So you think you want to be a breeder?
I would seriously give that some more thought if I was you. People think, “Hey! I love cats!” and from there jump to “I can breed cats, make some money and be surrounded by cats all the time … cool!” Well technically that is correct. You might make some money and you will definitely be surrounded by cats 🙂 I’m not going to beat around on this topic too much, rather I’ll just get into it.
Breeding in the home
I think the first thing you need to be aware of is that you can not simply buy a male and a female and start breeding. You need to be able to setup separate living quarters to keep the male from the female(s). Not just separate, but preferably far enough apart that they cannot see or hear each other. An unfixed male will generally spray like crazy if they can smell or hear a female in heat. Males will sometime spray even if they are fully separated, it depends on the male. Something many people are often unaware of is that females sometime spray as well.
When I say spray I’m talking about hosing the walls down. It is a concentrated oily urine and hormone mix that I’ve seen eat an automotive chassis grade powder coating off of a custom enclosure in under 2 months. That same material applied to a car frame would be expected to last 10+ years of driving.
And the females? Why are they screaming for males? Well you can not breed the females every heat. Not only is it completely unethical, but it is not the optimum approach to breeding from a business perspective either. It is something only done by unethical morons. Uneducated kitty mill scum. That is not you so that means you have to let her go though her heat un-serviced. We are talking about 3-14 days ( a week average) of a cat screaming, and I mean blood curdling SCREAMING for a mate all day, all night, all the time. Here is the kicker, an unbred female will often go back into heat every 2 to 3 weeks and the hormones she is releasing will trigger the other females to go into heat. To top it all off even when you do allow the female to breed it is an extremely loud, sometimes violent, process that goes on for many times a day for a few days.
That sounds like fun doesn’t it?
Staying small helps but if you only have one female it can be difficult to get her to go into heat as cats are seasonal breeders. Breeders often use special lights to attempt to trigger cycles and it does work but it is one more layer of complexity. caustic.
Do you know how to become one of the top breeders in your area, maybe your country? Ethics, consistency, people skills, marketing skills are absolutely critical but perhaps the hidden secret is that you have to last. I don’t know the actual statistics but I’d guess that 95% of new catteries are closed in less than two years of starting and I expect the reasons I’ve already listed are among the main causes, but there is more.
The next issue is having clientele for the kittens. Most new catteries are not prepared to have to hold kittens for 5 or 6 months while they look for qualified buyers. You are planning on qualifying your buyers aren’t you? Even if you don’t ( and that would make you kitten mill scum ) you will likely have a tough time placing the kittens because there are lots of catteries and you are nobody yet. You might think, “that is alright, I love kittens!” Yeah but if you have a couple of kittens that have not been placed and a female in heat and another female that has a new litter and your males is spraying all over the place and and calling out to the females it quickly becomes very unpleasant. Add to that the requirement to separate all of the cats litter boxes to control disease and it quickly becomes more than most people can handle.
We changed our entire life to accommodate our cattery. That meant buying a commercial duplex that we renovated for that purpose as well as changing careers to make it all work. New issues are arising all the time like some cities are now passing bylaws that breeders must be onsite 24/7 when there are expecting mothers on site. The province of New Brunswick made that a law for the entire province and other provinces are looking at similar laws as well as licensing and yearly inspections. Almost every municipality has some form of regulations dealing with the number of cats you are allowed on site, and breeding specific bylaws. How would it be if you did all of that work, invested all of the money (breeder quality cats from a quality reputable breeder starts at $2500 each) and next thing you know, you are served papers saying you have to close down?
All in all it is not something to enter into lightly. On the up side …. KITTENS! 😀