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18. "Some people are just plain rude!" RANT

Before I get to my rant, Galadriel's kittens are 1 month old today! They have been complete "home bodies" and still hadn't left their nest on their own interest, so today I took them out so they can walk around and get used to the real world. They are a little shaky walking around, but I'm confident they'll get steadier as they get used to it. :) Here are a few pictures of their first foray into the "big world" outside their nest! I am feeling more confident that there is one champagne (m), 1 sable (m), 1 (lighter shade of) sable (m) and I'm still reserving my opinion on the only girl. :/ One second I think she looks sable, the next... sigh. Patience is hard! I plan to start reaching out to folks in a couple of weeks with kitten offers.


Ok, now for my lengthy rant about how some people are just downright rude and believe that they can say or do anything online to others - or not believe that we small business owners have feelings, too... Sometimes it's difficult to do business with the public when they act like this. One of the accusations was that I am not "personal" enough - so let me tell you something personal!

This week I received an only slightly veiled aggressive email from some random person. This individual decided to give a false name and false email address (my "thanks for contacting me!" automatic email bounced, which means that they were untruthful about the address), so I cannot reply directly to answer these accusations, but I can address them here. I haven't tried to call the phone number, but given the fact that the name was bogus and the email also bogus - I'll assume that the phone number was a randomly made up one, too. Encounters like this - with an undercurrent of hostility and barely concealed threat to my person and even my home - make me question this whole thing sometimes. Then I remember of all the many families and homes over the past few years that are now happy with beautiful Burmese kittens from this cattery, and why I am doing this became clear again - to bring joy and wonderful pets to your homes. :)

Because this guy's email address was bogus, let me address some of the attacks here on the public forum. (I have no idea if this was a guy or not - but something about the way it's written makes me think it was written by a machismo-bully type, so I'm assuming it was a man. I'll refer to him as Dude from here on). Some of you may have similar questions, although I doubt that any serious and polite kitten buyer would be ask these questions in this way, but maybe this will help some of you with unanswered questions. This is the email I received, unedited and grammar errors not corrected:

Almost fell for your pitch, Amy Kirkland . . . However, having found your business registration was only made in June 2021, you are not authentic enough. And, you are not listed on the Burmese Breeder Web site, either. Breeding animals is seriously responsible work and a 5 car garage ranks right up there with backyard breeding! Your Web site states all your demands, including deposit, but doesn't provide your address, phone, email . . . anything about you, personally. Probably you are still living at mommy and daddy's house . . . Legally, btw, you need to put your full name, address on the contract for it to be binding.

Yes, my business registration is fairly new. I recently set up an LLC because people whose opinions I value advised me that having monetary liability protection (against nefarious people like this dude apparently) is wise in this day and age. I didn't have one before because it wasn't something that I thought I needed to worry about - well, now especially I'm glad to have liability protection. Just because my LLC was recently set up doesn't mean that this cattery is a scam. From what I understand about LLCs, actually, there's very litter "verification" process on the part of the state prior to issuing it. On a related note to that, I have followed all county requirements for hobby breeding to the best of my understanding of the law(s).

Next, no, I'm not listed on that breeder list website. First, not being on that list doesn't make me any less authentic. Second, to date, I haven't seen the need to pay those yearly fees to be listed when I get plenty of views on my website without having those extra fees and visibility. I feel bad enough that there are plenty of you waiting patiently on my waitlist as it is - I do not feel the need to expand that right now. I am doing this because I enjoy raising kittens and seeing them flourish in homes like yours - I am content with the current "scale" of this cattery. Maybe I'll look into paying to be on those "breeder sites" in the future if I expand.

Alright, here's where Dude became stalker-like and I felt truly harassed - mentioning what he thought was a 5-car garage on my property means that he must have looked up my home address on some satellite map service! That's messed up! (And it's not a 5 car garage either, Lol, although I suppose that's flattering of him to say.) My cats are not raised and caged in the garage, which is what most people think of when saying "backyard breeding". I have one of my queens (Lúthien) in the main house, and the other two, plus the male, live in a tiny house of sorts (trust me, this pricey "house" was built better than some people's homes - just on a smaller scale.). Not all breeding females get along well enough to live with other intact females, so I keep Lúthien apart from Elbereth and Galadriel. They are certainly not suffering nor neglected - not one bit. There was a time that I had the business mailing address (a P.O. box) on the application/contract page on my site. But, I found that it caused issues for folks to send in a deposit without having to contact me first and us "get to know each other" over email and other means before they send me a deposit. Some breeders do put their address on the site, which is their right, but may also choose to return the contract and deposit after the fact if it seems that the applicant wouldn't be a good fit. Before I started breeding, I was looking for Burmese, among other breeds, and there were very few breeders who even listed their prices, much less a phone number or address! I can't tell you how many I had to email asking about their process, etc. So, I find it an empty accusation that I don't have enough info on my site about my location. I think that my site and expectations are a good balance of information but without giving too much away to creeps out there (like this person). Have we not learned anything lately about cyber attacks in our nation? Have we not learned that putting too much PII (personally identifiable information) out there for the public can cause safety issues? Well, I have learned those lessons because I work with people who have security-based backgrounds - I'm very careful as a rule about what I put on this site and even my social media accounts (which I don't have a lot of time to be on - as I said, raising kittens is time-consuming!). This doesn't make me less trustworthy - I believe it is just smart in this current climate.

anything about you, personally... To his (?) accusation about me not writing anything personal on my site - that's not true, either. I have an intro on my Home page about myself and the cattery in general, and why I am doing this at all. Does this person expect me to put my voting record, religious affiliation, and/or community outreach, etc. history online??? This is not the place for those discussions - I provide wonderful Burmese kittens for people. I guarantee that not all people who have received kittens from me would completely agree with all of my beliefs, and vice versa. (Do any of us agree 100% with everyone around us? I think not. There are many people I work with and interact with that I highly respect with whom I do not completely agree.) My "personal life" does not impact how I raise the kittens or the quality of pet I offer. My "criteria" for these kittens' new homes and families are based on whether they will be safe, loved, and cared for as they deserve. I do not pry into their personal lives (except as it relates to the kitten's well-being, like whether they'll be left alone a lot or whether all family members want a kitten, and other such questions.) It is not my place to dig further than that - but it seems that this weirdo wants me to treat this site like a social media or dating bio where you can decide if you like me on a personal level - um....that's not what this is about! I'm not running for political office here where my personal thoughts and activities would influence people one way or the other - I provide kittens! Lol... I very much enjoy when I'm able to make personal connections with my kitten buyers, but "liking me" is not a prerequisite for getting one of these kittens, nor an indicator whether you'll be a good kitten parent or not.

Living with mommy & daddy... Yes, I am living at home, actually. This cattery is something that I've dreamed of doing for many years, and it is not something I could do alone. Nor is it big enough that I can afford to hire others to help out. Raising kittens and taking care of all the adults is very time-consuming and I cannot imagine any single person excelling at it on their own. At least not if they also have a "day job". This is truly a family business for us, something that we discussed and agreed upon years ago. It works out beautifully and we're a great team. I am way past the point/age in life for my parents to be "mommy & daddy" as Dude thinks. We are truly partners in most things, but particularly in this cattery. Another, more practical reason that I'm at home is because - um, have you seen the cost of living in Wa?! Or, I don't know - the fact that like 40% of all businesses have been affected/destroyed this past year? While that didn't affect me in that way, I know plenty of people who have had to drastically change things in their lives due to the recent economy issues. In previous years, I've lived in other states, completely on my own, because the cost of living and wages were much better then/there. This vitriolic dude must not be in Wa, or if so, is very well off and out of touch with reality on "the ground" for the rest of us. My day job pulls in slightly over the threshold for "low income" housing qualifications in my district, but even if I qualified - average low-income housing rent (in a dumpy place, mind you) starts around $1,000/month for a tiny apartment - no utilities, food, gas, etc., etc. Non low-income housing? Ha! We're looking at $1,500-$2,000 per person for renting a room in someone's home - much less one's own apartment. Oh, and have you also seen the housing market? I know people who have had to pay $80,000 (or more) above the asking price for a home lately - yeah, that's out of my budget right now, obviously. Living with family isn't for everyone, but it works for us, and this dude has no right to judge me for it.

Finally, maybe Dude is a lawyer - or wants to think of himself as one with that comment about it being legally binding - but I'll say again, I'm selling kittens here - not running a child adoption agency where more stringent legality comes into play! In fact, I'm trying to think of any small business I've purchased from where their home address and personal phone were present on the receipt or Home page. The last time you bought a personalized mug on eBay or some other site, did you have their home address so you could do a satellite view of it before buying?! So silly. And disturbing. Come to think of it, couldn't it be more suspicious of me to put my mailing address online, asking for payment, without any communication with potential kitten buyers first? Hmmm... I personally feel better buying from folks (like Etsy, etc) after there's been some exchange first. Maybe that's just me... This is another reason why I ask you to fill out an application questionnaire and we communicate before we proceed down the process, with money involved; it helps to weed out those who are not serious and who are not trustworthy. If someone gets a whim because they're bored and think that a kitten will cure their boredom without thinking through all that's involved with caring for one of these kittens - well, I have a problem with that, and would rather catch that before they send me money. It's worked out well for the kittens' well-being so far, and for the most part the feedback I've received from all of you is that you're happy I "screen" folks and not just sell these kittens without ensuring they'll be safe and cared for first.

In closing (finally, right!? haha), although I've not met many of you reading this in person yet (unless you've already picked up a kitten!), I would prefer to think that you're trustworthy and decent human beings. I consider some of you that I've gotten to know throughout the year(s) to be true friends, even, not customers anymore :) I will do my best to not let bitter people like this ill-mannered person (above) ruin my relationship with all those of you who are wonderful :) And if you're reading this, Dude, and try to escalate this harassment in person instead of just online - please note that we take the neighborhood watch very seriously around here, we look out for each other and we know whose cars don't belong and report it promptly, and I am on good terms with local law enforcement. That's not a threat - just reality.

Thank you for reading my very long-winded rant! I hope that, while it wasn't pleasant to be pummeled with this email, some of these explanations may answer other's questions some.

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