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For All You "wanna Be" Breeders Out There

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#1 Satchmo


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:11 AM

As most of you know I am probably one of the largest breeding catteries in the Southern Hemisphere and have been breeding cats for now over 31 yrs.
This doesn't necessarily mean that things always go smoothly by any means, it just means that I have to be super organised and sacrifice a hell of a lot just for my hobby.
I had an experienced queen with her lovely litter of 5 giant 2 week old babies. All was going well and everyone was happy one minute.....then as I do 2 hourly checks on all my litters, I noticed this girl become decidedly restless which is totally out of character for her. I sat and watched her try to move and realised she was almost paralysed. She had tried to drag herself away from the kittens and ended up slumped in the litter tray.
As some of you know this can be a sign of Eclampsia, I also checked for Mastitis but there were no outwardly showing signs. I syringed some liquid calcium down her mouth and bundled her into a carry box for a very lengthy trip to the vet's. Heated a hot pack and popped that under the kittens and left them at home. Remembering of course that I may not have an alive cat on arrival at the Vets.
I was seen to immediately on arrival and 2 Vets decided that she was possibly suffering both Eclampsia & Mastitis, even though there was no signs of Mastitis other than pain when the area around the back nipples was pressed. The cat was treated and I was given extra treatment to administer the following day (as I do live a long way from my vet).
Upon arriving home after being gone half a day, I then had to start feeding the kittens and being 2 weeks old, I decided on 3 hourly feeds as opposed to 2 hourly which I do with newborns. "This means EVERY 3 hours round the clock I spend 1 hour force feeding 5 baby kittens who do not want to be fed by me!" Cleaning & toiletting the kittens as well. TRY DOING THAT FOR A WEEK IN AMONGST YOUR OTHER NORMAL TASKS FOR A WEEK AND SEE HOW YOU FEEL. NO GOING TO BED EITHER. The queen's milk dried up and she is now walking normally, but still on medication, and very lucky to be alive.
On top of that I deal with all my other cats & kittens and also remain on "Kitten watch" as I have a girl who is now overdue to have her litter, so she needs to be checked on every 2 hours.
I also have to deal with new kitten owners enquiries, questions, taking photos, kitten and cat normal surgery procedures being done and post-op care and trying to remain sane.
Add to this, that I have recently had surgery and have had to put off further treatment for myself for this week until I can wean the kittens and make sure this other girl has her babies. This means I have had to be put on emergency medication till I get back for more surgery. I also have missed going to 2 family Birthdays, a Presentation night for my OH and a couple of dinner invitations. All this is a normal week in any breeders life.
I don't regret one minute of it, but yes, I do get cynical when I real about people dreaming flowery dreams about being a breeder. I am not having a go at anyone here, I am just letting you all know things are not always as they seem.

#2 Joy


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:16 AM

Gee you do make it sound so easy Vicki. I have always said I could never be a breeder, & I take my hat off to all those who do as the joy your kittens bring to us cat lovers is immeasurable.

ETA: I'm pleased to hear that Blackberry is improving

#3 burmeselover


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:16 AM

Thank you for posting this Satcho. A lot of people need to hear what breeding is really like...

#4 Cuddleton


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:20 AM

Thank you. It isnt just a bit of fun you can take up and put down when you feel like it.

#5 Jann M

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:35 AM

QUOTE (Cuddleton @ Nov 1 2008, 12:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you. It isnt just a bit of fun you can take up and put down when you feel like it.

That's the truth Pamela. It can be very joyful but even with three breeding girls as I have, a bad spell can just take over your life.

Which is why we rejoice so much when things go right, and really appreciate all the support of other breeders, both physically (as with Cath midwifing for me the other night) but also through this forum.

I hope your medical problems improve Vicki - I didn't realise that you were experiencing such difficulties.

#6 HarleyD


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:36 AM

Thank you for sharing your "life in the week of a breeder" with us. I am glad Blackberry is ok and hope you can get yourself off to be treated and fixed up soon flowers.gif

ohmy.gif OMG I am one of these horrible demanding new owners that has heaps of ridiculous questions and wants photos of their baby. doh.gif I am really sorry and will not be at all offended if you tell me to p!$$ off in future.

I (and I'm sure many of us here on CW) am so grateful to you and appreciate what you do.

An excellent breeder such as you is a very special person indeed and I know that it is something that I could never do. It certainly aint no walk in the park.

#7 Furrballz


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:39 AM

**HUGS** Vicki....you are soo right in that breeding isnt all hearts, flowers and ohhs and ahhs...

I am sorry you are dealing with sooo much right now tho, hard when you are well..but to not be completely well yourself no.gif

#8 Shaquada


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:45 AM

Gosh 31yrs is a long time to be doing all that....it is amazing that you have remained sane.

I have only been breeding for 4yrs...and this is the first year I have had to hand rear a litter of kittens....it is hard work....very tiring...and a lot of the time I feel like going cry_1.gif

I also have to deal with new kitten owners enquiries, questions, taking photos, kitten and cat normal surgery procedures being done and post-op care and trying to remain sane.

You forgot to mention that you also make the time to answer questions from other breeders...that are having the same problems...like me...thankyou!

I think all ppl contemplating breeding should read your post.


#9 metaltiger


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 11:58 AM

Big hugs from me and the boofas Vicki.
Thank you for sharing your experience and hopefully you've managed to remove the rose coloured glasses from some people, well at least those prepared to listen.
Sending you my best wishes and hoping that things improve really soon.

#10 Guest_Winscar_*

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 12:09 PM

QUOTE (HarleyD @ Nov 1 2008, 12:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I (and I'm sure many of us here on CW) am so grateful to you and appreciate what you do.[/font]

And if people really researched and had a good look at CW and what you dear breeders go through they should already know its no walk in the park.

I rejoiced in your new babies but have shed a tear with you also at times, as I do with all the lovely breeders here. I have always said you guys rock.

Thanks Vicki for posting and I too are glad to hear Blackberry is better and hope you are soon too.

And I must say I just smile, smile, smile when I see your gorgeous avatar.




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Posted 01 November 2008 - 12:14 PM

Gawd . aint that the truth , people who decide to become breeders overnight should realise the committment it takes , I know it caught us by surprise & we had been showing neuters for 8 years & were friends with breeders for years . Dave & I tell people who enquire about buying a breeding cat ( of late lots of breeders wanting to start up ) unless you are prepared to give up everything which includes a social life , a healthy bank balance , family & friend time , no holidays at all , your house looking like a war zone & most of all your whole heart & soul when hand reared babies die ............... heartbreakingly painful to the point you cannot breathe

Dave & I wish you well , hoping that your beautiful babies grow well & their mum makes a full recovery

very well said & could not agree more

#12 NuttygeM


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 12:16 PM

Very Big ((HUGS)) wish I could come by & help you manage it all...I DO have the time too...

I too could never be a cat or dog breeder.. I just don't have what it take & I admire you all for your strength at times like this. I would also get too attached to the babies & I'd be a sobing mess EVERY time a bub left the property..

Edited by NuttygeM, 01 November 2008 - 12:17 PM.

#13 Lisa J

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 12:24 PM


Vicki, I hope that things settle down for you soon & that are able to get your surgery done.

#14 Cherylle


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 12:37 PM

I hope everything settles down for you soon Vicki. Well said and I know I couldn't do it either.

#15 Alix


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Posted 01 November 2008 - 12:40 PM

Dear Vicki my heart goes out to you and I hope you get well soon......I have total admiration for you flowers.gif


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