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Ethics Of Breeding Cats


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#1 DanD

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 06:26 AM

I've been looking for information regarding the breeding of cats from a health and ethics standpoint and I'm not coming up with a whole lot of helpful information. In terms of actual breeding, how soon after a litter has been born and raised is it "healthy" to breed a Queen again? From an ethical standpoint, would this interval change? I'm really concerned about this, Ginger isn't just a breeder to me, she's one of my pets and therefore a part of my family. I'd like for her to be around for the next 12+ years so I don't want her getting burned out breeding. Any advice?

Dan in the USA

#2 CatsRU

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 09:56 AM

Hi Dan, I am not a breeder so cannot advise but there are lots of breeders on the site who will be able to help you.

#3 birmanfanatic

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 10:53 AM

As a Registered Breeder here in Australia, the Governing Council that I am registered with recommends for each Queen to have no more than 2 litters per year, so that would be about 6 months apart.

I try not to let mine have back-to-back litters - but sometimes they have other ideas - and the girls find a willing young participant, who we weren't aware could do "it" yet !!! LOL :P

Different Breeders have different policies for their Breeding Cats - but I won't be using my Girls for Breeding past the age of 3-4 years - I think that's long enough for them to be constantly calling, mating, being pregnant, giving birth and then feeding/raising the litter. sad.gif

My boys will only be used for approx. the same amount of time - it's not fair for them to be outside in the "bachelor pad" for years on end. :blush:

Just my ideas...

Hope they help a bit....

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Edited by birmanfanatic, 08 December 2004 - 10:54 AM.


#4 Gail

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:20 AM

Queensland Feline Association also recommend no more than 2 litters per year. Like Louise I think 3 or 4 years is enough for any Queen and they should be allowed to retire gracefully to a life of rest and relaxation. They are not meant to be baby factories, but loved pets and live their lives in comfort smile.gif

Some Queens are happier when pregnant and will call from time the kittens are 12 - 14 weeks old.. and thats not healthy for them either.. so limiting the number of litters they have to a few years will ensure a longer, healthier and happier life.

Thats my opinion anyway smile.gif

Best wishes

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#5 DanD

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:53 AM

Oh wow,
Ginger should be fine then. I was only planning on letting her have four litters before retiring her. This last litter was born on October 29th, so that would put her next planned litter in April, so I'll need to have her bred sometime between February or March. Which puts her fourth and last litter into next October... Hmm, that should work out about right. Then I can have her spayed before X-mas, what a cool present! I'll call it the "retirement package", lol. wink_3.gif

Thanks for sharing your opinions, I want to make sure that I'm giving my "girls" a good life.

Dan in the USA

#6 Heather Sharada

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 03:15 PM

Dan I do back to back litters - I tried to space my girls but they tend to loose weight and get poor condition - once mated they look contented - put on weight and are fine. I have found they are better to be having back to back litters and then early de-sexed - this was advice given by a vet who answered my concerns after girls got pyometra and me not owning a vascectimised boy to take them off call - his advice was NEVER NEVER use the pill.....this advice was replicated recently by a new cat specialist vet that I am seeing.

As Birmans breed twice in a year when mated back to back it works out at 4 or 5 litters maximum and desexed at 3 to 4 years of age.

Likewise with the studs - Clyde was not quite 3 years when he was de-sexed, Leon had just turned 2 and they still have all their lives to be cuddle cats.

I am sure that if you have a vascectimised boy you could breed less frequently and for a longer period of time quite safely.....and maintain the health of your girls.

#7 DanD

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 12:06 AM

Well that certainly would make things easier on me, keeping Shadow away is a pain. It won't really make to much of a difference with Ginger because she's only going to have two more litters, but with the next generation I'll need the girls to have about 6 litters in order to give me the ability to select the best for the third generation, so they'll be in service longer. It seems like most cats are only capable of having about two litters per year under natural circumstances, so it looks like I can count on an average breeding life of about three years.

When you say vascectimised, do you mean that the boy's tubes are tied but he still retains his testicles? How long would you leave a male in that state, before getting him completely neutered?

The more I think about this the more I'm beginning to think that I should only go for one pattern in my cats instead of two. Even with that, I'm looking at a lot of cats being around. You know, this wasn't suppose to turn into a "serious thing", lol. Hope you don't mind my thinking through this out loud, some of the implications of breeding are starting to come to light and I don't want a cat factory. I get the feeling that I'm going to need to partner up with another person who would be willing to work at this with me. Oh, this should be interesting...

Dan in the USA

#8 Heather Sharada

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 08:37 AM

Yes Dan, a V boy as some of us call them - still behaves like a tom but can't get the girls pregnant........you can almost have a V boy indefinitely if he is happy being a stud. There is a Birman breeder who retires her studs like this - she keeps them as studs until they are 10 or 12 years old and then they become the V boy - her last one lived until he was 18.

My boys would rather be lap cats so I don't follow that route.

#9 DanD

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 01:39 AM

Thanks for the info about the V-boys, I may have the perfect cat in mind for that. My wife wants to keep one of the young males from Ginger's most recent litter because it reminds her so much of our beloved Thomas who passed away several months ago. We were going to have this new one fully neutered but I like the idea of putting him to work as a V-boy instead. smile.gif

I am wondering about something though... some have mentioned that they retire their studs after three or four years, others use them for up to 8 or 10. Is there a logistical reason for this? It seems to me that whether it's a V-boy, a fully intact breeder or otherwise, male cats shouldn't suffer the same health consequences from actively breeding as female cats would because males aren't nurturing any offspring. I can understand not using a given male as a breeder for more than four years as you wouldn't want his name on to many pedigrees, so is it safe to assume that a stud would be kept active for 8-10 years so that he can be bred to grandchildren that are several times removed? Just how often can a particular cat be present in any given pedigree before problems begin to show up?

Dan

BTW, I think that given a choice all cats would prefer to be lap cats. My lap will vouch for that, lol.

#10 Heather Sharada

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 11:09 PM

My early desexing of studs is because they have a lonely life and I don't think it is fair....by de-sexing early there is a chance that is good they will not continue to spray and become a special pet.

The experts say that any inbreeding should not be more than 12.5 % and there are pedigree programmes that work that out for you. Maybe you could contact Alwyn Hill in the UK - she knows lots about this as the UK was basically closed to imports because of rabies in Europe etc until fairly recently......this is her contact - of course she is a Birman Breeder but is very interested in line and inbreeding and outcrosses etc.

http://www.chosenhil.../Inbreeding.htm

Hope that helps - she is a very nice and knowledgeable lady.

#11 Matilda

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 02:47 AM

How long time one should wait betweens matings depends on different things and it all adds up in the females health. A female who have given birth and raised a bog litter (more than 4 kittens) will probably need to rest longer than a female who only have given birth and raised a small litter. I, as a registred breeder within SVERAK (FIFĂ©), am not allowed to have more than 3 litters on a female over a 24 month period. It's very hard to give general rules about this.

When it comes to inbreeding, I've never heard any expert recommend more than 6.25 % inbreeding (mating cousins). The most important thing is that the offspring has lower inbreeding coefficient than its parents. The populations overall inbreeding coeffiecient should become smaller for every generation. Personally I wouldn't do a combintation that generates more than 5 % based on 5 generations.

#12 DanD

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 04:38 PM

Thank you both for your responses,
I understand that in an established population those might be the ideals, but I'm trying to build an entirely new base to build up from. Since I'm starting with only one female, I'm having to use different males to increase the genepool. In order to set the traits though, my initial thoughts on how to start out for the first few generations is to mate her sons from different fathers back to her, then to mate the offspring from those matings to the opposite original first sons. Depending on how well that F3 generation turns out, I plan on bringing in a few new males from an already established breed to mate to the females of the F3 generation and then work from there. I'm going to have to set the traits I'm looking for and weed out the ones I don't want somehow, so that's where my concern about inbreeding comes from. Looks like I may just have to find out the hard way, through trial and error.

Thanks again for your responses, I really do appreciate your assistance and input.

Dan

#13 Heather Sharada

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 07:00 PM

Dan I have seen the result of three generations of a father put to his daughter and make to the resulting progeny and one very genotype cat did result but it was repeated with this fellow back to one of his daughters and all sorts of things went pear shaped.....a kitten without hair, a wobbler, a boy with one testicle and another with none.

You are probably better to take the queens daughters from different studs and go out with them in different directions and come back in the F3 generation to one of the sons. It might be slower but the results should still come up.

#14 Matilda

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 09:45 PM

DanD: I would think more longterm than that. No matter how you do it you'll need to outcross sooner or later and I personally think it's better to do it sooner than later. When starting up a new breed think 4 females on 1 male if you wanna keep the breed healthy. You won't reach your goals as fast this way but keeping the inbreeding coefficient as low as possible from the very beginning will help you a lot later in the breeding program.

If you inbreed, outbreed in the next generation. Inbreeding should always be followed by outbreeding. I really recommend this article: http://www.pawpeds.c...void/index.html

Everytime you choose to inbreed you lose genetic variation! Some think of it as a good thing since one wants a breed to be homogene, but in reality genetic variation is essentiall for maintaing good healt and longevity.

#15 Heather Sharada

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 09:10 AM

Matilda that is a nice article - I have saved it to favourites - easy to understand - thanks for the link.




 

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