Cats are cute, kittens are cuter, so why not let Kitty have a litter? The cuteness factor will guarantee they all find homes, right? Since Kitty came with papers that say she’s purebred, then people will be willing to pay for her kittens so there will be a little profit involved as well. Win/win, right?

Not so much. The first thing to consider is this: Is Kitty really purebred? If Kitty came from a shelter or a friend’s litter, the answer is no. The only litters that are considered purebred come from a reputable breeder who will give you papers, aka Kitty’s family tree. Papers verify that Kitty’s ancestors were tested for diseases the breed is prone to and met the breed standard for height, weight, temperament and coloring. They were shown at sanctioned cat shows and judged by experts in the breed.

You need to find a breeder before her cat is due to have a litter. Follow along with the pregnancy so you’re sure of the age and health of the kittens. Sims2fan says “I had a bad experience with a Siamese breeder in England when I got Danielle. Dani was ill and only 5 weeks old - the breeder said that she was 10 weeks. She subsequently died. It broke my heart.”

There are associations that will give purebred status to a beginning breeder. These are the equivalent of a mail-order marriage license. They will not be recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association. Don’t let a cute face lure you into a scam.

If Kitty did come from a reputable breeder, did you have a contract with the breeder that says she must be bred and shown? Or that she must be spayed? You are contractually obligated to follow through on the agreement.

If Kitty passes those hurdles, do you have a mentor who will walk you through the process of finding a stud cat who has also passed all the criteria listed above? The cost can be monetary or first pick of the litter or as agreed by the two of you. Kitty’s breeder may be willing to help - or may be too busy, but able to suggest someone.

Once you’ve found a stud cat, blood tests will be performed to rule out any disease for both the male and female cats. Since Mr. Cat could be an out of towner, travel expenses have to be considered. Will Kitty go to him or will he travel to meet her? Will the traveling cat make the trip alone or will the human make the trip too?

If the mating takes and Kitty is pregnant (it doesn’t always happen on the first try), then the vet visits start to make sure Kitty is gaining weight and staying healthy. You’ll need a due date so you can take off work to be there for the birth. Although most people think cats just naturally know what to do, first time moms can be very nervous—mortality rates go up then.

Once the kittens are born, they’ll need vet visits as well. Kittens should stay with Kitty until they are about twelve weeks old so that means a lot of kitten food, milk supplements, bottle feedings and lots and lots of cat litter.

Of course, you’ll have been networking from the beginning about the litter so that when they are born, they are all spoken for—with deposits—and if the estimate of kittens vs. the number of people who want to buy differs, you’ll have to deal with that as well. Don’t forget lawyer fees for drawing up your own contract.

A litter of kittens is not as easy as it sounds. Just the research into lineage and the search to find a breeder who has a cat to sell you, then the search for a mate for her, can be overwhelming. Veterinary costs and food bills eat up potential profit. The cat litter bill plus the constant need to clean, scoop and refill will be enough to make you cry.

Kitty should be a year old before she’s bred. She may go through one or more cycles before then—and she’ll be vocal and loud about her frustration during those times. Spraying (urine where you do not want it) is another way to show her unhappiness.

After all the work you’ve put into a litter, will you be able to let the kittens go? It’s a hard thing to face.

The answer to breed or not to breed, is no. Unless you are knowledgeable about the breed, experienced enough to know all of the above, know people in the breed, have shown cats and have the time and money to do all the work involved, the answer is: Don’t breed.

The bottom line is, although the kittens would be among the cutest in the world, for every kitten from your litter who finds a home, there’s a shelter cat who doesn't.

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