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Why Is a Kitten So Expensive?

So the decision is made – you are purchasing a kitten! A beautiful one. Like the one you have seen in advertisement on TV recently. A highbred, with passport, sorry, with rather ancestry of 12 generations. And, of course, a healthy one, with a veterinary passport, with vaccination marks.
You dial the advertised number of the nursery and find out the price of a kitten; and… Well, it’s not that you’re sparing money, but it’s just not understandable, what you pay such money for?
The question of price formation in all fields of human industry always caused, causes and will rather cause bevildered questions, the answers to which were are and rather would be ambiguous. And the article, you’re reading at the moment, is one of the numerous attempts to answer those bevildered questions about the kittens’ price formation. This is not a scientific, but an everyday article.
Let’s start with the point that you haven’t gone to a pet shop or a pet market for your kitten, you haven’t bought it in a subway passage (which is a sensible decision itself). You have called a nursery. You’ve applied to professionals, the people, who know what, how, when and how much to buy, give, do in order to let you enjoy beauty, harm, tenderness and affection of your pet. You may often hear that yard cats get rarely ill and live long. It is possible. Possible, but:
- you shouldn’t forget that it can be said only about cats, older than one  year old; only these cats have passed terrible natural selection; but if a kitten younger than 2 months (and they are sold at pet markets and in the subway at this age), it is unknown, whether it would live more than a year;
- purchasing a kitten in the unknown place, you would never know, whether it’s a pure breed, what character it might have;
- you wouldn’t get a certificate of your kitten’s health, veterinary passport or anyn data of previous vaccination.
People, who are engaged in breeding (note: in breeding, but not in multiplication), are also called “breeders”. In my opinion, it is correct. A nursery is some kind of a factory. The factory with its own production, laboratories, economy and accountancy. The factory with its rules of work, which are called “The International Standard of the Breed”. Every breeder is obliged to know his breed’s standard, only than we might speak of breeding, but not multiplying. If you don’t know the standard, you don’t know disadvantages of your own kittens, and you don’t know how to improve them. Even the most perfect cat has disadvantages and, therefore, there is always good perspective for selected work. Accurate plan of mating, laborious selection of breeders, careful study of ancestries, advantages and disadvantages, selection of genetic lines – all of this reminds of researches in factory laboratories.

If you think that I’ve forgotten the main goal of this article, you are wrong. Very briefly I was trying to reach one of the components of a kitten’s price – the level of qualification and the reputation of a nursery. And don’t get surprised with the component, which, at first sight, can’t be touched or, moreover, estimate. The laws of market economy are applied everywhere, where the terms: “price”, “cost” and “expenses”. Indeed, no one gets surprised that price of Bosch products, in case of other equal parameters, is 20-40% higher, than other comparable products of other companies. This is a result of long-lasting, faultless and highly professional work of the Bosch company.

The next component of the price is tightly connected with the first one, it can be even said that it results from the first component – the level of breeder’s professionalism. This is the breeding quality. The level of breeding quality depends on phenotype and genotype.

The phenotype reflects the accordance of an animal to the international breed standard. If we speak about price formation (that’s exactly what we’re talking about today), all animals can be conditionally divided into three types:
- show-class – animals, which mostly correspond the requirements of the breed standard;
- breed-class – cats (only female!), which have several very insignificant disadvantages, which wouldn’t let get the highest qualification at exhibitions, but they would be able to deliver wonderful offspring;
- pet-class – “a cat for a pillow”, just a pet. Usually pet-class includes male cats, which can’t be defined as show-class, and that is why wouldn’t make a successful exhibition career, as judges are always very strict in estimation of male cats – breeders.  
So the price for a kitten depends on the class, it refers to. The very important items here are honesty and decency of the breeder, as he himself defines a class of his animals. And this is directly connected with the level of professionalism and reputation of the nursery! The circle is locked. If the breeder has a low level of professionalism and because of that he can’t determine the class of an animal correctly, or deceives his customers by increasing the kitten class (making the price higher), he wouldn’t have any customers soon.
Additionally, you should consider that when I talked about a conditional division of animals into three classes, I wanted to tell about probable unmeditated mistakes in definition of cat’s people. However, such mistakes are usually rare and at least not regular.

A genotype shows pure bred in kittens ancestry, which ancestors it has, which new blood and in which generation were added. The question of genotype is a complicated one and the consideration of it in our article doesn’t correspond its purposes. The main item which needs to be mentioned is that “the price of the question" depends on kitten’s genotype as well, so at purchasing it wouldn’t be odd to study carefully the kitten’s ancestry, although it wouldn’t be very useful among beginners in breeding.    
The price of the rare color should be mentioned separately. Rare and, moreover, new color is the result of the long-term and laborious work. This is the exact calculation, as well as an accident. This is luck and professional knowledge at the same time. Gaining rare color is highly estimated.
The next component of the price directly depends on what was mentioned earlier – gaining breeders for the nursery.

I hope that our discussion about breeding quality, which we performed earlier, would let not speak long about the influence of the breeders’ cost on kittens’ price. They cost a lot. And as the Russian market of breeders doesn’t always satisfy experienced breeders because of various reasons, they have to buy breeders abroad, that naturally increases the expenses on the purchase greatly (tickets, visa, hotel, etc.).
Growing breeders (as well as growing kittens) is another price component. In order to have a healthy and fit kitten, proper food is necessary. This feeding can be gained in two ways: professional or natural food.
Proffood. In the aim of good growth of our pet we need dry and canned food. Food of super-premium class (Hills, Yams, Yakonuba) cost very expensive. For example: 1 kilo of dry food Kitty Cat costs 50 rubles, 1 kilo of dry food Hills costs 5 rubles, 1 kilo of dry food Yams costs 225 rubles                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Exhibitions. That’s the only place where you can get objective estimation of what you have purchased and grown. Only there you may get the breeding quality of your pets estimated. Exhibitions are titles, ranks. This is an important part in your pet’s ancestry. Exhibitions include financial expenses, another component of the kitten’s price.  It includes the cost of veterinarian conclusion, the cost of expertise at an exhibition, the cost of veterinarian control. If an exhibition is in another city, then add the cost of train or plane tickets, hotel room.
Health of a kitten is one of the main reasons, why you attend a nursery, but not a pet market. And this is the next component of kitten’s price. The term “health” includes many components. First of all, vaccination. A kitten gets the first set of vaccines (twice) at the age of 8-12 weeks, and never earlier. Mature cats need vaccination once a year. Secondly, regular veterinary examination. It includes not only regular procedures (for example, antihelminthic arrangement), but also emergencies (for example, the caesarean section at delivery). A good nursery often has ultrasound of kidneys and heart, blood tests (FeLV), immunodeficiency test (FIV). If you’ve ever done these researches in your life, you can imagine how much they cost. Health requires expenses.

Separately, I’d like to say about nursery equipment. In a good nursery there are plenty of things – from a mouse till a scratching post.
… Even in case when a nursery has its own cat-breeder, sometimes for the sake of selection you have to take your female cats to another nurseries for mating. The cost of mating is another component of kitten’s price.
You can’t avoid another point of expenses – advertisement. A well-known nursery doesn’t become it immediately. It happens later, after some time, rumors about a good (as well as a bad) nursery are spread widely by those people, who dealt with that nursery. And that’s a big part of customers. However, the main flow of customers are the victims of advertisement. Unfortunately, we all are the children of our era, and a nowadays advertisement is a trade motor. Not a cheap one, I must say.

This is an ungrateful deed to answer bevildered questions. I tried to list very briefly the main components, which influence the kitten’s price. Moreover, you  must have taken into consideration the absence of sums, prices. It was intended, as it wouldn’t be correct to show exact prices while talking about price formation in common. In order to make it clear, here’s a simple example. Nowadays gas price in Moscow in 30 km area differs at 8-12%. If the cost is 16 rubles per liter (conditionally), it’s only 1,28-1,92 rubles. And what if it’s 100 liters? That is why a concrete price of a kitten should be discussed under the concrete conditions of the price formation. And the approach of price formation is, in my opinion, similar everywhere.

The magazine <Cats_info> 1, 2006, Kurchevskaya E.V.
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