Beeing A Breeder....

This article I found on a web-newsgroup. It is so meaningful that I would like to bring it to your mind. I fully agree with it.

Waltraud Novak, Athabaske's Maine Coons

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With permission of the author:

If you haven't been showing yet, I would suggest you go to a few shows, see what that is all about, then get a cat to show in Premiership. Breeding and showing is very expensive.

Before you start, you should be prepared to have your heart broken a hundred times or more. You will see kittens die, and you will have breeding problems with your best queens and studs. You will make 3 a.m. calls to your vet when you have a sick kitty or a queen in distress (so make sure that you have a reliable vet, who knows something about cattery needs, or is willing to learn if s/he doesn't!). You will see cats of your breeding not win a point at a show, or decide that showing is not for them and hiss, growl and try to bite a judge.

On the other hand, you will experience the thrill of having a newborn kitten in your hands, the trust of your queen who wants you right by her side when delivering, hearing a judge praise the type and condition of a cat you bred, granding the first (and subsequent) cat of your breeding, and if you are very lucky, obtaining a Regional or National Award on your cat or kitten.

Along the way, you will meet many breeders/exhibitors. Some of us will be nice, some not so nice. Some will help you and some will not. You will make many good friends and a few enemies. You will have days when you have only enough money to buy cat food or food for yourself. Times when you've saved for that dream vacation and there is an emergency and the money goes to the vet fees instead. From the time you decide to become a breeder, you are making the commitment that THE CATS COME FIRST.

After you've considered all the pros and cons, and decide that breeding cats is for you, find a breeder/s who will be willing to mentor you. Preferably, this will be someone who breeds the type of cats you want to work with, but that isn't necessary. Take your time in deciding on the breed of cat you want to work with. Each breed presents its own unique challenges and rewards. If you have limited time, a shorthaired breed would be the better choice. Longhairs take more time because they need more grooming.

Do you want a loud, active in-your-face breed or a quieter, more mellow snugglecat type? If you aren't that familiar with the characteristics of a breed, again, spend some time at cat shows talking to other breeders.

Depending upon the breed and the number of cats you wish to have, decide where your cattery facilities will be and the set-up you want. This needn't be fancy. Many breeders use a spare bedroom as their main set-up
. As far as equipment is concerned, you will need extra litter pans, extra food and water bowls, towels, baby blankets, a birthing box, toys, and at least one cage. Even if you intend to let your cat/kittens run loose in the house, there will be times when, for the health and safety of a cat, it must be caged.

Don't expect to make money on this. By the time the kittens are ready to be sold, you will have spent a fortune in food, vet bills and loving. Be prepared to let your kittens go, and lose a little piece of your heart each time. No matter how hard you try not to become attached, it's impossible not to, if you want to raise your kittens to be playful, loving and people-oriented cats.

I seem to have written a book. I hope at least some of this is helpful.

© 2002 ff, by Waltraud Novak
Dee White, Codakatz American Shorthairs
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