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How many times per year do you breed your queens?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was wondering what the norm is for breeders in breeding their queens. I let mine breed two times a year.
Do any of you have cats that go into heat really soon after having a litter, if yes, what do you do?
I haven't had that happen yet. Mine don't untill after the kittens are weined at 12 weeks, and even then none of my cats have loud, annoying heats. My studs are much more annoying and loud then my queens.
post #2 of 26
I've been wondering this myself. I think 2 is pretty normal from what I hear... My workers Maine Coon came into heat 3 times while her litter was very young. She just keeps them seperated and lets her ride the heats out. I'm hoping I won't have this problem but I'll have to wait and see.
post #3 of 26
I am actually glad this question has come up because I have been thinking about just this very thing for a while now.

It is true (at least from everyone I've talked to or everything I've read about what is responsible when it comes to how many litters per year one should allow to be produced) that the "recommended" number is no more than 2 litters per year. However, I am beginning to think this may not be realistic for some cats ... as individual as cats are, I think that a breeder should know their cat well enough to be able to make whatever determination best serves THAT specific cat. It may not be healthy to wait that long between breedings for certain females.

For example, let's say you had a queen who delivered a litter on the first of September. Let's say she went into a mild estrus cycle lasting about 3 days during the middle of September and again more strongly, lasting about 6 days in the middle of November. Let's also say there was a very strong, raging estrus cycle that lasted for 9 days in the middle of December ... The kittens are only three and a half months old and this queen has already experienced three cycles, two of them strong. Do you breed her on the fourth cycle or do you wait for the fifth, possibly risking a pyo or even worse, the life of the queen?

I am very interested in hearing everyone's thoughts on this. Is the number of litters we produce something we as breeders should be able to determine for our own cats without having to feel like we are doing something unethical? Or should we risk health issues, possibly even life-threatening ones, certainly ones that would force us to spay (maybe that's the idea behind it???) simply to comply with someone else's idea of the right thing to do?
post #4 of 26
I have heard so many answers regarding this subject from vets and other breeders. Some have said every 6 months, some say every 8 months, and on the rare occasion I have heard of an entire year.
I have came to the conclusion that there really isn't a clear answer, the breeder should take into account how many heat cycles, how quickly she gets her shape and size back. So far, my average is around 7-8 months, but I have a young queen that seems to cycle quicker and harder than my others, so I think she may need to be bred more often than my other girls.
I have heard about pyometra infection in Queens if they are not bred often enough, I haven't had any experience with it, and hope to keep it that way.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
I am actually glad this question has come up because I have been thinking about just this very thing for a while now.

It is true (at least from everyone I've talked to or everything I've read about what is responsible when it comes to how many litters per year one should allow to be produced) that the "recommended" number is no more than 2 litters per year. However, I am beginning to think this may not be realistic for some cats ... as individual as cats are, I think that a breeder should know their cat well enough to be able to make whatever determination best serves THAT specific cat. It may not be healthy to wait that long between breedings for certain females.

For example, let's say you had a queen who delivered a litter on the first of September. Let's say she went into a mild estrus cycle lasting about 3 days during the middle of September and again more strongly, lasting about 6 days in the middle of November. Let's also say there was a very strong, raging estrus cycle that lasted for 9 days in the middle of December ... The kittens are only three and a half months old and this queen has already experienced three cycles, two of them strong. Do you breed her on the fourth cycle or do you wait for the fifth, possibly risking a pyo or even worse, the life of the queen?

I am very interested in hearing everyone's thoughts on this. Is the number of litters we produce something we as breeders should be able to determine for our own cats without having to feel like we are doing something unethical? Or should we risk health issues, possibly even life-threatening ones, certainly ones that would force us to spay (maybe that's the idea behind it???) simply to comply with someone else's idea of the right thing to do?
If she had a litter in September and was bred in the middle of December again she would be prego for another two months so that would still only be 2 litters a year...right?
If you take into account 2 months for pregnancy and three months for the kittens to be weined that's 5 months. That's about 2 litters a year. I guess sometimes three depending on what time of year she gets prego.
It would be really terrible to have a queen go into really strong heats right after having kittens.
post #6 of 26
This is what we've found works best for Bengals.

We breed our queens on the first heat. It doesn't take everytime, but they are bred anyway. It normally takes on the second heat for sure. Bengal females can have reproductive problems if allowed to go in an out of heat without being bred. So, to err on the side of caution we breed them early.

They are also retired early. Each queen on average has 2 litters per year. Usually our queens go into first heat by 9 months of age and conceive around that time as well. If all goes well with each litter, our queens are allowed to have up to five litters, then they are retired. This puts them at about 2.5 to 3 years old when they are spayed and given a nice relaxing pet life.
post #7 of 26
I would only breed my rexes once a year. The one exception was 10 months between as the queen only had 1 kitten. You figure 2 months of pregnancy and 4 months of raising the kits (queen weans them, not me) take up 6 months - then 6 months to get back in shape and some showing.

My cats wound up not coming back into heat for months after kittens. Must have been timing, but from about November - March they would not come into heat. So most litters were born in May; the kits where raised thru the summer, then it would be some fall showing and no heats during the winter.
post #8 of 26
I use a feline reproductive specialist as my vet for Tonka and Lexus. His thought is that "as long as the queen is young and healthy, consistantly produces fat, healthy kittens and suffers no ill effects from pregnancy, delivering or nursing the kittens, she should be bred." He suggests retirement early in life, no later than 4 to 5 years old."
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45

My cats wound up not coming back into heat for months after kittens. Must have been timing, but from about November - March they would not come into heat.
I wish Lexus wouldn't come back into estrus so quickly after kittens. But, she comes from a very long line of prolific queens and adores having kittens with her. She cycles about once per 25 to 30 days, no matter the time of year. *sigh*
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45
I would only breed my rexes once a year. The one exception was 10 months between as the queen only had 1 kitten. You figure 2 months of pregnancy and 4 months of raising the kits (queen weans them, not me) take up 6 months - then 6 months to get back in shape and some showing.

My cats wound up not coming back into heat for months after kittens. Must have been timing, but from about November - March they would not come into heat. So most litters were born in May; the kits where raised thru the summer, then it would be some fall showing and no heats during the winter.
You have to take into account where you live as well. Im in California and a lot of queens cycle all year. I have found out that mine do. I have a queen ready to deliver in less then 2 weeks and she was outside when she got prego! I brought her in to breed but didn't know she was already prego when I brought her inside.
I've read that queens can cycle all year if they are kept inside under natural light as well (talked about that at length in another thread).
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals
This is what we've found works best for Bengals.

We breed our queens on the first heat. It doesn't take everytime, but they are bred anyway. It normally takes on the second heat for sure. Bengal females can have reproductive problems if allowed to go in an out of heat without being bred. So, to err on the side of caution we breed them early.

They are also retired early. Each queen on average has 2 litters per year. Usually our queens go into first heat by 9 months of age and conceive around that time as well. If all goes well with each litter, our queens are allowed to have up to five litters, then they are retired. This puts them at about 2.5 to 3 years old when they are spayed and given a nice relaxing pet life.
How often would you say they take on the first heat? The reason im asking is because my young queen just bred a couple of weeks ago. They bred for 3 days straight. She didn't act like she was in heat except she would go close to the tom and crouch down. She didn't put her butt up in the air like the typical lordisis position but she did act like she wanted to mate. She definately screemed and rolled afterwards.
Im hoping she did take.
post #12 of 26
NEVER more then two times a year, but we have Persians and well they just don't call all year round like some breeds.

Do some people leave queens with their kittens for FOUR months? Our kittens stay with the queens for two months.

Recently my queen Holly had a three week old kitten (currently he is nine weeks old) and she just wouldn't stop calling and left her baby. We tried to breed her but she wasn't interested. That's why she going to her new home soon.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats
NEVER more then two times a year, but we have Persians and well they just don't call all year round like some breeds.

Do some people leave queens with their kittens for FOUR months? Our kittens stay with the queens for two months.

Recently my queen Holly had a three week old kitten (currently he is nine weeks old) and she just wouldn't stop calling and left her baby. We tried to breed her but she wasn't interested. That's why she going to her new home soon.
Here breeders generally leave the kittens with mom for 3 months and they are not weined any sooner. My bengals will breed year round. I haven't noticed any calling behavior in any of my females, but they will breed and get prego year round. I don't know why all of my queens have silent heats...maybe im just lucky?
post #14 of 26
Oooh silent callers are the worst!

So far this year the kitten season has been:

Holly 1 live 1 still born
Sophie reabsorption - pregnant now
Muffin - pregnant
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats
Oooh silent callers are the worst!

So far this year the kitten season has been:

Holly 1 live 1 still born
Sophie reabsorption - pregnant now
Muffin - pregnant
Yeah it's good because you don't have to hear them but bad because you never know when they are in heat. I just have to put my queens in with the studs whenever I think they are ready and wait till I see a tummy getting big or when I see them breeding. I have been able to predict with perfect accuracy when the queen is due going off of that.
post #16 of 26
Yah Meeka is indoors and I think we keep it warm enough that she will cycle all year (we're pretty bad about keeping the lights on a lot too). I know its early and I'm not as experienced but I think thats just how she will be.

I've also heard a lot of people put their queens on antibiotics if they go into heat and they don't want to breed them yet. I guess thats always an option too.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengalbabe
How often would you say they take on the first heat? The reason im asking is because my young queen just bred a couple of weeks ago. They bred for 3 days straight. She didn't act like she was in heat except she would go close to the tom and crouch down. She didn't put her butt up in the air like the typical lordisis position but she did act like she wanted to mate. She definately screemed and rolled afterwards.
Im hoping she did take.
I'd say they get pregnant in the first heat about 80% of the time, if memory serves. We've been breeding bengals for 7 years and that seems about the average, give or take 5%.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengalbabe
I haven't noticed any calling behavior in any of my females, but they will breed and get prego year round. I don't know why all of my queens have silent heats...maybe im just lucky?
Please figure out what it is, because I want some of it.
Our queens are loud and demanding and if they don't get what they want, they'll pee at the doorway to make sure we're getting the message.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Bengals
Please figure out what it is, because I want some of it.
Our queens are loud and demanding and if they don't get what they want, they'll pee at the doorway to make sure we're getting the message.
If I figure it out i'll clue you in but only after I write a book and make lots of money on the answer
post #20 of 26
I only had one or two queens and everyone stayed together in the house. Mom would nurse them at 3 months if they wanted to. When she didn't want them to bother her anymore, she'd let them know. The kits didn't leave till they were 4 months old, so yes everyone was together that long
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolarityBengals
Yah Meeka is indoors and I think we keep it warm enough that she will cycle all year (we're pretty bad about keeping the lights on a lot too). I know its early and I'm not as experienced but I think thats just how she will be.

I've also heard a lot of people put their queens on antibiotics if they go into heat and they don't want to breed them yet. I guess thats always an option too.
About what temp do you keep it at? Mine seems to cycle year-round and since we live in an apartment it's the most annoying thing EVER!

What type of antibiotics? Would it be to prevent pyo?
post #22 of 26
I'm not sure the antibiotics but I know its been talked about on TIBBA. Some people don't take a chance at all and start antibiotics immediately if they won't breed.

I keep the house at 72-73F . In the summer its naturally warmer. I'd like to keep it cooler in here but my fiance wouldn't hear of it .
post #23 of 26
I don't believe in that theory - I think it just depends on the individual cat. My Persians and Exotics are in natural and artificial light 24-7 (they have lights on when it's dark) and natural light during the day, and they call normally.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats
Do some people leave queens with their kittens for FOUR months? Our kittens stay with the queens for two months.
All my cats (at the moment 3 adults and 3 newborns) live in my home with me so the kittens stay with their mother until they move away from here which they do no earlier than at 16 weeks of age. I see no need to separate the kittens from their mother and I actuarally don't know any breeder who do that.

When it comes to numer of litters each year... That's individual. You have to look at the cat to be able to determine what is suitable. Some females don't go into heat during the autumn/winter/summer while some females go into heat every month all year long.

Some females recover fast after they've raised a litter, some take longer time. So, we have to see every breeding queen for who she is and make plans that suit her.
post #25 of 26
That's good on you that you keep your kittens with their mothers that long. Maybe Devon Rex kittens don't suck the life out of their mothers like Persians do. My kitten is just on nine weeks, he will be going to his new home next week at ten weeks
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengalbabe
Here breeders generally leave the kittens with mom for 3 months and they are not weined any sooner. My bengals will breed year round. I haven't noticed any calling behavior in any of my females, but they will breed and get prego year round. I don't know why all of my queens have silent heats...maybe im just lucky?
It seems everytime I open my big mouth about something murphys law has to kick me in the head....my marble queen has gone into heat and she's driving me nuts. She's not too loud but she just keeps meowing and meowing. And boy does she want my snow stud, she looks into his pen and mows. She can't have him though because I let my young stud breed her.
I put her in with my snow stud like a month or more ago and never seen them breed. I finally put her back in with the young stud and my charcoal queen and she comes into heat! Go figure.... guess that means she won't be having kittens with my snow stud, she'll be having them (hopefully having some) with my young brown stud.
Im just holding my breath to see if she gets prego. When I first got her she had a thick yellowish discharge coming from her vulva (not a lot). I took her to the vet and the vet said she was fine and it was just her uterus contracting after she had a litter of kittens. Im still skeptical though. I think she might have CEH and she may be sterile.
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