…The major obstacle to becoming a cat breeder is not the mechanics or the money but the morality. And I think we need to look ourselves in the mirror and ask some wide ranging and tough questions before we get off the ground; before we move one step in the direction of cat breeding. These are the questions:
- Can I reconcile bringing more companion cats into the world when we (people) are euthanizing (lets call it killing and not dress it up) between 2.2 and 14 million feral and stray cat every year in the United States alone (we don’t have reliable figures so this is a wide range)? The figures will be less in say Europe and the UK but they will be large numbers nonetheless. The lack of reliable numbers tells us how unconcerned we are about it.
- Are we doing it purely for money or do we wish to contribute to the chosen breed (i.e. are we thinking wider than self and are we thinking about cat!)?
- Will we test for genetically transmitted diseases such as HCM (heart disease)?
- Once started will we have sufficient self discipline and a sufficiently ethical approach to stop breeding a cat when and if the cat has a genetically transmitted disease and thereby we suffer financial loss?
- If and when our cat or cats are found to be carrying a defective gene causing disease, will we have the moral courage and self-discipline to inform other breeders?
- Will we commit to only breeding for health and personality, with appearance coming third in priority, even if this means losing awards and falling profits?
- Will be employ the services of a vet when required rather that doing it all ourselves?
- If we breed an ill cat and sell the cat innocently to a breeder and subsequently find out about the illness, are we able to tell the buying breeder, reimburse and neuter the cat?
- Are we able to talk to other breeders about genetically inherited diseases in a reasonable manner and praise those breeders who are open about this difficult subject?
- Do we love animals and cats and, in any decision making concerning the business, will we always place as first priority the welfare of the cats in our charge?
If yes, to all of the questions above, we have, in my view, the correct attitude to cat breeding. At that point in the process of how to become a cat breeder, it must then be all about learning about the breed, meeting with fellow and experienced cat breeders (at cat shows, for example), contacting the CFA if in America (or TICA) or the GCCF if in the UK and asking questions. The CFA have a mentoring service, for instance.
All the usual business start up work should apply, to a degree at least, such as a business plan. What is the market like? Advertising? Website? – can I build one and how much will it cost? What are the profit margins? (small, unless you are a big time breeder with tons of “success”. And the more ethical one is the smaller the margins are and there lies the rub). How big do I want to be and will I need outdoor cages etc..?
I am not a breeder myself, just a concerned person who has met breeders and thought about this. The kind of questions I ask here are not necessarily comprehensive, they are not meant to be, but the biggest obstacle by far in working out how to become a cat breeder is answering in the affirmative the above questions or questions like them.
How to Become a Cat Breeder – photo heading the page is copyright Helmi Flick – please respect copyright, thank you.