The Main Rights and Obligations of Cat Breeders

Buying an animal is a matter of trust: the breeder wants his cats to come into good hands. The buyers, in turn, trust that the breeder has done everything in his power to give their new roommate a healthy start in life. It, therefore, helps both parties to consider the rights and obligations of cat breeders before buying. Because unfortunately there are disappointments every now and then: buyers feel cheated, breeders prejudiced – and the dispute takes its course. We give tips and good advice in advance: In the event of a conflict, always seek a solution-oriented conversation first, without rubbing around on allegations. That brings more than threatening the lawyer.

Hardly any breeder, but also hardly an animal shelter, gives away a cat without a contract. This contains various contractual conditions with which the breeder would like to protect his animal. We give a small overview of possible contents:

The Castration of the Cat

A common point of contention regarding the rights and duties of cat breeders is castration. The following passage can often be found in a contract: “The cat or the tomcat must be neutered up to the age of one year.” From a legal point of view, this contract is not so easy to enforce.

Because the new owners are now the owners of the cat. On the other hand, breeders understandably want to prevent their velvet paws from falling into the hands of “multipliers” or from wanting to “just” see kittens grow up. There is a good reason why they specifically sell pets that are not supposed to be used in breeding. The breeder also has two more sensible options.

Early castration

First: He can have the cat neutered himself. This means early castration between the sixth and 14th weeks of life. Breeders can add the cost to the purchase price. In this way, you can be sure that the new owners do not breed with the animal they love. Early castrations are usually very well tolerated. It is controversial whether this leads to behavioral changes in cats. Some speak of the fact that cats will remain “children” throughout their lives.

Purchase of a breeding animal and refund

Second, another option is to make the buyer pay the price for a breeding animal. Subsequently, both parties regulate in the contract that the buyer gets back the difference to the purchase price of a pet animal as soon as he sends the breeder proof of castration.

An example: The breeding animal costs 1,300 euros, whereas the pet animal only costs 600 euros. The buyer first pays 1,300 euros and later receives 700 euros back, provided he can prove the castration. If the buyers get involved and the breeder pays the money back immediately after receiving the proof, this is certainly a good solution.

If these costs are too high at the beginning, you may not be able to pay high veterinary costs in an emergency. In addition: A regular castration takes place between the fifth and twelfth months of life, so the buyer will get the money back soon.

What rights do cat breeders have when reselling the cat?

Breeders often contractually stipulate that they are informed prior to resale if the owner no longer wants or can no longer keep the animal. The breeder is then entitled, depending on the contract, to accept the cat again with little or no selling price. This clause is intended to protect the cat from falling into bad hands.

It is a comprehensible protective measure: Many breeders give a lot of thought to which cat is right for whom before giving away a kitten. Some even look at the new home. You want to make sure that your charges are safe. If after a year in the new home there is no more space for the velvet paw due to separation or other reasons, the breeder still wants to know that they are in good hands.

Do buyers have to adhere to the right of first refusal?

There is no clear clarity about this. In principle, a right of first refusal is possible according to §§ 463 ff. BGB. However, a reasonable price should be paid – the animal does not have to go back to the breeder free of charge if the new owner no longer wants it. If the new owner sells the cat to another person without the consent of the breeder, the breeder is entitled to compensation. This depends on the current value of the cat. However, there are many pitfalls here for both sides.

Pet owners who can no longer or do not want to hold their velvet paws should, in fairness, inform the breeder about this. If a good, new home has already been found, breeders are cooperative and agree. Alternatively, you may have other people interested in the cat through your many contacts. Every cat lover should be able to understand that cat breeders want to be informed about the whereabouts of their former protégés.

What happens to down payments?

Many breeders write on their homepage: If you are interested in a kitten, you have to pay a deposit to reserve it. This makes sense in that many kitten buyers visit several breeders. Some of them reserve animals that they will not buy. A point of contention is therefore often what rights and obligations cat breeders have when paying the deposit.

When a kitten turns 14 weeks old, the breeder may not find new prospects quickly enough. Or he has already agreed to cat friends who have fallen in love with the little kitten but have now moved in with another. Once the cat is older, it can become more difficult to convey it. It is understandable and legitimate for the breeder to ask for a deposit.

However, every cat breeder should understand if they ask for a few days to think about it. After all, it is also in his interest that the purchase of a cat is carefully considered. Some then mark the kittens on the homepage with “has interested parties” before they “reserve” it.

If you have made a binding reservation for a kitten and the breeder cannot sell it to you, you are of course entitled to a refund. It looks different if you change your mind spontaneously. Then your deposit is forfeited and you have to rely on the goodwill of the breeder if you want the money back.

What are the responsibilities of cat breeders to the health of their kittens?

When it comes to kittens who get sick after buying them, there are also often discussions about the rights and obligations of cat breeders. Animals are not considered to be things from a purely legal point of view, but the law often treats them as such. This also includes the warranty law. This means that if a cat “does not have the properties that were agreed upon at the time of purchase” after the purchase, the buyer can return it or subsequently reduce the purchase price. For example, if you buy a breeding cat and it turns out to be sterile to begin with. It is seldom that clear, however.

There is also a “deficiency” in animals that were already sick at the time of sale. This applies to worm infections, for example, but can also include hereditary diseases such as heart disease. In contrast to pure consumer goods, the buyer has to cooperate when it comes to the burden of proof. Because a cat’s body is not a car. This means: It can be difficult to prove that the cat was already sick at the breeder. It is helpful to introduce the cat to your own veterinarian shortly after it arrives at the new home and to have a health check carried out here.

So if the cat has a “defect”, the buyer can insist on rework. So in theory he could bring the kitten back to the breeder. He then nurses it back to health and gives it back to the buyer. In practice, however, it makes more sense to only bill the breeder for the veterinary costs. However, this variant again offers the possibility that the breeder could dismiss some treatments as unnecessary.

Theoretically, the buyer can also withdraw from the contract or request a new kitten as a “replacement”. But since animals are not things, but purr into our hearts after a few minutes, this is not a realistic scenario.

What should I do if I have bought a sick kitten?

Our recommendation is: If you have bought a cat from a breeder that becomes ill shortly after purchasing it, it is advisable to talk to the breeder in question first. If this is serious, he will be interested in finding out the causes of the disease as soon as possible. As is so often the case in life, both sides achieve more here if they work together rather than against each other.

However, if the breeder reacts negatively, although you suspect that the cat was already sick when the cat was handed over, it may be worth visiting a lawyer. Because then it is often not “just” about a single cat, but about a “black sheep” among breeders.

Cat Breeder Rights and Obligations: The Right Contract

If you want to breed or breed cats, get advice from your club or, even better, from a lawyer with regard to the purchase contract. In this way, you can avoid certain conditions becoming ineffective, for example, because you set too high a contractual penalty or something similar. You can also exchange ideas with other members about the rights and obligations of cat breeders in an association. In this way, you learn firsthand and you can always ask for advice if you have problems.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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