Cat Selections For Breeding Programs

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    If you are going to become a professional breeder of pedigreed cats, you will also become an exhibitor of pedigreed cats. Unless you are willing to become an exhibitor, you will not be able to buy a pedigreed cat from another professional breeder. In addition, exhibiting your cats is part of the obligation of being a breeder. Responsible breeders promote the cat fancy and take an active part in its important work. Those who breed cats but do not exhibit are not highly regarded in the fancy.

    Obtaining a foundation cat or kitten from a breeder who lives across the country from you is not a good idea, because when you look at a cat or kitten on a picture, you can judge the structural factors which are very important in the show ring.

    If it is all possible, arrange to see the kitten and handle her. If this is not possible, make certain the breeder understands, by putting it in writing, that if you decide the kitten is not of the quality you want, you can return the kitten to the breeder.

    While handling the kitten, feel the bones carefully. Although the bones in one of the larger breeds will be large, bones that are porous will make the kitten feel extremely light. This condition, called feather boning, will be very harmful to the cat when she is older.

    In slender-bodied cats such as an Oriental Shorthair or a Siamese, the boning will feel fine and light. However, if the bones are too fragile, the cat will look as if she cannot stand upright.

    As a responsible breeder, you should only breed your cat if you can answer “YES” to all of the following questions:

    Foundation Queen Checklist

    1. Is your cat pedigreed?
    2. Did you get her from a breeder?
    3. Did you get unrestricted registration papers and a signed pedigree?
    4. Can your cat be registered in more than one registry?
    5. Does the cat meet the breed standard?
    6. Are there at least eight Champions or Grand Champions in the last three generations?
    7. Does the cat have a stable temperament?
    8. Is the cat healthy?
    9. Has the cat been tested for diseases and is free of genetic disorders?
    10. Are you prepared for the time, money and effort involved in showing, breeding, selling and caring for a cattery?

    The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) evaluates the X-rays of cats for orthopedic problems. You can x-ray a kitten as young as 6 months of age to check for Hip Dysplasia, but the best results are not found until the cat is 1 year old.

    You can have your cat x-rayed at your veterinarian’s office and then have X-rays sent to OFA for evaluation. The OFA recommends that no cats whose X-rays are graded as poor be used for breeding.

    In addition to the boning, look carefully at the jaws. The jaw on every breed of cat should be good and firm, neither weak and receding nor overshot. Improper alignment can cause problems later in life.

    Remember, at all times that you are looking at a kitten, and kittens can change daily. However, very tall ears on a kitten that is supposed to have very short ears, such as Exotic Shorthair, are an indication that the kitten may have very tall ears as an adult, and this will be considered a fault when the cat is being judged.


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