Starting a cat breeding business requires a considerable amount of time, money and preparation. Many cat breeders do not make a profit, and some do not manage to break even after the cost of medical bills, food and other supplies. According to interviews of cat breeders in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Europe and Australia conducted by Barbara C. French for an article published in a 1997 issue of “Cats” magazine, only 12 percent of the breeders included in the research reported that they regularly broke even or made money.
Learn as much as you can about the breed you intend to work with for your cat breeding business. Make sure you know the breed’s ideal physical characteristics and any potential health problems associated with the breed. Talk to other breeders for information and advice.
Consider showing an altered cat of your chosen breed before you start breeding. Showing your cats demonstrates that you are serious about your business and gives you opportunities to network with other breeders and breed enthusiasts.
Make sure that you have space for your breeding cats and the litters they will produce. You’ll need a separate area of your home, preferably a whole room, where you can tend to your cats and kittens without safety issues, interruptions or disturbances.
Analyze your financial situation. Starting a cat breeding business requires a large up-front investment. If you use too much credit, you may find yourself in debt that you cannot afford to pay back. Veterinary bills for breeders often cost hundreds of dollars and pet insurance does not always cover breeding-related veterinary bills. Most cat breeders see their business as more of a hobby, and they desire to contribute to their chosen breed by producing healthy kittens with good temperaments.
Research your local laws and your lease if you are renting a space. Some cities and towns only allow a certain number of animals per household. If you rent, check with your landlord or read over your lease terms to see if there is anything prohibiting you from breeding or from having more than a specific number of animals.
Consider your ability to deal with stillbirths and kitten deaths. These heartbreaks are part of the breeding business. While you can keep problems to a minimum by breeding healthy cats and making sure your litters are well cared for, stillbirths and deaths still happen.
Purchase a queen (female for breeding) from a reputable breeder. The cat you select for your first queen should be an example of the best qualities of the breed. Research its pedigree and make sure that it does not have a history of inherited diseases. Ask other trusted breeders to evaluate the cat before you buy it. Ensure the cat has papers and is registered as a certified member of its breed with the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
Ask other breeders for recommendations for a stud cat. Most cat breeders do not start out with their own stud due to the additional considerations and preparations that must be made for a stud, such as dealing with spraying.
Register your cattery name and every litter you produce with the Cat Fanciers’ Association so that your kittens can be shown in the future.
Talk to a certified public accountant to determine how to manage your cat breeding business for tax purposes. Keep detailed records of your expenditures and profits, including receipts.