Breeders are not all the same, and unfortunately ragdoll kittens are not all created equal. Buying your first kitten can be a stressful experience, but it doesn't have to be.
I often say that if you decide to 'rescue' a kitten its a little like playing the lottery. There is a chance you win big and take home a pet with great health and a loving personality that will live many happy years. Unfortunately there is also a chance that your kitten may have general or genetic health issues that lead to frequent and expensive vet visits or premature loss of your pet and family heartbreak. They may also be dominated by 'wild type' genes which leads to an unfriendly or even aggressive cat, a wandering cat or one that has difficulty using the litter tra and acts territorially.
Finding a reputable breeder can also be challenging. Typically there are two types of breeders; 'back yard breeders' and 'registered breeders'.
Back yard breeders are highly variable, but typically their cats are not pedigree, which is to say they have no provenance and may well be cats that just look a little like ragdolls. BYB are not members of approved associations and so are not bound by any codes of practice, and typically they don't know what they are doing.
Registered breeders should have pedigree cats and be up to date members of an approved association. However beware, it's common place for people to say they are members and often quote stolen numbers....because no-one ever actually checks!
Regardless, you cant beat experience, and it is the skill of the breeder in selecting the right breeding cats, breeding in the right (domestic /ragdoll) traits as well as caring for the animals the right way that makes all the difference.
Good breeders will also care for their pet adopters in the right way, offering advice, support, contracts, pedigrees as well health and genetic guarantees.
Here a few red flags and things you should look for in choosing a breeder;
Good breeders will always invite you to their home to meet them and see the kittens in person. Or they may deliver or transport the kitten to you. If you are meeting at a service station beware! If there adults are friendly you can believe the kittens will also be friendly.
Good breeders will ALWAYS sell pet kittens already desexed. It is unethical to encourage entire pets as this leads to behavioural problems and a feral cat population. Bad breeders push this responsibility onto pet owners who often cant afford it or get around to it too late. Early desexing does NO HARM to the kitten.
Good breeders seem their kittens older, 12 weeks or older. Why, because they come fully adjusted, desexed, fully vaccinated confident and litter trained. Bad breeders push them out the door too early. Often taken from mum too soon, subjected to a condensed regime of weaning, treatments, surgery and change, all too much in a short life which can lead to behavioural issues, stress and illness. It tis also better for you to get a kitten thats ready....most especially if you are a first time kitten adopter and more especially if you have a busy family household.
Good breeders wont just sell to anyone as if kittens were commodities. It is worthwhile introducing yourself and talking to your breeder. They need to trust you and you need to trust them. That means you should always be able to choose a kitten that you like, even if you have to be a little patient. Pets are hopefully for life :)