Breeding Cats

maine-coon-kittens

Few people consider the enormity of details involved with breeding cats, and too many find out too late that is seldom the profitable business they might have imagined. To others, a litter of kittens comes about as a total surprise, the end result of a neglected adult female that has not been properly spayed and allowed to become pregnant.

Consider the fact that most animal shelters are overcrowded with animals that have not found good homes. If you are at all uncertain about being able to find homes for a litter of up to six kittens, you can still spay females between five and six months of age. It is never too late to spay your cat, even fairly late in the pregnancy cycle.

If you are convinced that a purebred cat you own is worth breeding with others, talking to other breeders and veterinarians may give some helpful or cautionary advice worth considering. The primary and responsible purpose of breeding is to improve the breed, not denigrate its purebred status. The enterprise is not lucrative enough to strictly consider as a source of long-term profits.

One reason is that most potential breeders do not consider the budget required to afford vet check-ups, vaccinations, raising orphan kittens, medicines, supplies, and the possibility for c-section deliveries. There is also a significant investment of time necessary to bring about positive results. Pregnancies do not always go as smoothly as inexperienced breeders may think they should.

Another reason is that, although cats are prolific breeders, their reproductive systems are seasonal, meaning they usually only cycle during warmer months when the days are getting longer.  Domestic cats are often sheltered from the sun, and thus do not cycle as frequently as outdoor cats. This is particularly true for long-haired cat breeds. Some breeders try to manipulate these results by using indoor lights to alter when a cat cycles.

Normally, a female cat begins cycling as early as four or five months old, once she has reached around eighty percent of her adult size. The period usually lasts around seven days. If a cat has not been spayed by this time, a one-time experience is usually enough for owners to take the initiative to do so by the end of her first heat.

When in heat, a female is particularly affectionate, rubbing her head when petted, sticking her rump in the air, crying frequently and loudly, and she may mark areas with urine. This period usually lasts around seven days. If a female has not been mated, she will be back in heat within ten days, and the cycle will repeat itself until the fall season approaches. The annoying behavior can be hard to bear for pet owners.

A female cat only ovulates when she has been mated. If she does not become pregnant, the ovulation will stop her from coming on heat for one month. However, even after a pregnancy, a female can return to a heat cycle within four weeks after birthing kittens, in which case she could actually become pregnant again while still nursing her litter.

These are the reasons to carefully consider whether breeding cats is a worthwhile endeavor for the average person. An owner has a responsibility to the pet and the overall cat population, and few are prepared to see the process through to positive results that benefit the particular breed.

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