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Q about breeding purebreed females

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
How many times during her life do catteries breed a female? Or it depends on the individual cat?
I need to know because I work with homeless cats and in telling backyard breeders that let their cats get pregnant twice a year all their lives a breeders comparison (as in 'a purebreed has kittens____times and you let your cat breed____times..' etc or something like it) could help..
thank-you
post #2 of 22
Oh wow, that must be a tough job! Trying to convince BYBers to quit what they're doing is up there on my "difficult to do" list. I'm not a breeder, but when some do chime in, I don't think it would hurt to swing low, and tell the BYBers the lowest estimate you can come up with.
Good luck!
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinc
How many times during her life do catteries breed a female? Or it depends on the individual cat?
I need to know because I work with homeless cats and in telling backyard breeders that let their cats get pregnant twice a year all their lives a breeders comparison (as in 'a purebreed has kittens____times and you let your cat breed____times..' etc or something like it) could help..
thank-you
While it does indeed depend on the individual cat, the currently accepted "standard" is to allow a queen to have no more than 2 litters per 12 month period unless you are specifically advised in writing by a qualified veterinarian to breed her more often.

The currently accepted "standard" also strongly discourages allowing a queen to continue breeding past the age of eight years unless she possesses rare, needed or unique traits to contribute to the breed and that each pregnancy allowed a queen over the age of eight years be supervised closely by a qualified veterinarian to ensure good overall health of the queen.

Hope this is helpful to you.

~g~
post #4 of 22
It does depend on the individual cat but, I was advised by my mentors that a queen should not be bred more than once every 9 months and preferably no more than once a year which kind of works out. Six years is the maximum age...I would never consider breeding a queen over the age of eight!!!
post #5 of 22
Twice a year during many years is horror.

Fife says at most thrice in two years.
The usual for the swedish breeders is once a year, say 4-5 litters in total, seldom more.
If a litter is small and the queen healthy and in excellent condition - you dont need to wait the whole year for the new litter.
Likewise with these 8 years old.
First-timers; about 1year - max 5years.

But the backyard "breeder" is of course something different, it is one of the reasons why you shouldnt not buy from them...
post #6 of 22
I am not a breeder but this is something I have been studying up on and what I have learned it really depends on the cat but twice a year is usually the safest for most queens and most breeders do not breed beyond the age of 5-6 years.
post #7 of 22
When I posted what the "currently accepted standards" were above, I did so in the way of providing what factual information I had regarding Breeders' Codes of Ethics. What "most breeders" do may or may not be in keeping with those standards.

As for individual cats, some queens will cycle in and out of estrus repeatedly until bred. This is not healthy for most. If you wait an extended period of time and allow a queen to continually cycle without being bred, the risk of a dangerous and sometimes life-threatening condition called Pyometra can develop. Additionally, the ovaries can become polycystic and the queen may no longer have viable eggs.

Again, the current standard of ethics for most breeders is twice per 12 months and only supervised breeding for needed or unique traits after the age of 8 years. What individual breeders may or may not choose to do is up to that individual.
post #8 of 22
When I was raising cats my queens first litter was usually around a year old, and preferably not past 2 as things may be more difficult during delivery after that for a first time mom. I would plan on once a year for the queen to have a litter, and usually only let them have 3 litters, 4 if she was producing something really special.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
What a wealth of information! Thank-you, thank-you very much!!

Zissou's Mom; I wished I had convinced anyone yet..no harm in trying though
Thanks again!
post #10 of 22
I don't intend to let my breeding queens raise more than 4-5 litters (depends on litter size). How long between matings I can't say generally. It depends on the cat. The only "rule" for me is that the female has to be in excellent condition when mated again. If she happens to be in perfect condition just a few months after her previous litter moved I can't see why you should wait.
post #11 of 22
When I was breeding the rexes, I'd do one litter a year (plan it for delivery between April-July). I kept the babies for 4 months before they went to the new homes.

The only time I did a double breeding for one cat was when she only had 1 kitten - then she was rebred a few months later and had a normal litter.

I let them have 2-4 litters and then they were spayed. My one top breeder had the most litters as she produced very good to top quality kittens. The others only got bred once or twice due to other circumstances.
post #12 of 22
I'm not a serious breeder, but I don't breed my Himi any more than once a year - in fact, she usually doesn't come in heat more than 2 or 3 times a year whether she's been bred or not.

I grew up on a farm with a barn full of cats, and most of them didn't have more than 2 litters a year, many just had 1 or none at all - and that was left to do as they wanted. Now we did have the odd female now and then who would be pregnant with her next litter before the first were fully weaned, but that was the exception - at least for our barn. We did provide food for them - so they weren't in a starvation mode or anything. So in my opinion, 1 litter per year is plenty.
post #13 of 22
After reading this thread I became curious. Do you all calculate the time in the same manner?

Is it (picking a number out of the air here) 9 months from one mating to the next, or nine months after the kittens are born, or nine months after the kittens are weaned?

How is the wait time calculated?
post #14 of 22
Good question. I usually just bred them between February and April - so the kits would be born from April - June. Kittens were kept till 4 months old.

So if you figure February bred, April born, and August 4 months - then not bred till the following February/March. That would make it 9/10 months from the time the kittens were born.

I let the mothers wean the kittens so they might be nursing them till 3 months old. That would give her about a 7/8 month recovery time which would be about right.
post #15 of 22
Very interesting topic. I'm not really a breeder but i might start breeding Siamese. Alot of people on here say they mature fast which worries me alittle (lol). But yea i think 3-4 litters max and breed about every 10mons-1yr apart.

Depends on the cat, if she does well or bad and needs more time before her next litter. Also i think the amout of litters you have depends on how many kittens each litter has and its quailty.
post #16 of 22
Lexus and Tonka bred in late July 2004, with kittens born in early October for the first litter. They bred the second time in late June 2005, with kittens born in late August. The third time, they were bred in early April 2006, with kittens born in early June. Lexus had 4 estrus cycles (on the low end) and 5 estrus cycles (on the high end) between each breeding. So, that would be:

From 1st time bred to 2nd time bred - 11 months
From 2nd time bred to 3rd time bred - 10 months

~and~

From 1st Litter born to 2nd Litter born = 10 months
From 2nd Litter born to 3rd Litter born = 10 months

As for determining the wait time until the next breeding, I use a variety of criteria but the most important ones are ... the overall health and body tone of my queen; has her weight came back to pre-pregnancy level, is her body condition tight and toned, etc., and the number of times she has come into a full estrus cycle - I won't allow her to go more than 5 full cycles before breeding her so as not to risk a pyo.

Hope this helps,

~g~
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Lexus and Tonka bred in late July 2004, with kittens born in early October for the first litter. They bred the second time in late June 2005, with kittens born in late August. The third time, they were bred in early April 2006, with kittens born in early June. Lexus had 4 estrus cycles (on the low end) and 5 estrus cycles (on the high end) between each breeding. So, that would be:

From 1st time bred to 2nd time bred - 11 months
From 2nd time bred to 3rd time bred - 10 months

~and~

From 1st Litter born to 2nd Litter born = 10 months
From 2nd Litter born to 3rd Litter born = 10 months

As for determining the wait time until the next breeding, I use a variety of criteria but the most important ones are ... the overall health and body tone of my queen; has her weight came back to pre-pregnancy level, is her body condition tight and toned, etc., and the number of times she has come into a full estrus cycle - I won't allow her to go more than 5 full cycles before breeding her so as not to risk a pyo.

Hope this helps,

~g~
Great info Gayef! I was always afraid to let them go through more then 2 cycles before being bred (even one cycle without being bred scares me to tell you the truth). I have a queen that developed a uterine infection and is sterile now so it scares me to wait too long. It's a hard balance to make on making your queen wait and risking infection vs. letting them have too many litters per year. I wonder if putting them on antibiotics in between litters will keep infection away. Of course, it's not healthy to have them on antibiotics too much though.
I think personally too that queens should be retired at 3-4 years of age or after 5-7 litters, unless there's special circumstances.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengalbabe
I was always afraid to let them go through more then 2 cycles before being bred (even one cycle without being bred scares me to tell you the truth). I have a queen that developed a uterine infection and is sterile now so it scares me to wait too long ...
Again, I think it is an individual thing with cats - if you have a girl that is in constant, raging estrus all the time, then she should be bred more frequently, IMO. A girl that cycles in and out with a bit of a break between cycles can be bred less frequently IMO. Lex falls into the latter category. She starts going in around March/April of the year and cycles once about every 35 to 40 days. She has a very mild, almost "silent" cycle when she first comes in and each cycle after that first one are increasingly stronger until she is bred. So for the first two to three cycles, she isn't even posturing at all, just very affectionate and a little more demonstrative vocally. I feel safe in waiting 4 to 5 cycles with her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bengalbabe
It's a hard balance to make on making your queen wait and risking infection vs. letting them have too many litters per year. I wonder if putting them on antibiotics in between litters will keep infection away. Of course, it's not healthy to have them on antibiotics too much though.
For some of us, it really is a hard balance. We absolutely want to do what is right, not only for our cats, but also to have a strong code of moral ethics when it comes to breeding. It is very difficult to make the two meet in the middle sometimes because no matter what WE have planned, our cats usually end up making the decisions for us anyway! *grin*

Quote:
Originally Posted by bengalbabe
I think personally too that queens should be retired at 3-4 years of age or after 5-7 litters, unless there's special circumstances.
Is that 3 to 4 years old or 5 to 7 litters whichever comes first? I had hoped to be able to breed Lexus for another 3 years (for a total of 6 litters - her third litter is 7 weeks old this week and she will be three years old in early September) which would put her at 6 years old at retirement. There is nothing so special or unique about her other than her superb good looks and stunningly friendly personality (but I would imagine I am more than just a bit biased).
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Is that 3 to 4 years old or 5 to 7 litters whichever comes first? I had hoped to be able to breed Lexus for another 3 years (for a total of 6 litters - her third litter is 7 weeks old this week and she will be three years old in early September) which would put her at 6 years old at retirement. There is nothing so special or unique about her other than her superb good looks and stunningly friendly personality (but I would imagine I am more than just a bit biased).
I think it would depend largely on the queen. That's just a guide I go by but if I had a queen that started her breeding career really late-like at age 2, I certainly would not want to retire her at 3! I don't really think though that there would be much of a variation in the number of litters before retirement. This is just a guide I go by myself at this time. So i'd say either/or and not whichever comes first. I do have that on my contract though so I need to change that. Im glad you asked that question.
post #20 of 22
Oh yes. I dawned on me. Responsible breeders are seldom taking more than 5 litters on each female. But.
This is not only to spare the female. It is also to spare the race! Ie one individual shall not have too many descendands.
The responsible breeder thinks about such things, the unresponible "breeder" doesnt.
post #21 of 22
For me, as an Old-Style Siamese Breed Preservationist, the goals are a little different - sparing the race is not something I think about as others have already spared it to the point where the healthy old bloodlines almost don't exist anymore.
post #22 of 22
Spare the race, i..e. one individual shall not have too many descendants.
... assumes the breeder is not altering the offspring or is placing many breeding cats. The number of companion animal offspring (pets) a queen produces has no effect on the gene pool.

Many well known Siamese were bred until they no longer had eggs. The best Siamese bloodlines are the ones that show longevity in the pedigree. Djer-Kits Chinkaling Of Newton (featured in National Geographic and many other publications) produced litters until she was 14.

I have to agree that there is no hard rule and that the health of the Queen and the health of the offspring play a part in the decision making process.

Ticking off a bunch of rules is not the way to find a responsible, quality breeder. Talking to the breeder and visiting their home is the best way to judge. Take the time to learn about who you will be dealing with and how they care for their cats and kittens, Why they chose the lines they are breeding and what faults the breeder has seen in the kittens. As you have learned from this thread there can be extenuating circumstances that only that breeder can tell you about.
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