When I started cat breeding I didn’t realise how much it would cost. A search on the internet revealed a UK breeder who had listed some of the costs on a website, and there are also some US breeders who have done the same. Costs will vary according to scale, i.e. how big your operation is, how many cats you have and how many litters you have.
So what I’ve written is just a guide – you may have to spend more or less depending on how you lavishly or tightly you run things. And the prices depend on where you live – you may pay less for vet bills in the North of the country. The costs only reflect my experience, so please take them as a rough guide based on average 2010 prices.
I’ve separated the costs into : pre-breeding (when you start establishing a reputation and network), breeding, bringing up the kittens and selling the kittens.
BEFORE YOU EVEN START – YEAR MINUS ONE
You should ideally plan a year (if not several years) ahead before you start cat breeding.
Buying a cat: approximately £400 for a Maine Coon (less in the North of the country). Contrary to what people believe, there should be no extra price charged for a Maine Coon show cat. At the same time, breeders can’t offer a guarantee that the cat you are buying will be a show winner. It’s all about the taking part and learning. Entering a catshow will allow you to learn all about breed standards, and also to network with the other breeders.
Buying a show pen (this is very useful at TICA shows but is optional): approx. £100 plus depending on the model.
Cost of taking part in GCCF cat show (prices vary if you are a member of the cat club hosting the show): approx. £30 for entrance fees + £14 for double pen + 5 for show catalogue. Say, £40 per cat.
Cost of taking part in TICA cat show (TICA shows run over 2 days but you can choose to show your cat for just a single day): £44-£84 for the first cat (depending on whether 1 or 2 day) .
Total cost of showing (say 4 shows) = £40 to £85 per show = £160 to £340 a year. This does not include the cost of travel to the show (petrol), food and incidentals like buying cat toys etc.
Cost of joining cat club and cat association.
Joining a cat club allows you to network with like-minded breeders. Joining a cat association is necessary in order to register your breeding prefix. This breeding prefix is what is on the pedigree certificate of the cats you breed. The cost depends on whether the registration is with the GCCF (UK) or TICA (US HQ) or any other cat registry. You cannot register your cattery’s prefix with the GCCF unless the application form has been signed by a cat breeder’s club. Cost of joining cat club: Ordinary membership (circa. £5 to £10), Breeder membership (£15 to £20).
Cost of registering cattery prefix with GCCF = £75 (UK members) Cost of registering cattery prefix with TICA = US$50.
Some clubs insist that members have been with them for a year before they will sign the application form to register a cattery prefix. This is to get rid of time wasters, but it does mean that you must plan more than a year ahead if you want to want to register your prefix with the GCCF. And please note that the GCCF registration process may take three to six months.
CAT BREEDERS FORUM
This is optional but is a good way of increasing your knowledge about cat breeding. The Novice Breeders Advice Cat Club runs a workshop filled with experts on cat health and breeding. Cost of NBA membership = £6. Cost of workshop = £29 (member)
Cost of setting up your cattery website – if you know web design and programming then you’re in luck. If you have a friend who knows web-design and programing, then you’re in luck. Otherwise expect to pay about £200 for a website and another £20-£30 per year for hosting services with a web server. Also don’t forget – you will have to register your domain name, and that could cost anything from £50 upwards.
You may not need a cattery website, but it helps in this modern day and age. Most cat breeders clubs offer free advertising for their breeders. You could also try writing a blog with a link to an online photo album, or have a Facebook page. But all this takes time to capture your audience and build your market. You must think ahead and plan ahead.
TOTAL PRE-BREEDING COSTS: approximately £1000.