This is an overview. The last question in the title above is the most important. Whether you become a cat breeder or not is a personal choice, but you must realise that you are bringing into the world a sentient being where there are already unwanted sentient beings of the same species which have to be rehomed through rescue centres. My philosophy is that there should be no cat breeders until all unwanted cats are in good homes. As that will never happen there should never be cat breeders. I respect the views of others.
Recognising that fact but still desiring to be a cat breeder, in principle it is not hard. Domestic cats are very good at procreation! You just need two unsterilised cats, one female and one male of a selected breed, the breed that you wish to work with.
I would very much like the input of a cat breeder of breeders. Any input will be added to the article. Thanks in advance.
Personally, before starting I would do two fundamental things (1) go to a cat show and chat with cat breeders and asked them what it’s like and how they do it. Get a feel for it. And (2) check the law on breeding and selling cats.
I’m going to refer to the UK but in America, I think you should check the local law in the relevant city, county or state. There might not be any laws governing the breeding of cats but there might be, and you need to know.
Selling animals as pets in the UK
In the UK selling animals as pets requires a licence. You need to contact your local council to apply for a licence. You will need a licence even if your business is based at home and you sell your kittens online. For other countries please check.
In the UK you can’t sell pets in public places such as at a market stall. And you can’t sell kittens (or puppies) if you have not bred them yourself.
There is a difference between ad hoc occasional breeding of domestic cats and doing it as a proper cat breeder. The former does not need a licence while the latter does. If you breed cats often, producing many animals it will be classed as a business and a licence will be needed.
A licence is valid for one, two or three years. The cost will vary on its length. Contact your council.
The local authority will insist upon conditions when granting you a licence. The conditions will cover such things as:
- Suitable facilities and accommodation.
- Adequate supply of water and food.
- Sufficient knowledge of breeding and cat caretaking.
- Evidence that the cats will be free from pain and suffering and potential injury and disease as appropriate.
- That the cats are visited and exercised regularly.
There will be inspections to ensure compliance with the above.
Age of kittens for sale
You cannot sell kittens and puppies which are less than eight weeks old.
You’ve got to keep records for inspections including details of registration with a cat association and of veterinary treatment. The need to supply evidence that you give prospective owners information on how to care for the kittens and you will need to display a licence number if you are advertising and display your licence on your premises.
You won’t be granted a licence if you have a conviction for animal welfare offences or an offence.
If you try and bypass the above rules and you sell pets without a licence when you should have a licence, you could be prosecuted and convicted. On conviction might be sent to prison for six months or be fined for an unlimited amount.
Register with cat association
You should register your business with the GCCF in the UK. This is the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. America has two primary cat associations: TICA and the CFA.
You will need to register your kittens to ensure that they have a pedigree and about which you can provide documentary evidence to purchasers of your kittens. The GCCF have a lot of useful information on their website about how to set up as a breeder and register with them.
They have a breeder scheme. You will certainly have to contact them and talk things through to make sure that you work with them. You can’t be a proper cat breeder selling pedigree cats with a full documented pedigree without registering with a cat association and working with them.
Their recommendations on their website are to choose your breed, read through the registration and breeding policy of the GCCF, read up on the GCCF rules 1-10 and check with the breeder scheme and then talk to breeders about your requirements.
This is an overview, but the starting point is the most important which is do you have the commitment to become a cat breeder and do you find it morally acceptable. The task at hand should not be entered into lightly.
You will need to have pet health insurance and have a close relationship with an excellent veterinarian.
You will need to purchase top quality foundation breeding cats from a breeder (expensive). Ideally, these cats should not carry inherited diseases (often it seems they do) and I would recommend you choose a breed which is inherently as healthy as possible compared to those that aren’t and which are known to have inherited health conditions.
Knowledge of cat genetics
In this regard, you should have a good knowledge of genetics and inherited health problems.
You need to realise that breeding cats is expensive because there’s lots of overheads such as insurance, as mentioned, veterinary bills, food, facilities and advertising.
You need facilities as mentioned and in order to get a licence you’ll need adequate facilities. Think about neighbours. I can remember one breed receiving complaints about the caterwauling of females and the vocalisations of male Bengal cats emanating from her breeding establishment. I think the complaint went to the local authority. It was a serious matter.
Cat breeders keep the stud male cats and the queens (female breeding cat) apart in large enclosures to control stud cat behaviour.
You will have to make sure that you sell kittens to purchasers who are in a position to look after them properly and provide them with a decent home for the lifetime of the cat. The contract should cover this.
In America you should have a strict condition in the sale contract which forbids purchasers declawing their cat with follow up.
You will need a properly drafted sale and purchase contract which is signed by both parties on the sale of a kitten. I would ask other cat breeders what should be in the contract. But the contract is essential because it protects both parties against breach of contract. It provides a recourse should there be a breach. And it helps prevent a breach and therefore bad behaviour.
Many breeders sell at a distance. It is distance selling. They ship by air freight with a trusted airline. There are laws governing distance selling and purchase in the UK. They contain consumer rights. I advocate that purchasers always visit the breeder and select kittens on site and discuss matters there. It is much better but often impractical.
Medicals and pedigree
When you sell kittens, you have to provide a full list of medical treatments and vaccinations that have been provided and confirm that your kittens are clear of serious illnesses such as FIV, FIP and FeLV.
You’ll provide full pedigree and registration documents because purchasers want to purchase a pedigree, purebred cat not a purebred x mix cat which is technically a mortgage.
Note: The video above is from imgur.com. It was free to download.