Costs will vary depending on where you live and your relationship with the veterinarian—some offer a discount to regular clients, those with multiple animals or breeders. Be sure to ask in advance—before you even get a cat to breed. The costs involved can be shocking.
You’ll want to find a breed quality cat which can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The cat should be at least four months old which means she will not have come into first heat yet—but will soon.
Stud fees vary from first pick of a kitten to a flat fee that may be as high as the sale price of one kitten. Add in travel costs since the stud could be an out of town cat—will you travel with your female? Remember, not all pregnancies happen on the first try.
Once the cat is pregnant, she’ll need an ultrasound which can range from a moderate fee to hundreds of dollars. This will help determine how many kittens she’ll have. This is important information because you’ll want to pre-sell the kittens—and have time to investigate the prospective owners to make sure it will be a good home.
Ask Kitty’s breeder for a reference to her lawyer—you’ll sign a contract when you buy Kitty and will need a similar contract for your clients as well. Lawyers don’t come cheap.
Kitty will be eating for four? six? so food intake will increase. She’ll have smaller meals, more often, as the pregnancy advances. This means more frequent visits to the litter box for her and more cleanup for you.
She’ll need regular checkups at the vet’s office to make sure things are going according to plan. Some cats may need nutritional supplements.
When it’s time for the kittens to be born, plan to take off work. Cats can have kittens without supervision but in case of emergency, you’ll want to be there. Without supervision, the mortality rate goes up and if the kittens are pre-sold, you don’t want to disappoint a client. Although feline due dates might be more predictable than human due dates, plan on at least three days of following the cat around the house—and then in a moment of inattention, finding she’s nested on your best sweater, right next to your good shoes.
Once the kittens are born, they’ll need to see the vet too so be sure to have enough cat carriers to transport Kitty and the brood to the vet’s office. The vet may charge a blanket fee for the whole litter or charge per kitten. Our member ReignInSeattle was surprised to find that five kittens were each charged an exam fee when she took Kitty and the babies to the vet for their first visit. Kitty and the babies will need to be wormed, twice at least. Kittens will need two series of vaccinations, after eight weeks of age.
If you decide to show your cat as well, as many breeders do, there will be additional costs associated with traveling and participating in cat shows.
To sum up—
- Buy Kitty—hundreds to thousands of dollars for a good quality, improve-the-breed, champion cat with a good pedigree whose lineage has shown no obvious disease the breed may be prone to.
- Find a stud cat with an equal pedigree—stud fee can equal the price charged for a kitten.
- Blood work to ensure both cats are healthy. This can range from $50 and up.
- Travel to/from the stud cat and loss of wages for days off.
- Vet visit to confirm pregnancy (which may not happen on the first attempt). Office visit plus exam. If the vet feels Kitty is pregnant, an ultrasound is in order to count the fetal heartbeats.
- Supplements if needed,
- Extra food and litter as Kitty needs to nourish the kittens.
- Advertising costs so buyers are in place before the kittens are born.
- Legal fees—to write a contract for buyers. Since you’ll want the best home possible for your cats, the contract will include a paragraph that states if for any reason the buyer must give up the cat, you will take her back. No questions asked. The contract should also address if the cat sold is pet quality or show quality. If show quality, will the buyer be obligated to show and breed as well?
- Time off work when the kittens are due.
- Vet visits, food and litter for the kittens for four months. They should stay with their mother until twelve weeks old. You will also have to socialize the kittens to make sure they are outgoing and unafraid.
Breeding is not for the faint of heart. Emergencies happen, costs are high, and profit is a myth. Only breed if you truly know and love the breed, attend cat shows, know breeders, have the time, money and patience—and above all, the desire to improve the breed. If you want Kitty to have a litter for any other reason, you’re just adding to the pet overpopulation problem.
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