This article is from the Getting A Cat FAQ, posted to rec.pets.cats newsgroup. Maintained by Cindy Tittle Moore with numerous contributions by others.
If you want to buy a purebred cat or kitten, you will need to look for a good, responsible breeder. Do not patronize pet shops or look for breeders in the paper, or you may end up with an unhealthy or poorly socialized kitten. A good way to meet breeders is at cat shows, which are listed in cat magazines like Cat Fancy or Cats. Cat shows are also a good opportunity to learn about the different breeds of cats.
Try to talk to more than one breeder before buying a kitten. Look for honest breeders who care about their cats' welfare, and who have good-natured cats. Talk to breeders about inherited health problems. Ask about how the cats are raised. If possible, visit the cattery before buying a kitten. Listen to your intuitions; if you feel anything is "not right" about this breeder, go to another breeder.
A good breeder asks you questions, too, to find out if you are a good home for a kitten. The breeder may also ask that you sign a contract requiring you to care properly for this kitten. This is normal, and is a sign of a responsible breeder. Expect to pay $300-400 or more for a "pet quality" kitten, depending on the breed and your area. Breeders also may have purebred adults available at low or no cost to a good home.
The variety of purebred cats can be bewildering. Breed FAQs are available to help you understand the differences between the various breeds.