Cat breeding may sound like a simple process of putting a male and female cat in the vicinity of one another, but responsible breeders know there is much more involved. Breeders of cats do so primarily to improve a particular bloodline. To accomplish this, they must learn a world of information about the breed and its standards in order to choose successful cats and prepare adequately for the mating, the queen's pregnancy and the delivery of the future kittens.
Things You'll Need
- Kitten-formulated food
- Box or crate
- Heating pad
- Clean cloths
- Dental floss
Determine the breed of cat you wish to propagate. Chances are you have fallen in love with a particular type of cat already, but now you need to educate yourself regarding the breed. Look to the official website of The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc. to gather breed information (see Resources below).
Choose quality cats to breed. Obtain third- to fifth-generation pedigrees on animals to be mated. Also, have the health of the cats checked by a veterinarian prior to breeding. You will also need to decide whether you will inbreed (mate closely related animals), linebreed (mate animals with a common ancestor) or outcross (mate unrelated animals).
Arrange for the stud cat and potential queen to mate. Female cats are in heat frequently, and they often stay in heat for long periods of time (sometimes until they are mated). To increase the chances of pregnancy, allow the female and male to stay together for 2 weeks or more.
Allow the stud to mate in his own familiar surroundings. If you do not own the male, you will need to take the female to the stud's location. Make sure you have a written contract with the stud's owner covering all aspects of the breeding, including a promise that he will observe mating on at least two occasions.
Confirm the female cat's pregnancy 3 to 4 weeks following mating. She will be a good bit fatter and rounded in appearance. Do not be fooled by "fat pads" in the nether regions, which are not indicators of pregnancy but simply a sign of obesity in cats.
Take your queen to the veterinarian when you believe she is pregnant and schedule follow-up visits as he advises. Use the opportunity to ask your vet about any special concerns there may be with your queen and elicit his instructions for what to do in an emergency.
Feed your queen a highly nutritious diet, starting about the fifth week of pregnancy. Many breeders choose a cat food formulated for kittens to give the queen the extra nutrition she needs. A quality kitten-formulated food also eliminates the need for any special vitamins to be added to the queen's diet.
Ready the environment in which your queen will deliver her kittens. Construct a cozy "queening" box or crate with clean bedding and a heat source such as a heating pad. Have other items close by such as clean cloths, scissors, dental floss (for tying cords if necessary) and a notebook for recording birth details.
Allow the queen to give birth independently. Try to be there during the birth, but do not interfere unless it becomes evident that there is a problem in the birthing process such as straining for more than 30 minutes without delivering a kitten. Prepare for emergency situations with items such as an aspirator for clearing airways. Always have the vet's phone number memorized and call immediately if a situation arises for which you are not prepared.
Have the kittens checked by a veterinarian and vaccinated on schedule. If your kittens are of pedigreed parents, consider registering them with The Cat Fanciers' Association.
Tips & Warnings
- Look for kittens to be born approximately 65 days after mating.
- Never breed a cat to educate your children about "the miracle of birth," as this is not a socially valid reason for breeding an animal.
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