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Ethical breeding

Discussion in 'Cat Breeding' started by Melissa3236, Sep 25, 2019.


  1. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    My Cat had kittens.
    She was a house cat and she got out before I got round to getting her spayed.

    I'm well aware that this is far from what would be described as responsible or ethical breeding. It was purely accidental and I wouldn't want to repeat this.

    I have researched a great deal since discovering that my beloved cat was pregnant. I wanted to make sure that everything I did ensutlred that the kittens had the very best start on life and that the experience was positive for the mother cat. Much of what I have read talks about the ethics of breeding and there is a strong emphasis on only breeding pedigree cats.

    I have emensly enjoyed the experience of helping raise these kittens. They are absolutely beautiful. I have found new homes for them all, but I know it will break my heart when they all have to leave.

    I have found this such an amazing experience that I would like in the future to breed pedigree cats. I don't want a kitten machine, but maybe to buy an active pedigree cat as a family pet and breed her a couple of times before retiring her, possibly retaining a female kitten to continue the line. I know I have a lot of research to do before I start. My first step is to get my gorgeous cat spayed.

    Really I want to know how people view the ethics of breeding cats. Why is breeding pedigree cats seen as more ethical than breeding non pedegree? I get the point about there being lots of cats in shelters that need homes, but surely pedigree cats impact upon these cats finding new homes just as much as non pedegree?

    Is it possible to breed no pedigree cats for health and beauty in order to produce desirable, high quality pets that will make good companions to humans? I'm well aware that many cats in shelters do not get on well with humans. Of course this may well be as a direct result of the mistreatment they have suffered at the hands of humans, but sadly this doesn't make for suitable family pets.

    Can I ask the breeders of pedigree cats what is your motivation for breeding? Is it because you show cats and the ones you sell as pets are not up to show standard?

    How frequently do you feel it is acceptable to breed a queen? My guess is once per year maximum. I have read that GCCF state no more than 3 litters in 2 years, but does not state how far apart litters should be. I imagine that like human pregnancies, queen's need and adequate gap to recover their condition fully following a pregnancy?

    What conditions do breeders keep their cats in? I'm guessing that this will vary from breeder to breeder, but do you allow your cats to roam the house as you would any other family pet?

    How many Queens do you keep? Do you only sell cats as inactive or do you also sell on the active register? How do you decide who to sell active Queens to?

    How do you ensure that your cats all have fulfilling lives? Do you keep your cats caged?

    Please feel free to cherry pick which questions to answer. I'm still very much at the research stage, but all thoughts and advice are welcome.

    If I do go ahead and do this I want to make sure I do so in a way that is most beneficial for all involved.
     
  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Perhaps you could just foster for a rescue. You'll find no end of pregnant cats needing fostering, and will start to understand the "ethics" of not breeding your family pet.

    Hopefully you have spayed your cat now, and the kittens were all neutered before they left for homes..
     
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  3. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    I have given a lot of consideration to fostering pregnant cats. My main concern with this is that you are introducing a complete unknown variable into your family home. It may not be suitable to have a fostered cat around my children or my other pets. I purposely bought my two cats from a private seller rather than a shelter as I wanted to ensure that I had cats that were well socialised and used to a family environment. My mum had a cat from a shelter who was very aggressive towards people. That to me is not a pet. I guess it's similar to the debate about adopting children or having your own. There are thousands of children who are in need of loving homes, but those children present their own unique challenges that some people may find too much. I believe adopting and fostering children is an incredibly worthy thing to do, but it wouldn't be something I personally could do. The same goes for cats from a shelter. The whole point of having any family pet is that they add something to your family dynamic. If you effectively have a cat that can't be touched etc (obviously through no fault of its own) then sadly it will not add anything positive to the household.

    Many people want a family pet that they can adore and cuddle, stroke. If you're lucky you may get a kitten from a shelter that is able to adapt and become part of the family.

    I have no plans to allow my cat to have any more kittens. She is still currently nursing her kittens so she has not yet been spayed, but I will have her done once the kittens have been rehomed. I won't be having the kittens neutered, that's up to their new owners to sort out, although I will be passing on my own cautionary tale.

    I do hope to breed pedigree cats in the future, but want to know the best way of doing so in order to ensure that the cats are healthy. Inbreeding amongst pedigree cats is a concern. How do you ensure that the pedigree cat you buy has not been inbred? I've read that GCCF will accept daughter to father matings, to me that's
     
  4. Rufus15

    Rufus15 ~ Orrono Maine Coons ~

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    If you want to breed ethically, I suggest you start with your current litter and get them neutered and fully vaccinated before sending them to new homes. No pedigree breeder worth anything will allow you to have one of their kittens for breeding if you can't even be responsible for this litter.

    Ethical pedigree breeders but the wellbeing of their cats before anything else. No ethical breeder uses their cat as a breeding machine and to suggest otherwise is pretty offensive.

    Inbreeding is monitored by understanding inbreeding coefficient, which your mentor should teach you. Inbreeding in pedigrees is not common or acceptable, and father to daughter matings can only be registered as non-active in any registry.
     
  5. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    Is it normal practice for breeders to have their cats neutered prior to rehoming? Of all the adverts I have seen, including those for registered pedigree cats, only a coupe have stated that the kittens would be neutered. Maybe 4 said they would be vaccinated. When I enquired to one registered breeder about vaccines he told me that it is not normal practice to vaccinate kittens prior to rehoming as the stress of a new environment on top of the stress of vaccines can be extremely dangerous for the kitten. I have read that it is OK to rehome a non pegigree kitten at 8 weeks, is this not the case? I did wonder why on earth the age of rehoming a pedigree and non pedigree cat should be any different. I would have imagined that their development is largely similar regardless of the pedigree status. Funnily the registered breeder in question was happy to let a kitten go at 10 weeks, this rang some alarm bells for me.

    I understand how a lot of breeders are very keen to ensure that pets are neutered, this is certainly a conversation I will be having with the new owners, but I don't know of anyone who would cover this cost or put the animal through such an invasive procedure at such a young age. There are only 2 girls so it's much easier for boys to have the op.

    Do you find a vet who will discount for neutering a full litter? Are the vets happy to neuter so early? What happens about giving the cat some recovery time before you rehome it? Surely they're better getting to know their new family and feeling settled prior to such a procedure?
     
  6. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    I've taken the liberty of putting numbers in your post so I can answer point by point.
    1. It is much more so in some other countries, where most vets will happily spay & castrate at 14 weeks or thereabouts.
    2. If you see an advert for a 'registered pedigree kitten' in the UK the kitten should be fully vaccinated with the second vaccination at least a week before he or she leaves. That's the rules for kittens registered with GCCF, I have no idea about other registries.
    3. The reason non-pedigree kittens tend to go earlier is ignorance on the part of BYBs, and the desperate need for room for another set if kittens in the case of rescues.
    4. Don't worry about a young female getting spayed, my experience has been they recover far better than adult cats.
    5. Yes, some vets will discount, but remember it's perfectly reasonable to charge the cost of neutering, vaccinating, worming & flea control to the new owner. My previous vet gave me a discount on a neuter / vaccinate / microchip package.
    6. Far too many vets in the UK are stuck in the '6 months old' frame of mind. You might have to look around for one that will do kittens younger. A vet who does the vet work for a rescue often will, and if the rescue deals with ferals they will have experience of neutering both sexes at 8 weeks or so.
    7. No, there is no need for them to be in their new families first. In my experience the recovery time for boys is often as little as a few hours, for girls a day or two. And think about it - had your cat been spayed before you got her you wouldn't be having to ask these questions.
     
  7. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you for taking the time to reply. It was very helpful.

    The breeder who was happy to sell a non vaccinated kitten at 10 weeks was GCCF registratered. Should he be reported?
     
  8. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    That should say registered, typo.
     
  9. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    Buying an active registered queen is the first hurdle and you need to show a breeder your commitment towards that particular breed before a breeder will consider you as suitable. Often this means showing a neuter of that breed and understanding the standard of the breed. There are some breeders who are prepared to sell on the active register to pretty much anyone with few or no questions asked but I would be very wary of someone like that - to my mind that is not ethical breeding.
    Start with a single queen. Don't rush into having several girls and a stud boy (far more difficult to buy an active stud too) One litter a year - I aim for 11 to 12 months between litters but it isn't always possible and you need to balance the risks of breeding with the risk of a queen calling too often and developing pyometra. I retire my girls by the age of about 4 - but again not a hard and fast decision.
    Inbreeding can be worked out - there are several computer programmes available that will do so - but your mentor (the breeder of your queen usually) and stud owner should be able to help too.
    My kittens are brought up in the home, never caged.
    I don't neuter kittens before they leave - I don't have a vet willing to neuter below the weight of 2kg, which mine, Siamese, aren't but there are vets out there who will do it and as far as I am aware there are no detrimental effects on the kittens. In fact they seem to recover much quicker. I do however have a contract with buyers that they will have their kitten neutered, I give them a slip for their vet to sign to say that it has been done and will follow up if it isn't returned by a certain time.
    Why do I breed? My aim is to keep the old style Siamese lines going as much as I can. While my cats are rarely show quality - judges are looking for a slightly different look these days - they seem to be what buyers are looking for when they ask if my cats are like the Siamese they recall from their childhood.
    Breeding is not for the fainthearted. It is not always a litter of sweet kittens, it can be a mum that rejects her babies, a mum that needs a c.section (and often in the middle of the night or a weekend bumping up the cost) it can be babies that get sick for a variety of reasons and nothing can prepare you for the heartache of losing them when you fight so hard to keep them alive.
    Having a litter from your cat now is not a good reason to want to go into breeding, I'm sorry to say but all breeders have had to start somewhere. Just think very carefully about it.
     
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  10. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    Of course they might have been telling porkies about registering their kittens... Or then going to ask extra for papers, or provide just a pedigree filched from other breeders.

    Was he selling a registered kitten? Some breeders don't register all their kittens. Of course I doubt those that indulge in that dodgy practise also don't give you the paperwork they should so you can register it yourself.

    And if it is registered with the GCCF, yes, it should be fully vaccinated which with a week after the second vaccination means it will be at least 13 weeks old.

    https://www.gccfcats.org/Portals/0/GCCF Code of Ethics 2018_0221.pdf?ver=2018-03-05-144217-380
     
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  11. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    Don't. Just enjoying kittens is a dreadful reason to try to get into breeding pedigree cats

    If you want the pleasure of kittens, foster for a reputable organisation such as Cats Protection. They pay for the food, litter & vets as well.
     
  12. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you. That's really helpful.

    I've not made my mind up either way, but it is something I want to do more research in to.
     
  13. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    I appreciate you taking the time to reply..

    Could I ask how you got in to breeding kittens? I've seen that you're very active on this forum and you're clearly really passionate about what you do. What would you say are the most positive and negative aspects? What attracted you to breeding as opposed to fostering? Was it the possibility of developing cats to a high standard or something else?
     
  14. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    Wow. That really helpful.

    The breeder in question was GCCF registratered as an active breeder and had paperwork to show this (I wouldn't know how to verify this paperwork as real tbh).

    He was offering for sale a non active registered female at 10 weeks. He kept the kittens upstairs. He brought a kitten down to meet us along with another, slightly bigger cat that he claimed was the mother. He said that the father was unavailable to see as it belonged to his friend. The kitten was beautiful, but clearly petrified and I suspect unsocialised. He put the kitten on my knee and said she was stressed because she hadn't been downstairs before. He wanted quite a lot less than the market value for the kitten. I had considered getting a non active female just to get a feel for the breed and to gain a really good understanding before taking things any further. In the end something just didn't feel right so we made our excuses.

    I actually raised the question of vaccines and he said that it was a bad idea to vaccinate prior to rehoming due to the stress. He said he had lost a cat following a booster and the vaccinating when a cat is under stress is very dangerous.
     
  15. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    The breeder in question might have a registered prefix. His female might be on the active register. You can check both. Find out the prefix and check on the gccf website for registered prefixes. Ask to see the queen's registration certificate which will clearly state active or not. There is a sticky at the top of the catchat page with details of what the registration certificate should look like. If both things are true then he should not be selling any registered kitten under the age of 13 weeks (vaccinations at 9 and 12 and kittens kept for one week minimum after that) Kittens must be vaccinated before leaving for their new homes. You were right to walk away.
     
  16. Rufus15

    Rufus15 ~ Orrono Maine Coons ~

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    Yes, it's normal practice for sensible and responsible breeders that have a vet available to do it.

    If you are looking at adverts then you're looking in the wrong place. There are very few ethical breeders that will put out adverts. Most of the adverts you have seen will probably be for fake pedigree kittens aka mogs

    Then they aren't ethical breeders, kittens should be vaccinated before leaving their breeder

    He's talking through his backside and is trying to push kittens and their high costs off to the owners as quickly as possible.

    It's not ok to rehome any kitten, pedigree or otherwise, before 13 weeks. Not only do they need their vaccines and neutering done, weeks 8-13 are crucial kitten socialisation time.

    It's a perfectly safe procedure, with no ill effects at all

    Some vets will do a breeder discount but many won't, that includes vaccines. That's part of the cost a breeder accepts they take on

    Yes, many vets are happy to neuter and even more vets are realising that the previous idea of 6 months is outdated and impractical

    Kittens need very little time to bounce back. Breeders either neuter between vaccines or neuter at 12 weeks, rehoming at 13-14 weeks

    Kittens are better staying with their litter mates and mum until they are appropriately socialised, weaned, vaccinated and neutered. Safety and health comes far above human whim
     
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  17. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It's very helpful and very much appreciated. It's a learning curve.

    I accept I dropped a huge ball so to speak by not getting my cat neutered, but I want to learn how to do things properly and all advice is appreciated.
     
  18. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    Yes it can be amazing, but don't be fooled. Birth is a dangerous time for any animal, and the offspring are vulnerable. Cats produce large litters because nature expects most to die and believe me, despite all your care some will die. 5 - 10% is often quoted in a pedigree breeding situation. How will you deal with this, how will your children deal with it?
    Pedigree cats equate to less than 10% of the feline population in the UK, the breeding population of pedigrees is considerably smaller as only very specific cats are chosen for breeding. It is extremely rare to find a pedigree cat in a rescue centre. A person who just wants a pet cat will get a moggy, pedigrees are usually owned by those who like a specific character trait the breed possesses and often have had the breed for years and won't have anything else.
    In order to produce healthy, well made cats of any variety takes a lot of time and a lot of money. You could breed non peds to the same standard as a pedigree breeder, but they will never be desirable when a pet person wanting a moggy can pick a kitten up from rescue or the paper for what is really very little money.
    Health, type, health, temperament ... did I mention health?? I show so always hope to get a show standard kitten, but the reality is that they are frustratingly difficult to get (some breeds are particularly difficult) and the super top show standard ones may only appear once in a breeders time.
    Once a year tends to be the accepted timeframe. The 3 liters in 2 years gives some leeway for those queens who are so vigorous that forcing them to hold off for too long can damage their health. As far as I am aware, all the registries in the UK have a set timeframe and I know that at least one refuses to register any litters conceived within this limit.
    Every breeder I know has their cats in the house as pets. The only exception being the stud cats.
    I started with 1 and only had 1 for about three years until I kept a daughter of the first. I stuck with just 2 for a few more years until I decided I was ready to keep a stud. I have occasionally sold a queen on the active register to other experienced breeders, but then I've been doing this for decades. Selling breeding cats is not something a novice breeder has any business in doing.
    They won't have fulfilling lives stuck in a cage. Toys on rotation keep paws and minds busy. Climbing frames provide further play opportunities, plus fill the all important need to sharpen claws. They make good lookout posts and safe areas for snoozing too.

    Something most would-be-breeders are totally unaware of is the fact that if you breed, your house will get trashed. Kittens climb everything, you, the curtains, the TV, the sofa; they chew all of those items too! Queens pee everywhere when they are calling, your bed, the kids beds, the sofa, the carpet. They scream for days on end too, nearly always at night! Tomcats will come to your house and spray up your front door and windows in response. Kittens nearly always come at night and you must be there to see them safely in.

    Yes breeding cats can be wonderful, but it will always be tinged with sorrow and heartbreak.
     
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  19. Rufus15

    Rufus15 ~ Orrono Maine Coons ~

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    I'm afraid you're not going to be received well on this forum, or indeed by breeders, without neutering your kittens before going to new homes. We all advocate early neutering in the breeding section, as we've all seen the result of "contracts" (which are not legally binding) that stipulate neutering at 6 months. Most people won't do it, they'll forget, something will come up, their cat will escape, the excuses are endless.

    The most responsible thing you can do, in addition to accepting you messed up, is ensuring that the same thing can't happen to these kittens, that these kittens will not contribute to the overpopulation of moggies.
     
  20. Melissa3236

    Melissa3236 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you for taking the time to reply. It's really helpful again.

    I'm sure this information will be of use for other people considering breeding cats too.
     
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