The question about breeding or not is kind of a hot potato, especially if you talk about it in domestic cat circles, it seems that most non "cat people" see it as their right to breed on their cat, this, without further consideration of what this really means and without any basic knowledge of our Swedish animal welfare legislation. (or other countries' equivalents).
Do humans have the right to just arbitrarily, let our cat get litters, or our animal regardless of species?
Is this more ok if it's a purebred cat than if it's a domestic cat? The answer to that question is YES and NO!
Before we even start touch the topic of breeding and taking litters, we need to start with some basic questions.
Is there a market for the kittens I intend to breed?
That is, is there a demand for kittens of the breed, the type you intend to breed.
We already know that the purebred-market usually regulates itself, a breeder cannot afford to breed a litter they do not get sold, the domestic cat market is trickier as people can throw out just 100 SEK for a little kitten and who they then gets tire of in about 5 months when it is not so small and cute anymore. Domestic cats is overabundance, in Sweden the estimated number of homeless domestic cats are somewhere around 150,000 (note that the hidden statistics is huge), the total number of registered purebreds in SVERAK, which is Sweden's largest breed association, since the start in 1955-2018 are in total: 356 052 registered cats (note that this applies for a period of 63 years).
What does your cat suitable for breeding?
Whether it is purebred or domestic cat, it’s not associated with responsible breeding to breed a litter on your cat just because you think it is cute and nice, responsible breeding requires significantly more than that
Important things to keep in mind are:
What diseases does the cat need to be tested for? There are a bunch of diseases some occur more frequently in some breeds than others and some occur equally in all breeds as well as in domestic cats. One of these is HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) which is widely spread in almost all cats except for some reason Siamese and Oriental where no major incidence of this disease has been detected. HD (hip dysplasia) is to a large extent seen mainly by Persians, Himalayans, British Shorthair, Devon Rex, Maine Coon and the domestic cats.
According to the Swedish Animal Protection law, we are not allowed to breed cats that have a genetically inherited disease, as all of the above. This means that you are indirectly obliged to test your animal for these before breeding, regardless of whether it is purebred or domestic cat.
You can read more about this on JBV's Swedish Agricultural Agency. In our breed-association we have rules that prevent us from breeding on some faults, umbilical hernia is such a fault, the associations (SVERAK and WCF) require a certificate that the parents are free from umbilical hernia (for this it’s enough with the health certificate the kitten have from the age of 12 weeks) before litter is registered and for the males also a certificate certifying that the male is not cryptochid is needed (this test can be done as earliest at 6 month of age).
There are also some other things that you should take in consideration and which you avoid breeding on, those are kinkytails (if to obious or not located at the tip of the tail, then it might be ok), underbite a small underbite is ok as long as it does not exceed 2 mm gap.
Is the female suitable as a breeding female? How did her mother take care of her kittens, did she give birth without problems, etc.? A female who has trouble giving birth more than once should not breed, but should be neutered, one should also decide whether youngsters after this female should really go into breeding since it can be inherited, you could take one litter and evaluate wheter the offsprings got the same tendency and in if so neuter the offspring immediatly.
How does the female take care of the kittens? A female with a little milk should not continue in breeding, but you should take into account why she is low on milk? Is she continually being disturbed? Are there other cats that can stress her out, does she get to be alone and get the peace she needs? The causes can be many but must always be considered, if the female's mother was low on milk for several litters, despite actions being taken for her to feel calm and at peace you should ask yourself if it is appropriate to let her offspring go into breeding, of course you can also in those cases take a litter to try and see how it works, but if it not works well, do not let any of the kittens into breeding, close the line instead.
How's the temper? A cat suitable for breeding should not be aggressive in any way, it must be confident and social. A shy and worried cat is not a suitable breeding material.
Even in those cases you to some extent need to take into consideration whether it’s a hereditary disposition or if it is inflicted ie. something happened which caused the cat to become suspicious. However, such a cat usually quickly recover, in the right environment and usually shows huge progress in a short time. When choosing a male for a female that is not completely confident for whatever reason, make sure to always choose a very confident and stable partner.
The type - the standard! With purebreds we have a distinct framework to stay within, it is clearly described how a certain breed should look like, when we are breeding it is important that we make sure that we are well briefed in the terms of the standard, keep in mind that judges are only human, read the standard well, so you know what your breed should look like. Show merits rarely have much to do with breeding and in some cases not even with the actual appearance of the cat. The domestic cat has no standard to follow, but you should still make sure that the cat has no direct oddities that automatically should have been regulated in the purebred world by not using them in breeding.
As can be seen in the text above, you can certainly rule out that breeding is a human right!
It’s important to know and that applies to all breeding, whether it is a domestic cat or a purebred cat and whether you are in a union or not, at least in Sweden and many other countries you as a seller are obliged to account for hidden faults that can occur with a sold cat.
As a breeder, whether it is a domestic cat or a purebred cat, you are according to Swedish animal welfare law, obligated to be at home with your female when she is about to give birth, from about day 61 until she was born, in other words, just make sure that have saved your vacation!
You are also obliged to look after the kittens, adult cats should be supervised every 12 hours, small kittens more often than that and you are also obliged to ensure that you can support them and bottlefeed them if needed, it CAN involve feeding every second to third hour around the clock for up to 2 weeks!
You are also obliged to take your female to the veterinarian if complications arise in when she is in labour, this can without insurance cost you up to 15000 SEK or more. If you do have insurance, you can often get away with a few thousand.
Justify all the points above carefully before making your decision!
Av: Malin Sundqvist