When I got my kitten Elizabeth, people often asked me, “Oh will you breed her with Cornelius?” I quickly respond with, “Of course not.” Besides that fact that Cornelius is neutered and Elizabeth will soon be.
Breeding cats is a huge serious responsibility and is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Breeders have an ethical responsibility to breed only to improve the breed by producing healthy, happy cats as well as placing them in forever homes.
Why is it important to breed cats?
The sole purpose of a breeding program should be working within a breed to improve the genetics and personality for future generations.
A responsible breeding program will never compromise a cat’s health for breeding or financial purposes. As a breeder, you are a practicing geneticist. To breed effectively you need to know something about the following:
Genotype, Dominant, mutation, recessive traits, structural abnormalities, cystic ovaries, uterine infections, PKD, DNA testing, fading kitten syndrome, the list goes on and on..
These are all terms and topics you must understand.
Breeding cats is expensive, not a money-making activity.
If making money is a motivation, than breeding cats is not for you. Some of the costs include:
- buying the rights to a breeding cat $1,000+
- stud service fees or the expense and work of housing a stud
- Vet bills including DNA testing, vaccinations, x-rays, check-ups
- Emergency vet bills: things can go wrong such as infections, illnesses, accidents and C-sections
- high quality cat food
- toys, supplies, cat litter
- time and money spent on cleaning
- cattery registration fees
- cat show fees
- reference books and resources
- advertising, website how you will find homes for your kittens
Do breeders need to participate in cat shows?
Competing in cat shows is not required but it is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the breed standards and meet other breeders.
So you still want to breed your cat? Are you willing and able to do the following?
- Read read and read some more. Do extensive research
- Feed a high quality diet to all cats
- Find a mentor to teach and guide you
- be prepared to spend a lot of money on your cats
- Devote a large amount of time socializing and caring for your cats
- Have the space to house your cats. Cats should never be kept in cages, or isolated in a garage.
- Register your breeding program and follow all guidelines
- Find trustworthy safe homes for all your kittens are offer support to those homes.
- Be ready to clean. All breeders experience messes. Not only cleaning up after kittens, but a female cat in heat as well as male and female cats spraying requires extensive cleaning.
Now of course the experience of watching, playing with and raising a litter of kittens is magical. Breeding your cat is a serious commitment that requires a high level of research, dedication time and money.
If you just have the itch to take care of kittens rather than invest everything to become a responsible breeder. You can volunteer at an animal shelter or even foster kittens through a shelter.
But if you are willing to devote the time and money and care about the future of a particular cat breed, the best place to start is to find a mentor. A responsible, experienced breeder to guide you.
For more info check out this interview I did with a Molly from Mythicbells Persians. She has bred Persian cats for over 10 years.