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Trends in the Cat Fancy: A Decrease in Kitten Adoptions

In the Spring of 2022 I began hearing many reputable breeders still having BEAUTIFUL available kittens that were now 5-6 months old. They had dropped prices to a ridiculous low with still no inquiries and the inquiries they got were poor quality. My ground transporter told me it wasn’t just the cat world, the dog breeder clients they transported for too were seeing similar issues. Some find this time of the year is always slow as people save for their summer trips. I thought maybe it was only new breeders who are not as established or have the same following or reputation as the older well known breeders. So I set out to figure what trends I could find in the community that could shed some insight on what was going on. I set up an anonymous survey via Survey Planet and shared it to numerous breeders directly as well as on my personal facebook pages and various breed specific facebook groups. Much to my pleasure and surprise we received almost 150 detailed responses.

The survey was a 14 question survey with two additional questions addressing if the participant would like the results. A large majority of the questions were directed towards how breeders advertised, the inquiries they received and pricing related demographics. In total there were 148 participants. While the survey was available worldwide a majority of the responses were within the United States and most breeders sold kittens primarily nationally at 56.9%.

Many breeders felt there were numerous reasons sales had decreased. While most participants blamed the economy (35.1%) and the pandemic (12.9%), Restrictions on social media (13.8%), more breeders in the area (16%) and other reasons were among potential factors. While 12.4% of participants were new breeders 66% experienced a reduction in sales however there seemed to be little correlation between time one has been breeding and reduction of sales:

30.3% breeding >5 years - 60%

20.7% breeding >10 years - 89% 36.6% breeding 15+ years - 61.5%

While most breeders (51.4%) are getting weekly inquiries, most are backyard breeders or scammers versus quality potential kitten owners.

Most breeders are choosing to advertise via social media (34.4%) with 52.9% using facebook as their primary platform. 31.7% use their website as another advertising source usually through pictures versus live videos or written text posts.

36.4% of breeders priced their kittens in the $1200-$1800 range while 31.5% priced at $2000-$3000. Across the board regardless of price range, approximately 64% of breeders are seeing a decrease in sales.

Of those pricing below $1000, 58.3% have seen a decrease in sales

Of those pricing $1200-$1800, 66%

Of those pricing above $2000-$3000, 67.4%

Of those pricing above $3000+, 66% Of the 118 participants who answered the question, 38.9% have already or are considering increasing their prices due to the increased cost of care and demand for their kittens while 21% have already or are planning to reduce their prices because they are not selling their kittens or the market is demanding a reduced price. 33.8% will not be and have no plans to change their prices. Regardless of any circumstances 64.6% of breeders won’t consider retiring from breeding in fact only 12.5% are considering it.

Breeders were given an opportunity to respond with additional comments. Many would like to stick together, stay strong and demand quality prices for quality, ethical bred kittens. In addition breeders should support and work together better to sell kittens. Others have stated it's important we continue to support new breeders and keep the fancy going. Older breeders are passing away or retiring and few young new breeders are staying around long enough to impact and keep the breed going. It's equally as important to push out the backyard and unethical breeders and stress the importance of early spay and neuter before sending kittens home to their families. All in all many felt as a community, we need to ride out this decline in sales and consider breeding fewer litters for a bit until the economy turns around.

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