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Meet the Breeder – Molly Barr of Mythicbells Persians

8 April, 2011

A little peek at Mythicbells Persians

This is the first in a series of interviews with cat breeders. I met Molly through my blog. It turned out that she also fed her cats raw. I was thrilled and impressed by her dedication because she’s got more cats and has multiple litters than I do so it must have been hard work.

Molly breeds Persians that have a more traditional look – they have a ‘bit more’ nose. You can catch up with Molly and her cats on her own Mythicbells Persians website and blog.

http://www.mythicbells.com/index.htm

http://mythicbells.wordpress.com/

Question: Why did you become a breeder?

Molly:  I’d always had the intention to breed cats. About 7 years ago, several things came together in my life more or less at the same time:

I’d been retired for quite a few years and realized one day that if I wanted to breed cats, I now had the time to do it.

I also had 3 elderly Persians, all with health issues and this factored in heavily.

First, I knew “my” breed — it had to be Persians.

Second, my beloved cats were so important to me that I was very fearful of how I was going to handle losing them.

(One cat had just had surgery for intestinal lymphoma, one had just been diagnosed with heart disease, and I’d been fighting inflammatory bowel disease in the third cat for years. I wanted the distraction of a younger generation of kitties coming into my life. Breeding would allow me to do that.)

The third reason I wanted to try breeding was feline nutrition. I’d raised my 3 older Persians on the usual — dry kibble.

When it finally became obvious to me that the vet wasn’t going to figure out a way to help my cat with the IBD, nor were any of the medications working, nor any of the prescription diets, I took the plunge into (GULP) raw feeding.

Over the next few months I began to feel so strongly about it, I felt that I wanted my next cats to be raised on a species-appropriate diet.

I felt that kittens born to such cats and started out with good nutrition would also be healthier overall.

Question: How did you get started?

Molly: The general plan was to get one kitten with breeding rights and have a litter every year.

(Looking back, that was a terribly naive plan, but there you have it.)

However before I made my move I researched for several months, so was a bit more tuned in when I actually did approach a breeder for a kitten. And that was just the tip of the iceberg of the many things I was to learn in the next few years.

I wanted to do it right, so registered a cattery name with CFA and began my search for registered kittens from a reputable source.

I purchased 2 female kittens with breeding rights, and arranged for stud service with the breeder.



Simba Khan, the majestic studcat

Question: What was your happiest moment?

Molly: I don’t recall a happiest moment, but the kittens a so incredibly precious, I enjoy every second they are with me.

Question: What was your saddest moment?

Molly: My saddest moment was the loss of a kitten in an accident here at home. She was six weeks old and had a family waiting for her.

No matter how careful you are, most breeders are eventually going to experience this, and it’s very difficult.

Question: Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of breeding cats?

Molly

1. Have a mentor if you can find one. Someone experienced you can call.

2. Do your research…. and I would like to tell you to “do it right,” but I know many of you won’t listen.

By “do it right”, I mean breed only from registered cats.

I KNOW that your undocumented [i.e. not officially registered with a cat registry for breeding] boy (or girl) is the most precious cat in the world and you’re probably thinking: what a pity that his or her genes won’t go on.

Well, I don’t know how many times I’ve had this conversation with someone wanting a kitten to breed. Though I can understand people who want to have some pretty kittens to play with and, yes, I know many do it without undue consequences or heartaches, but many do not.

3. You will also want to consider these questions:

  • Who are you giving (or selling) these cats to?
  • Do you know the health consequences to your queen and stud?
  • When your stud starts spraying, then what?

… the list goes on!

4. Do not breed unless you can find quality homes for your kittens and do not breed unless you can be a source of support and information to the families who adopt your kittens.

5. Many breeders will tell you to not breed unless you show your cats. I don’t show my cats and I do breed. I’m not listening either. You’ve got to follow your heart.

6. Never stop learning. Your kittens depend on you.

7. The business end of breeding cats is tough. I’m in the United States, so I know it may be different in other countries, but you will need a good website.

Do not trust your kittens to ads in the paper. You should have a contract and be able to guarantee your kitten buyers various things as far as the health and pedigree of your kittens.

Sirocco, one of the queens at Mythicbells Persians

Question: What advice do you have on how to sell kittens?

Molly: If you are breeding unpedigree kittens and plan to sell them cheaply or give them away, I want you to think of how you are going to feel when a perfect stranger arrives on your doorstep, hands you a couple hundred bucks and walks off with a kitten you’ve raised and treasured. If you give the kittens away, same thing.

I’ll never forget the adoption of my first litter. I vetted the people carefully and felt that they were good homes, but when they drove off with those kittens, I felt that nothing short of full FBI and CIA profiles on them as well as their extended family would suit.

1. I now have an extensive questionnaire that must be filled out in detail and I pour over them weighing the pros and cons of each family.
2. Also, I charge a good price for my kittens to weed out that young kid who is going to buy his girl friend a cat, or the impulse buyer.

3. I like my kittens spoken for early so that by the time the family arrives to pick up the kitten, I know them pretty well. There are no guarantees, but you have to try.

Question: What cat breeding books would you recommend?

Molly: There are many fine books on breeding cats. I wouldn’t choose any one over another, I would have them all.

Your greatest resource for information, however, is the internet. Make sure you find the cat breeder forums and particularly a few of the ongoing Yahoo lists regarding feline health. Breeders from all of the world participate in these. You will find over time that you will know more about some the latest developments in feline reproduction than your vet.

One book I strongly recommend to anyone who has a cat and wants it to live a long and healthy life is: “Your Cat” by Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, DVM.

All photos copyright Molly Barr of Mythicbells Persians

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18 comments

  1. […] Meet The Breeder – Molly Barr of Mythicbells […]


  2. This is a great article about Molly!


  3. You should go on TV Molly……….or start your own TV show on Animal Planet…..


  4. Great article Molly – thanks for being so genrous, as always, with excellent advice, wisdom and good humor
    Bobin


  5. Awesome Molly!! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.


  6. Being the new mommy to one of Molly’s precious babies, I can definitely say that she is the best, most ethical and caring breeder I’ve ever met. Thanks for interviewing her! Great article!


  7. Excellent article on Molly. Her web site s just spectacular. Just so uch fun when the babies are around.
    s


  8. Wonderful article, thank you Molly for sharing. You are the best breeder.


  9. An excellent article Molly… your dedication and unquestionable love for your cats and kittens should be a lesson to all cat breeders.


  10. Great article Molly! — great advice for anyone thinking of becoming a breeder. Your pets and kittens are very blessed to have you care for them.


  11. Hi Molly. I just came across your website so I have a lot of reading to do, but I was googling raw fed cat breeders and I’ve been wondering if they’re out there. I started Raw Fed Cats on Facebook and just opened up a group called Raw Fed Cat Breeders. I just wanted to compile a list of breeders who shared the same view on raw feeding. I’m just a pet owner but I absolutely adore animals in general and have bred other small exotics when I was a teen. But now I have two kittens, as pets but think I’d like to take this journey on of learning about breeding etc…I hope to learn more !!
    My blog is http://www.akittensjourney.com

    Thanks Molly!! I can’t wait to read more and learn. I have had a few bad experiences or heard of things about breeders, that I’m just so nervous….


  12. Hi Khadja,

    By now we’ve already exchanged a couple of emails but Rona, who runs this BLOG and did the interview on my cattery, was kind enough to forward your post to me. I’m glad you found her (and me). I briefly read one of the articles on your blog that suggested a less than positive experience you had with a cat breeder..(perhaps that’s where you got your 2 kittens?). I’m pleased that you are reaching out to other breeders and I hope that you will find that most of us are good people who love the kitties and want the new families where our kittens make their forever homes to have the most positive of experiences with their new kitties. Getting a pedigree kitten (or any kitten for that matter) should be exciting and fun for everyone.


    • Hi Molly

      Yes I did get everyone’s email. I’m so glad I found this blog and am grateful to get a chance to talk more to both of you. I run my own business full time so it’s a little crazy right now especially on Mondays but I’ll be getting back to you both this evening 🙂 I’ll also explain a bit more what happened to us.


  13. Dear Molly,
    You mentioned about the kitten that sadly passed away, before the new owners came for her, was that Cricket from the “C Litter”, she was such a wonderful little character.
    I do not wish to sign up, but just want to say how lovely your cats are, keep up the good work, they as always are a credit to you.

    Regards and thanks

    Barbara Shapland


  14. Hi Molly,
    I heard about Cricket on the internet and my heart sank, it must have been very sad for you, as she was such a lovely kitty with a lot to say and a super little character.
    Your cats are so well loved and looked after and get on so well together, you must be very proud of them.

    Regards and many thanks

    Barbara Shapland


    • Barbara, thank you. Yes, I don’t know what the fates had in mind. Perhaps ‘kismet’ of some kind when they decreed that Cricket’s videos would become so popular — one tiny soul, touching so many lives around the world. It’s still difficult for me to watch them. I know of similar accidents haunting many breeders and I don’t think we ever quite get over them. We watch over our tiny charges so carefully and still sometimes fail them. Thank you again for your kind words. I do love them all so much and I am ridiculously proud of them 😀

      Molly


  15. Molly,
    I absolutely adore your videos. I watch them every day. They make me happy looking at your beautiful kitties. I live in a seniors home and can’t have pets.
    Keep up your lovely videos.
    Barbara Cameron


    • Barbara, thank you so much!



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