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Friend wants to be a breeder

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
So my friend has decided that he would like to become a Maine Coon breeder after falling in love with my cat. He isnt running off to get started on it straight away or anything scary, its just something he wants to do and asked me about it.
I am unsure what to advise him on, he is a very loving person and I am sure he would a brilliant job. It would be about the cats welfare first and profit second... but it seems like a very random sudden decision! Which cant be a good thing.

He doesnt even own a Maine coon himself. He has grown up around cats his whole life and recently he suffered a huge loss his mother's cat (his mum passed away a couple of years ago) died whilst heavily pregnant. She was due to give birth any moment and died and lost all the kittens. She was trying to find a cozy hidden spot and got trapped in the porch. He didnt think she could have possibly gotten in there so didnt check, he thought she was in a cupboard. It was too cold overnight and she died. He was devestated. I KNOW it would be about the cats.... its just so strange to want to jump in the deep end.. or is it? I dont know.

What should i advise him on? What kind of proceedures do you need to go through to become a legal offical responsible breeder? If he wanted to buy a cat for breeding purposes where should he go, because i know the breeder who sold me Samson wouldnt have been happy with it.
post #2 of 9
He needs to find a mentor, a breeder who's willing to help him learn the breed and who's willing to sell him at least a show neuter. It's a good idea to start showing first. That way you learn the standard, you get to see many cats of the same breed and you meet breeders you can learn from and who might be willing to co-operate with you later on in your breeding program.

So step no. 1 is to find a good breeder he can buy a show neuter from. Step no. 2 is to start showing the cat.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
The breeder said that Samson would be a really good show cat (he is just so pretty!) if i was to show him and bring Keiran along with me, or perhaps we could show him together as a joint project even though he is my pet, that could provide some valuable experience. Nothing I suppose to having his own Maine Coon.

Being a complete novice to the world of shows, how much does it cost to show your cat?

How long do you think he should be "in the Maine Coon showing world" before he starts breeding?
post #4 of 9
I would advise him to talk to other breeders, find a mentor who can be on hand to help with advice and support. It's best to start off with a neutered show cat to get to know the breed, make contact with other breeders etc. Good luck to him

Originally Posted by Rosie_863 View Post
It would be about the cats welfare first and profit second...
Breeding cats is a hobby and does not make a profit, especially breeding Maine Coons in the UK runs at quite a loss - due to their size they require more food than smaller breeds, stud fees for MCs here are high, and the price of kittens is not high enough to even cover costs. There are a lot of excellent Maine Coon breeders here already and the breed is popular, so kitten prices for pet homes are not that high. So it would be about the welfare only, profit won't come into it at all, let alone second - he should make sure he can afford to do this, because it's going to be expensive!
post #5 of 9
Originally Posted by Rosie_863 View Post
Being a complete novice to the world of shows, how much does it cost to show your cat?

How long do you think he should be "in the Maine Coon showing world" before he starts breeding?
First, you need to find out the association where your cat is registered (CFA, TICA, FIFE, ect) Once you know that, you can go to the homepage of the registry where they should have a show calander.
There are quite a few costs associated with showing a cat. First, there are the entry fees. To show in CFA in the US it runs about $40-50 a cat. As you enter more cats, the fees drop, and some shows even offer deep discounts for certain types of cats; eg. by breed, kitten, premier, ect.
After the entry fees, there are some items that you will need in order to bench your cat (where it waits before being judges) You will need to decide if you want to use the cages provided or purchase your own portable cage. Either way, you will need show curtains in order to keep your cat from getting a faceful of the stange cat next door You can drape fabric creatively for your curtains.

As far as how long you should show a cat; I would personally at least try to get him titled. I think about 10 shows should be enough to give you a good feel for the breed (you want to see as many cats as possible so that you know what is good and bad). I would reccomend that your friend begin creating a personal photo album/gallery of the top winning cats so that you have an idea for the cattery lines that are out there.

I would also suggest signing up for any breed mailing lists so that you can get connected to breeders that you would not normally see at shows.

Best of luck!
post #6 of 9
IMO he should first read all about Maine Coons and breeding cats in general. There are some excellant books out there. I have one called "Breeding Purebred Cats" (or something like that). Check Amazon.com for the book.

That will give him a wealth of info. Breeding cats should be serious work and time - not something you do casually, to make money, or make cute kittens. A good breeder is in it for the love of the breed AND to produce quality cats to improve the breed - not just pets. While every cat born is not a show cat, you should be breeding "quality", even if they wind up as pets.

Your friend should start out with going to a cat show, talking to breeders and put themself on a waiting list for a show quality altered MC. While its better to go with the boy alters to show, you don't want a first breeding cat to be a male - you want a female and work with other breeders for stud service.

If your friend is serious this involves a good size bank account. Show cats and breeding cats can run from $800 and up depending on the lines. MC's are prone to hip dysplasia, so he may be looking at additional medical tests before breeding.

Also a good breeder will have a contract, will alter the kittens before placing them, will take back any kittens/cats the owner cannot keep and have a health guarentee on his kittens.

Its a lot of work, a lot of rewards, and a lot of heartaches. If your friend doesn't think he/she can handle what it takes to be a breeder, then don't get into it! As far as how long to be in it before breeding? Depends on how much you get into showing. I would guess if you do your homework and study the breeding lines, genetics, etc. you might be looking at 5 yrs before you start breeding. Most breeders do NOT hand over breeding cats to novice owners!
post #7 of 9
Most pedigree cats in the UK are registered with the GCCF, but TICA and FiFe (Felis Britannica is the name of the UK division) are also popular, check your cat's registration papers to see who he is registered with - if you were given a 'pink slip' (transfer of ownership) when you bought him, that is GCCF, you need to make sure you have returned that with the transfer fee so that he is registered under your name as owner and received all paperwork back before entering a show.

Fees vary, but once you know which registry he is with you can go to their website, each has lists of shows and a set of rules and regulations which do need to be followed to prevent disqualification. GCCF and TICA are quite different types of show, so without knowing which you are registered with I won't go into how the shows themselves work, and I don't know anything about FB/FiFe shows.

Above all, have fun! I don't show, but I do go to shows as a spectator and from that side of the fence it is a good day out.
post #8 of 9
On the note of NOT making a profit... One of the breeders on this board stated they took in 13,000 $ US and SPENT 26,000$ US so this is a HOBBY not a Business
post #9 of 9
My advice would be to not do anything rash, but to take time out in order to have a good, long think about it and make sure it's something he really wants to do, and not something that he's come up with on the spur of the moment because he likes your cat. Or because he knows how much you paid for your cat and he thinks there is money to be made!

If he wants to breed Maine Coons, the first thing he should do, imo, is to actually get himself a maine coon! Before he considers breeding he should get a show quality maine coon and get out there to some shows. That way he will meet other breeders and make useful contacts. He will also learn about the standard of points for maine coons and how they translate into a good cat in practice. Only when he's acquired a lot of knowledge about maine coons (including any health problems specific to the breed and any genetic screening that good breeders should carry out), a knowledge of genetics in general and understands what constitutes a good example of the breed should he consider breeding. Before he starts to breed he should be able to look at a cat and recognise what is good about that cat, what are faults etc. according to the breed standard.

The next step is to acquire a breeding queen. By that point, he should have made some contacts with other breeders but he will, hopefully, still be in contact with the breeder who sold him the first maine coon and s/he will be able to offer some advice about buying a female for breeding. The breeder who sells him a breeding queen will hopefully act as mentor and advise him on things such as what type of stud would complement his female well. If not the breeder, he should have someone who is more experienced is is prepared to mentor him. Once he's got started, he then can add another female or two to his breeding programme if he desires and has the space/room/money for more than one. He may want to consider having a stud male too, but that requires a fair bit of space as they generally need special housing. Many breeders only have female cats for breeding, especially when they're starting out.

Imo, becoming a breeder is a process and it takes a while to acquire the knowledge and exprience needed. It's not something you just decide to do and then go out and buy a male and a female and put them together. If he genuinely wants to breed maine coons that's great, as long as he understands that it's a labour of love, that he won't make any money and that it will be, at times, difficult and upsetting (when kittens die, for example).

I'd also like to add that Epona made a good point about maine coons becoming popular in the UK. That means there are a lot of breeders and more people wanting to breed them. That might result in the 'market' becoming saturated and breeders struggling to sell their kittens. A good breeder will recognise when there are too many breeders for a particular breed in their area and will reduce their breeding programme accordingly or choose another breed.
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