You want your Siberian to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality, and looks of the Siberian, or to find breeders, visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association.

A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers.

Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.

Lots of breeders have websites, which in and of itself does not guarantee they are reputable. Red flags include kittens always being available, always having multiple litters on the premises, offering “your choice of any kitten” without qualifiers, and offering the ability to pay online and/or receive immediate shipping without interviewing the breeder first. Those things seem convenient, but they are also indicators of a pet mill and almost never associated with reputable breeders.

Whether you plan to get your new feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no guarantee that you will never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed, checking out the facility, and asking the right questions can reduce the chance of heading into a disastrous situation.

Your veterinarian may also be able to refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens. Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money and heartache in the long run.

Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait 6 months or more for the right kitten to be available. Responsible Siberian breeders usually won’t release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Finally, before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Siberian might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach early adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat, or if they know of another adult cat who needs a new home.