Breeding A Litter
maybe fun, never simple
Giving or getting stud service.
Stud service has two sides:
- if you have a stud, you can give other breeders stud service, or
- if you don't have a stud, you can get stud service from another breeder.
Getting stud service is not easy. Many breeders do not want their tom to get too many kittens, and are choosy in giving stud service. Also stud owners like the visiting queens to be tested for many things. Not every owner of a female cat wants to co-operate in this respect. Moreover, many stud owners would at some point like to get a stud service, so they make arrangements with other stud owners. If you don't have a suitable stud yourself, such an exchange is not possible. Stud owners may get a lot of requests for their cat, and they can be very selective about the visiting queen cats. Outsiders often experience this as being a closed clique, and this is indeed often the case. That is because a lot of trust is involved: the owner of the female cat wants to leave her in an environment where she will be well cared for, and from where she will not return with nasty infections, and the stud owner does not want his cat to get infected with something strange, and he wants the kittens to be responsibly handled. And also it often is a case of "one hand washes the other" ...
If you do find a stud owner who right away agrees to have his cat mate with your cat, do not jump for joy immediately either. It may sound strange, because you finally found the person who will help you to get your first litter. But if he so readily agrees to you, he probably grants a mating to everybody. Then ask yourself how interesting your kittens will be for the diversity of the gene pool? Interesting outcross kittens on which you can build further towards your breeding goal, or thirteen-to-a-dozen kittens like you see in every other household? Moreover, if the stud owner does not expect your cat to be tested for diseases and defects, then did he test his cat? Are you sure you want kittens from that tom? Breeding cats (both male and female!) should be minimally tested for leukemia (FeLV) and aids (FIV), and of course the animals should be current on their vaccinations.
Buying a male cat is not always easy either. Many breeders rather not sell their male kittens to other breeders. There are various reasons for this:
- A stud can have a great influence on the population (a tomcat can have a lot more offspring in a year than a queen cat). As a breeder you just have to wait and see whether the new owner of the tomcat handles this responsibility correctly.
- Aside from that, housing an open tomcat is not easy, and not everybody follows the rules the different associations have about housing. As a result toms are sometimes kept at the most unsuitable places: in the basement, the attic, in the back of the yard in a small shed .... this also is something that many a breeder does not want to happen to his treasure.
If you do get a breeder to sell you a tomcat, please think hard about what you are doing, and take the next questions in consideration:
- Is this tom a good combination with your queens?
- What restrictions are attached to this kitten? Hardly any breeder sells a male kitten for breeding without restrictions. Examples of common restrictions:
a) A maximal number of stud services, or no stud service at all.
b) A maximal age to remain open (after which he must be castrated and must be part of the family without being restricted to the stud accommodations)
c) No kittens may be sold to other breeders, or only female kittens and no male kittens
All kinds of constructions are possible. Be very critical about which restrictions you are willing to accept, and which not.
- Does it make sense to buy a tom if you are not allowed to give stud service and you yourself have only 1 or 2 females?
- Even if the tom is very beautiful and a good outcross for your queens and other female cats in the neighborhood, what influence will he have on the gene pool with only your two females as mates?
- Most breeders do not want to endlessly repeat the same mating (that is more like pure multiplying than making carefully designed combinations!) and so after 2 matings your stud may be 'finished'. Would it not be better to look for two stud services, instead of buying a tom? Moreover, in the situation described above it is much cheaper to pay for 2 stud services than to buy a tomcat (the total costs for your own stud are among others: the price, if you import a kitten the costs of transportation and maybe import taxes, taking care of the animal for at least a year, health checks and tests ...). Plus that some studs just are not happy with so few matings.