how to start a cattery

How to Start a Breeding Cattery

If you’re thinking of starting a breeding cattery but not sure where to start, this podcast Episode will get your thoughts moving in the right direction.

When I first started thinking about a cattery, I had a visit from a very experienced 25 plus year breeder that I had befriended at the cat show. She came by to see where I was planning on having my stud live. On her way back to her car, she asked me “What are the goals of your cattery?” I came up with the most ridiculous answer of my life. Something along the lines of producing big, beautiful kittens. But she replied, “no, that is not the goals of any cattery!

The goals of every cattery should be Health, Temperament and Type: in that order”.

That was a profound moment for me, and one that entirely changed the direction of my cattery.

Heath, Temperament and Type Should Be Your Cattery Goals

Every Pedigree cat comes with its set of known health issues. Take the time to learn more about your chosen breed and what health risks they are known for. Check to see if there are genetic markers for these issues.

how to become a cat breeder

You can do DNA testing and health screening to try to prevent these issues in your offspring. However, even with two copies of negative DNA genetic markers from parents, there’s no guarantee that that cat will not develop that particular disease. For More Information on Genetics in Breeding, Enroll in the Complete Guide to Breeding Pedigree Cats.

Choose Breeding Parents with Great Temperaments

The temperament in your kitties is certainly passed down to their babies, primarily from the queen. You want to choose cats that are social and friendly so that they pass that temperament down to their babies. Not all kitties have good temperaments. So the goal should be to produce kitties that do have great temperaments and are a pleasure to be around for the rest of their lives. It’s important to start your breeding cattery with a solid foundation of well-tempered kitties.

Study the Breed Standard

When we use the word “type” in referring to a pedigree cat, it means their physical characteristics. What does that cat look like? For every breed that’s recognized, there’s a set of breed standard descriptions. This is a very detailed outline of how this pedigree cat should look.

As a breeder, it’s your responsibility to preserve the breed by using and producing cats that match the breed standard as close as possible. Any time you sway away from the breed standard, you move away from what really identifies that cat. After a few generations of changes you’ve changed the look of that pedigree cat. When you start selecting cats for your breeding program, choose those that are as close to breed standard as possible.

Safe and Clean Housing for Your Cats

how to start a breeding cattery

If you plan on using your home to house your breeding cats, you have to start thinking about space designation. You need separate spaces for males, for your females, for your Queens with their kittens, and for your quarantine area.

(For More about Setting Up a Cattery Enroll in the Complete Guide to Breeding Pedigree Cats) .

A great place to set up your cattery is a big garage or basement space. There are some ideas online of how to plan out your cattery. Design the space for the cats to be comfortable and stress free.

Never Stop Learning and Expanding Your Knowledge

There are certainly some fundamental elements about breeding cats that everyone should know before they venture into being a cat breeder. Housing, health, genetics, how to choose your cats, how to read pedigrees, facts about females in heat, estrous cycles, mating cats, pregnancies, gestation periods, the birthing of kittens, raising and whelping kittens, and caring for sick kittens.

It’s important to always seek factual information when researching how to start a cattery. Use facts to make informed decisions.

Expenses to Run a Cattery

It may take one year to three years before you recoup the money that you spend setting up your cattery. Be prepared to support the cats and provide the care that they need until you start producing kittens.

The average startup cost for a legitimate cattery is estimated to be between $10,000 and $20,000. On average monthly cattery expenses are between $500 to $1.000. That variance depends on the number of cats that you have in your breeding program.

Action plan that you can take to start your own breeding cattery.

Once you’ve completed these basics, you can move on to the finer details, like preparing your cat breeder contract.

If the idea of operating a cattery for your chosen pedigree cat excites you and fills your heart with passion, then by all means, pursue it and be part of the solution for protecting and preserving the wonderful breed of pedigree cat that you love so much. Don’t be discouraged by the people that don’t support you and who want to fuel you with negativity about being a cat breeder.

Do the right thing, get the education that you need and pursue it with all the passion that you have.
While it certainly has its challenging moments, it’s definitely very rewarding to be able to be a part of the production of healthy and happy kittens that you know are being taken care of for the rest of their lives and that you’re doing your part in protecting the breed.

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