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What happens at showhalls?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but I'm really wondering. I've sometimes seen shows on TV and always found it weird, but still intriguing. Is it just showcasing your pets and determine which is the prettiest? What kind of formation do the judges have to select champions? What are their criterias? Is it some sort of spotlight moments for breeders to find new reproducers ?

The main reason I asked is because when I first saw a Bengal in person without knowing it was one, I found it so beautiful and majestic and settled my mind on wanting one. When I inquired about the race, I was a little shocked at how managed and organized it was (as well as the going rate...)

Sadly it was too late since I really wanted one to get another breed, but when calling several catteries, I was utterly pissed at some breeder's attitude. Had I seen them in person I would have seen dollar signs instead of irises and pupils in their eyes. A few went on a salespitch on how the mother is grandchampion X or daughter of renowned winner of X competition. I stopped him right away indicating I did not care at all about any of it. He seemed angry at my reaction. Is it suppose to be a big, serious thing we cannot joke about?

I think tastes are not be discussed and I see showcasing pets as a hobby like anything else. Is this why he was insulted? In any case, for this particular breed, I am a little disgusted on the current ways things are done here in Canada. It took a while to find one or two catteries who seemed genuine about their love for the race. I finally settled on a particular one, with whom I talked for a good 2 hours about its origin up to its natural immunity to leukemia. Only one cattery had agreed not to neuter or spay the kittens I would get before I picked them up. Complete hysterectomy at 3 months old is completely irresponsible in my opinion, much worse than declawing, and yet they do it nonetheless without blinking. Apparently it is to protect the race that they allow kittens to leave only when they're neutered. Truth is, they sell pets for 1500$, but the same kitten goes for 3000$ if you want reproduction rights. So are they really protecting the race, or their business and wallets? I told them I'd rather wait until they're 5.5-6 months old even if I have to pay myself for the operation and forward proof of neutering to them. One of them told me he once did it, until one used the certificate of a dead cat to pass as a a counterfeit.

Maybe I'm just seeing this from a bad angle because I'm not well enough informed. I know some of you show your furfriends, what do you think of this? Is this like this around the World as well? When I lived in France I remember catteries being popular but had never heard such stories. It's a little shocking to say the least !
post #2 of 12
Hmmm... I'm not a breeder, and I've never shown my cats, but my understanding is that breeders' policies about neutering before placement are partly to protect the cat from being used by some unscrupulous BYB to pump out kittens, and also avoid contributing to cat overpopulation by selling intact cats that are not of breeding quality. But if you're curious about what goes on at shows and how cats are judged, you might consider posting questions in the Breeders Corner.
post #3 of 12
Cat shows are as serious as Dog shows. Each cat is judged not against other cats but against the specific breed standards. And the cat that closely meets the breed standards will be proclaimed as Best for that breed.

As for bad breeders or breeders with $ signs in their eyes, well unfortunately, they do exist. Sometimes, with some breeders, breeding and showing is not a hobby but a job and an income. For most of the breeders, our cats are our passion and our dearest loves, more money flows out than comes in and we are fine with that.

For breeders, knowing from which lines your cats come from are very important - it's called researching the pedigree. We need to know if the lines will work well with what we already have. For you as a pet buyer, it is less important - what IS important is that the cat should be registered and neutered.

As for the early neutering. It IS common practice and at most times, especially with the shorthair breeds, necessary. Most females can go in heat as early as 4-6 months and males can start producing in 6 moths as well. If you don't want your cat to breed, early neutering is the answer. In fact, I myself neuter my cats as early as 4 months and it doesn't affect the cat's natural growth. We do this to safeguard our bloodlines against unethical breeding - both my new Grand Premiers were neutered at 4 months. The male, GP Masmera SinarSuria at 4 months was already showing signs of being interested in mounting his mother!

In cases with the "popular" breeds such as Bengals, Persians, Siamese etc. Early neutering is even more important. The blooming industry that is Backyard Breeding does nothing for our chosen breeds. Thus the case of passing off a dead cat's certificate...

You seem to be very offended at the prices of pedigree cats. I can tell you that I have been in contact with many a European breeder, one of which is the most popular breeder of Abyssinians in France. Her pet quality cats cost more than a show/breeder Abyssinian in the US and she has no qualms about charging such prices, and frankly, serious breeders have no qualms about paying such prices.

If you want, look at the "cost" of becoming a great breeder of your chosen breed. The initial start up costs are already staggering to most and that doesn't even include basic veterinary, food and litter bills. Add on the costs of cat shows and traveling expenses.

The price of a cat is dependent on the breeder - what kind of ethics and morals they have. You have unfortunately met the wrong kind of breeder I think.

I hope this clarifies some misconceptions you may have. If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to pm me.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm not interested in becoming a breeder, this is not why I was asking. I just think a complete hysterectomy at such a young age is too soon. I don't have any veterinarian formation. I am a doctor to be however, and even though humans and felines are like apples and oranges, I know a hysterectomy is no small surgery and puts a lot of stress on the body. After I heard this from several breeders I went in the medical library at University to find veterinary medicine books, and if memory serves, reproductive organs secrete hormone growth factors up to 6 months old.

I appreciate the perspective you brought a lot, this clear a lot of things up. I didn't understand why the breeder could not agree to let them go with me not neutered and that I would neuter both around 5 months old and send him the papers to prove the operation was done. He got very agressive and I tried to explain him I was a medical student and had no time nor envy to breed cats and I was only looking out for the well being of my kittens, sort of to reassure him I wasn't trying to get reproductive bengals at the pet price. When he really saw I wasn't aware some were evil enough to do things you described, he told me the deceased kitten certificate passed as a real one story. Ewww...

It didn't work with this breeder anyway because he sounded more like a businessman than a caring animal lover, plus he kept eating when we spoke on the phone The breeder I settled for is a charming young mother who clearly likes what she does, but I did not even try to bring this argument up again and ate it up.

You learn every day!
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerLord View Post
I didn't understand why the breeder could not agree to let them go with me not neutered and that I would neuter both around 5 months old and send him the papers to prove the operation was done.
I think most breeders would get a little angry at that, if their policy is to neuter before adoping out then that's their policy. It's done to protect their cats, because so many people end up 'forgetting' to neuter or intentionally mate the cats.


I think that pediatric spay/neuter is much kinder to the animals, it's a much smaller operation and they bounce back so quickly. They are normally running around by the time they get home after the operation, while older cats take a day or more to recover.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerLord View Post
I appreciate the perspective you brought a lot, this clear a lot of things up. I didn't understand why the breeder could not agree to let them go with me not neutered and that I would neuter both around 5 months old and send him the papers to prove the operation was done. He got very agressive and I tried to explain him I was a medical student and had no time nor envy to breed cats and I was only looking out for the well being of my kittens, sort of to reassure him I wasn't trying to get reproductive bengals at the pet price. When he really saw I wasn't aware some were evil enough to do things you described, he told me the deceased kitten certificate passed as a real one story. Ewww...
Unfortunately, not everyone is trustworthy enough to stick to their words - some breeders may trust you enough to not neuter first but will with hold registration papers until proof of neutering is given, but even that is becoming more and more rare.

I personally don't trust anyone (at least for the moment) to let my cats go off to non-breeding homes (pet or show homes) un-neutered. Abyssinians are rare enough in this part of the world and having someone breed MY cats unethically and without my permission is unacceptable. Similarly, I don't release my kittens to new homes until they are 16 weeks of age. If the prospective owner is unhappy with that, then they are more than welcome to look elsewhere!
post #7 of 12
I can't comment on most of the points raised here as I'm not a breeder (although as an owner of a pet quality Somali, I will say that I am interested in his pedigree and that of any future pure bred cat I buy. Even if I'm after pet quality, I still want a good example of the breed), but re the early neutering - I have to agee with what the others have said about the benefits. Studies indicate that spaying and neutering early does not cause any problems with growth and development, and the cats do seem to recover quicker. I think it's the responsible thing for breeders to do (provided they can find a vet to do it - many still stick to the 6 months rule) and agreeing to let a cat go unneutered is atually the irresponsible thing. Breeders have a responsibility to the cats they sell and also to make sure that they don't add to the problem of over population by allowing cats without breeding rights to reproduce. Neutering them before they go to their new homes is the only guaranteed way of ensuring that.
post #8 of 12
Please, there is no such thing as a 'race' of cats. The correct word to use is 'breed'.

Breeders are concerned about showing, because getting titles at cat shows is how they demonstrate that they are breeding good cats - that they are selecting the right male and female and producing good quality cats. It does matter if you're looking for a pet Bengal, that you are actually getting a Bengal with 2 parents that are good Bengals and produce kittens that have the good qualities of a Bengal - and this is proven in the showring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abymummy View Post
You seem to be very offended at the prices of pedigree cats. I can tell you that I have been in contact with many a European breeder, one of which is the most popular breeder of Abyssinians in France. Her pet quality cats cost more than a show/breeder Abyssinian in the US and she has no qualms about charging such prices, and frankly, serious breeders have no qualms about paying such prices.
Purebred cats in the UK cost roughly the same in GBP as American ones do in USD - ie. in real terms they are double the price. Vet bills are the same way, as are a lot of things here! The main difference is that most breeders in the UK don't charge less for pet quality than show quality.
post #9 of 12
In defense of breeders (and I'm an ex breeder!).

In the show hall, the breeders are there for a very important reason - to prove their hard work has produced a top quality animal. They love their breed and are careful to only produce the best they can. There will always be "pet" quality kittens in any litter.

Your comment about not caring about titles, would make me upset too. Its not about money to most breeders - they want to find the best homes. If you don't care about quality/healthy cats, then don't go in a show hall and expect the people there to be happy to see you. There are enough byb's out there.

Breeders do NOT make money on their cats - they barely break even in expenses after showing, stud fees, caring for kittens till 4 months old, shots, spaying/neutering, etc.

As a breeder I let the people spay/neuter the cats they bought from me at 6-8 months old. However, things have changed a lot and maybe too many breeders had the owners not doing what the contracts say - so to avoid potential problems (and the fact that 4 month old kittens can breed and get pregnant), the early spay/neuter became a lot more popular.

If I was breeding now, I'd have the kittens done before going to their new homes.

Maybe you need to read about showing cats and the purpose behind it before you assume things
post #10 of 12
On pediatric spay/neuter:
Pediatric spay/neuter is the norm here on America's east-coast. All kittens adopted out by the SPCA (out here) and most other rescue organizations are fixed before being placed in their new homes. I know this, because over the years my family has adopted two. Both were around three months old when we brought them home, and the price of the spay/neuter was part of the adoption fees.

Where I live, spay/neuter operations are not cheap. This greatly effects the price of any pure-bred cat in my area. In some areas, such as Arizona, I have heard of spay/neuter operations done at nearly $250 a cat, regardless of age!

Many breeders also spend a lot on testing for genetic disorders and emergency cesarean sections. They are lucky if they even begin to cover the costs of breeding alone, and that doesn't even enter the costs of showing!

On showing:
Showing is, in the words of the breeder I work with, a report card. It is the grade any breeder receives for their hard work and dedication to the breed. If you are doing the right things with your cats, it will be represented in how your cats are received in the show hall.

I do not breed (a long time off), but I show and work with other accomplished breeders. I have put countless time and money into learning as much as I can about my chosen breed (Egyptian Maus) and my sister's chosen breed (Turkish Vans). For me, showing isn't about winning, but learning what makes a cat a good representation of its breed. Show entry fees run at nearly $50 a cat. Add that on to gas, food, and the uncountable accessories, and the costs add up quickly. Not to mention, cat shows are not a once a year sort of thing, but anywhere from a few times a year to every weekend, depending on the breeder and cat. Suffice to say, I'm not going to hold my breath for the day when I get rich showing cats!

When you get a cat that comes out of a good show cat, you know you're getting something special. Not just in looks, but in temperment as well. It takes a special personality to do well in the show hall, and this is the sort of personality anybody would be delighted to see in their pet.
post #11 of 12
lots of interesting info here, but i also wonder if you want to buy the breeder or his cats?
Maybe you should see the cats first and their condition in person, you will also see how the breeder handles them. We are all people and everyone can have a bad moment, don't judge people on the phone the first time.
he may sound like a greedy business men for you , you who is someone who just want a lovely cat. But for him you also are just some stranger calling him and asking questions about having an unfixed cat.

Try to see it from that side.

You will become a doctor, out of passion i hope with the goal to help people and save peoples life (depends on what kind of doctor you are)
But you still will always make sure you get your money for your job.
So you should take what other people do with a bit more respect too.
Breeding is not a hobby, if it were one than it would be a super expensive one.

i am not a breeder, now i want to be one, but for me the kittens come first then the breeders attitude.

as for the competition it might sound annoying to you but having a cat that meets the breeding standards is always a good thing if you are willing to pay the price for it.

About the neutering i hear different things from people.
Some say you should wait at least for half a year, some say best would be around one year.
Some breeder say earliest as possible is best, before they learn how to spray.

if you get both a male and a female you might not want to take chances having babies.
i have 3 males and will fix them only if needed.

usually cats tend to spay more when in stress.
Our old cat never sprayed for 2 years but after moving to a new house he started painting the walls.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randis View Post
Breeding is not a hobby, if it were one than it would be a super expensive one.
For most in the cat fancy, breeding is a hobby, and an expensive hobby at that. Even with the prices they charge, if breeders can make a living off of breeding, the cats are losing out on something (vet care, quality of food, living space, breeder doesn't show to check quality of cats. . .). Breeders are lucky if they can even recover a portion of what they put into their cats.

With breeders in many minority breeds, if someone is looking for kittens and none are available, the breeders will happily refer the person to a breeder who does have kittens. It's not just about making a sale, but promoting the breed.
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