Breeding cats is not a decision to take lightly; there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Cat breeding requires a lot of financial commitment and a lot of time; if you are thinking of becoming a professional cat breeder, then it is a full time occupation, don’t forget you’ve not only got to care for the mother cat, but you’ll have to care for the kittens until they are sold and new the owners come to collect them. You’ll also need to purchase the right breeding equipment for your cats (such as cat pens) and the proper insurance both for you cat and your property. You also need to be aware that cat breeders don’t make much money from the sale of kittens, so a second income should be coming into the house.
Most of the time the decision to start breeding cats comes from your cat having won a cat show. This is not necessarily winning the pedigree section. There is normally a very good section for normal pet cats. None of these were bred for their characteristics, their coats or their temperament. In fact most of these cats were probably unexpected, the result of a female cat in the garden calling to the male cats in the area, certainly not a planned litter. But often the breeding of two completely different cats will result in a cat with beautiful coat patterns, colouration and temperament, this is often how new breeds of cats begin, a simple mixing of genetics from one type of cat to another, normally if two types of pedigree cat are bred, and this produces a new type of pedigree cat that people like, efforts will be made to create breeding stock and register a new breed.
Whilst at a cat show you’ll be able to take steps into acquiring a breeding cat. If you want to breed pedigree cats, you’ll be able to get information on breeders who will have a litter of suitable kittens for sale; you’ll also get a chance to talk to other breeders, make sure you do this, most cat breeders will be more than willing to tell you the benefits and pitfalls of breeding cats. Choose your cat breed carefully, some cat breeds may have genetic problems that are associated with years of selective cat breeding, so do your research, as a novice cat breeder, choose a breed without too may problems, this will make general healthcare all that bit easier.
Certain breeds of cat will fetch better prices than others, for example, in the UK Persian cats will sell for more than Short Haired cats, this is not true for other countries, each country will have its own favourite cats; however the money received for the kittens will probably only help towards the food, heating, vaccinations etc of the breeding cats and kittens. Breeding cats should be done for the love of cats and not for monetary gain.
However it is possible to push the price of your cats up, by winning a lot of cat shows and building a good reputation. But this will take a very long time, often many many year, and it is very costly to keep entering cat shows continuously, especially if you don’t have a winning cat. But if you can breed excellent quality cats, you’ll win time and time again, and you’ll find your client base will not only grow through your show winnings but through word of mouth from very happy new pedigree cat owners.
Another way to make cat breeding financially acceptable is to run it along side another business, such as running a cattery. When running a cattery from home, you will have a higher initial financial out lay, as you will have to provide all year round accommodation for all the cats, plus be available to accept new cats, return cats to their owners, and in emergencies take cats to the vets. However breeding cats and boarding cats need to be separated to stop any risk of infection occurring and if you are unable to do this then this is not an option for you.
For real cat lovers the idea of breeding cats is a very exciting one. Breeding can be very rewarding, especially when you are successful with it. Talk to as many cat breeders as you can before you jump in head first. Learn about the industry, the rare and common breeds of cat, as well as the common diseases and pests that may affect your breeding cats, and make sure you have a support network set up just in case something happens to you or your cats. Don’t be defeated by the death of a kitten, this can be very upsetting, especially if it’s the mother cats first litter, give her guidance and a little helping hand when needed (but don’t get too involved), and then let her try again, she’ll eventually get it right, kittens are very fragile and in the first few days you may loose a few, but use this as a learning experience not an omen to quit.