Part 5 of “So you want to be a cat breeder” – looking the part1 July, 2010
I recently met up with a cat pen pal. She was someone whom I’d given advice to, on this blog.
For her, the meeting was initially a sad disappointment.
You see, based on my posts, she expected a Crazy Cat Lady.
(You know the sort: creaky and old, in a baggy T-shirt stained with cat sick, trousers spotted with bleach stains, all coated in a thick layer of cat fur. )
But to give her credit, she agreed to meet me even though she could have been meeting a Crazy Cat Lady!
So I think she was surprised when I turned up in a dress and hat, not carrying a litter tray or trailing cat litter wherever I walked. I only had a few cat hairs sticking out of me!
I thought it was very funny though, when she explained what she had expected, and how I confounded her expectations of what a Crazy Cat Lady should look like.
I’m sure she’s not the only person to have preconceptions of what cat breeders should and shouldn’t look like. And goodness knows, I do own a pair of trousers with bleach stains on it, and have even been known to rush off to work in the same pair of trousers after disinfecting 10 kitty litter trays!
(Of course, I can assure you I have standards, and out comes the ballgown and tiara when potential kitten owners visit.)
For those of you who are curious: cat breeders come in all shapes and sizes and ages. There is a tendency for cat breeders to be older, but that’s partly because cat breeding is a responsibility and an activity that requires maturity.
Not all cat breeders do it as a full-time job because contrary to what people believe, it’s hard to make a living being a cat breeder. Many do it as a hobby. I have a 9-to-5 job that subsidises the cat breeding.
I know a cat breeder who’s a dentist. And another who teaches in a school. Many take up cat breeding after they’ve retired or if they’re not able to take on full-time work due to disability. Some cat breeders do it on their own. Some lucky ones work together as couples. At the moment there seem to be more female than male cat breeders, but may be that’s just my personal observation.
Cat breeders tend to be an intelligent lot. We have to be for the equivalent of cramming for a university course in genetics, feline obstetrics, cat registry politics, sales and marketing and behavioural sciences. And when we meet we don’t always talk about cats, but about other things like our day jobs, families, mortgages, house prices, the economy, diets, and er … cats.
And yes, you will come across cat breeders looking dishevelled, and less than smart, draped in cat fur. At the end of the day, cats don’t care what we look like, whether we’ve got make-up on, or matching socks.
And more importantly, for a cat breeder, it’s our cats that come first, so given the choice between a new pair of trousers and feeding the cat, the cat comes first every time. And vet bills usually eat into whatever’s been budgetted for clothes.
What I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is: yes, there is a Crazy Cat Lady stereotype. But most of us look like someone you’d meet at the bus-stop. In fact, take a look in the mirror … chances are, if you’re crazy about cats, you already look the part … of a cat breeder!