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Dear Pammy, Trouble with my purebred

A commenter asks:

My husband and I adopted a female, That we think is a Russian Blue, from a pet shop 2 years ago. She was there from a kitten on. When we got her, she was 1 year old. She hid from us, and was flighty around us a lot. She is 3 now. I dont think she was held or cuddled at all at the pet store. She was left in the store at night in back with a couple of other cats that were there. And during the day in the store to run as she pleased. She doesnt like being held at all! She gets upset and fights to get away from us. She likes being in a bedroom by herself to sleep during the day. But, will come up at night or during the day sometimes and lay by us on our laps on a blanket. She will not come in our bed by us and sleep. She did at first though. We have another cat here. At first she did not like her, and bullied her. Now, for the most part, They get along. They will wash each other…Start playing, and then end up fighting…and we have to break it up. Our other cat will sleep in our bed with us at night. From what I read…Our RB should want to cuddle, or be by us more? I love her, and want to have her want to cuddle with me. I dont know why she is so flighty with being picked up.

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, this situation has a low chance of resolving properly. Because we might not be dealing with a cat who functions properly. This is a case of a purebred bought from a pet store.

This is the worst way to get a cat.

ABORT! ABORT!! Catastroffic Portal Malfunkshun!!!

It’s about deficits in genetics and socialization.

kitten mill genes

While puppy mills get more publicity, there are also kitten mills. Both are horrendous practices.

With cats, it’s usually less of a production line, and more of a “backyard breeder” situation. Someone gets a purebred kitten and decides to make some money. Unscrupulous breeders do not require a altering contract, so one bad breeder leads to another. Any other purebred will do; the “standard” only requires that one registered cat mate with another registered cat of the same breed.

Only it’s not that simple.

Any restricted gene pool is going to run into trouble. From isolated human communities to inept cat breeding, giving nature fewer genes to choose from creates way too many dysfunctional combinations.

Science has isolated certain “laws of attraction” which indicates that people find the exotic, erotic. I spent many of my formative years in a small Southern town; and I found myself attracted to brainy “New York” intellectual types. When I moved North to pursue this interest, I discovered these local ladies were attracted to Southern accents and Southern charm.

This has an evolutionary advantage. It brings Hybrid Vigor; the concept that using different gene pools decreases the chances of recessive combinations coming up in the dice roll of reproduction.

This is why I love seeing certain breeds in the shelter; Maine Coon in Reverend Jim and Mithrandir, Norwegian Forest Cat in Olwyn and James Bond, and stealth Siamese in Tristan. Because they aren’t purebred; meaning I get the best of both worlds.

The traits I like, without the health drawbacks.

Because if we delve into any breed, we find health warnings. It’s the inevitable consequence of trying for more of certain traits; traits we don’t want come along for the ride.

Ethical breeders have their cats mate to keep these problems to a minimum, and require altering contracts. This is to keep trouble out of the gene pool.

My cat Smokepuff is a classic example of the backyard breeder problem kitten. While in looks he was a gorgeous Chantilly-Tiffany, a rare breed of cat; I got him free, in a rescue situation, because he was so shy the breeder couldn’t sell him.

While I understood him, and let him realize the potential of his big muffiny heart, he dodged one genetic time bomb only to have to be put to sleep when another one detonated.

Sadly, this is a best case scenario.

Many people wind up with large vet bills from persistent health problems that the kitten should have been inoculated against, or caught from poor care, or are simply doomed because their genetics won’t let them live a healthy life.

poor socialization

Ideally, all kittens are “raised underfoot,” with lots of socialization with cat and humans. This lets them go on to lead a happy, friend-filled, life.

This poor kitten had whatever socialization she might have acquired wiped out by spending her first year in a cage at the pet shop. We are dealing with limited play, limited petting, limited exposure to anything that would let her develop her brain and personality.

This is what happens when we treat a living thing like light bulbs.

Pet shops really shouldn’t sell puppies and kittens. This “stocking problem” is compounded by the ways puppies and kittens wind up in pet shops; as overstocks and unsellable merchandise from unscrupulous breeders.

deep rescue

People know this; and are compelled to rescue. Of course I understand that.

Even if we don’t know what we have gotten into when we think we have found our dream breed at a bargain price, we fall in love regardless. We want to bring them home and give them all the love they missed out on. It is absolutely an admirable impulse.

We need to know what we are up against, that’s all. I would say, considering all the hurdles that have been put in front of this poor cat, this commenter is doing an incredible job. She and her husband have this cat enjoying a cat friend and getting real affection from her humans.

Might this cat go further? Possibly. I recommended my favorite Affection Moves for shy cats: Pet with Voice, Invisible Petting, and my latest post on shy cat coaxing, Dear Pammy, My cat is a lap cat now!

Hopefully this cat has a long and happy life ahead of her, which will encourage her to keep building on that base of trust. To get, and give, more love.

This is why animal rights activists keep demanding laws that will protect both humans and cats from these soul shredding practices that are only good for the people who think only of profit. Society is better off without such practices.

The more we demand action, the more we will reap the benefits.

    I explain how we should approach acquiring a purebred cat in Save Money on Purebred Cats: The Right Way.

    Find out more with a visit to my page on How to Choose the Right Cat.

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