Throughout most of the history of the domesticated cat, there has been little or no deliberate breeding of cats for type. The various cat breeds that are found today, have generally evolved naturally in different geographic niches. The names of the different breeds, such as Persian, Siamese, Balinese, Abyssinian, and Somali, indicate their real or assumed geographic origins.
The great cat exhibition held in Great Britain in 1871 is traditionally considered to mark the beginning of the era of international cat breeding. The exhibition, which led to the awakening of interest in the field, displayed mainly Persian and shorthaired cats.
Types of Cat BreedsCat breeds are customarily divided into two major categories - longhaired and shorthaired cats. In each of these categories, there is a variety of specific breeds. Cat associations in Europe and the United States officially set the standards of each breed. These standards change from time to time, according to the current trends of the field, and the names used to indicate specific breeds are different in the United States and in Europe. In addition, there are some breeds that are recognized as separate breeds in the United States, but not in Europe, and vice versa.
What is ethical breeding?Ethical breeding of cats in catteries is a complex business. You may think that it is enough to buy any two purebred cats and start breeding them. In fact, it requires a good understanding of the genetics governing each breed and detailed knowledge of the breeding history of the specific breeding pair. Most pedigree cats are unsuitable for further breeding. These are called "pet quality" and are usually neutered and sold as pets to non-breeders.
In fact, only few of the kittens born to a pair of pedigree cats of the same breed have the right genetic qualities to be used as breeding cats. These are called "show quality" and are relatively rare and expensive. It is especially important to know the diseases and genetic flaws typical of each breed, in order not to breed cats that have these flaws.
"I own a purebred cat - should I breed her and sell the kittens?"Anyone who is thinking of entering the field of ethical breeding in the hope of financial gain should think again. There is an abundance of cats needing adoption, including even pedigree cats, so the price of kittens offered for sale is not particularly high and usually barely covers the investment in the cats and their special needs.
Pedigree cats are often more sensitive to diseases and stress, and hence, more money and time must be invested in maintaining their health and living conditions. When cats are kept for breeding, they also need special habitats and nutrition. All these factors greatly increase the cost of running a professional cattery.
Most importantly - if you are presently keeping pedigree cats as pets, do not hesitate to neuter them unless
Most responsible breeders will not sell you a pet-quality kitten without a written agreement in which they make sure the cat will be neutered and will not be allowed to reproduce. Neutering the cat does not prevent you from actively showing the cat in professional cat shows. You can show your cat and compete for prizes in special categories reserved for neutered pedigree cats.
- You have decided to devote a major portion of your life to acquiring the necessary knowledge and equipment to become a successful breeder and,
- The cats you possess the right genetic qualities.
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