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Greetings, I would like to be a breeder...

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My first experience with a cat was in second grade when I left the house to walk to school and came across a mama kitty giving birth. I didn't know what was happening with the cat except to think that something was wrong. I got my mother and she told me to go ahead and go to school and when I got home there would be kittens. Boy I had to wrap my brain about that one! I wanted to breed cats and dogs from that day on.

I have been planning to breed for the last few years. I have been learning along the way, but I have questions. For instance, how do you know when your cat is in heat? How do you keep your males and females from breeding? Do you know in enough time to separate them? Do you know of helpful books on breeding? Is there anyone who breeds that will be my mentor? I will be breeding Maine Coons. Hopefully I will be breeding solid whites and solid blues. I say hopefully because I live in Hawaii, and we have no rabies here, so they require that animals coming into the state either be old enough to have a full set of rabies shots, or be quarantined for 4 months in a pound-like setting with all animals isolated. I want cats old enough to have their rabies shots. I will start this process if I get breeders who will work with me. Also, I will wait until we own a house in about a year and a half.

Thank so much,

Sammy I
post #2 of 24
Hi Sammy,

Firstly welcome to TCS. Second I can barely read your writing, so hopfully I see the write words.

I'm a breeder of Persians & Exotics - coming up 14 years. Since you say you have been planning on breeding for the last few years - what is your experience with Pedigree cats (particuarly MCO's) have you been visiting cat shows, showed an alter or met with breeders?

Trust me with the majority of cats you will know when they are in heat. They make no secret about it. Cats in heat roll around, put their butts in the air, howl, holler, scream, act extra friendly, go off their food, eat more food - there are many signs but you will know!

You keep your males and females from breeding by keeping them separate from each other. While I read of many European catteries on the net having houses filled with males and females because they are opposed to cages or pens, this is not ideal, especially if you have multiple males and females. You need to be in control of when they mate, record the details and obviously know who is mating with who!

You are very sensible for putting a lot of though into this, by coming here to TCS and by being open to suggestions. We have a member here on TCS Kai Bengals who used to live in Hawaii so he may be able to help you with cat registries, breeders and vets there (sorry not sure of how big Hawaii is). We also have a fairly new member to the cat world who has recently been through the process of getting mentors so Mews2much may be able to help you with that.

I suggest you do some internet research on Maine Coons - do they have cat shows in Hawaii?

Hopefully this gives you a starting point
post #3 of 24
I started showing neuters, then met my mentors at shows (my breeder is in another state) before getting breeding girls. I will wait for a stud until I absolutely have to own one. My mentors don't have the same breed as me, but that doesn't matter they still have taught and continue to teach me about breeding.

In my opinion it's best to start with showing neuters, so you can learn about the cats and meet other breeders.

Over here boys are kept outside in stud runs, and girls either in the house or outside in a cattery.
Like Sam said, you will know when your girls are in heat. Also boys usually spray, so not nice to keep inside.
Many girls will widdle in heat too, so often are put in the outdoor cattery during that time.

Books, there are many available. I have:
Feline Husbandry - Niels C. Pedersen. Available to download here http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ccah/felinehusbandry.cfm
Breeding Cats, a practical guide - Truda Straede (not sure if that's available outside Australia)
Feline Reproduction for Breeders and Veterinarians - Susan Little http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/Pages/Bookstore.html
Complete Book of Cat Breeding - Dan Rice
post #4 of 24
Am an ex-breeder of Cornish Rex cats. Its better to first start off showing in the alter classes at cat shows. This is where you learn ALL about the breed, the care, the good, the bad and the ugly.

You need to know the breed standard inside and out to tell a good from a bad example of the breed.

Males need to have their own very large cage or separate room - you cannot let males and females run together all the time as they will breed even if the female is not in heat (a determined male will). You also need to be lining up homes for kittens BEFORE they are born - not after.

Most people show alters for a few years, get to know breeders and "earn" their right to breed. You study pedigrees and lines. And its better to start out with one or two females and pay for stud service. Then after raising a litter or two, you can start looking for your own male. But he WILL have to be kept separated.

Males need to have 2-3 females to be kept happy. And females should not be bred more then twice a year (even if they are in season more often).

Being in Hawaii you are limited in lines and you don't want to inbreed too much.

Here's a list of MC breeders that you can contact. Good luck and hope you can find your "dream" cat.

http://www.breedlist.com/maine-coon-breeders.html
post #5 of 24
I know that due to quarantine laws, the Cat Fancy in your state is rather limited. Below is a list of some past top winners from your region. It does not look like the Maine Coons were well represented. I would suggest also trying to get in touch with some show producing clubs, such as Aloha Cat Fanciers. Perhaps one of their members can point you in the right direction as far as your search for a mentor goes.

http://www.cfainc.org/awards/top-cats-hawaii.html
post #6 of 24
Just wanted to mention that I was getting eye strain from reading the original post. That font, size and colour is tough to see properly.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats View Post
You keep your males and females from breeding by keeping them separate from each other. While I read of many European catteries on the net having houses filled with males and females because they are opposed to cages or pens, this is not ideal, especially if you have multiple males and females. You need to be in control of when they mate, record the details and obviously know who is mating with who!
I don't know about the rest of Europe, but in Scandinavia/Fennoscandia it's common to get a 'host/hostess' to a breeding cat meaning that when you can't keep males and females in the same house, breeders usually 'give' their breeding cats to live with other people keeping the ownership to themselves, paying all expences and after the male or female (usually males are the ones to go to live elsewhere) is retired from breeding, the 'host/hostess' gets the cat's ownership. Usually very specific contracts are made in these cases, where the amount of litters is mentioned etc. We don't keep our cats in cages or outside catteries, they live among us as familymembers.

I don't know if I've just been lucky or if it's the breed I'm working with, but my BSH males don't need any females 'to keep them happy'. Both are over 2 years old, the other one has sired one litter and the other is 'waiting for the right girl'. Well, he has a romance with a toilet seat...but that propably doesn't count.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
I don't know about the rest of Europe, but in Scandinavia/Fennoscandia it's common to get a 'host/hostess' to a breeding cat meaning that when you can't keep males and females in the same house, breeders usually 'give' their breeding cats to live with other people keeping the ownership to themselves, paying all expences and after the male or female (usually males are the ones to go to live elsewhere) is retired from breeding, the 'host/hostess' gets the cat's ownership.
This type of arrangement is not uncommon in the American cat fancy as well. Often, these host/hostess families become the very people from which new breeders arise. Everybody enters the fancy in their own way, but I have met some successful breeders who began breeding through this sort of arrangement.
post #9 of 24
CFA does have shows in Hawaii but there are not that many shows.
The scoring is different then on the mainland.
I can help you get a Mentor.
My Mentor lives in Oregon and am going to Mentor Carolina from this site.
You will know when a cat is in heat.
They scream loud.
I am sure Nial give you onfo about Hawaii.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
I don't know about the rest of Europe, but in Scandinavia/Fennoscandia it's common to get a 'host/hostess' to a breeding cat meaning that when you can't keep males and females in the same house, breeders usually 'give' their breeding cats to live with other people keeping the ownership to themselves, paying all expences and after the male or female (usually males are the ones to go to live elsewhere) is retired from breeding, the 'host/hostess' gets the cat's ownership. Usually very specific contracts are made in these cases, where the amount of litters is mentioned etc. We don't keep our cats in cages or outside catteries, they live among us as familymembers.
This is a way it could work - I just don't feel it is fair on the cats when they are all living in a house together. Yes it is nice to have them as family members - but you have the issues of males fighting over females, females fighting - it would work for very small catteries.

I only have 3 breeding cats at my house -- all girls and they live in their own bedroom. My Nana houses in my studs in pens as it is not feasible to have males getting it on with females on their terms.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats View Post
This is a way it could work - I just don't feel it is fair on the cats when they are all living in a house together. Yes it is nice to have them as family members - but you have the issues of males fighting over females, females fighting - it would work for very small catteries.

I only have 3 breeding cats at my house -- all girls and they live in their own bedroom. My Nana houses in my studs in pens as it is not feasible to have males getting it on with females on their terms.
We usually have very small catteries here. Three of my cats are from breeders who only have 1-2 females and no males living in the same house.

Fourth was from a bigger breeder, it was horrible at her house.. I counted 13 cats and there was propably more. The males were in a separate rooms but the breeder is someone who I despise a lot (I didn't know many things about her before I got the cat from her), she lied to me and many others aswell it seems.. She owns propably the biggest BSH cattery in this country, so it will be a hell of a fight to bring her down (she isn't really breaking rules [as far as I know] but she's a liar and I don't take bullshit from anyone). She had bought the cat from another breeder to use as a stud, but couldn't find suitable female for him (rare color, the lilacpoint) and sold him to me, so I'm 'lucky' that she isn't the breeder of the cat in question. I saw her in a cat show a month ago, and she acted like she didn't know who I am. Didn't even say hi or anything.. I know for sure she saw me, I stand out pretty well from the crowd, goth girl surrounded by old ladies in flower pattern dresses.I think she could sense that I'm the one who is going to end her 'career' as a reputable breeder.. Sorry about this vent, she just pisses me off!

At the moment we have a classic silver tabby BSH female visiting here. My shaded silver BSH will be mated with her to make the green eye color better. (They are gazing each other through a glass door, still a bit shy..). This female belongs also to a breeder who only has this one female and one neutered male at home. Funny that the female is marking, but Kuura still isn't. He's a nice boy..*knock on wood*
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sohni View Post
Just wanted to mention that I was getting eye strain from reading the original post. That font, size and colour is tough to see properly.
I was thinking the exact same thing! I kinda stopped reading halfway through (that's why I'm not responding to the actual topic PLUS I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no kitty babies!)

All I can say is that there are some REALLY responsible breeders/ex-breeders on this site that can give you heaps of info. My main thought on breeding animals is to make sure that you have homes lined up for them even before you initially breed, so that they all have a guaranteed place to go and don't just become another victim of over-population of unwanted kitties. That's just what I think, and like I said I don't know anything really about breeding cats (now talk about breeding/showing horses and I'm your go-to girl lol)
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sorry the font was so small... Thanks for the link to Aloha Fanciers etc. I have has limited exposure to pedigreed cats in Hawaii, glad to see someone showing cats. How can one learn the breed standard without going to shows? no way I guess?? I want to develope interest in the breed here. And promote the breed to folks who have never seen a pedigreed cat, or at least not a maine coon.

I just put in a query to congocoon, to see if they'd raise a couple of maine coons up to the age their rabies shots are done for the year. I'd try show these as alters, but its not something I really want to do because it costs about $200 just to get to a cat show here, let alone all the costs associated with being in a show. I don't know... I am discouraged.

Sammy
post #14 of 24
You can start with teh CFA and TICA websites.
The standards are on the sites.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammymudgirl View Post
I'd try show these as alters, but its not something I really want to do because it costs about $200 just to get to a cat show here, let alone all the costs associated with being in a show. I don't know... I am discouraged.
Everything about breeding is expensive. $4000-$5000 for 2 breeding cats, then showing costs, keeping them healthy. Then there's kitten care, someone used the figure $600 per kitten from birth-12 weeks. Desexing, microchipping, vaccinating the kittens etc.
And around $1000 if your girl needs a c-section. There are many costs involved.

You might try approaching some Aussie breeders, often Hawaiians get cats from here as we are rabies free the cats can travel from 3-4 months old.
It will be hard to get someone to sell you an entire pair without any experience starting with an alter is usually the way to go.
post #16 of 24
No offense Amanda, but I personally would NOT get a Maine Coon from Oz. Japan, yes, certain specific catteries in the UK also yes. The breed standards for MCO's in Oz (or at least the interpretation of it) differ widely to what is being shown in CFA and TICA.

All that being said, breeding cats is NEVER a cheap 'hobby'! It's a "calling" without any concern for expense really!
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abymummy View Post
No offense Amanda, but I personally would NOT get a Maine Coon from Oz. Japan, yes, certain specific catteries in the UK also yes. The breed standards for MCO's in Oz (or at least the interpretation of it) differ widely to what is being shown in CFA and TICA.
None taken We do have several breeds that differ from the US standards (or interpretation as you've said)
post #18 of 24
I know the Russian Blues are totally different in looks from the British and American styles
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I know the Russian Blues are totally different in looks from the British and American styles
Like in NZ we call our breed Russians, because they come in more colours then Blue!
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I know the Russian Blues are totally different in looks from the British and American styles
Not to mention the scandinavian russian blue ("the scandinavian look") Although the american influence gets more popular nowadays in some circles.

Finland is also rabies-free AFAIK. And some of the best scandinavian RB are breed in Finland. So possibly also MCO??

......................

As several had said: It is not cheap to be a serious breeder. Dont even count on making money! At the very best if you are lucky you may get plus.

One of the few exceptions is owners of cat-mills....But these are of course more or less totally unserious.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
And females should not be bred more then twice a year (even if they are in season more often).
In the big european cat association FIFE the rule is at most 3 litters in two years. Although you may ask for some extra litter. Say if the litters were small.
post #22 of 24
You got a lot of good advices.

One more advice for a wanna-bee breeder is you work with your local shelter or rescue organization. Try to be a fosterer. Preferably try to house homeless pregnant females. Who give birth at your place, and you raise and foster the kittens.

This gives you very much higly useful experience. And also puts you in network with other cat-knowleable persons.
AND some homeless cat moms do get the ah so very necessary help, and their kittens a wonderful start in the life.
A win-win situation.


Of course, be sure you clean and decontaminate everything before your purebreeds do come. You dont want take any risks with your queens / studs nor your cats you are travelling to shows with. Be they purebred or being moggies participating in the pet class.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Not to mention the scandinavian russian blue ("the scandinavian look") Although the american influence gets more popular nowadays in some circles.

Finland is also rabies-free AFAIK. And some of the best scandinavian RB are breed in Finland.
Agreed. I've heard many breeders complaining about the 'american style' ruining the original scandinavian type because judges are favouring them even though it's not the right type according to the FIFé standard (and FIFé is still the main organisation here).
post #24 of 24
Hi,

what hasn't been mentioned here are genetic diseases. As a breeder your priorities should be health-> character-> looks

When looking for a future queen make sure the parents of your car have been negatively tested for HCM, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, wich is a heart disease that leads to cats dying at an early age. The cats should be tested via an echocardiographic test befor the first litter and then every two years.

Don't be fooled by the gene test for HCM- it doesn't tell you which cat will develop HCM and which will not:

http://www.mainecoon-kittens.co.uk/hcm.html

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/conten...wxhx.alexandra

..... and even if it could it only covers two genes of possibly hundred responsible for HCM.

http://pawpeds.com/healthprogrammes/hcm.html

Also watch out for HD, hip dyspasia

http://pawpeds.com/healthprogrammes/hd.html


A lot of Maine coons also seem to have bad gums and teeth at an early age, so watch out for this when buying a cat.


By the way- you'll probably find the pawpeds web site an interesting read, they've also got a corner for beginners with some interesting topics covered:

http://pawpeds.com/pawacademy/beginn...eedingalitter/

http://pawpeds.com/pawacademy/beginn...nganimals.html

http://pawpeds.com/pawacademy/beginn...er/ethics.html


regards,

christine
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