Villaroyal Ragdolls / Deaf White Blue Eyed Kitten
EILEEN PICKET COMPLAINT
The statement below is NOT an actual complaint towards Eileen Picket but more of a warning for future clients of things to look for when purchasing from her.
In February of 2009 I purchased a male White Blue Eyed Ragdoll from Eileen Picket. It was my first time ever purchasing from a breeder. After a month of having the kitten I noticed signs of deafness. When I took him in for his booster shots his vet. confirmed that he believed he was deaf. I took him for a BAER test which also confirmed this. (It showed interference in the left ear which had to be diagnosed as "partial hearing")
Eileen and I exchanged several e-mails and a phone conversation prior to the purchase. I had done extensive research regarding deafness in White Blue Eyed cats and found out there is a high percentage that would likely be born deaf or become deaf. I specifically asked Eileen about this and she verbally confidently ASSURED me that unlike other White Blue Eyed programs her White Blue Eyed cats were NOT deaf. She also originally had this stated on her website which she has since removed at my request, and I commend her for that. Although she advised me that if I had any concern about the kitten being deaf I should not purchase it from her, but I believed and trusted in her word and purchased him anyway.
I informed Eileen about his deafness and had asked her for a small refund which included the fee for the BAER test. She apologized for his condition and offered to have the kitten returned with a full refund. I told her that this was not an option bec. we had become attached to the kitten from the minute she sent us his picture prior to the purchase. I believe she took my request for a refund as an insult and that I was trying to devalue the kitten. She kept stating that the kitten responded fine prior to leaving her home, as if to blame me for his sudden deafness within a month.
I have two children who took the news of his deafness pretty hard. I tried to explain to her that the reason for my request for a small refund was that there was a principle. She assured me her kittens were not deaf and yet here I am with one. I told her that I would have preferred to have been told, yes there is a high percentage of deafness and that although the kitten was responding well at the time, she would not be able to guarantee that the kitten would not become deaf. If I had been told this I would have been able to better prepare the children instead of it coming as a shock. Being that Eileen doesn't have any children of her own I can understand why she wouldn't know what it's like having to explain something like this to them. She stated that if she had suspected deafness she would have told me. I explained that I didn't believe she suspected deafness but that with research showing such a high percentage of these kittens being deaf no breeder can suspect it or guarantee that their kittens are different or special no matter how long you've been in the business.
I would just like to advise future clients of Eileen Picket or of any breeder please make sure the health check is administered by a vet. Get documented proof. Eileen does her own health checks and administers her own shots. This should have been a red flag for me, but it was my first time. She is extremely confident in what she does and seems to believe she knows more than a vet. I also recommend when purchasing a white blue eyed kitten or dog to request a BAER test administered.
Lastly I would like to state that my family and I have no problem with the kitten being deaf. It is a handicap which we are all learning to adjust to. The final decision was on us to purchase from Eileen and to believe in her word. He is a beautiful remarkable kitten. We love him to death and his personality is beyond what we expected. If Eileen would have acted less confident about her work and admitted there was no guarantee of deafness, I would have purchased him anyway. We keep him on a high quality diet as she recommended and take him EVERYWHERE we can with us except the grocery store. We get compliments from everyone that meets him. He is a very sweet kitten and we wouldn't trade him for any price. We never intended to accept the refund from Eileen and she proved that she has a lack of compassion. She states that her kittens are her children yet she never made an effort to contact us to see how the kitten had settled in. We picked up the kitten from her home and had a six hour ride back. I would expect at least one phone call from a breeder who "loves" her kittens.