Archive for June, 2010

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Part 4 of “So you want to be a cat breeder” – getting into the club

30 June, 2010

“Hello, I want to be a cat breeder.  Can you sell me a girl kitten for breeding?”

So how can you become accepted by other cat breeders as someone who can eventually be sold a breeding cat?

One way is to start by owning a cat (or several cats) of the same breed that you want to eventually breed, bought from reputable breeders.  Maintain a good relationship with the breeder.

Another way to start is by visiting cat shows.  Talk to the breeders at these cat shows.  Ask questions.  Make friends with them.  Visit many shows so you become a familiar and trusted face.  By showing dedication you will earn the trust of breeders. 

If you can show your cat, even better.  Breeders love owners who show their kittens because cats that win awards enhance the reputation of their catteries.  So they will be very happy if any owners show an interest in showing their kittens.  Chances are the same breeder will be more open to selling you a breeding cat, once you’ve proven that you know what breeding is all about.

Cat showing is not for the fainthearted though.  It is a beauty contest so the cat will have to be bathed and groomed.  Cat shows are usually in some remote part of the country, so it will entail early morning starts to get to the show by 8am for vetting-in.  The show usually goes on until about 5pm.  And then you will have a long drive back.  It can be a very long day.

What showing does is it demonstrates dedication to the breed and the ability to withstand hardship – important traits that prove you have what it takes to become a cat breeder.

You must also join a breeders’ forum linked to a breed club.  There are quite a few on Yahoo Groups.  These will enable you to find out more about who are the breeders of repute, what are the issues involved in breeding, and simply to make your presence known. 

When joining a forum, don’t introduce yourself with “hello, I want to become a cat breeder”.  That kind of naive confidence and presumption will put most breeders off.   You have to prove yourself before you are accepted into the club.

The best policy is to listen and learn and ask questions.  Read the breeders’ posts about whose cat has won what at which show.  And better still … go to those cat shows and find out who those breeders are!

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Part 3 of “So you want to be a cat breeder” – “but I don’t care about the pedigree”

29 June, 2010

“Hello, I have a pedigree cat.  She has just had a litter of kittens.  The father cat doesn’t have a pedigree, does it matter?”

A fellow breeder, Molly Barr, of Mythicbell Persians, and I had a discussion about the importance and value of a pedigree. 

She’s had potential kitten owners call her up and ask her if she could charge less if they take a kitten without a pedigree certificate.

Still others have pedigree queens without the certificate, and are frantically looking for a stud cat, not caring whether or not the stud cat is registered or not.

But is a pedigree certificate so important?  Especially if you only want a litter of kittens?

If you’re thinking of buying pedigree a kitten without the pedigree certificate, think again about what you are missing:

  • a pedigree certificate is a guarantee that your kitten comes from a line of pedigree cats (as all the cats in the certificate have to be registered with a cat registry).
  • a pedigree certificate proves that the breeder you are buying the kitten from has taken the trouble to ensure that she is using breeding cats that conform to the breed standard.
  • a pedigree certificate will allow you to trace the ancestry of your kitten – you can even see the champions that went into your kitten’s bloodline.
  • a pedigree certificate will allow you to show the kitten as a pedigree.  Without the certificate, you can only show the kitten as a household pet.
  • a pedigree certificate adds value to the kitten you are buying. 
  • a pedigree certificate may make it easier to sell the kittens than if they haven’t got one. 
  • a pedigree certificate is a guarantee of a cat’s pedigree lineage.  If you’re breeding your beautiful cat of unknown origin (i.e. you don’t have a pedigree certificate to prove who its parents and grandparents are) to a pedigree cat, you may get a mixture of kittens.  Unless you have a pedigree certificate, the outcome is harder to predict.

As for breeding a pedigree cat without a pedigree certificate (and on the active register) or selling the kittens without pedigree papers … well, if these people don’t care about having a “pedigree”, why then did they buy or are they breeding from a pedigree cat?  Why not just breed from a moggy?

I asked this question of someone who wanted to buy a female kitten from me, and she didn’t have an answer.  The fact is, pedigree cats do produce kittens that are considered beautiful which is why people want pedigree cats  (OK – I can see myself becoming the critical target of non-pedigree cat owners, so let me say that I have owned non-pedigree cats, and not having a pedigree does not mean that they are any less special, and that they are beautiful in their own right too.).

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Part 2 of “So you want to be a cat breeder” – “just one litter”

22 June, 2010

“Hello, I want to buy a kitten from you and I want to have just one litter from her …” [sadly typical request from potential kitten buyer]

Maybe you love kittens and have always wanted a litter of kittens.  Or maybe you grew up in a household where the female cats had kittens.  So now you want a litter of kittens.  You could, of course get a litter of kittens from a moggy.  But what if you wanted a litter of kittens from a pedigree cat?  All you have to do is buy a pedigree cat and breed from her, right?

I had a potential kitten owner visit one year.  She fell in love with one of the male kittens.  And therein lay her dilemma:  you see, she wanted her children to experience the magic of seeing kittens being born.  Because of that she wanted to have just one litter of kittens and of course she couldn’t do it with a boy.

I told her that I wasn’t able to sell her a kitten that was certified for breeding (also known as being on the active register).   That’s because breeders are very fussy about who gets into the breeder’s club. 

It sounds exclusive, but it makes sense.

Reputable cat breeders want people who are committed to breeding healthy cats which conform to the breed standard.  We want to make sure that breeders maintain high standards.  We want to trust the people we sell breeding cats to.  And we also have a responsibility to mentor the person we sell to whom we sell a breeding cat.  It’s a network built on word-of-mouth and personal relationships. 

I asked the kitten owner how she would get a stud for the cat.  And she told me that she would just let the cat run around the neighbourhood and let the local tom have his wicked way with her.

I counted to ten and pointed out that there was a very strong possibility that the local tom might have some fatal cat disease that he would pass onto the queen.

What about using a pedigree stud cat?  She asked.

Again, without an introduction from an established breeder, it is difficult for a first-timer to get a stud cat’s services.  And without a stud cat who’s certified with the cat registry and a queen who’s on the active register, the kittens cannot be registered as pedigree kittens.

But does having a pedigree really matter?

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Part 1 of “So you want to be a cat breeder”

20 June, 2010

Hello, i would like to ask if you do have any kittens available and how much will the cost if i want to breed them? [e-mail enquiry from potential kitten buyer]

Every year, cat breeders receive e-mails like the one above. 

To our experienced eye, it’s obvious that the person wants a a kitten to breed from.   In 99.9% of the cases, our reply is a polite but firm “no”. 

Why is this the case?

This series of posts is for all of you who want to be a cat breeder, but don’t know how to go about doing it.  What I’m going to recommend may not be the only way; it is based on my personal experience.   If you’re serious about becoming a cat breeder, don’t just read this post, get in touch with other cat breeders and ask them questions.

Here’s what I plan to share:

  • how to get into cat breeding – the acceptable way
  • what is a good cat breeder
  • the costs of cat breeding (aka “do you have deep pockets?”)
  • how to get a breeding queen
  • why do breeders charge more for breeding cats
  • why you shouldn’t buy a kitten and have “just one litter” from it
  • what is a backyard breeder and what are the consequences of becoming a backyard breeder