by Jette Eva Madsen.

This is a beautiful season. All breeders have high hopes for the litters they expect or for the kittens that are already born. A lot of breeders have orders for kittens in special colours or with special tabby markings. The breeders themselves wish to keep the kitten of their dreams to show in next season.

A lot of us will have luck and find the kitten we are looking for. The rest of us will be disappointed and have to change our plans for the next show and breeding season.

I will try to list some of the problems that can ruin your breeding plans so you have to change them:

  • The female cat will not come into heat.
  • The male cat will not mate her.
  • The female or male cat is not fertile
  • Something goes wrong with the pregnancy and delivery
  • The kittens cannot drink their mothers milk
  • The kittens get sick and get seriously prohibited in their development or worse they die.

This sounds terrible but luckily I have not yet mentioned the most common reason for not having the kitten you want:

  • You wish a female and all the kittens are males or you need a male and all kittens born are females.
  • You desperately wish a certain colour and no kitten of that colour is born.
  • The kitten with the colour and sex you want is not a show and breeders quality kitten.

As a breeder and exhibitor you wish to be able to change your breeding plans as fast as possible and still achieve the goals you have in front of you. After a season where all your plans have been ruined one after another you can get desperate but I will try to give a few advises.

When you make up your plans for the future it is generally a good idea just to decide to pick out / buy the best kitten available. You may have to decide on the best possible kitten of a specific sex because you need more female cats for your male or you need a male for your females.

The more cats you have or the longer you have been a breeder the more specific your demands for new cats can bee. If the general quality of your breeding cats is a good all-round quality you will be able to keep a new cat that does not fully live up to your general standard but who express the trait you wish in an extreme degree (beautiful colour, pattern, size, coat quality, etc.). The impact of this one cat on your gene-pool will not be very large and at the same time this cat will give you the possibility of working with the trait of which you have special interest.

Keeping an inferior cat that also does not express a quality you have special interest in will not be a clever choice. The only impact of this cat on your genepool will be to lower the general quality.

Even worse is to choose a kitten for your future breeding that have a genetic fault (cleft palate, patella-luxation, heart-faults, etc.) or a personality problem (not social towards other cats or human beings, aggressive behaviour, etc.). A kitten like that will pass on the problem to at least half of its offspring’s. It will lower the vigourosity of your kittens and perhaps even damage your image as a breeder.

If you wish to keep one of your own kittens it is still a very good idea to try to keep track of the litters of other breeders who have a standard of kittens that you like. If your own litters for some reason or other does not give the result you wish you have the possibility of buying one of the kittens from another breeder.

If you are so very fortunate to belong to the very rare type of patient breeders you do not have any problems if you do not find the kitten of your dreams this year. You just repeat your matings and wait until you find the kitten you want and perhaps this is the best solution ?