Is the cat a purebred or mixed breed?
If the cat is a moggy the answer is a definite no. Moggies are beautiful cats, come in all shapes and sizes and are just as special as purebred cats but the fact remains there are already thousands of mixed breed cats who are euthanised in shelters every year.
There just are not enough homes for these poor cats, and by bringing more mixed breed cats into the world you are contributing to the overpopulation problem.
If the cat is a purebred you have a new set of questions to ask before going ahead and breeding.
Are you a registered cat breeder?
If you want to become a cat breeder, you will need to register with one of the appropriate cat councils.
Is the cat of breeding quality?
This may not seem important, but it is. Your cat may not be suitable for breeding purposes as it may carry a detrimental gene which could be passed on to future offspring, causing congenital defects.
When you purchased the cat, did you purchase breeding rights?
If you plan to breed, please make sure you purchase the cat with the understanding from the breeder that it is to be bred with and become a registered breeder with a cat association.
Ask yourself why you want to breed?
You believe that cats should have one litter before they are desexed.
This is an old wives tale with absolutely no truth to it.
My cat is so cute, I want some more just like her.
Your cat may be cute but think about the thousands of other cute cats who are desperate for a home in the shelters.
My sister, friend, mother wants a cat just like mine.
I want to recoup the money I paid for my cat.
This is a common reason for people to breed their purebred cat (or dog). In actual fact, it often turns out an expensive practice.
Breeding comes with a lot of uncertainties, including risks to the mother during birth and unexpected veterinary bills. If she has difficulty delivering her babies she will in all likelihood require a caesarian section. You will also have to find a male for her to mate with. Screen both the queen and the stud prior to mating.
Add to that the cost of vaccinating, worming, microchipping, food and sundry veterinary expenses and you will be lucky if you break even.
If you have a cat who meets the breed standard and is a nice representation of the breed, has the right temperament to become a parent and you have started out on the right foot by becoming registered then breeding may be a rewarding experience for you. But you should make sure you are breeding for the right reasons, breeding for type and temperament, and with the knowledge and understanding that it is not a money-making exercise, there are risks involved and it is the responsibility of the breeder that the kittens are placed in suitable homes.
Are you experienced?
You may think that breeding is a no-brainer. You put a female in with a male, they mate and around 63 days later you have an adorable litter of kittens.
While yes, this is hopefully the way it will go, there are many things which can go wrong, which is why breeding should be left up to those with experience, or at least somebody who has an experienced mentor to help guide them.
Are you prepared?
Assuming you are a first-time breeder who has registered with the cat council and has a breeding cat what next? Find a male and let them mate?
No, before you go ahead you will need to run some tests.
Some breeds have particular disorders which can be screened for. For example, you can have a DNA swab to determine if your cat carries the gene for polycystic kidney disease.
You should also perform blood tests for FIV and FeLV.
Find out the blood group of both the stud and queen.
Do you have the right equipment on hand for the birth and kittens?
- Kittening box. This can be a sturdy cardboard box or a commercially available kittening box.
- Several pairs of sterile surgical gloves.
- Eyedropper or syringe to aspirate the mouth and nose secretions.
- Dental floss or cotton thread to cut the umbilical cord.
- Antiseptic to apply to the umbilical stumps.
- Sterilised scissors.
- Clean towels.
- Your veterinarian’s phone number.
- An emergency veterinarian’s phone number.
- Kitten milk replacer.
Do you know how to care for a pregnant cat?
Generally, a mother will do a great job raising her kittens by herself, however, things go wrong. She may die in labour or reject her kittens. If this is the case, do you know how to hand-raise kittens? Are you prepared to feed them around the clock for several weeks until they are old enough to wean? Will you take time off to care for newborn kittens should the mother not be able to care for them?
You are responsible for the mother, her health, wellbeing, and general care. You are also responsible for the kittens until they leave home at a minimum of 10 weeks of age.
Remember, that a kitten should never leave its mother until it is at least 10 weeks old. Kittens may have weaned and have been introduced to solid food, but they still have such a long way to go developmentally and emotionally. Kittens who are separated from their mother at too young an age can develop behavioural problems including aggression and inappropriate elimination.
It is also your responsibility vaccinate and microchip kittens before they go to their new home. All kittens need to be treated for worms every 2 weeks from two weeks of age.
Most responsible breeders offer a health guarantee for the first few weeks. Are you going to do this?