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Letters: Hannes Keyser – Devon Rex from a controversial cattery in Pretoria West

| December 30, 2011

Dear Kittycat

I would like to share my past experience with the readers of and the cat federation.

About 3 month ago in April I decided to finally get myself “pedigree” cats that I usually only see in photo’s or at cat shows. I eventually settled for a Devon Rex from a controversial cattery in Pretoria West. Other Devon Rex breeders did warn me about this cattery but I didn’t think much of it at the time. My experience was that none of the breeders have anything good to say about each other. When going to look at the kittens I noticed that the one I wanted (a choc seal point) had a discharge in the eye. I was hesitant to buy the cat but since it has been quite a task to get Devon kittens I justified this sale thinking that it won’t be a trainsmash to take him to the vet to get checked out after the purchase . . . at least I found the colour and breed I always wanted. Besides the breeders comment was that they just had their first injections and that was why they appeared sick. She also gave him an antibiotic shot and gave me powdered antibiotics to give to him later if he didn’t get better. I am a first time buyer – seemed like a good deal?

B I G M I S T A K E.

I eventually had to take the poor kitten to the vet a total of 8 times as he was suffering from what was called Feline Herpes Virus and the kitten is very close to dying after suffering from this disease for the past 3 months. I never thought to call up the cattery however my vet recommended that I do so just to warn the owner that this highly contagious disease could be present in that cattery. It is a highly contagious and is common of “Cattery” type conditions. This particular cattery sells a high volume of cats and later after calling up the owner she told me that she actually buys cats from other catteries as well and will have to check up. No ownership or accountability whatsoever even after we clearly expressed a concern about the discharge in the eyes during the purchase. I suppose that I can’t exactly blame the cattery. The signs were there . . . all I can do is warn potential buyers to learn from the mistakes that I have made through this learning process after consulting with my vet and reading up about this disease:

When considering to buy a kitten take notice of the following:

1. Don’t be hasty in making your purchase.

2. Kittens are not supposed to get “sick” after their injections, especially not 2 weeks after. Check when the first injections were given.

3. Ask when the kittens have been taken from their mothers. Apparently they get the white antibodies which will take care of viruses like FHV from their mother’s milk. If taken away to soon they won’t have as strong an immune system.

4. Ask to see the cats parents. This is a good tool to see if they came from a different breeder. Might also be worth it to be upfront and enquire if the cat was purchased from another cattery. If so be careful as you would not have seen where and from what conditions the cat came from. (I just shiver of the idea that my loving pet was possibly traded off a few times down the breeder chain). It is however a money making business but we do have the choice and right to at least ask the whereabouts of the cats origin.

5. Check the vaccination certificate. It is probably better for peace of mind if this comes from a respected veterinary clinic. Also check if the batchnumber and sticker of the vaccine is stuck in the certificate.

6. Be carefull of breeders issuing antibiotics. Don’t know if the vetinary medicine works the same as for humans but last time I checked only qualified professionals can issue antibiotics.

7. Go read up about feline herpervirus. If the kitten or any other kittens in the cattery show any symptoms be careful.

I trust that this information can be useful to any prospective buyers.


Hannes Keyser

Kitten passed away on 5 July 2007

Category: Feline Resources

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