Purebred or Rescue: Which is Right for You?

When deciding on getting a new feline friend, aside from deciding on if you want a kitten or an adult cat, once you have made that decision, next is whether or not to get a purebred kitten from a breeder or to adopt from a rescue centre, such as SPCA, Lonely Meow or Nine Lives.

There are a number of benefits to either option and ultimately the right choice for you will depend on you.

We’ve compiled a list of things to think about when choosing between a purebred or a rescue, hopefully, to assist you in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.

Cost: We had to start somewhere and this is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of getting a rescue. Price. Rescue cats are generally less expensive, with adoption fees typically ranging from $50-$200, and most if not all rescue cats and kittens will come already spayed or neutered. Purebred cats can be expensive, with some breeds costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Health and genetics: Purebred cats and kittens have known genetic histories, which can be beneficial if you are concerned about potential inherited health issues, however, due to inbreeding they can also be at greater risk of developing serious medical conditions.  We recommend using a recognised, established breeder where possible. Never buy “off the shelf”, make sure you can see the kittens/cats at the breeder’s before buying, and never purchase from Trademe or Facebook Marketplace without visiting first. On the other hand, rescue cats and kittens, have unknown genetic histories and may have been exposed to Feline Infectious Enteritis (Parvovirus, Panleukopenia Virus) or other illnesses, and therefore be at risk for certain health issues.

Personality and temperament: While both purebred and rescue cats and kittens can have a wide range of personalities and temperaments, some popular cat breeds are known for desirable traits. Persians, Maine Coons, and Siamese are known for their friendly and affectionate personalities. Russian Blues, Scottish Folds, and Sphynx are known for their independent and low-maintenance personalities.  Rescue cats can be more of an unknown, but often some of the nicest cats are rescues, maybe because of their wide genetic makeup or maybe it’s because you’ve saved them.

Breed characteristics: Each cat breed has its own unique set of characteristics and traits, and it’s important to consider which will be the best fit for your lifestyle. For example, some breeds, such as Persians, Maine Coons, Birmans and Ragdolls, require regular grooming due to their long hair, while others, such as Siamese, Burmese, Bengal and Sphynx,  are typically more vocal. Consider your preferences and lifestyle when deciding which breed is right for you.

Saving a life: As I mentioned above, adopting a shelter cat not only gives you the opportunity to bring a new furry friend into your home, but it also helps to save a life. The SPCA and other feline rescue centres are always full of cats waiting for loving homes.  By adopting from a shelter, you are not only giving a cat a second chance, but you are also helping to make room for other animals in need.

The decision between a purebred and a rescue will ultimately come down to your preferences and situation. Just remember both will make wonderful companions and with the right care and consideration, they will bring you happiness and love for a very long time.