Breeding cats can sometimes seem an exciting proposition, as certain cat breeds can sell for a lot of money. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the costs of cat breeding are high and that the process is time-consuming.
In 2013, the number of unwanted litters given to Cat Protection adoption centres across the UK increased by 19% from 2012. Most of these ‘unwanted litters’ were abandoned by hobby breeders who were not quite sure what they were getting into when they started and then could not sell their cats.
Here are some factors that you should keep in mind before deciding to breed cats.
Age of the queen: You should not starting breeding cats until your queen is fully-grown. If you do, it can be very damaging to her health, as she will then have to concentrate her energies on feeding her kittens rather than growing. Your cat should be 18 to 24 months old before you consider breeding her, and should be strong (i.e. healthy, and have a good body condition).
Health checks: It is definitely required for you to do a full health check-up of your cat before you consider using them for cat breeding. You should test for genetic disorders, any illnesses or diseases. They should definitely be free of ringworms and ear mites or fleas. You may also have to check with the vet on what breed-specific diseases they recommend screening for.
Breeding guidelines: While the official rules for breeding cats are not fully legally implemented, there are established bodies that play a crucial role in governing how cats are bred in the UK. One such organisation is the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, which establishes breeding advisory councils that issue guidelines for each breed of cat. These guidelines include standard points, registration policy and breeding policy per breed. You may need to follow these guidelines, so make sure you are up to date.
Imported cats: There are specific rules for importing cats for breeding. Do make sure you are up to date with these rules and are following all the guidelines. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy has some helpful rules on its website for what it requires to join its organisation and for registering imported cats.
Pet insurance: You will be expected to buy pet insurance for your litter of kittens if you are breeding cats. Make sure you have enough capital to cover these costs.
Vaccinations and care: You will also be expected to provide at least the initial vaccinations for the litter. These are essential to making sure your kittens are in good health and that your customers are getting the healthiest cats possible. Vaccinations can cost a substantial amount when you consider that these kittens need to be taken care of as well in the first eight weeks, before you can give them to the new owners.