Ethical breeding

Murray58

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
1
Purraise
0
My Cat had kittens.
She was a house cat and she got out before I got round to getting her spayed.

I'm well aware that this is far from what would be described as responsible or ethical breeding. It was purely accidental and I wouldn't want to repeat this.

I have researched a great deal since discovering that my beloved cat was pregnant. I wanted to make sure that everything I did ensutlred that the kittens had the very best start on life and that the experience was positive for the mother cat. Much of what I have read talks about the ethics of breeding and there is a strong emphasis on only breeding pedigree cats.

I have emensly enjoyed the experience of helping raise these kittens. They are absolutely beautiful. I have found new homes for them all, but I know it will break my heart when they all have to leave.

I have found this such an amazing experience that I would like in the future to breed pedigree cats. I don't want a kitten machine, but maybe to buy an active pedigree cat as a family pet and breed her a couple of times before retiring her, possibly retaining a female kitten to continue the line. I know I have a lot of research to do before I start. My first step is to get my gorgeous cat spayed.

Really I want to know how people view the ethics of breeding cats. Why is breeding pedigree cats seen as more ethical than breeding non pedegree? I get the point about there being lots of cats in shelters that need homes, but surely pedigree cats impact upon these cats finding new homes just as much as non pedegree?

Is it possible to breed no pedigree cats for health and beauty in order to produce desirable, high quality pets that will make good companions to humans? I'm well aware that many cats in shelters do not get on well with humans. Of course this may well be as a direct result of the mistreatment they have suffered at the hands of humans, but sadly this doesn't make for suitable family pets.

Can I ask the breeders of pedigree cats what is your motivation for breeding? Is it because you show cats and the ones you sell as pets are not up to show standard?

How frequently do you feel it is acceptable to breed a queen? My guess is once per year maximum. I have read that GCCF state no more than 3 litters in 2 years, but does not state how far apart litters should be. I imagine that like human pregnancies, queen's need and adequate gap to recover their condition fully following a pregnancy?

What conditions do breeders keep their cats in? I'm guessing that this will vary from breeder to breeder, but do you allow your cats to roam the house as you would any other family pet?

How many Queens do you keep? Do you only sell cats as inactive or do you also sell on the active register? How do you decide who to sell active Queens to?

How do you ensure that your cats all have fulfilling lives? Do you keep your cats caged?

Please feel free to cherry pick which questions to answer. I'm still very much at the research stage, but all thoughts and advice are welcome.

If I do go ahead and do this I want to make sure I do so in a way that is most beneficial for all involved.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
13,625
Purraise
17,173
Location
Nebraska, USA
I wouldn't do it unless you have a LOT of money in case anything goes wrong. On pedigree breeding you need to have all the kittens vaccinated, etc, before they go too. (as you should with ANY kittens) One house-raised cat for breeding wouldn't be bad, but having the stud there too would be a nightmare with all the spraying and bad behavior they exhibit as a tom. And the females wailing all the time in heat, which they do regularly, even just weeks apart if they are not bred.
You were lucky to have no problems in birthing, I have had several ferals die in giving birth, there are just too many things that could go wrong. After all my years of seeing so much suffering and death from the overpopulation of cats in this world, I am just trying to keep my head above the water by spaying and neutering all I can to reduce their misery and not contribute to the problem. There are just tOO many unwanted and unloved cats now. Your cat is very lucky. PS I have seen breeding queens kept in cages, I think it is inhumane and all such breeding should be shut down. No animal should be kept in a cage all their life, it is so tragic......
 

Kflowers

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
4,307
Purraise
6,054
If it's the raising the kittens you love and helping the mom cat, get in touch with your local shelter. Shelters are always receiving pregnant cats and most can't afford to take care of them. Some look for people who will foster the moms and raise the kittens to adoptable age. You would need a place to keep them separate from your cat until you were sure the mom didn't have illnesses, but a lot of people make this work and save a lot of cats and kittens the shelters would otherwise have to put to sleep for lack of funds and space.
 

Willowy

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
30,621
Purraise
26,038
Location
South Dakota
surely pedigree cats impact upon these cats finding new homes just as much as non pedegree?
Not really. Mainly because purebreds make up a very small percentage of the cat population, and many people who want a purebred cat wouldn't settle for a moggie.
I'm well aware that many cats in shelters do not get on well with humans.
I agree you should look into fostering mama cats with litters for your local shelter. That way you can properly socialize the kittens so they would "get on well" with humans and you'd be saving lives. Plus you wouldn't have to keep an unspayed female for too long, which really does get frustrating when you don't let her get pregnant every time she's calling.
 

GoldyCat

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
14,548
Purraise
3,300
Location
Arizona
I am not a breeder but I do own both pedigreed cats and rescues. I've been showing Household Pets and Abyssinians for years and know many breeders personally.

The operative word here is ethical. People who breed pedigreed cats are doing it for love of the breed, not to make money. They are working toward improving the breed, especially in the medical area. Some breeds of cats have a genetic tendency toward certain diseases or conditions such as heart issues or dental issues. The breeders today are able to do genetic testing so they can choose not to breed two cats who have the same genetic issues.

By the time a breeder pays for general care and feeding of the queen and her kittens, vet bills, genetic testing, showing cats, etc. the fees she can charge for the kittens don't come anywhere near what she's paid out. You could say this is a very expensive hobby.

di and bob di and bob , some breeders do have cages for their queens but they're used only near the end of the pregnancy to keep the queen and kittens safe from other cats in the house and to prevent the queen choosing a hidey-hole to have her kittens where the humans can't reach them. Otherwise, the cats have the run of the house, at least for the breeders I know personally. (Again, think ethical).

Murray58 Murray58 , if you're truly interested in becoming a breeder you're right that you need to do a lot of research. The first thing you need to do is find a breed that you're really passionate about. One of the best ways to do that is to attend cat shows as a spectator. Watch the cats and talk to their owners. You may think you know what breed you want and change your mind along the way. When I first started thinking about getting a pedigreed cat I wanted a Turkish Angora. Then I was benched next to an Abyssinian at a show and fell in love. (Turkish Angora is still my second choice).

It could be quite a while before you can do that. Where are you located? You mentioned GCCF. I don't know how that association is handling COVID restrictions, whether or not they're allowing spectators yet.

Once you've chosen your breed you need to do a lot of research on that specific breed. Try to make contact with the breeders in your area. Ask the association about getting a mentor to help you get started. One way many breeders start out is to get a retired queen or stud to show in the spay/neuter class. That way you learn a lot about the breed and how to handle the cats. You also get to know other breeders better than if you're just a spectator.

TCS has a good article on Breeding Cats, What Cat Owners Need to Know.

If you decide in the end that you don't really want to become a breeder but you do want the experience of raising kittens fostering a pregnant cat for a shelter could be the best way to go. Each shelter will have its own rules for fostering, you'll just have to ask. When I've fostered bottle feeding kittens the shelter I worked with paid all the vet bills and provided the kitten milk. They would have provided solid food and kitty litter as well but I just used what I already had for my own cats.

Good luck with whatever you do in the future. Also, we'd love to see pictures of your cat and kittens in the Fur Pictures and Videos Only forum.
 

FosterCatPerson

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
1
Purraise
1
I just want to second what others have said--we foster kittens, and it's an amazing experience!! We socialize them and watch them play and help them find good homes. It's nice to help kittens who already need care and homes when there are so many going without.
We got started by making friends with the woman on our block who "knows all about the cats in the area." Maybe you have someone like that near you.
 

Neko-chan's mama

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Jul 13, 2019
Messages
518
Purraise
958
Location
New Jersey
I'm a bit confused as to why you think all shelter cats aren't good pets. Three out of the four cats I've had have been from shelters, and they were lovely pets. The shelter I got Neko-chan from frequently let the cats and kittens out of their cages and played with and handled them. I'm sure there are shelters out there that don't do that, but don't assume all are bad.
 

Kflowers

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
4,307
Purraise
6,054
Lots of cats arrive at shelters because their people lost their jobs, had huge medical expenses, or died. They were once loved and protected pets whose world was ripped apart. now they are afraid, you've been afraid, you know what that's like, maybe you've even lost the one person who is most important to you and all the things that made you feel safe. That's where these cats are. Inside that shy, trembling cat is a cat who loved with all her heart and lost everything. A tittle time, patience and love on your part and you can give her back a safe place to open her heart. She/he will love you to the heights and depths that you've never known. No one loves peace and protection and love more than someone who has lost everything.
 
Top