If you are thinking about breeding from your queen, you must first consider if she is suitable. She should be:
– Of good temperament.
– A good example of her breed (if pedigree), conforming well to the Standard of points, with no physical abnormalities. It does not help a breed if poor quality cats are bred from.
– Free from hereditary defects: if there is a known hereditary breed problem for which it is possible to test, your cat should be tested as early as possible and certainly before she has a litter.
Next consider the implications of producing a litter of kittens: you will be responsible for supervising the birth, rearing the litter, having them vaccinated and finding them suitable homes. You will need to be present at the birth, no matter what time of day or night, and you may need to be with the queen for most of the time during the first week or so to ensure that she looks after the kittens properly. You will need to plan the mating so that the kittens are born at a time when you can be at home with the queen and when you will not be going on holiday before the kittens leave home, unless there is someone reliable to ‘babysit’ them.
Sometimes there are fewer good homes than kittens, so you must be prepared to keep the remaining kittens until suitable owners materialise, remembering that the older the kitten, the less chance there is of covering its food bills. If you are not prepared to do this, do not mate your queen: there are increasing numbers of pedigree cats in rescue shelters and it is irresponsible to increase this burden.
You must be prepared for the cost of a caesarian should the queen encounter difficulties during labour. You must also prepare yourself for worst case scenario that you may potentially end up with no kittens or queen.
Choosing a stud
Before visiting the stud ask for a copy of the pedigree and certificate of entirety, and the terms and conditions of the stud service – many stud owners use a standard printed form – and the fee to be paid. Ensure that the stud is vaccinated and tested for FeLV/FIV
If there are any hereditary diseases in your breed which can be tested for, you should ensure that the stud has been tested clear.
Most stud owners will ask you to have your queen tested for FeLV/FIV before visiting the stud.
Establish what the conditions will be if your queen does not take at her first visit: some stud owners make a full charge for a repeat visit, others do not, but most will require repeat blood tests for your queen.
Taking a queen to stud
Your queen should be vaccinated up-to-date against flu, enteritis and some stud owners also require vaccinations against FeLV, but this should not be considered a substitute for testing. All boosters should have been done at least a week before the queen goes to stud, to minimise the stress and to ensure good protection, but some stud owners insist on a longer period. Most stud owners insists that visiting queens are blood tested for FeLV and FIV within the 24 hours before visiting the stud but these requirements vary. You should ask to inspect the stud’s vaccination and test certificates and show the stud owner those of your queen.