Dealing with kitten enquiries is something that every cat breeder has to do. By doing it well you stand far more chance of not only finding homes for your kittens but more importantly you have far more chance of finding good and permanent homes for your precious kittens.
As a cat breeder there comes a time when all of us have to begin to sort through and reply to countless kitten enquiries. It can be a very time consuming activity but also a very important one. The people that get in contact are potential new ‘slaves’ to our kittens and as their breeders we owe to these tiny little lives to pick out the right people! But when dealing with kitten enquiries how do you know how to picking the right people? How can you tell who are potential time-wasters and who are serious potential homes for your kittens?
Let’s say that you have a beautiful litter of four kittens, everything has gone well so far and all four are happy, healthy and bringing you lots of joy (and work!) looking after them. They are around 6 – 7 weeks old and you have decided that you would like to keep one as a potential new breeding queen. That leaves you with three little kittens that need to find new forever homes.
After browsing the internet and reading articles on how to find homes for your kittens you are now ready to introduce your gorgeous kittens to the general public. After placing one or two kitten adverts online you await telephone and email responses. As the enquiries begin to come in you seriously consider how to respond or if you should respond at all.
Remember that first impressions count for a lot. This is a rule that works both ways. How you respond to enquiries for your kittens can either interest people further or put them off completely. Just as you wish to find the right people for your precious litter of kittens, those getting in contact with you, no doubt, want to make sure that they find the right cat breeder for their potential new kitten.
The first thing to remember is to always be polite. In my experience 90% of kitten enquiries warrant a polite reply. Manners cost nothing and, even if you do not receive a lengthy email or phone call outlining exactly whether this person has the right circumstances or lifestyles to suit on of your kittens, a person may open up to after the initial contact.
Granted; an email containing the line ‘how much iz ur kittens?’ is highly unlikely to lead to a serious kitten enquiry and would not even be worth a response from me. However, most other brief enquiries are usually worth following up. One way to sort out the serious from the time-wasters is to reply as follows:
Thank you for your enquiry. We do have three kittens currently available who will be interviewing potential new ‘slaves’ shortly. If you would like to know more about them or have any questions then feel free to ring me on the following number before 9pm in the evenings.
Many emails will be much longer and will usually tell you something about the person and the pets they currently have or tales of their current feline family and also cats that they have previously owned. Read each one and reply to these emails personally, making sure you do not send out a template email, please personalise each and every email.
Remember that every email ignored or every text message answered abruptly is one potential new home for one of your kittens lost. Some enquirers find communicating with people difficult; but that does not mean that they would not make wonderful new ‘slaves’ for one of your kittens. If someone does not feel comfortable with the way you replied to them then chances are they will look for another cat breeder. The first impression you give really does count.
But how can you be sure that the kitten enquirer is going to give a wonderful home to one of your kittens?
One of the hardest decisions you are ever likely to make regarding your litter of kittens is choosing their new homes. One thing I never do is sell a kitten purely over email alone. If a person does not want to ring after they have been provided with a number then I am afraid they do not get a kitten.
Always insist that a person comes round to meet you and the kitten before they are ready to leave home. This gives ample opportunity to for you to ask them questions and for you to watch how they interact with the kittens. 9 times out of 10 I find that I get a ‘feeling’ about a person and the more you chat to a person the more you find out about them. Try asking a couple of the following questions:
Have you had an cat before?
What made you decide that you wanted an cat?
Do you have any other pets?
These questions may not seem that important but they will allow the person to open up and usually a genuine cat lover will tell you all the things you want to know without even needing to be asked! By starting a casual conversation you can get a feel for a person and determine whether or not they are suitable; without them leaving feeling as though they have just been through the Spanish Inquisition.
Ultimately, as much as we love each and everyone of our kittens most of them will need to find loving new homes to call their own. Finding the right people for your kittens may seem like a daunting task but get it right and it is one of the most rewarding parts of breeding cats. To see your gorgeous kittens in their new homes, to receive photos and emails and phone calls expressing the joy your little kittens are bringing to another family can in itself make all the heart ache and hard work worth it.
So when dealing with kitten enquiries what methods do you use to sort the genuine people from the tyre kickers and how do you respond to the initial enquiries to make yourself stand out from the crowd? I would be really interested in your ideas, please add them in the comments section below.
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Tina is Siamese and Oriental cat breeder and regular contributor to Siamese Cat Breeder. Breeding and showing her cats and kittens under the prefix Mullsi, Tina can often be found at Cat Shows.