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Abuse or???  

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just read about a breeder retiring her 6 year old Bengal queen..after 10 litters of kittens. Is this normal or is this woman abusing her queen?
post #2 of 7
Hi Hissy, and thanks for a really good question!

~If~ this breeder followed what I consider to be ethical breeding practices and only allowed for one, or at the maximum, two litters per year and ~if~ this breeder waited (as is appropriate) for the queen to be at least a year old (I like to see them be a little older than that) before allowing her to have a litter, then I would be hesitant to point out an allegation of abuse.

HOWEVER - that now being said - if this breeder allowed kitty to be bred each and every time she came into her cycle from the first cycle on, then yes, in my opinion, that would not be indicative of responsible breeding practices.

Hope this at least somewhat answers your question ...

My best to you,

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Had no idea how time-consuming this breeding program can be. Or how expensive!

Article copyright © Sue Brown 1998

Pre-mating vet check up, worming & vaccination booster
FeLV/FIV testing.

Travel taking queen to stud (return fare).

Travel collecting queen from stud (return fare).

Stud Fee.

Premium food & conditioners for queen during pregnancy.

Possible complications at birth, e.g. caesarian, uterine inertia,
hysteria, milk failure, damaged/malformed kitten(s).

Kitten milk replacer for weak kittens/hand-rearing.

Common kitten ailments, e.g. sticky eyes, stomach upsets
(the latter can spread to all your cats and be very pernicious as well
as surprisingly expensive to eradicate).

Purchase and preparation of weaning foods for kittens at 3-5 weeks.
Extra, premium, food for queen during lactation (she will eat as much as
2 or 3 adult cats for more than a month).

Extra cat litter (all that extra food has to go somewhere!)

Feeding kittens from weaning-13 weeks (at 13 weeks, 4 kittens
eat about as much as 4 adult cats).

Even more extra cat litter for kittens (trays twice a day
from 6-13 weeks).

Extra cleaning - the household, not just the trays!

Breakages, e.g. ornaments, house-plants, torn curtains, upholstery
(all too common with Siamese kittens).

Having 5, 6 or more little monsters under your feet & ripping through
your home for 2 months. .

Toys for kittens.






Worming at 6, 9 & 12 weeks. 12-wk vet check & FeLV testing.

Keeping off-colour or small kittens for longer time.

Keeping kitten/s to honour new owners' vacations etc.


Refunds & taking kittens back if new owner changes mind.

Re-advertising cancelled or returned kittens.

Extra heating costs for kittens in cold weather.

Giving away or selling for less to special friends and relatives.

Not being able to go on vacation or stay over for a night anywhere
for for 5 months.

Being available for phone calls, visitors and enquirers.

Time spent handling, socialising & playing with kittens (every day).

Sleepless nights and frayed nerves while queen is calling
(every month or less between litters).

Annual subscriptions to cat associations & registering bodies.

Subscriptions to cat magazines.


Time off work for birthing and when cats are sick.

Annual vaccinations, testing & health checks for breeding queen
& your other cats.

Equipment, e.g. litter trays, carriers, cages, bowls, beds,
blankets, heat pads, scratching posts, cat trees.

and of course, that queen might have only one kitten in her litter.

If you also own a stud cat: Stud house and run, & its annual
maintenance. FeLV/FIV testing every 3 months.

Advertising stud services.

Responsibility of handling other people's queens (insurance too).

Being available at very short notice for stud services.

Extra time for "loving" a stud cat kept outside.

Not being able to board out stud cat if you wish to take a holiday.

If you go to cat shows: Subscriptions to more cat clubs.

Travel to meetings & symposiums.

Travel to shows as visitor.

Show catalogues & door entry fees.

Entry fees for shows when exhibiting.

Travelling to & from shows (can be very long distances).

Hotel accommodation.

Grooming and conditioning products.

Time off work to attend shows.

Show cages, drapes & furnishings.

Extra time for training & handling show cats.

Extra veterinary checkups before shows.
post #4 of 7
*LOL* Yeah, I think it is safe to say that ethical breeders who adhere to Sue's list you have provided aren't in it for the money!

Not ALL breeders (and by "Breeders" I am referring to the ethical, responsible people who are participating in the actual genetic protection and betterment of their chosen breed) will not need to do everything in that listing, though.

For instance, I choose to breed Old-Style Siamese. Since the OSS body style is not currently recognized as conforming to the Breed Standard in the CFA, I wouldn't need to bother with showing my cats in that organization. I wouldn't be successful even if I wanted to, so it would be a total waste of my time and money to even attempt it.

For many, a pedigreed cat is the only cat to have. While I am in no way minimizing the importance of rescue and of adopting shelter kitties, there are just some people who want that extra assurance that their kitten is of good, strong, healthy bloodlines, with few known genetic defects. You just can't get that kind of a guarantee in a shelter kitty. And unfortunately, in the modern Siamese and many other cat breeds (let's not forget dogs here too, even if it is off topic) a pedigree is no longer a safety net due to breeders who allow calculated coefficients of inbreeding of 0.2 and even 0.3 in their lines - What that boils down to is that every member of the breed, ~even when the pedigrees are distinct for 8 generations~, is ALREADY the equivalent of a half sibling or full sibling to every other member of the breed. This is why there are so many defects ALREADY prevalent in the Siamese breed - birth defects (such as umbilical hernia, protruding sternum, Swimmer's chest), usually non-lethal predispositions to ill health (such as early onset gingivitis, chronic URIs, problems with uterine inertia), and occasionally even lethal diseases (renal amyloidosis, cardiomyopathy, and more).

There are individuals who contact me all the time in the hopes of being added to my waiting list who have told me horror stories of health defects which can be directly attributed to inappropriate breeding practices.

So, when I see a listing of all the stuff involved in a breeding program - I always scratch my head in bemusement when I cannot find Compassion, Understanding of Issues Specific to the Breed, and Intelligence listed among the items necessary. *grin*

Thanks for this thread, Hissy - it stretches my brain, and gives us all something to think about.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am more than happy to stretch your brain Gaye, anytime. *G* Helps me also in my rescues to understand *ethical* breeders and know the difference between the two.
post #6 of 7

My husband and I are starting a breeding program. It is very expensive! If done right! We had an idea how much it would cost and we took that into consideration. We have been going slow so things are done right. We have saved a lot of money so we can do it the right way!

I also saw the post about the queen. IMO she was abusing her female! I feel she should not have had that many litters in 6 years. I am not an expert! I have a mentor and I am learning!
post #7 of 7
Hissy -

The link I've provided below will outline how I do things. It is the Breeder's Code of Ethics I agreed to abide by when I joined my breed organization. Read it, formulate your own opinions, talk to other breeders about their Code of Ethics and let me know if you have questions.


In it, you will see that under the Section III - Breeding, I have agreed that I will:

5. Space breedings such that no queen will deliver a litter more often than twice a year unless I am specifically advised in writing by a qualified veterinarian to breed her more often.

6. Never breed a queen more than eight years old unless she has rare, needed traits to contribute to the breed and I obtain a separate statement from a qualified veterinarian applying to each and every pregnancy beyond age 8 years that another pregnancy will not harm the queen.

With due respect to Bengal Cats and her mentor, 2 litters a year is not considered to be abusive. We don't know at what age this queen began her career - it could have been at age 1, (I still like to see them a little older than that though) in which case she would have had an average of 2 litters per year until the age of 6. Without knowing how old she was when she was first allowed to breed, it would ~not~ be prudent to automatically assume abuse here.

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