How do I get a kitten from an individual or a breeder?
Your main options to get a kitten, other than a shelther, are to go through either a breeder or just a random individual person whose cat has gotten pregnant and needs to get rid of the kittens. Breeders, just so you know, are not the same thing as kitten mills. These are private individuals who breed pedigree cats, just like a dog breeder. Most cats aren't purebred, but you can still get them if you're willing to spend some money. Cat breeders can vary dramatically in quality, philosophy, etc., but in general you should have no problems if you decide to buy through one. There are some easy "tip-offs" though about their quality just so you make sure it's not a mill. Ask to go see where they are breeding the cats. Look for whether or not they are asking you questions. If they aren't concerned about whether you'd provide a good home, it's a sign they aren't concerned about the cat. You can also tell a lot by the adult cats they have as pets - how friendly they are, etc.
If you're getting kittens from an individual whose cat happened to be pregnant, it's harder to get a good feel because they aren't experts. They may just not know what they're doing, and it's harder to tell what kind of life the kitten has had. It's usually not hard to find kittens this way - look for bulletin boards at a church, community center, stores, etc. You can also look for ads in the classifieds. You want a kitten that is healthy and has been socialized with people to at least some extent. You also don't want it too young. They shouldn't be separated from their mother and the other kittens until around 6-8 weeks old. Just try to get a feel for how the people have been taking care of it to make sure it's healthy. One other morality issue here is that you may not want to buy from people who haven't gotten the mother fixed. It's just asking for it to happen again, and it's just not a good idea to encourage people to let their cats keep having kittens when we don't have enough homes for them all.
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