A cat needs space, both horizontal and vertical. Run, jump, climb, stretch here and there ... Have you noticed that a cat changes places several times during its naps? He does not need to go outside and can enjoy himself very well inside a house or a simple apartment if it is suitably furnished to meet his/her needs. On the other hand, he/she must have the opportunity to be stimulated by seeing other individuals (humans, cats, dogs), by hearing sounds (radio, humans, other animals) and by having access to daylight.
Their environment must be composed of scratching posts, cat tree, tablets, hiding places, water and food stations in sufficient quantity, litter in sufficient numbers and placed in different locations.
The breeder must compose with the space he lives in, his family, his work and his hobbies and also manage the space to maintain harmony within the cattery. A cat in a cage or in a small enclosure is unhappy and the Club does not endorse this practice, except for medical or temporary conditions.
A breeding male always poses a problem when it comes to removing him from the home because he marks (urine) his territory in the house, excites the females who, in turn will mark their territory in places that we often deem inappropriate. The male who must live in retreat can be happy in his lodgings, or on the contrary, if inappropriate, be very unhappy there.
The breeder must provide a place that meets the biological needs of the cat so that it feels good there and can fulfill its biological needs.
Mandatory practices :
- The living enclosures must provide sufficient space for the cat to flourish; that is, spaces with a minimum height of six feet, containing shelves, hiding places, a soft bed, horizontal and vertical scratching posts, toys.
- If the cat does not get to spend time outside his enclosure on a daily basis, the breeder must supply the cat with an exercise wheel.
Available resources :
Feline nutrition is the subject of many controversies, debates and research topics. It is increasingly difficult to come to a conclusion concerning the food of any manufacturers, with all the ever emerging new information being put forth on nutritional value versus the digestive system of cats. This document does not mention the best food to give or those to avoid. However, it is in the breeder's interest to take their own initiative to learn about the various types of food available in stores, how they are made, the ingredients they contain and why they are made in this way. Many people are surprised when they see the foundations of industry.
Breeders are in the best position to assess the general health of their cats and kittens. For example, a breeder whose cats are overweight should ask questions about the glycemic index of the food being fed. Hair texture, disease resistance and general health problems can also be reliable indicators, but not necessarily directly attributable. That is to say, a breeder who observes several faults or problems on several of his cats can question if the food being fed is contributing to the problem, even without being certain about the source of the problem, a hypothesis can be established. A change of food sources can take a long time to reveal a change, and of course, it is a process involving the risk of digestive problems.
Required practices :
- Feed high quality food with a balanced formula adjusted to the needs of cats according to their age, stage of development, gestation, lactation, etc.
- Offer fresh food, kept away from humidity and respecting expiration dates. Food should be kept in its original bag and stored in an airtight container away from insects and rodents.
- Provide unlimited access to fresh, clean water. The use of water fountains with charcoal filters is excellent for helping to maintain good hydration and is highly recommended.
4.3 Stress management, harmony
In addition to basic needs (food, water, space etc.), members of the cattery need to belong to a group or a family to have sociability, affection, security and well-being. Physical and mental health is crucial and the need to belong to a family must be met to help lower the risk of generating stress, quarrels or even fierce battles between members of the cattery. You will have quickly guessed that this is undesirable and could even have more serious consequences, such as the expression of latent viral diseases or the development of idiopathic pathologies of all kinds. Stress, it is well known, is the worst enemy of mammals, humans and felines included!
One great source of stress is the practice of amputation of the first phalanx, commonly called "declawing", a surgical procedure which is still practiced, although it is banned in several countries and provinces. It is a painful intervention that leaves long-term consequences: abnormal posture of the feet and legs, phantom pain, premature osteoarthritis and bone fragments causing pain are among the many undesirable and unnecessary side effects of this intervention. There are no positive effects for the cat.
Let’s add that sectionning the tendon that flexes the claw, also called tenectomy, is not an adequate alternative either. The claw can no longer come out of its sheath, depriving the cat of this natural behavior while causing poor mobility in his fingers. It is an intervention that also causes pain. The claws must be trimmed regularly so that they do not grow back into the foot pad by curling and thus causing unnecessary injury.
The breeder has to deal with the individual characters and personalities of each of his/her cats. Females learn to live together, to love each other, to tolerate each other, to dominate or to submit. The well-informed breeder is aware of the unpredictability of cats when a newcomer is introduced. Cats that live in groups develop a hierarchy, negotiate common ground. With each new introduction, the whole balance of the group is upset, until the ranks are negotiated again and harmony returns.
It is quite possible for the breeder to maintain favorable conditions for the development of all his cats, including the representative (s) of the male sex and to take specific measures to resolve the problems taken individually. There is no magic recipe. What will work for one group will not necessarily work for the other. Being attentive to your cats is the best way to quickly spot and fix a problem.
The best way to avoid the inconvenience of inappropriate scratching is to trim the claws regularly (every 2-3 weeks) and improve the environment. A cat tree, scratching posts with different textures and placed in different positions (horizontal, vertical) are essential. The alternative of claw protectors (sheath that covers the claw) is an excellent solution. These sleeves can stay in place for 6 to 8 weeks if you use good quality products.
Required practices :
- Provide enough hiding places and quiet corners for all cats.
- Provide multiple food and water stations to reduce tension and competition and allow all cats to drink and eat without harassment. (according to the number of cats)
- Have enough litter boxes for all cats.
- Eliminate any aggressive cat from the breeding program, or keep it isolated until you have secured his continuing bloodline if the aggressiveness is deemed to be of environmental cause. Remember that temperament is largely genetic and that it is not desirable to breed a cat showing signs of faulty temperament.
- Allow all cats in their cattery to feel safe by enriching their living environment.
- The practice of declawing kittens is not acceptable. Refuse to declaw and educate new families by presenting alternatives to this obsolete practice.
Available resources :
Alternatives to declawing:
4.4 Kitten sociabilisation
Kittens need supervision during their first weeks of life. Normally, in the wild, for example, the mother who is able, has no postpartum issues,and is in a safe place, is able to take care of her kittens and teach them the essentials. However, she will teach them what she knows herself, that is, how to defend herself, survive, eat, be clean and hunt. If hunting is all about eating kibble in a bowl, so be it, she will teach them. On the other hand, emotional development with humans cannot in any case take place without the continuous presence of humans. Even a cat with a very sociable temperament cannot instill sociability in its offspring if the breeder does not take care of it personally. Before introducing a kitten into its family, it must not only have learned to eat, use the litter, have good hygiene and sleep at night. But it must also have learned to trust humans, know how to differentiate between real danger and regular household noise. The average age required for the introduction of a well-bred kitten is around 14 weeks, but the development of each kitten is unique and the breeder is in the best position to judge whether the kitten is or not ready to leave the cattery.
For the breeder, there are several stages to be expected in terms of the development of their kittens. First, kittens must live, that is, breathe, drink and spend the first few days, showing daily body weight gain. During this period, the breeder remains on the lookout, keeps the nest at the right temperature and strives to provide the mother with everything she needs. Then, learning how to wash, eat, use the litter are all steps that can be acquired quickly and easily, or not, depending on the litter, conditions and problems specific to kittens. The role of the breeder will then be to give the kittens the opportunity to develop their sociability as much as possible, while remaining sheltered from real dangers. He/she can, among other things, handle them often, and this, from the first days, give them access to the house for short periods depending on their age, change rooms to allow them to familiarize themselves with the different normal sounds of a house, play with them, introduce them to strangers. Again, each breeder develops the method that suits them, according to his/her resources. The best way to tell if the method is right is to assess the results. How do kittens behave? What comments do we receive from customers? It is very important to take the pulse on the mental health of your kitten because if there is a problem, the method could and should be improved.
Required practices :
- Kittens must stay together with their mother until the minimum age of 14 weeks.
- Kittens must be given the opportunity to interact with humans on a daily basis. Socialize the kittens properly so that they can flourish and become good companions.
- Cut their claws, clean the sheaths and ears regularly to get them used to grooming and handling.
- Provide the necessary accessories, vertical and horizontal scratch posts, to ‘make the claws’ so that they can learn to use them.
Available resources :