I just couldn't resist (now that I'm home) letting everyone know how much fun I had at your home! The cats were delightful and I appreciate your hospitality. Here's the mail I'm sending to ________________:
Lynne asked me to give you my comments after visiting her cattery this weekend. I was in Toronto at a veterinary conference, and was able to get away for a day for some other commitments. One of the things I was looking forward to was visiting Lynne.
This was my first visit to her home, although I had met her and her cats before. When I saw her cats at a show last fall, I was impressed by their personality and health. I suspect you can understand how entranced I was by the Sphynx!
At her home, the first thing I noticed was the cleanliness and lack of "cat" odour present. In my work as a feline vet, I do cattery visits often, and the first think I look for is cleanliness. Lynne has a large home and her cats are divided up into colonies according to age group, which is the recommended way. Each group of cats has a large area, including an outdoor screened-in exercise area for the summer.
The majority of her cats have free run of the house and as soon as I arrived, several came to sit on my lap in minutes. She has wisely provided a lot of vertical space for them in the form of shelves, climbing apparatus, etc. This is often overlooked by breeders, when vertical space is a very important thing to cats. There is no crowding, another factor I evaluate as this contributes to stress levels and overall health. I saw no cats acting stressed or anti-social, either to other cats or to people. When I arrived, a young couple were there picking out a kitten. Since I was the third stranger to arrive in the space of an hour, I was impressed by the friendliness of all the cats. The Sphynx and Devons were not shy at all, and wanted to be seen and noticed. Preferably in my lap!
The kitten rooms were clean and spacious. The kittens are grouped by age and vaccination status. I can't emphasize how important this management factor is, and how often overlooked. The kittens literally mobbed me, competing for attention. In the whole house, I saw not one shy cat. I can see that Lynne has selected wisely for personality, and this is one of the things I think is very important in a breeding program.
All kittens were healthy -- no external parasites, all with normal skin and haircoat (a sign of good health), no respiratory or eye infections evident, no evidence of diarrhea. I did not hear one sneeze or cough the whole afternoon. The kittens played happily around us as we talked, eating, running, climbing, wrestling with each other. I particularly watched to see if any were hanging back or isolating themselves and none were. At one point, I had a lapful of contented, snoozing kittens.
I know from personal experience how hard it is to be a conscientious breeder. In my work as a vet, I've met those who succeed and those who don't. Having had the chance to inspect Lynne's cattery, I know she is succeeding. Her efforts to raise healthy cats are evident as is the amount of work, care, and attention she puts into it.
Please let me know if you have any questions I can answer for you. I think you are fortunate to get a cat from this breeder. Congratulations!
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Dr. Susan Little
Bytown Cat Hospital
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