FAQ: Why do breeders find
new homes for adult cats?
The reason breeders choose to "pet out"
adult pedigreed cats (placing cats in pet homes) are many.
Most of them come down to one thing: love. These breeders
have the best interests of the cat at heart.
Most people who breed live in normal-sized
homes and apartments. They can (and should) only keep as
many adult cats as they can give plenty of love and attention.
A breeding program requires a certain number of adults to
keep viable: you need a few queens, perhaps a stud or two.
Most breeders also keep a few adult spays or neuters to
show when their breeding cats are busy raising litters.
Imagine, now, that you are a breeder and
that you have decided that six adult cats is your limit.
You feel you can care for and give six adult cats all the
love and attention they deserve. You have six breeding cats
right now, and one of them has a litter of kittens. In that
litter is a female kitten with great potential. As she grows
older, it becomes obvious that the quality of this cat is
better than one of your queens you have breeding now. You
decide that this cat will become a breeder for you, and
that you will spay the queen whose quality is not as good.
After all, it's important for a breeder to constantly improve
the quality of the breeding cats.
You've spayed the queen, but now you have
seven cats. You decided six would be your strict limit and
know it's important to the emotional health of your cats
to stick to your original notion that you can only keep
six. The cat is only two and a half years old and has produced
two decent litters of kittens for you. It's time for her
to retire to a home where she can be the beloved pet in
a one- or two-cat household, the center of a family's attention,
rather than the seventh cat of a breeding program.
Or imagine another scenario: You have the
maximum number of cats you have decided to keep. Two are
neutered boys you have decided to show. One of the neutered
boys doesn't like to be shown. In fact, he hates it. It's
not good for a cat to be shown if he doesn't like it. The
cat wants to be a pet, not a show cat, but it's important
for you to show in your program so that judges can evaluate
the progeny of your breeding program. This is how you know
if you are doing a good job. One of your queens has a kitten
you think would be an excellent show prospect. You decide
that the boy who doesn't like showing would be happier in
a pet home, so you decide to find him that excellent home
where he can be spoiled in the manner he deserves.
Or perhaps a female destined for breeding
has medical trouble with pregnancy or birth. Or perhaps
she is not a good mother, but a delightful pet. It is best
to spay her and pet her out under those circumstances.
Perhaps it is your policy to spay or neuter
cats over a certain age, because the kittens tend to be
healthier when born to younger parents.
Some cats just don't like living with a
number of other cats. They're people cats, not cat cats.
They would prefer to have a human all their own, instead
of being one of a pack. These cats are better off in pet
homes than in catteries.
Deciding to pet out an adult cat is an
act of LOVE on the part of the breeder. The hardest part
of breeding is letting go of your cats, especially the adults
-- because good breeders become attached to every cat they
produce. But it's important for an ethical breeder to recognize
the need to keep numbers down to a level where every cat
gets the individual attention they deserve. Breeders must
have the emotional and physical health of their cats uppermost
in their minds.
It's also important for breeders to keep
the best interests of the cat at heart, and not selfishly
keep everything they produce, whether it is in the best
interests of the cat or not. Some cats are happier in a
one- or two-pet household, at the center of a family's attention.
A good breeder recognizes this and does what he or she can
to make sure that every cat they produce is in the happiest
situation it can be.
For more information about this subject,
please refer to my article about retired champions in the
October 1996 issue of CATS Magazine.