If you are considering breeding cats, there are several factors you need to consider before making a decision. It is not a job you should undertake lightly and we recommend reading up as much as you can on the cat breed you want to breed and what the process may entail.
In this article, we will provide you with a rough guide of what to expect if you do choose to breed. Consider seeking professional or expert advice though, and definitely try and speak to a certified breeder that you trust before making your decision.
Breeding cats and the law
When considering whether you would like to breed cats, the first thing you should keep in mind is the law. It is very important to check the laws on cat breeding and ensure that you can be in line with them.
The laws on cat breeding are not as strict as the laws on dog breeding. Breeding cats are protected by the code of welfare for companion cats of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The codes of welfare also have recommended best practices for cat breeders to ensure the health and welfare of cat at all times.
Here are some factors that you should keep in mind before deciding to breed cats.
Age of the queen: You should not starting breeding cats until your queen is fully-grown. If you do, it can be very damaging to her health, as she will then have to concentrate her energies on feeding her kittens rather than growing. Queens should be a minimum of 9 months of age before you consider breeding her, and should be strong (i.e. healthy, and have a good body condition) with favourable temperament.
Health checks: It is definitely required for you to do a full health check-up of your cat before you consider using them for cat breeding. You should test for genetic disorders, any illnesses or diseases. They should definitely be free of ringworms and ear mites or fleas. You may also have to check with the vet on what breed-specific diseases they recommend screening for.
Breeding guidelines: While the official rules for breeding cats are not fully legally implemented, there are established bodies that play a crucial role in governing how cats are bred in the NZ. One such organisation is the New Zealand Cat Fancy (NZCF), which establishes breeding advisory councils that issue guidelines for each breed of cat. These guidelines include standard points, registration policy and breeding policy per breed. You may need to follow these guidelines, so make sure you are up to date.
Imported cats: There are specific rules for importing cats for breeding. Do make sure you are up to date with these rules and are following all the guidelines. The New Zealand Cat Fancy has some helpful rules on its website for what it requires to join its organisation and for registering imported cats.
Pet insurance: You will be expected to buy pet insurance for your litter of kittens if you are breeding cats. Make sure you have enough capital to cover these costs.
Vaccinations and care: You will also be expected to provide at least the initial vaccinations for the litter. These are essential to making sure your kittens are in good health and that your customers are getting the healthiest cats possible. Vaccinations can cost a substantial amount when you consider that these kittens need to be taken care of as well in the first eight weeks, before you can give them to the new owners.
There are several unwanted cats in the NZ and several more abandoned cats or strays, so do be sure you can find homes for your litter of kittens before you decide to start breeding cats.
If you are unsure and need additional help or guidance when it comes to making up your mind about breeding cats, there are several agencies that can advise you on the cost of cat breeding and what you need to consider. The New Zealand Cat Fancy is an excellent source of information on rules and regulations, as well as what you can expect. Their breeding policy and outcrossing policy should help you with any decisions you need to make. They also register bred cats in the NZ.
In this article, we have outlined some of the factors you need to consider before breeding cats. Talking with an expert will give you more insight and help you make your decision.
Read more about pregnancy in cats here.