Breeding A Litter
maybe fun, never simple

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Why do you want to breed? Do you want to just, once, have a litter, or do you want to get seriously involved with your breed? If you just want a litter, you don't need purebred cats. You can also take two household pets that have kittens together. Aren't all kittens neat and endearing, whether they have a pedigree or not?

If you earnestly want to get involved with a breed, then maybe you have also already thought about a breeding programme. Breeding is more then simply getting a nice tomcat for your female breeding cat (queen). You should try to plan a few generations ahead. Breeding plans are always subjected to changes since cats have a mind of their own. These are some examples that can mess up your plans:

  • The queen does not get in heat.
  • The stud sprays so much that his owner had him neutered before your cat was bred.
  • The queen does not get impregnated and even after a couple of times being bred, is not pregnant.
  • The queen does not want to breed with the stud that you chose for her.

But if you have a breeding goal in mind, then you can keep working towards it.

Having settled on a breeding goal does not mean that you may never change it. You should see it rather as a guideline, to help you with your decisions. After a while you may conclude that your breeding goal needs adjustment. For instance because there are developments in your breed that make your breeding goal unattainable, or because, with all your new knowledge, you decide that your prior breeding goal was not all that worthwhile.

Having a breeding goal ensures that you will not start breeding in a way that is better described as 'multiplying', and become a so-called backyard breeder. Many beginning breeders say "I think it would be fun, to just breed a litter ...". Experienced breeders often object to this. Any self-respecting breeder tries to improve the breed, not just produce kittens. Only, what is improvement of the breed? Is that a healthier cat? Or a more beautiful cat or a more likable cat? Most breeders try to produce a healthy, beautiful and likable cat .... Most people will agree on what is a likable cat, but what is healthy and beautiful? There are many different opinions about that. What makes a cat beautiful is a matter of taste. You can follow your own taste, as long as it falls within the breed standard. A healthy cat is a cat that for example reaches an age of 10 years without all kinds of diseases.

Also, think of the influence that your breeding decisions may have on the gene pool. If, for example, you breed a litter of 8 kittens, and you sell all 8 to other breeders, is that good for your breed? And if you get two more litters from the same queen and you sell all those kittens also to breeders, what is then the effect? On the other hand, if you breed a litter with a unique combination of parents, and you sell not a single kitten to breeders, what is in that case your contribution (positive or negative) to the breed? Or would that be backyard breeding? (Please do not read this as if you have to sell a kitten from each litter to breeders. It is purely meant to make you think hard about your reasons to breed a litter.)