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Thursday, May 3

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Persian Prices - Interview with Breeders Mary Baldwin & Eric Won
By Lindsay Adams

LINDSAY: How do you determine a fair price when purchasing a Persian?

ERIC: I think rather than focusing on price, we should advise people to start with making sure they don't try to depend on price to tell them how good a cat might be. They need to start with quality and do some comparison shopping and be patient. A month's wait can mean the difference between a $2,500 pet and a $1,000 top show. I've learned that through personal experience...

MARY: I have been to site after site, and listened to breeders for years that claim 'top show' kittens. Then you see the pictures or the kittens in person, and all they have is a short, high set nose and maybe a little more fluff. The rest of the cat could make a Maine Coon breeder green with envy! There is so much more that makes a Persian/Exotic than just a high nose, and I have major issues with breeders who don't understand the standard.

I also think that while pedigree is very important, it's not the only thing. I have seen some 'awesome' pedigrees attached to some terrible cats that were sold as 'show' or 'top show'. Just because Brand Name Breeder A can show a cat to grand (and may have many Grands and even higher titled cats) does not mean that their line is actually the best. Most judges will appreciate a truly awesome example of a breed, no matter what person is carrying it to the ring, but politics do exist.

ERIC: I'm with Mary on the need to share better information and perhaps help a few people from getting ripped off. I've seen kittens being advertised as top show, that I would have neutered or spayed at 10 weeks, because there is absolutely no way that that cat will ever become a Grand Champion, much less a regional or national winner. My guess is that unless you're one of the top catteries in the country that consistently produces national winners, your odds of getting top show are one in a thousand. And, if you've got the one in a thousand, why would you sell it?

LINDSAY: You both mentioned 'top show'. What is the difference between pet, breeder, show, and top show?

MARY: Pet quality, for us, means any cat we do not want bred. It can look like anything from a British Shorthair or Norwegian Forest cat, to something that meets the standard very well, and could be shown in the alter classes. However, it must be spayed/neutered and cannot be bred.

Breeder for us is almost always female. What we allow to leave as a breeder also depends on who wants to purchase the kitten and what they are looking to bring to their own breeding program. A breeding cat can range from as poor type as the most pet quality in the litter to something that could possibly Grand if shown in the right condition, at the right time of year, and in the right place. The physical traits on a breeder are sometimes 'less important' than the pedigree/ancestory and how consistant that line produces.

Show quality, for us, means a cat or kitten that meets the standard very well and should be able to compete for titles higher than 'Champion' in the CFA and other associations. It may compete better in some regions than others.

Top show to me = National or Regional quality. These are the few and far between kittens. They don't happen in every litter - they don't happen even every year. They meet the standard as close as possible. The kitty gods (aka Cat Show Judges) willing, the cat should grand reasonably quickly and should be able to compete against all the other top cats of all the other breeds and do well. Hopefully, it means scratching out a place in the National or Regional standings at the end of the year. These cats are the total package...while there is no 'perfect' specimen, you should be able to look at a top show cat and not want to change a thing as far as type, condition, and balance. You might not have a personal liking for that particular breed or color, but it cannot be denied as far as quality.

LINDSAY: So when buying a Persian, price is just one of many factors to be considered. What are some average prices that people can expect to pay, ranging from top show to pet quality?

MARY: Prices may vary according to region. I am in the Southeastern United States. These are the ranges I see:

Pet-quality: $250-$500
Show-quality: $800-$2500
Breeder-quality: $500-$900
Top-show: $5500

ERIC: The range for top show cats, which depends entirely on the breeders humility, modesty, and honesty, can range from $1,000 to $10,000. Breeders can range from $300 to $2,000, depending on the lines (and I've seen these prices on this site).

For example, I just gave away a cat, one that I considered to be a breeder. She granded in two shows, but she had ears a tad bit too large for me to consider seeing her campaigned with my cattery name on her. So granding was quite enough. Another top breeder with a huge name offered me a lot of money for her, but I couldn't do it and have my cattery name known for big ears...

LINDSAY: What words of wisdom would you give others who are choosing a Persian?

MARY: Nothing is set in stone. I think that while a breeder should have a pretty good understanding of their lines and how their kittens will probably develop, Mother Nature does have a way of fooling us, and the best kitten in the litter could grow legs 5 miles high, and the lowliest pet in the litter could turn out to be a show stopper when you see it the following year.

ERIC: As Mary well demonstrates, this is a very complex topic that is difficult to share with rules - the best we can do is give people the range of possibilities and some ideas of questions to ask and perhaps some anecdotes from distinguished folks on this site. We can't stop those who are in a hurry; we can't stop those who don't do their homework; we can't stop people from ripping each other off. What we can do is share our personal experiences.

LINDSAY: Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us, Mary and Eric!