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I don’t want to become a breeder

I don't want to become a breeder; I just want to have a litter!

You have an unsterilized Cornish Rex female? You don’t want to become a breeder… but, you want a single litter? For what reason?

Introducing motherhood to your cat?
Bringing the miracle of life to your child?
Making some money to reimburse the purchase of the cat?
Because baby kittens are cute?

Many think that being a breeder means to cuddle kittens all day long and then collect a large sum of money when the kittens leave for their new homes.

To demystify the miracle of life and make you see the other, less rosy side of breeding, let us debunk some myths and reveal the actual reality.

Before being ready to breed, the young cat will have a few, more or less intense heat cycles. Will you have the patience to hear your cat meow day and night looking for her prince charming? The heats repeat approximately every two weeks as long as she isn’t mated. If you have the male at home, will you be able to separate them so that they don’t mate before the proper time? Be warned that heat cycles begin at around 6 months of age and the acceptable age for mating is 12 months!! Will you tolerate your cat marking his territory by urinating on your walls and objects? It’s not a myth, unneutered male pee smells very strong and a female in heat can urinate to mark her territory as well!! Several consecutive heats also predispose your cat to infections of the uterus for which the cure is most of the time her sterilization!

To make it easier for themselves, some people decide to adopt only a female and find someone who has an unneutered male. It is actually less management in the house. But it might be surprisingly difficult to find a good candidate. The search for a tomcat can be difficult; breeders who have worked hard to produce cats that represent the physical standard of the breed and have paid for very expensive health and genetic testing will not want to breed your female just to please you! This means you will have will be to go to people who offer their male for mating strictly for the money without regard to health and diseases that can be transmitted… to your cat! In addition, if you do not have the pedigree and registration of your cat or of the coveted tomcat, you will thus produce domestic cats that cannot be considered or sold as purebred cats. Another unfortunate reality is that it is very possible, even likely, that the two cats you bred have common ancestors making the coupling incestuous and inbred, therefore conducive to the transmission of genetic defects and diseases.

There is a common belief that cats give birth alone and effortlessly. This is true most of the time but what will you do if your cat does not give birth so easily? What if a kitten is stuck in the birth canal or if her contractions are not strong enough for her babies to be born without assistance? Will you have the several thousand dollars that the emergency caesarean section costs? Will you risk mommy suffering because you wanted to experience the joys of feline motherhood, just for fun? What if the babies don’t survive? Can you manage your children’s sadness? Yours? Got the budget? Great! Do you have a vet who will be available to do an emergency cesarian? Because it is well known that most deliveries take place at night and/or on weekends… Will you be ready to leave your region to go to an emergency center and pay the costs?

So, despite everything, you have decided to go ahead with the mating. The birthing is going well, but surprise… mom doesn’t want to take care of her kittens. Or she doesn’t produce enough milk. That’s right! You have to be prepared for this eventuality. Do you know what to do in this case? Will you have everything you need on hand (formulated milk, syringes, hot water bottle, etc.) and above all will you be available to feed babies every 2-3 hours, day and night for a minimum of 1 month?

Despite everything, you have decided to go ahead with the mating. The birth is going well, but surprise mom doesn’t want to take care of her kittens or she doesn’t produce enough milk. Oh yes! You have to plan for this eventuality. Do you know what to do in this case? Will you have everything you need on hand (formulated milk, syringes, hot water bottle, etc.) and above
all will you be available to feed babies every 2-3 hours, even at night for a minimum of 1 month?

So, you go ahead: mating, pregnancy, birthing and kitten growth are going well. Great! Have you thought about starting the search to find them a family? Because yes, you now have the serious responsibility of finding a home for each of them. Let’s be honest, shelters are overflowing with cats. Will you sell your kittens without spaying or neutering them before they leave? If so, someone like you might want to have a litter just for fun. Unfortunately, this is how people contribute to feline overpopulation in addition to lowering the quality of the Cornish Rex. Will you offer a health guarantee to your adopters? What will you do if the kitten you sold becomes sick and the adopter claims costs and damages? Summons you to small claims court? Because yes, you have a legal responsibility when you sell a ‘product’ (in the eye of the law, the animal is considered goods) and the consumer protection act is fully applicable.

One should not ad-lib as a breeder, even for a single litter… There are certainly fantastic sides to breeding, but the situation can also turn into a nightmare. If despite everything you decide to go ahead, make sure you have weighed the pros and cons and planned an emergency fund. Before mating you must know the blood type of each parent as there exists serious blood type incompatibilities in the Cornish Rex breed that can lead to the death of the entire litter of kittens. You must also test your cat against leukemia and feline AIDS because these are fatal contagious diseases. You must do the genetic testing for diseases known in the breed to avoid giving birth to kittens already mortgaged. Your cat must be vaccinated and treated for parasite prevention. On average, these fees will be around $800 to $1000. Of course, the tomcat must also undergo all these tests, bringing the total between $1600 to $2000, even before having kittens…. What if you only have one kitten? You will not even meet the expenses incurred….

Doesn’t all this scare you? Do you have a passion for the breed? Do you want to try the adventure? In that case, do it for the right reasons: To protect the breed, to protect its health and to protect the public. Get involved and do what it takes to become an ethical and professional breeder even if it’s “just” for one litter. The Cornish Rex Club of Canada can help you.

Consult the “PUBLICATION” section of the club’s website at www.club-crcc.ca to find all the relevant information you need to embark on this adventure.


Stéphanie Beauchesne, Animal Health Technician
Director of the Public Relations Committee

Josée Charlebois, Animal Health Technician