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How to Become a Cat Breeder: Ethics & Standards Explained

man holding two cute canadian sphynx kittens
Image Credit: Mariia Boiko, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Jordyn Alger

Just like being a cat owner is not as simple as having a cat in your house, being a cat breeder is not as simple as having a cat that gives birth to kittens. Cat owners have a huge responsibility to care for their cats physically, emotionally, and financially, and those responsibilities and more apply to cat breeders.

If you are interested in becoming a cat breeder, you need to adhere to ethical regulations to ensure that your breeding is appropriate and humane. In this article, we’ll go over what it takes to become a cat breeder, both in terms of expenses and ethics.

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Prepare Yourself for the Expenses

Cat breeding is not as simple as having a male and female cat produce kittens. There are several expenses you will need to cover, many of them ongoing.

Upfront Costs

Before you can even begin, you must pay for cat equipment. Food, bowls, litter boxes, nesting boxes, scratching posts, and bedding are the bare minimum. Depending on how many breeding cats you plan to own, these costs can be several hundred dollars or more.

Then, you will need to purchase the cats. A single breeding cat can easily cost upwards of $1000, and the price will only increase the rarer the breed is. If you don’t plan to purchase your male cat, you must set aside money for stud fees. These fees are used to pay a breeder who has a male cat to breed. On the other hand, if you choose to purchase a male cat, you will also need to construct a stud house so that the male does not get close to the females when he shouldn’t.

Ongoing Costs

Food and litter must be constantly refilled, and other pet care items will eventually wear out and need replacement. Toys will need to be purchased regularly so that your cats have a good rotation of entertainment options and adequate enrichment.

Medical matters will also be a large part of your ongoing costs. General veterinary care, such as routine checkups, care for accidents and illnesses, sterilization procedures, microchipping, and vaccinations, will need to be in your budget for every cat and kitten you own. In addition, you will need to be able to pay for genetic health tests, disease tests, and blood tests to ensure the health of your breeding cats and any kittens produced.

Other Costs

Besides caring for the cats, you will also need to pay the expenses involved with running a business. This can include insurance costs, website or marketing expenses, cat show equipment and fees, property taxes, and registration fees, just to name a few.

mother cat and its kittens
Image Credit: Esin Deniz, Shutterstock

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How to Become an Ethical Cat Breeder

Before becoming an ethical cat breeder, ask yourself one question; why do you want to be a cat breeder? If the answer is monetary gain, it is not the right profession for you.

As a cat breeder, your priority must be in the best interest of every cat and kitten in your care. If you are dedicated to the breed that you are breeding and capable of providing for the health and safety of each cat you own, you may be ready to become a cat breeder.

1. Research Cat Breeding

This step may take longer than any other steps on this list, which is okay. Before you begin, you need to know the ins and outs of cat breeding. Of course, you learn some things with experience, but the safety and well-being of your cats cannot be left up to chance. If you do not put much effort into this step, your breeding efforts will likely fail before they even begin.

Learn about the feline reproductive process as well as the birthing process. If you know any local cat breeders, reach out to them and ask specific questions about cat breeding, cat care, and running an ethical breeding business.

cat breeder and his devon rex cat
Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock

2. Register with a Notable Cat Council

Registering with a notable cat council, such as the Cat Fancier’s Association, is one of the best ways to ensure you follow ethical guidelines. By registering with a reputable cat council, you will be held to a high moral and humane breeding standard.

3. Acquire a Male and Female Cat

When you are ready to get to work, you can purchase male and female breeding cats. You will need to buy these cats from a reputable breeder rather than a shelter or a friend, as you will want to ensure that your breeding cats have an excellent pedigree.

If you purchase both a male and female cat, you must have separate housing for them. Without separate housing, your female cat may become impregnated before fully recovering from her last labor and delivery.

If you decide against purchasing a male cat, you will need to establish a relationship with another reputable breeder who has a male breeding cat. That is where stud fees will come into play.

Ask the breeder to show you official medical and genetic records so that you can verify the health of the stud. Be prepared to provide similar documentation for your cat as well.

4. Register Your Cats

Register all breeding cats on the active register with your chosen cat council. Details for how to do this will vary depending on the organization you are registered with.

persian kittens in orange background_Linn Currie, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

5. Breed with Care and Intent to Improve the Breed

When you begin breeding cats, ensure that your focus is always on what is best for the breed and the cats in your care. Knowing which diseases to screen for is essential because each species has various vulnerabilities.

6. Keep All Cats and Kittens in a Sanitary Environment

Ensure that all cats are always given high-quality food, water, shelter, litter, and other necessities. Schedule regular veterinary visits with all cats and kittens, and give your queen plenty of time to recover after giving birth

7. Maintain All Records

When you receive medical care, genetic testing, blood testing, disease testing, or any other notable procedure, maintain the records. Any trusted breeder can produce all documentation they have on a specific cat when requested.

Veterinarian doctor holds cat
Image Credit: H_Ko, Shutterstock

8. Only Sell Healthy Kittens

If a kitten is born unhealthy, do not sell it to your customers without prior disclosure. Likewise, if a kitten has yet to reach a proper level of immunity against common infectious diseases, do not sell it. Even if a kitten has been merely exposed to an infectious disease, you cannot ethically sell it without disclosing that information.

9. Remain Connected with Your Buyers

Once a kitten has been purchased, that is not the end of the story for you. You must stay in contact with the new owners in case they have any questions or concerns about their cats in the future. It is your responsibility to provide continuous education and advice. Please note, however, that you are not meant to replace the role of a veterinarian in any way.

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Cat breeding is not for everyone. Before dedicating yourself to this line of work, ensure that you can provide for all potential expenses. Likewise, you must adhere to ethical and humane breeding practices to produce the healthiest kittens. Breeding cats is difficult work, but bringing new life into the world and contributing to a cat breed you are passionate about can be incredibly rewarding.

Featured Image Credit: Mariia Boiko, Shutterstock

About the Author

Jordyn Alger
Jordyn Alger
Cats are Jordyn’s passion. Whenever she has the opportunity she loves to learn about animals and share her knowledge with everyone. She is devoted to her sassy tabby cat named Jack and works hard to buy him his favorite treats and toys. Discovering new ways to better care for her cat is always on her to-do list, and she is eager to help pet parents everywhere. In Jordyn's spare time, she loves to write, read, and take long walks. She has a creative spirit, which often helps her to come up with funny cat names.

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