Breeding should not be undertaken lightly even with popular breed
like this Blue British Shorthair and her beautiful litter. Most breeds reach sexual maturity at 7-12 months.
You have an unspayed pedigree queen,
you don't have a similarly upper-class tom, and you want her to have kittens (but not with any old, scruffy, local tom!).
Your first step will be to find a reputable breeder. A good breeder should be able to come up with a suitable tom of the right
breed and the right quality for your queen. People often have mixed feelings about sending their pride and joy off to stud,
so you must find a breeder whom you can trust.If you're new to cat breeding, start by seeking advice from someone who has
experience, through a local cat club, a breed club, breeders at a cat show, or a vet. If you bought your queen from a breeder,
it is advisable to fo back to enquire about suitable studs. Exactly what you need to do depends on your reason for breeding.
Do you want to breed champion cats and perfect the strain, in which case you will need to research the project thoroughly
and look into the question of bloodlines; or do you just want to let your cat have one litter of beautiful kittens and then
call it a day? Either way, the timing will be important, so it is wise to choose the stud well in advance
A reputable breeder will have spacious, hygienic, escape-proof
accommodation for both tom and queen. All the animals in the stud will be free from any feline diseases. The breeder should
have up-to-date health and inoculation certificates to prove it. You will also be asked for similar proof of health for your
queen: while these precautions may seem tiresome, they are extremely important. Take along all the health documentation you
have. Also, (for pedigree cats) make a note of the stud's name and pedigree you will need it when you come to register your
Accommodation at the cattery should
be clean and comfortable.
If the most suitable stud lives a long way away you may not be
able to visit before sending your queen for mating. In this case, you might be able to ask your vet to contact a colleague
in the region who could check both the cat and the premises on your behalf you will have to pay the vet a fee. If your queen
has to make a long journey to the stud, she may no longer be in season by the time she arrives. Agree plans before she calls
in case she has to stay as a boarder until she starts calling again.
DID YOU KNOW ?
?The exact date when a female comes into season
is unpredictable: it is partly influenced by the time of year. Calling tends to be triggered by an increase in daylight hours
and the onset of warmer spring weather.
?The first mating may not be successful. Ask
the breeder what the financial arrangements are in this case is a second one provided free???
CHOOSING A KITTEN
When choosing a kitten, select one that has been raised in a domestic
environment and is used to family life. A kitten brought up in a cattery will have less human contact and may take a while
to adapt but they do adapt and make very loving pets.In some cases they are more loving then domestic cats.
When choosing a kitten, think ahead
to the type of cat your kitten will become. Some cats grow larger than others, some need more grooming than others, and all
cat breeds have individual temperaments. Make sure the kitten fits in with your lifestyle. If you are out a lot, you may decide
to have two kittens to keep each other company. If you decide on a pedigree, use a reputable breeder. If you prefer a moggie,
get it from someone you know. Although kittens are adorable, they are a handful. Owning a cat is a big commitment since cats
on average live for 13 years. you should ask yourself: what kind of cat do i want? Will it suit my lifestyle? Can i meet any
vet's bills? Will holidays pose problems?
Once you have decided on the type of kitten you prefer, the next
step is to find a litter. If you want a pedigree, you need to contact a professional breeder. There should be specialist cat
clubs in your area. Research the breed. Remember a pedigree kitten is expensive and they need a lot more care and attention
than a non-pedigree. Are you prepared for this? If the answer is yes, then arrange to view the litter. Ask as many questions
as you like the owner will want the kitten to go to a good home too. If however, you simply want a kitten to be a companion
then a non-pedigree, or moggie, is the ideal choice. In this case it is always best to get your litten from a recommended
source. Pet rescue centres and veterinary surgeries always know of kittens in need of good homes. Again ask questions.
When choosing a kitten, it's helpful
to see the litter with the mother. Her temperament and health will give some indication of the kind of cats her offspring
POINTS TO WATCH
When choosing a kitten from a litter, go for the outgoing, friendly
individual that comes to you when you call and does not mind being handled. Think twice if you feel compelled to give a home
to that timid kitten in the corner.He may just be shy and demands lots of attention and reassurance. On the other hand, his
behaviour may signal that he is unwell. Either way, he will need extra care taking on the shy one from a litter will bring
you a lot of rewards.
A kitten needs quiet time - don't overwhelm
the new arrival. Kiteens and children need time to bond.
Kittens are prone to infection, so examine a kitten carefully before
you take him home. Check that his coat is smoth and glossy. His ears should be clean, his eyes clear and bright and his nose
damp. Check inside his mouth the gums should be pink and the teeth white. The anal area should be clean, and the tummy soft.
Check that the kitten walks without a limp. Finally, make sure the kitten has been inoculated against feline enteritis and
feline flu. First injections are due at 8-9 weeks. Ask for the certificate of inoculation.
DID YOU KNOW ?
?All kittens are born with blue eyes, although
these will change to their final colour at about 12 weeks.
?Cats that are brought up together from the
samr litter will often play, fight and behave as if they were still litter mates.
FEEDING YOUR KITTEN
When kittens are fed together, the more dominant ones will eat
more than the others. To make sure that each kitten gets the nourishment it needs, it may be necessary to feed thwm separately.
Although kittens have tiny stomachs,
they also have up to three times the energy requirements of a grown cat. This means that they need to eat twice as much protein
as adult felines if they are to grow up strong and healthy. Kittens need lots of help to make the transition to adult food.
Some cats can be very fussy eaters, so it is important to introduce them to a balanced diet early on to encourage them to
have good eating habits as adult cats.Cats have unique needs when it comes to food. Cats are carivores and cannot live healthily
on vegetarian or a low-protein diet. They must have lots of protein in the form of meat and fish, and fat, to survive. Kittens
grow quickly and feeding them appropriately is vital.
A kitten will take its mothers milk up to the age of about four
weeks, after which he will be able to lap up food. This is a good point at which to encourage him to feed independently of
his mother and to change to solid foods. A kitten should be completely weaned by the time he is nine weeks old. He shouldn't
be taken from his mother before this.
These kittens seem content to share
their food and, juding by their equal size, neither seems to have missed out by being too submissive.
A GOOD START
To give the kitten a good start, feed him powdered cat milk little
and often. Ideally, at the next stage add baby cereal, or give him pureed foods. Next, substitute finely minced cooked chicken
or fish. By six weeks the kitten should be ready for regular cat food.At eight weeks offer three solid meals a day, plus a
full bowl of cat milk or water, changed twice a day. Substitute water for the milk when the kitten is six months old. If you
prefer to use foods specially formulated for kittens, there are many available, both wet and dry. Complete dry meals are fairly
recent additions to the market. They contain all the nutrients your kitten will need, and are clean and convenient to use.
It is essential to provide plenty of water with dry food as it contains far less fluid than wet (canned )
A kitten fed a healthy diet will have
clear eyes and a glossy coat.
WEANING: 3-8 WEEKS
Begin weaning at three weeks as follows:
3 weeks: A teaspoon of powdered cat milk diluted in water, 4 times
4 weeks: Add pureed baby food or baby cereal to cat milk and feed
4 times a day.
5 weeks: Add a small amount of minced, cooked meat or canned kitten
food to one of the milk feeds.
6-8 weeks: Gradually replace each milk feed with a solid meal,
reduce to 2-3 small feeds a day, with plenty of milk or water.
DID YOU KNOW?
?A kittens weight can increase drastically
in the first seven weeks from a minimum of 75g(3oz) to around a maximum of 880g(2lb).
?Pedigree kittens suckle for up to two weeks
longer than non-pedigree kittens. They are not fully weaned until they are 12 weeks old
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