A cat's right to be free!

Well just go straight on the subject.

An always as hot subject in discussions is the outdoor cat’s be or not to be.

I can't tell how many times I heard someone said, “I don't believe in keeping a cat indoor - cats are supposed to be able to run freely, to climb in trees and hunt, that's in their nature”. 

If you are one of those, I really would like you to think through this philosophy.

 

Humans also used to live freely, in one with nature, long ago we didn’t even have houses. We slept in caves or under trees, but we always searched comfort.

In time we start building windshields, and after that houses, we put in heat in our nicer and nicer accommodations. During this time we become friends with the little cat. The cat got domesticated and moved in with us in our warm and comfy homes, together with us.

How many stories isn't it about homeless cats, and even half-feral cats, who just moved in from the cold into a house, just to never leave again. How many people have not said things like: “The cat just moved in”. 

In today's society where we live in urban areas close to each other with a lot of traffic, our cats are in great danger every time they put their paw outside the door. They are exposed to poisoning, both in gardens and the environment. They are exposed to other cats and dogs. They are vulnerable for the cruelty both from children and adults who just does not like cats and who does not like them around, they are exposed to torture.

They will easily be hit by cars since they do not recognize them as “natural enemies”.
They will be exposed to a lot of diseases and insects who might carry even more diseases.

We come a long way in our thinking when it comes to dogs. We even got laws against dogs walking around freely. Why are still so many people unwilling to change their thinking about the cat?

Does not also the cat have the right to our care regarding their well-being? Does not the cat also got the right to the same kind of comfort we search for, to live in a warm and protected place? Does not also the cat got the right to a safe outdoor environment?

Luckily, many people start to realize that the cat is much happier and safer when it is allowed to be outdoor only in a controlled way in a leash or a cat run. 

A lot of people now days realize that they do have a responsibility to keep their animals safe. Those cats are lucky, healthy and live a lot longer in their loving homes with their considerate families.

The life expectancy of a cat increases considerably IF it’s an indoor cat!

Next time you or a friend of yours claims that cats should be able to wander about freely - ask yourself this question. Would you rather die young - or would you like to live a long healthy life? Don't you think your cat would answer the same as you just did? 
And also ask yourself this question. How many do you know who let their dog out unsupervised, and then leave for work? Ask yourself if it’s your cat's nature is to wander about freely, isn’t this also the dogs, horses, pigs, and all other animals obvious right?

Think about your cats right to be free from illness, free from parasites, from mean dogs and cats, and all other dangers outside your door.
Please consider keeping your cat inside. Grant your cat some stable scratching trees, activation and toys. Let your cat bloom with health and happiness. Be a responsible pet owner and make sure your animals best comes in first hand and see first and foremost to their real needs, don't fall for the myths on the way.

There is something calling the five freedoms and if all of these are met it’s considered that the animal got high welfare. John Webster, professor of animal husbandry and researcher from Bristol University, compiled the Five Freedoms in 1979.

 

The Five Freedoms are described in full as follows:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst, through access to freshwater and a diet that maintains complete health and vigor. (Give your cat a good quality food, wouldn't you let your kids eat only fast food year after year would you?).
  • Freedom from discomfort, by providing a suitable environment that includes shelter and a comfortable resting place.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and illness through the prevention of this or rapid diagnosis and treatment. (A good insurance helps, do not get a cat unless you can afford it).
  • Freedom to perform natural behavior, by satisfying the animal's need for sufficient space, the right resources, and companionship of the animal's own kind. (Access to scratching trees, toys to hunt, etc.).
  • Freedom from fear and worry, by securing conditions and treatments that avoid mental suffering. (Being outdoor in cat run or a leash are a good start).

 

By measuring the animal's physical condition, its physiology and behavior, one can get an idea of how the animal wants to be treated. Even today we have no solution to combine these measures of animal welfare into a single measure, this is something that is extremely difficult to measure but by reviewing the above we have at least a good chance to give our cat the best we can.

By: Malin Sundqvist

Source The five freedoms: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4810049/

My cat, or the neighbors?

In this article I will talk about the outdoor cat, I get a lot of input at regular basis from every possible angle. Of course, this will reflect a lot on the “Swedish point of view” other countries might have other regulations and therefore it might be a whole other story there.
But I do think this is a problem in many, many countries.

This article is not so much from the cat's point of view, I’m focusing on the human's point of view here.

Those who got outdoor cats usually see it as a right for the cat and some kind of zero responsibility on their part. Of course this does not apply for everyone, but generally that's the opinion you encounter when you speak to the owner of outdoor cats.

The thing is, in the end, I’m the one who chooses to have a cat, my neighbor might not.

At the cat forum, it is incredibly common for non-cat owners to enter and wonder what to do so that the neighbor's cat does not step right into their house when they want the door open in the summer, they wonder how to protect their chair cushions from being destroyed by peeing cats, the children's sandbox from getting soiled by cats who do their needs there.

Whose responsibility is it really? The one who chosen to have a cat or the one who chose not to have a cat?

A dog is not allowed to walk freely outside there is even a leash-constraint in the urban areas, I have for long thought about why this is a law for the dog and why does not the same apply for the cat?  The truth is that it is easier to teach a dog to stay within certain limits than a cat, so how come the dog must be in a leash and not the cat? In the area for birds to have their babies, there is a stricter law how demands the owner to keep their dog in a leash even on the countryside, in the woods, parks and so on, but the cat is the real killer and for them, there is not one single law? This really confuse me?

Many people than directly claim that it is only because the dog is so much more dangerous than the cat? Are they really? How many have encountered a raging cat who has completely lost control? Believe me, put the cat against the dog and the cat wins a thousandfold! The dog has strong jaws and sharp teeth and can kill a human being, although this happens very rarely. A cat may not kill a human but believe me, the damage can be quite real, unlike the dog that has "only strong jaws and teeth", the cat has teeth sharp as needles, and extremely sharp claws both in front and back, this in combination with a unbelievable speed and agility can make a cat extremely dangerous.

Fortunately for us and other animals, the cat has an instinct that tells them to fight in the very last possible resort, just because of their extremely dangerous weapons. A cat will fight only as the last possible resort, that's why cat owners often do not realize that the problems they do have within their group of cats at home, in fact, is fights about rank or just plain discord, since the cats do not go into battle? Cats will avoid an attack for as long as possible.

But enough said about that, we can in short summarize the above and recommend only controlled outdoor stay also for the cat on the basis below.

The neighbor of a cat owner does have the privilege to keep their doors open without risking to get the neighbor's cat inside their home.

The neighbor can be really allergic and then the cat may simply be a danger to their life.

Neighbors shouldn't have to pick up your cat's crap from their plot, sandbox or flowerbed!

Anyone who breeds and keep their complete females indoors, should not be exposed to get their door soiled by your uncastrated male cat marking territory on it. 

The neighbor should not be exposed to your unneutered male / female urine marking on their chair cushions, their flowerbed, their doorstep or their children's sandbox.

The person with cat phobia should not need to walk around always on edge in fear of all the cats running around freely.

At last, I would like to add that if a cat is going to walk outside freely, it’s in my opinion absolutely necessary, that the following is fulfilled:

The cat should go outside for a purpose, ie have a job to perform, for example, as a stable cat or out in the countryside to keep rodents away.

The cat should have access to proper food a cat does not hunt because it is hungry but as an amusement and it hunts just as well with the stomach full of good food. Even better since it will naturally be in better health and thus have more energy.

Keep the cat insured or have a good saving for veterinary bills, and go through the cat at least once a week after to see if there are any wounds or injuries, ticks or anything like that. You will this way also get a general look at the general condition of the cat. If the cat is ill, keep it inside and under supervision until the cat is well again.

Once a year, take the cat to the veterinarian and have it examined at the same time as the annual vaccination. Make sure the cat is ID-marked!

And above all, make sure your outdoor cat is neutered! Not only does it prevent it to get into fewer fights, but it also stays more closeby, it destroys less for the neighbors and most importantly, it will not contribute to increasing the stock of the homeless!

Another minus when it comes to outdoor cats is that you do not see as easily if the cat is ill, this is why it’s so often is believed that the house cats are so healthy. The domestic cat owners who all too often have their cats outdoor freely, often do not notice when their animals are getting ill.

How can you tell if the cat is tormented by a bad stomach if it does its needs in the forest or on others' plots, how do you detect, for example, blood in the stool if the cat does everything it should outdoors when the owner is not present? How can urinary problems be detected in a cat that goes outside, it is not possible to know if it's been peeing normally or 40 times a day or not at all? 

When you got an indoor cat with controlled outdoor stay (in leash or cat run) you will quickly notice if something is wrong!

Well, cat owners time clean up your act and start take responsibility for your cats, and just like the dog owner make sure to clean up after your cat, make sure your cat can't ruin anyone else's property and keep the cat in a leash or in a cat run.
Please take your responsibility as an animal owner!

By: Malin Sundqvist

If so this text is for you! 

I do not want you to be deceived.

Extremely few of the unregistered purebred or suggested mixed breeds ARE what they are suggested to be, often the person selling been cheated themselves, that the cat is one or the other and so the misery continues.


I heard several stories, just recently (at time for this article) there was an article about a couple who had a housecat (a pure house cat with true farm-genes, not a single purebred behind), who been pregnant and got kittens. They sold a couple of those to a family who seemed fantastic, a couple of days later they by coinsidence found their sold kittens on Blocket for a much higer price and lo and behold as mixed breeds. (Blocket is a site for advertising i Sweden). bes

This is just one of all the tricks used to fool the buyer.
Ok, so you are interested in a Maine Coon and you find a mix where the mother is said to be purebred but unregistered, how do you KNOW that she really is a Maine Coon?
How do you find out that she is not i fact a longhaired housecat? How will you control that you get what you want? Do you like the look on the kitten, think it's just adorable? Then buy it, absolutely buy it! But leave out any talk about mixbreed or purebred. Just call your new love a housecat, a absolutely wonderful, gorgeous, adorable, housecat and nothing else, as non those other things can not be proved!

When it comes to unregistered purebreds I recently stumbled upon a similar story.
The kittens where ticked tabbies, this pattern is a dominant trait, and this means that at least one of the parents MUST be of just that pattern for the kittens to be able to get the trait and become ticked tabbies, anything else is genetically impossible.

The buyer, bought those two from a breeder who actually had two registered Maine Coon's, the breeder told the buyer that the cats did not go outside freely. Ok, so this should be fairly safe, right? The cats are indoor cats and pedigree can be shown for both the parents. Just ONE little problem, at this point there was only ONE ticked tabby Maine Coon in Sweden,  and that was my own male, a import from Austria. I got very suspicious since I do know exactly what ladies he's been dating and the breeder did own a male she claimed was the father. I had seen a photo of the mother so I did know she was a classic tabby, so she couldn't be the one giving the trait. The father was the only possiblility. I digged a bit deeper into the history and the father had been rehomed to the breeder at the age of 1 in 2012..... wait a second here, my male is NOT the father, his firstborn offsprings was not even born at this time! So there was no possible Maine Coon who could actually give the trait to the kittens! I finally got to see a picture of the father and found out that also he was a classic tabby. Genetic proof, the claimed father to the litter, was NOT actually the father to the litter!
Most likely the female slipped out and met some nice little housecat male in the neigbourhood, got her kittens and the breeder eighter unconsciously, caused by lack of knowledge, or consciously to be able to sell the kittens easier and to higher price claimed that her own male was father to the litter.

Those stories is there hundreds of, we encounter more and more all the time.

So if you do like a housecat, buy one, but don't add weight to whether it's said to be unregistered purebred or mixed breed. The truth is that no one got the slightest clue about what's really behind that kitten. If you do want a purebreed, do buy a purebred from a reputable breeder WITH a pedigree, this is the proof of the origin of you kitten.

 


Do not let yourself be fooled by colors or looks, the housecat is present in any color or look. Even colorpoint (the color of the Sacret Birman, Ragdoll and Siamese) a colorpoint is of NO proof at all that the cat has anything to do with any of those breeds.


I actually a couple of times heard that the M on the forehead means it's a Maine Coon, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, all agouti (cats with pattern), wether they are Classic Tabby, Mackerel Tabby, Spotted Tabby or Ticked Tabby got the M on the forehead no mather what breed they are, this has to to with the agout trait and pattern not with any breed.

Let our fantastic house cats that are so varied in color and shape and appearance be just housecats, long-haired and short-haired. Let them be what they are and don't lower their standards by saying they are one or the other as if they were not worth as much as the wonderful domestic cats they are!

If you now want a purebred but may not be able to afford it (I have full understanding that not everyone may be in a position in life when they can afford the purchase price) there are many, many options.

1. Adult rehoming, you get a pure-bred with pedigree for a lower price. Breeders often have to make the decision to rehome their cats when they have stopped breeding them, if they want to continue breeding.

2. This is something we do a lot in Sweden, I know thats not very common in other countries but I will tell about it. I will write an article about what it's actually about.
We call it Fodervärd translated right off it will bee Feed host, you can call it sited home maybe? Here are two options, "full" or "part", in both cases you pay in full or in part with work and dedication instead of money. And NO it's absolutely NOT a free cat, but instead of paying with money you pay in dedication, time and work. 
In full sited home, you do not pay any money but have an agreement with the breeder that the breeder will get a number of litters from the cat if it's a female and you will raise the kittens in your home, take time of work for the birth and care for the litter until they move. 
If it's a male you need to be prepared to receive females who will get to you for studservice. If it's "part" sited home, you will pay maybe half the price of the cat, but the amount of matings or litters will be smaller often just 1 or 2, in a "full" sited home contract the amount often is maybe 2-4 instead.

Av: Malin Sundqvist

It seems to be going on an explosion of cats sold as purebred but without pedigree (without registration), I have talked to so, so many who bought those cats.

I just can’t stop wondering about what makes people buy a cat without pedigree just to save maybe 1000-1500 SEK (about 100-150 Euro or 105-158 Dollar)?


The only thing I could come up with is that you live in the belief that the pedigree is just a piece of paper, on which the shows relatives.
This couldn’t be more wrong it should rather be compared to some form of qualitystamp, of course there will be exceptions, I’m not in any way says that you without any reservation should go out and by just about any cat, without further examination. of the breeder just because the cat got a pedigree and are registered, absolutely not. But a pedigree says so much more then just the names of the relatives and their registration-numbers.

I will try to write down some good things a pedigree can tell you. Some of this below can be a bit different from country to country, I will write what goes for sweden mainly since thats what I know.

  • The breeder is a member of an association and is obligated to follow their rules (in sweden and some other countries also the board of agricultural).
  • Both parents is registered in a studbook.
  • Both parents need a certificat that they are free from hernia. (Sweden)
  • The father must have a certificat that he is not kryptochid, this can be done as earliest at 6 month of age.
  • Kittens must be Id-marked with chip. (Sweden)
  • Kittens must be vaccinated twice (Sweden)
  • They are not allowed to be sold without a health certificate which cannot be older then 7 days.
  • The breeder are not allowed to let the female have more then 3 litters in 2 years.
  • The kittens are not allowed to leave their mother before they turned 12 weeks old, not a day earlier.
  • No kittens are allowed to be withheld registration.
  • A breeder who is a member of an association is not allowed to contribute to breeding housecats in any way. Not offer studservice, let a houscat have a litter, not do any mixed breeding.
  • To breed to another breed a breeder need to apply for control-breeding, and will then get a pedigree for the kittens.
  • A breeder who happen to get a accident-breeding (a female is sneaking out and are mated to a housecat or two breeds in the same home accidently mate, still need to register the litter with a “housecat proof” and report the misstake to it’s association.
  • Most breeders do follow the health program for the breed, you can read about what a health program is on www.pawpeds.com or in the article on this page.

A breeder who is caught cheating with a pedigree, or in anyway missbehave will be suspended from the association and can then no longer reigster their kittens. Keep this in mind when you buy a not registred mixed breed or purebred, this can be a breeder who misbehaved and been suspended. Is this someone you want to trust your money?


Through the pedigree you can get help at the association if questions aries and you can follow the generations back and get a lot of information about as well health as other herited factors who might be present behind your kitten.
This is just a few of all that comes with a pedigree, as you can see a pedigree is a lot more then just a piece of paper.
Everyone who whish can a member of an association, in some associations 1 litter are allowed to be registred whitout a catteryname. So as you all can see, if everything is in order, there is really nothing in the way for register the litter.
The costs are not high eighter.

Membership is about 200-350 SEK/Year.

Catteryname is about 750-1500 SEK (this is something that pays just once).

Registration is about 200-350 SEK/Per Kitten.

By: Malin Sundqvist


Typical a Backyard Breeder

Typical a Reputable Breeder

1. The motive: 

  • "it's fun"
  • "it's nice for the children"
  • to "earn money". 

The will not make andy selection of the buyers and selldom refuse to sell, even if the buyer is inappropriate. 

1. Is devoted to produce kittens of good quality and is seriously interested in their hobby. They will invest so much in their kittens that they struggle to make it even and rarely or never with any profit. Will only sell kittens to approved buyers and will refuse to sell if they feel that they buyer is not appropriate.

2. Is happy to mate the familys pets of the same breed or mixed breed or domestic cat just to get cute kittens.
Many do mix breeds just to be able to charge a bit more even though they in most cases just make up stories about the background of the kittens. Have no understanding or interest in genetics, pedigrees, bloodlines, health tests or breeding programs. Note that a cat "can" have a pedigree and still be from a BYB.

2. Can explain how well planned matings can be used to bring out or minimize specific qualitys through careful selection and outcross. Depending on who experienced the breeder is, they can tell you about health programs, the history of the breed and knows the standard as well as knowing there is no way to predict neighter typ nor size. If they are new the can refer to their mentor who can help with questions they cannot answer themselves.

3. Even if the pet (father/mother to the kittens) might be dearly loved, it has not been tested for genetical problems within the breed in question, neighter regarding other healthproblems like umbilical hernia or  cryptoshism.

3. Will not breed on cats who not met appropriate age. Will make sure to get the cats tested for genetical diseases whithin the breed in question. Can show documents on tests that have been done.

4. The kittens will not get a health certificate, id-marking or be vaccinated. They are unqualified to give help if problems occure. The kittens will be allwas be sold complete.

4. The kitten will be sold with a healthcertificat not older then 7 days. Vaccinated twice and will be marked with id-chip and a salescontract will be written. The breeder is qualified and willing to help the owners deal with problems that might occur.

5. The seller have no or very little knowledge of the history of the breed/breeds, nor about the rekommendations from the breedclub or the standard. They often claim this is not necessary since the kitten will be "only a pet".

5. Love the breed and can speak a long time about the background, the history, the temper and the idealtyp. 

6. Kittens will be born in temporary housing facilities, sometimes unhealthy, which indicates, lack of longterm investments in breeding and the lack of true care for the kittens wellbeing.  

6. Invested in time and equipment for the female and the kittens. They are born in a good enviroment which is sanitary and loving.

7. Even though they are only selling "pets", they can show registrationpapers of the parents and talk about titles in the pedigrees, as proof of quality.  Still the owner have not bother to increase their own knowledge by attend in catclubs, breedingrings or local lectures. Is not interested in going to shows with their own cats to "prove" quality. 

7. Will always belong to an association like for example FIFe, WCF, CFA, TICA, CFF and so on. Most times also some breeding ring. They show great dedication to their hobby to breed purebred cats. They might go on shows to get an objective test of how well their cat/cats meets the standard. But even if they not go on shows they got good knowledge about what the standard says and knows and can tell about both the good and the bad in their cats regarding to standard.

8. Can be unwilling to show a buyer all of the litter or being unable to show the mother even if she is in the location. Can or will not compare/criticize the kittens or their parents. Will let you pick the kitten without reservation. The often want you to decide quick and pay deposit early often when the kittens are very young.

8. They will show you all of the litter and the mother in a sanitary environment. They will help you evaluate and pick out a kitten. Explain the criterias of a "breedingquality" versus a "petquality" Will explain why only a few will be sold for breeding purpose, they will not be in a hurry to get the deposit while the kittens are very young, they will rather evaluate them long and well.

9. The prices is normaly a couple of thousand to a couple of hundreds below the standard for a purebred registred kitten, but will be marketed as a purebred unregistred or mixed breed. Since a BYB want to get rid of the kittens quickly, they want them to move fast and get paid well. They often got no problem selling kittens over the phone or by mail or to deliver the kitten quick and easy. In many cases they have no problem at all of deliver the kittens before the age of 12 weeks even though there is an animalprotection law that forbids this.

9. The prices will be in the range of the breed. The price will not reflect all the breeder invested in the kittens. A reputable breeder will selldom make any profit. They selldom sell kittens without personal contact. They will not let any kitten leave before 12 weeks of age, they will often keep them longer. Will most of the times demand a visit from you before you will be allowed to pay deposit on the kitten.

10. Does not worry about the future of the individual kitten, or the breed/breeds as a whole. If you cannot keep the kitten you will not get any help or support in the rehoming-process. 

10. Will keep helping you with questions about the care of the kittens, guide you through problems. Will eighter take back the kitten or help you and guide you during the process of rehoming, rather then see it fall into the wrong hands. 



Some guidelines when you will pick your breeder!

  1. A reputable breeder will not breed on cats younger then a year old. A reputable catbreeder will do (and can prove) health tests for the breed in question. And will also demand that the father of the litter also got those if they would rely on studservice: So make sure whats applies for the breed you are interested in.
  2. Watch out for breeders who mock testing and says their lines are without problems. There is not lines without problems, we can only do as much as we can by testing and make sure to evaluate generation for generation.
  3. A good breeder will explain the importance of neutering all cats who are not planned to go into a breeding program and will explain that they will be enjoy life best as neuters. Birthcontrol pill increase the risk of mammary tumors and the risk of uterus infection is big. Both of those are life threathening.
  4. A reputable breeder will sell the kitten with a written contract. What this looks like will vary a lot but it will contain the buyer and sellers obligations and rights, healthinformation and maybe repurchase policy.
  5. A reputable breeder shows passion, love and good knowledge about the breed. He or she cares about placing the kittens in good homes and will interview potential buyers well and can ask for referenses and also refuse to sell if the home is not considered appropriate.
  6. A reputable breeder will keep the kitens as long as it takes for them to find the kittens a good home.
  7. Most breeders will not sell a kitten that will be allowed to run outdoors freely. The will demand cat run or leash. 
  8. Environment (usually a home) where the breeders cats lives will be clean. Do not accept to meet a breeder outside the home. Trust your instinct here!
  9. A reputable breeder is activly engaged in cats in general, including cat shows, breeding rings, or cat associations. Even if there is exceptions of course - an older retired breeder maybe already been going for shows for 20 years might not be that interested in going on the cat shows anymore. A person that got no contact at all with other breeders is more suspicious. 
  10.  A reputable breeder will give you guide you and give you answers on questions you might have, and can give you name on earlier buyers of kittens (of course after given consent from the earlier buyers).
  11. At a reputable breeder you can meet all the kittens and both parents IF the father is living there, if the father is not avalible pictures will be shown and give you information about how to contact the owner of the father in case of questions, if you are interested in that.
  12. A reputable breeder will do some followup of the kittens. He or she is interested to follow how the kittens will develop physical and in temper and would like to know if there are any trouble in the relation to the owner or with other cats or if there are any healthproblem.  
  13. A reputable breeder will not let the kitten move until they are 12 weeks old and many times not before 12-16 weeks of age. This is for your own sake, so that you will get a kitten as confident and nice as possible.

By: Malin Sundqvist