From an honest breeder to another...
It is important to consider if a trade is really a smart or beneficial move for your programme given that you cannot see ahead into the future and guarantee any results. First of all, trade-‐offs often cause friction between the breeders involved if both parties do not get the outcome from such a deal as they had expected or hoped for.
In the first instance it works out well because the Seller has placed the kitten into a preferred home with someone they like or someone who has a nice programme to their taste. The buyer will often have traits or lines that the Seller doesn’t have and therefore it can seem like a great idea at the time. The buyer also feels more than happy to agree to the trade off because they get the kitten they wanted without much or any payment in exchange and they get to work with the cat/ lines of their choice. At this point everything is going great and may stay that way should the outcome work out well.
More often now you will be offered an exchange on the next litter or a ‘kitten back’ deal either from the sold kitten or one of the buyers other cats. In this case, there are many things you need to consider before agreeing to such deals. I want to go over a few points here and will outline below:
A year or three passes and the kitten is now breeding age
1. What if the cat doesn’t have the desired sex of kitten outlined in the trade off?
You see now what happens is the original deal is often changed because now the buyer is at an advantage and the seller has now lost out on the kitten back they were hoping for. Often the conversation will contain phrases such as “oh but I thought that” “Oh I just assumed that” “Well can we do this instead”. IT would be natural for the seller to feel ‘short changed’ in this case and they start to resent the buyer, even though it was likely the sellers idea in the first place, I see this all the time. A situation may arise where the seller suddenly feels entitled to a higher generation kitten because they have waited so long for a kitten back if it has been years of waiting or they need to wait until the next litter. When they have placed a kitten with the buyer worth £3,000 or £6,000 and they are still waiting 3 years for a kitten back, the frustration arises that they should’ve waited and sold it in the first place, because the buyer is now benefitting from the breeding and the seller isn’t. This is natural human feelings but it’s preventing it from happening in the first place which is important. This is why if you did decide to sell on this route then it is important to have every entuality in your contract which means it’s written in black and white. Beware though that
even though you agree to a contract won’t stop the resentment feeling which is only natural, should things go wrong. What’s more important in your relationship?
2. What if the cat only had one and it’s the one you want?
Did you stipulate that the kitten should be given to you from the first litter or was it just ‘a kitten back’? You leave yourself wide open to being taken advantage of should this issue arise. If you agree to a kitten back make sure you stipulate the terms very clearly. Should it be from the first litter and if there is only one kitten should it be that one kitten that comes to you? If not, then perhaps by the third litter or it can be completely at your request when you decide, so the buyer must offer the kittens to you by first before anyone else?
3. What if the kittens aren’t breeding quality?
So you sold them a lovely cat without actually exchanging funds but is there a get out clause if they aren’t breeder quality? I mean, did it say ‘a breeder quality kitten back’ or just a kitten back? Be absolutely clear on what you require in exchange for all the hard work you and your beautiful cats have done to produce this kitten. If the cats aren’t compatible or they just aren’t up to standard for what your eye usually demands then can you say you would prefer to be paid instead?
4. Do you get to assist in the mating choice for your kitten back?
You might not want a mel carrier or you might need one! If they only have one which will give you the genes you want back then make sure that you agree what you are looking for beforehand and that way there is no confusion.Agree on certain studs or queens as part of the deal to ensure that you really do get the benefit out of the wait otherwise there would be no point in doing the exchange in the first place, which brings me to my next point:
5. Do you agree to ‘pick of the litter’?
IF you agree to ‘pick of the litter’ you are agreeing to the best out of a bunch. Just because there are 8 kittens it doesn’t mean that any of them are breeder quality but you have agreed to take the best of the bunch because it then concludes the deal. This then means that just to conclude the deal, there are substandard cats being injected back into the blood of your programme instead of really waiting for the ones that really work with your aims and objectives. There would be no point in doing a pick of the litter agreement unless you were absolutely confident on the pairing, but in this game there are no guarantees, it’s Russian roulette, it’s just your luck and some of us are lucky….some of us not so. Don’t just settle because it means that you finally conclude after 3 years waiting.
6. What if you discover a genetic fault in the line and they have already had kittens from the cat?
It doesn’t happen very often thankfully but occasionally things do crop up.. IF the buyer has bred your cat and sold the offspring you have your ‘kitten-‐back’ and things are going great then there is a problem in the line you need to work together to achieve an eradication of this fault. Some things are normal and ‘just happen’ some things are part of growth and differ in the kittens, some things are genetic and need to be removed from the line. In this instance do they get another cat as a replacement despite the fact that no money has changed hands and you already have your kitten back? Protect yourself. These things happen but when there has been no money changing hands, you don’t want to be sued for a replacement cat that was worth £6,000 when you weren’t even paid for it in the first place. People can change and sometimes things going wrong can change people’s attitudes and expectations.
7. What if the cat gets ill and dies before you get your kitten back?
Occasionally a cat will get pyometra through no fault of the buyer or seller before the kitten is a year old. It would be up to the parties to agree what should be done to prevent this and what expectations each party has. Some breeders may completely disagree on these terms and then the blame gets placed on the other party. The parties need to agree if a cat has X heat cycles then it will be bred but only by X months old or by X cat in the cattery. This means that if anything should happen to the cat through lack of breeding before one year old then the onus is on the seller to decide if they want to give the buyer another kitten or close the deal off. This would mean that there would be no kitten due back to the Seller for the original deal. If the cat gets ill from something else or isn’t fertile then there needs to be an agreement on what outcome or procedure would be followed to prevent argument or disagreement. Make it clear.
8. What if now is not the right time for your kitten back?
Is there a time limit? The buyer may not want to feel like they ‘owe you’ something indefinitely and might ask respectfully that you choose from the litter they have available. I would always make it clear that there is no specific timeline on this and it is up to you when you decide for your kitten back or what choice you make for your programme. You are the one who has bred this kitten by your own standards to get it to this point and so therefore it is up to you to choose which one you would like back. Likewise though, I would always ensure you place a number on this to respect the buyers cattery such as ‘by the X litter but only if there has been a choice of at least X males/females in the total amount of kittens which have been offered back’. Don’t limit yourself to 3rd litter – what if it’s all boys and you wanted a girl? By their rights they wouldn’t need to give you one back.
Think you’ve covered everything? Think again. Think of every eventuality – these points are just some of the things to consider in a kitten back contract.
This is exactly the reason why we don’t do them. It’s not worth the hassle.
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All about Stylisticat, written by Kayleigh McIntosh-Lowrie