I don't do that because I want people to go shopping elsewhere. I want you to look around and do your homework before you decide to get a kitten from me. I want to make sure I am the right breeder for you.
I don't take deposit on kittens that have not been born yet, I don't want to tie you down by demanding a deposit to be on a wait list because I may not get what you are looking for, nor do I like the concept of deciding what you are looking for before you see it. What I mean by that is that choosing a kitten that fits within your family and has the right disposition to thrive in the home you offer, is far more important than color or gender.
If you are a family with 3 happy, young children and your mind is set on a silver kitten, and I would put you on the wait list for the next available silver kitten, what happens when the one silver kitten that is available is shy and would do better in a home without kids? What if I don't get any silver kittens after that? You would have paid a deposit with me so you won't go to another breeder, yet I won't have what you are looking for.
That is in my mind not right, and not only that, I don't always let people choose the kitten they want. That may sound harsh, but my priority is not selling kittens to make money (anyone who thinks you make money with this should think again to begin with). My priority is to place the right kitten with the right family. This is why you fill out an application, and then I pick the kittens that would be a good fit for your family and you can choose from those. Color and gender should be at the bottom of your want list, the right kitten for your family and lifestyle should be on top.
The other problem with a wait list is that breeders will usually sell kittens in order they get deposits. So #3 on the list may know which kitten they want but #1 and #2 are not ready to pick yet and want to wait a few more weeks. In the past that has caused so much frustration that I simply decided not to keep a wait list anymore.
I don't need to "retain" customers by having a wait list, I get more inquiries than kittens so there are no problems there. My breeder friends know I send them kitten buyers on a regular basis. So if you want a kitten from me, you fill out an application, I email you back with which kittens would be a good match for you, you pick and then you pay a deposit to reserve that particular kitten. I don't take deposits before that no matter how much you blink your bambi eyes at me :)