orders over $50.
Q: Is it okay if we want to switch foods?
A: It is okay if you decide to feed a different food. We do ask that you please find a brand that is at least corn, wheat, and soy free, or a grain free food. Lower quality foods often contain artificial coloring that causes the tears of your cat to be more brown in color and brown tears can really stain the face badly, beets are once such ingredient and should be avoided. Also, many ingredients in lower quality foods can and often do cause food allergies, poor coat, improper weight, and low immune system. When switching foods, please do so slowly, mixing the two foods together for a week, slowly adding less of the original food. If you simply switch without doing so gradually, it can lead to digestive imbalance and diarrhea or constipation.
Q: What kind of cat litter do you use?
A: We use pine pellets for cat litter. All of our kittens use regular open litter pans so they can easily get in and out. There are many advantages to using wood pellets. They are very affordable. If you get the ones made for wood stoves they are $4 for a 40lb bag, and if you get the ones made for horses they are $6 for a 40lb bag. They can be purchased at almost any farm store year round, or ordered online. Wood pellets are cleaner than scoopable litter, because rather than scooping litter daily, you just dump the entire box into a little 10 or 15 gallon trash bag, and refill the box with fresh pellets! You only need to put an inch or so of pellets in the bottom of the box because it will only be used for a day! It's so much more sanitary for both you and the cat to just dump the box, rather than scooping. If you decide to use another kind of litter, you might have to switch it over gradually, as you would do if you were switching foods, but some cats might go right to any kind of litter.
Q: How Can I make sure my kitten will use the litter box in my home?
A: We keep our kittens in a large, walk in kitten enclosure that is 4ft wide x 4ft deep x 6ft tall. They do get daily interaction and socialization, and time out of the kitten enclosure. Keeping them in the enclosure helps them learn to use a litter box. When you get your new kitten home, please continue to keep them in a small area for awhile. We recommend a utility room, bathroom, or small bedroom. This will not only help them easily find their litter, food, and water, but will also help keep them from feeling overwhelmed in a new environment. Slowly open up your house to them. Remember that kittens are a lot like human toddlers when it comes to bathroom habits. If they get busy playing and no litter box is near, they may have an accident, so having multiple boxes throughout the house is highly recommended. Make sure you keep your boxes clean every day! You wouldn't want to use an unflushed toilet, and they don't want to either. Lastly, please keep in mind that cats sometimes can't distinguish between their litter box and other things that look similar to a litter box, like boxes, totes, an open dresser drawer, and even bathtubs, and if these areas are left accessible to them, the cat may attempt to use them as a litter box, especially if their actual litter box is dirty or isn't nearby.
Q: Do you use cages?
A: We consider ourselves a MINIMUM cage cattery. We only use cages when necessary, and only temporarily. For the most part, our cats are house pets. For their safety, we do use large walk in enclosures for our kittens and moms that are 4ft wide, 4ft deep, and 6ft high and are located in a central area of our home where they get lots of interaction. These enclosures have several climbing perches. Kittens do get supervised time out of the enclosure and plenty of socialization. There are times when we will need to quarantine a new cat or a sick cat and we might temporarily use a cage for that. We don't keep males in cages as many breeders do. Our males are very docile and we have been able to keep them peacefully together in one half of our house. We have a tall wooden gate that the cats cannot climb that basically separates our home in half, and when we are not breeding, males stay on one side and females are on the other.
Q: What's the difference between an Exotic and a Persian?
A: Both Exotics and Persians have wonderful, loving personalities. Exotics came to be due to the desire to create a shorthaired Persian. Although other breeds were used to create the exotic originally, todays Exotics have genes that are dominated by the Persian gene pool and they are basically just a short haired Persian. Exotics may be slightly more playful than Persians, although not by much. Both are more loving than they are playful. But as with any cat, all of them have individual personalities and some are much more playful or loving than others. Most of them are not very vocal, although there are individuals who are. Both Persians and Exotic longhair require quite a bit of maintenance. The exotic shorthair is usually easier to care for since they rarely mat, they often tear less, and they require less combing and bathing to keep them looking nice. Either one will be much higher maintenance than a regular cat. Some call the Exotic Shorthair the lazy mans Persian! Exotic shorthairs do shed quite a bit more than both Persians and Exotic longhair. There are almost no differences between a Persian and an Exotic longhair. If you put the two side by side, you wouldn't be able to guess which one was which breed! Most registries besides CFA even consider the Exotic longhair to be a Persian and register them as such!
Q: Why do some kittens leave at 12 weeks, but others take a couple of weeks longer to go home?
A: It's often hard for new owners to understand that Exotics and Persians are delicate breeds. They tend to mature slower than a normal cat. Some kittens are just smaller than others and need more time, especially in a larger litter. Sometimes a small issue might come up shortly after the kitten stops nursing, like a cold, an eye infection, or a case of diarrhea. The mothers milk provides them protection against such things while they nurse, but there is a window when they stop nursing, and their own immune system is not fully mature yet, that these small setbacks can occur. A kitten experiencing such a setback would require close monitoring and possibly medication or an additional vet trip. Sometimes there may be only one or two kittens in a litter exhibiting symptoms, and we will decide to hold the entire litter a bit longer for monitoring, or we may go ahead and treat the entire litter as a precaution. To top it all off, the stress of rehoming can also lower the immune system and exasperate issues. I'm sure many new pet owners would be capable of handling an issue like this, but there are also many who would not. Out of fairness, I keep the same rules for everyone. If I feel the kitten is not ready, then please trust my judgment and do not pressure me to let the kitten leave. I myself have bought kittens in the past that really should not have been sent home yet, and it's not a pleasant experience for new owner or kitten! I know you are excited to have your new kitten home, but please be patient, and the experience of having a new kitten will be much more rewarding.
Q: Do you ship? How can I buy one of your kittens if I live far away?
A: I'm sorry but I do not ship under any circumstances. There are still ways to get a kitten that is states away. The obvious is driving. A long drive for the right kitten can be worth a road trip! We drive up to 2 hours from our location to meet kitten buyers for free, but we will drive an additional hour for a fee of $50. The next solution is for you to fly in and take the kitten back with you on the plane. We can usually meet you at our nearest major airport. We have had several buyers do this, but unfortunately I don't know the details for flying with a pet so please check with the airlines for details. Another option I've had a couple of people use is having a courier collect the kitten and deliver it to you. Couriers are often people who work for the airlines who transport pets for a fee as their schedule allows. A lot of times couriers don't know what their schedule will be until very close to time for them to travel with the cat and their schedules can change. If you use a courier it is at your own risk, please be sure you have researched the courier thoroughly because I will not be held responsible for anything that happens to the kitten/cat in their care during transport.
Q: Are chocolate and lilac kittens rare?
A: Chocolate and lilac are not rare in the sense that any breeder can produce those colors simply by placing the right combination of colors or carriers of colors together. However, due to the colorpoint gene (which was long ago introduced into Persians and Exotics from Siamese and is where the chocolate color and Himalayan color came from), it is very very difficult to achieve QUALITY chocolates and lilacs that meet the breed standard. So in my opinion, QUALITY chocolates and lilacs are indeed rare. Many pet owners and beginning breeders think that breed standard simply means extreme face(or high nose), but it is much more than that. The breed standard for Persians and Exotics calls for small ears placed more to the side, large round eyes with rich eye color, a high nose with a deep break, round faces, smooth heads, thick coats, heavy boning, and short compact bodies. When working with the color point gene we often deal with eyes that are too small, ears that are too big, bodies that are too lanky, coats that are more silky and flat than they are plush and full... Unfortunately a lot of chocolate breeders try to capitalize on the color alone and are not really trying at all to bring these wonderful colors closer to the breed standard or to a point where they can compete in the show ring. One of my biggest dreams is to grand champion a chocolate exotic shorthair kitten of my own breeding. It can take years of careful selective breeding for a serious breeder to achieve that goal. So, if you get a chocolate or lilac kitten that meets or comes very close to the breed standard, you definitely have something rare. Perhaps one day these colors will be more of a standard and quality chocolates and lilacs will be easy to find, but for now, that's not the case.
Q: Do you have any advice for new breeders?
A: This is a question that requires a book, not a paragraph to answer. There are so many important things for a new breeder to consider. If you want to do it right, I would say your first step is to research by attending shows, and joining some online groups for breeders to observe. Give some thought to what you want to focus on. I assume some people browsing my site are interested in chocolate or color point exotics since that is my focus is. Chocolate is a challenging but fun color to work with. Chocolate cats are often color point carriers(CPC). Some breeders only breed pure(non CPC)lines. Some only breed color points, some only breed bi colors and some prefer solids. Some breeders do a little bit of everything but it's easier to specialize if you pick one or two. It's all about your preference but it's a decision you don't want to regret, so it's important to make a firm decisions before you go spending money. From there, talk to several breeders that have the sort of cats you are looking for. Make comparisons. Find out what different breeders offer as far as warranties and support go, and what their contract requires of you. Get supplies before cats. You will need grooming tools, birthing/kitten enclosures and space to put them in your home, general meds and kitten birthing supplies, record keeping books, cleaning supplies, litter boxes, quality food, scratching posts, and preferably some back up money in case a cat is ever sick and needs vetted right away. Look for cats that come as close to the breed standard as possible, and ONLY pair that cat with other unrelated cats that also meet the breed standard. Don't try to go against the breed standard; Serious breeders respect the breed standard for their registry and their goal is to meet that standard. Make sure all of your cats are PKD tested. Do not take the word of the breeder that parents are negative, always do your own tests. Vet check each cat. Quarantine new cats. Don't get too many cats, it's easy to become overwhelmed and the cats suffer. Having a small number of well cared for cats will produce better kittens than a large number of neglected cats. Those are only a few pointers, and all breeders will tell you different things but in the end you have to make up your own mind.
Q: What do you recommend for water dishes?
A: Water dishes for Exotics and Persians can be a big deal. It's even more important for longhair cats or show cats. No one who buys an expensive and unique cat want it to look dirty or scruffy, and water dish choices can have a huge effect on your cats appearance. Besides that, there are also issues to consider regarding bacterial growth. There are lots of choices for cat fountains, but what I have found to be a problem with many of them is that they either still allow the cat access to an area of water that is deep or wide enough to soak them, or they don't have a design that lets you know when they are low so you constantly have to top them off with more water, or they are made out of (or contain parts that are) porous plastics. Porous materials like plastic can harbor virus's or bacteria despite your best attempts at cleaning. Fountain pumps themselves are plastic and clog easily with cat fur. It might sound like there is no solution, but there are a few! There are just a few people you can find online who make ceramic pumpless watering dishes designed for flat faced cats. I currently only know of two such sellers, but there might be others. I highly recommend choosing a design that has no pump and takes a glass water bottle, that will hold as much water as possible. The water bottle will be visible so you can see when your water level is getting low, without having to constantly top it off, and the ceramic and glass are both non porous dishes and safe. You don't have to worry about hair clogging a pump or plastic parts harboring dangerous organisms. The small drinking holes will keep your cat clean and dry! Please copy and paste these links to our favorite water dish choices! Ebi Fountains and Charlies Critters.
Here is another link I found, although it's not a site I can vouch for as I have never ordered from them and it looks foreign.
Here is another link I found, although it's not a site I can vouch for as I have never ordered from them and it looks foreign.
Q: Is an exotic shorthair or longhair the right breed for me?
A: I truly hope that all of my new kitten owners have done their research on these special breeds. Nothing is worse for a breeder than when a kitten owner complains months later about how their cat has runny eyes, it's fur mats and stains horribly, or it gets frequent colds. When that happens, we know right away that the person had no idea what they were getting into, they did almost no research, and the cat is most likely being neglected. So to answer this question, the absolute best advice I can give you is to do your research, not just the good things like how playful and sweet these cats are, but also the bad, and take it to heart. When it is said that these are high maintenance cats, it's not a joke. It's a commitment that never goes away. Now, that being said, not all cats are going to be the same. Some will hardly tear at all, while others might need their eyes cleaned out every single day. Some might need brushed twice a day, and others might do well with 3 times a week. Some cats may get horrible fur stains while others stay relatively clean on their own. When you choose a kitten, there is no way to be certain what level of maintenance your cat will require as it grows. It's best to be fully prepared to give daily grooming if needed. Now, if a lower maintenance cat is very important to you, there are a few measures you can take to hopefully choose a lower maintenance cat. One, is choosing a doll face (lower nose). It isn't always the case, but often times, the doll face tears very little, if at all. Another is to buy a shorthair. Shorthair cats can still mat but they are still much easier to groom and many of them don't mat at all. Many times, they don't tear as bad as the longhair. They do, however, tend to shed a great deal more than the longhair. If staining is a big worry for you, choose a darker color. A white cat will show staining much worse than a dark color like black or red. Now, as far as colds go, you have to know that these are fragile breeds, they are not like your regular cat. The way their faces are built can cause more frequent colds. But there are measures you can take to limit and/or prevent illness. A strong immune system is the key here. Feed only high quality, high protein food that is free of soy, wheat, and corn. Always have access to plenty of clean water. Keep your cat indoors in a relatively stress free environment. All of that will go a long way in keeping colds at bay. Lastly I would just like to say, that if you feel unsure after doing research, please look into other breeds that have a breed standard that better fit your desires. You may find that you are much happier with a British Shorthair, a Siamese, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Berman, or one of the many other cat breeds.