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Question For Breeders

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have a curious question for Professional Breeders of Pedigree Cats or General Breeders & those who have regular litters of newborns.

I've been reading a lot about orphaned kittens, either those from feral mothers or those who have lost their mothers or even those whom have been rejected/abandoned.

The question is, in these instances, how many of you would be willing to let your cat be a surrogate to these types of kittens granted that your cat accepted said kitten into her own litter?

If Not, is there a reason why you wouldn't? I can understand if her litter is already big as it is, or cost issue (but that could be remedied if the person giving you the cat gave you $$$ to cover any expense occurred) but is there any other reason?

It's just that, I haven't seen this idea explored very much, and I'm not sure if it's just that it really hasn't been thought of, or that breeders are just opposed to it for some reason.

Because I'm always seeing new litters popping up with Breeders, and Breeders (please forgive how much I use the word, I don't mean to offend at all) tend to be the most adept to cope with the kittens, because they're more experienced, and there are always abandoned kittens and freaked out owners who are upset because they don't know what to do, that this might solve the problem if there are litters in the area.

What do you all think? Good Idea or Bad Idea?
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
One more note, the reason that prompted me to post this, was kittykativia's thread on orphan kittens refusing to be fed. In the event that any of you respond to this who are all ok for letting your own kitties try to be a surrogate to orphan kittens, and that you are local to kittykativia, please give her/him a thought if you're potentially in a position to be able to help her/him & the orphaned kittens.

post #3 of 16
There was a thread recently. One rescuer had a couple of small orphan kittens, and also a resident mom with 6 weeks kittens.

She let her momma cat help with nursing. After a couple of days she realised the kittens were apparently sick. Soon it become clear they were FIV/FelV positive. Ie, the worst possible scenario for an owner / breeder...

As yet, momma cat is till negative to tests, but the days of fright are not over yet, till next test...

So. As I know, many - perhaps most breeders are helping homeless this way or another. But very few would actually let homeless kittens in. IF, so always with double or thrice safety guarding.
post #4 of 16
For the health of my girls and their babies, I would not accept stray kittens. There are a few breeders I would accept extra kittens from if they had trouble with mum, but only those I know well.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I can definitely understand the fear of some sort of transmittable virus from kitten to the mother cat, I think I remember reading that thread.

I suppose, making sure that the original mother was vaccinated herself might help a little in that situation.

I once had a similar problem a few years back, when one of my cats had two stillborns and the third was very weak & she just didn't take to him.

I am forever grateful to the lady whom after advertising on petlink, rushed to my house within an hour of the post/email and tried to introduce him to her female cat who had just given birth a few days prior.

The kitten didn't make it, but she did try, and she even lived over an hour from me - but loved animals enough that she at least wanted to try & since he was so small & rejecting at every turn the bottle feeding & keeping him warm enough was a constant struggle, I had to try anything I could as I couldn't just watch him die without trying.

It's not for everyone, and you have brought up a very legit reason, that hadn't occurred to me, thankyou for that.

Also, Kuddos to those who do help known kittens by adopting them
post #6 of 16
The risks of FIV/FIP/Felv, arent in practice very big. They arent even very common, and they arent very contagious, thank God.
The very most homeless tests negative when going in for adoption.

But the risks are still there, being clearly bigger then null.

A breeder simply can´t afford to take them. It is not "only" risk for her own cats, and her long-term programme and the ten-thousands of dollars involved. But also responsibility for the other breeders and the breed as such. Breeders do usually participate in shows. Have studs for mating. Perhaps boarding the cats of their friends. Sell their kittens to other people who are expecting to buy healthy kittens... Etc.

So. As I said. Most breeders do help homeless one way or another. Individual homeless in their neighbourhood or a shelter nearby. Advice, left over KMR / cat food, helping raise money, contacts with buyers of their kittens talking them into wanting a companion cat, etc. etc.
They can sometimes take in a stray for help or even fostering. Many do. But a strict quarantene in the beginning + vet check up, etc, is a necessary must.

Having a couple of friendly breeders in their network is thus worth much for a rescue group, as long the rescuers are wise enough not to demand too much.

In our example here, a breeder could probably help with advice, KMR, used but good syringes... But hardly letting a queen in active breeding programme nurse the small.

Others? Others may take a calculated risk if they wish and they have healthy, fully vaccinated cats. Their risks and their responsbility are not in the same magnitude. Their responsibility is "only" for themselves and their own cats.
Besides, the cats of many rescuers are themselves ex homeless. Ie survivors made of tough wood.
Other cats are perhaps not ex homeless, but they are usually outgoing cats, who already probably had met and resisted all common viruses and bacteria in the neighboorhood.
Some do gladely take the plunge.
Some do have double layers of precautions, including strict quarantene.
Most are somewhere in between.
post #7 of 16
While I am not a breeder, I do do rescue work, and we always favour hand feeding, as you simply dont know what the kitten is carrying, or why mum refused to feed it - she might have known that one was sick. FIV and FeLV aren't really transmittable from kitten to mum, but things like panleuk are, and it could kill everyone. Some rescues may be willing to do it, but not all.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
understandable, thanks for all the great replies
post #9 of 16
As an ex-breeder, the only time that happened was when I had 2 queens (one was a daughter of the other) and the daughter didn't want to be a mother and dumped her kittens in with the others.

However, there was something wrong with the two she had as after 2-3 days the older queen also rejected them and put them far away from the others.

I know it may sound harsh or cruel, but I go by mother nature and the queen. If she rejects them, there usually is a very good reason and IMO you should not always try and "save" the kitten. This is from a breeder's viewpoint. Because even if the kitten does survive you would not want it in your breeding program.

As stated above - most breeders have show cats and need to keep them healthy. Its too much of a risk to bring in an orphan kitten with no background testing.
post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I go by mother nature and the queen. If she rejects them, there usually is a very good reason and IMO you should not always try and "save" the kitten. This is from a breeder's viewpoint. Because even if the kitten does survive you would not want it in your breeding program.
It is surely a strong point. But there is always the possibility to sell the kittens as pet "companion cat". In fact, most pedigree cats arent at all breeded on, most are sold as pets and kept as neutered family pets.
Rescued homeless cats are almost always neutered...

So my guess is, most breeders will fight even in such cases. Some in 100% effort, but at least 80%.
They will perhaps not go into extremes, but as long the abandoned kitten arent apparently gravely hurt, they will fight on. Especielly if the kittens has the will to live.

Myself Im not breeder. But our both boys are purebred russian blue (scandinavian type), and both were studs a couple of years each, with ladies visiting them coming home to us. So I was active several years in this world.
post #11 of 16
I didn't say ALL the time - you have to judge if it would be worth trying to save. I suppose you do the best you can at the time. And yes, the breeder would sell the kitten as a pet (spay/neuter), but if the kitten is not that strong, the person may have more medical problems and personally I don't want to even sell a kitten for a pet that may have medical problems from being "saved".

In the contract you are guaranteeing health of the kitten. Knowing the kitten may not live long...are you not selling an unhealthy kitten?
post #12 of 16
I wouldn't risk it. . . Corona and the new strains of Calici come to mind. It's not just FIV/FeLV, but the less serious but still devastating URI and GI diseases . . . and then fungal infections. . . the list goes on! Outbreaks are costly to treat, and not all cats react in the same way to the same illness. Some of the rarer breeds are a lot more sensitive. Better to be skilled in bottle/tube feeding. At the least, a breeder can teach a rescuer the basics.

I agree with GK as far as placement/contracts go. How can you guarantee health when you don't know what you have?
post #13 of 16
Coco did almost nurse kittens that were not hers.
The vet asked me if we would take 3 kittens and let Coco nurse them if the mom would not nurse them.
Of course they we knew they did not have any illness or diseases.
The mom did not want to nurse them at first.
Coco also nursed Meekos only kitten who was 6 weeks younger then her kittens.
Of course I knew it was safe.
I would never allow a unknown kitten to nurse on the mom cat.

post #14 of 16
I would prefer for socialization to bottle feed and would never expose my cats whom include a co owned stud among them to a stray cat. Now I will foster an adult cat who is tested and quarantine that cat when I don't have kittens. I wouldn't bring kittens in for health reasons but do and have let pet families know of kittens needing bottle fed and quite often they do but they typically only have 1 other cat at home which is far easier to treat than 4-9 cats plus kittens. And as well, I won't bring in another cat while I have kittens of my own period.

So I think breeders and pet families are an excellent resource for networking besides advice ect but to expect breeders to take on unvetted kittens is a risky situation. And at that point, does the rescue have an obligation to treat all cats in household (same with those fostering who are big into rescue and have 10 + cats albeit fixed in house) or just the kittens. It can be a sticky situation indeed.
post #15 of 16
It would be very risky for any breeder to take on kittens from untested (FIV/FeLV) parents as it could make their own cats and kittens terminally and completely incurably ill - it could be a death sentence for every cat they have. Also there are numerous other viruses (coronavirus for one) and bacteria from unfamiliar homes could place young kittens in their own litters at great health risk. Unfortunately this is a huge risk, and breeders (and any other cat owner tbh) have to put the health of their own cats above other considerations, no matter how sorrowful the situation may be. Breeders may put one of their own health tested cats kittens with another litter if there are feeding problems, but it's very rare for someone to take on even another breeder's kittens, and only if it is someone whos cats are health tested and who they are very good friends with.

Also a breeder's queens usually have their own kittens to feed, taking on orphans may jeapordise the development and nutrition of their own kittens and place the queens in danger of exhaustion and poor nutrition if they have to feed too many.

Breeders also do handfeedings every couple of hours throughout day and night using KMR should one of their mumcats not be able to provide milk - it's a factor they take into account when they decide to take on the huge responsibility of breeding cats.

Anyone whos cat gets pregnant should be prepared to take similar action in an emergency, because it is one of the many risks when you let a cat fall pregnant.
post #16 of 16
On the other point mentioned in this thread - most breeders I know will go out of their way to try to save a kitten that does poorly at first or is rejected - but if they are succesful will not sell them, they will usually keep them or give them to someone they trust as a neutered pet.

Being rejected for unknown reasons is not the only reason for handfeeding - one of my boy's mums got bad mastitis and couldn't feed the kittens, then her milk dried up while she was being treated. It's something that comes under the heading of "these things happen" and the kitten in question grew rapidly and is now a very handsome, healthy, large, and muscular young man with a slightly infantile but very endearing habit of trying to suck anything that looks as if it may be a kitten sized feeding bottle
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