Why I breed:
I have been asked, as I am sure my fellow breeders have, why I breed cats when there are so many in shelters. We all have our reasons, some are easy, some I could not put into words if I had to. Probably most simply, I breed these curly imps because of my love of the breed. For me, there is no going to a shelter and picking out a kitten. My allergies do not allow it...that is how I discovered Devons, and that is how I fell in love with them. These gremlins have allowed me an opportunity to have a cat when I had thought for many years I could not and I want to share that.
Doesn't it break your heart to let kittens go to new homes:
Yeah, sigh...sometimes. These are our babies, we raise them in our home as part of our family. We are a small place (though our home has over 2,000 sf, we do not have alot of cats). This is part of why selecting families for these babies is so important to me. I have to know that they are going someplace they can work their magic and can be loved unconditionally the rest of their lives-cause that is how they will love you.
Wow-sounds like a great way to make easy money:
Um. yeah, that's it. The first thing you have to know is that the benefits of this are HUGE. Th first time I had someone come over who wanted a kitten and never thought they could have one...and found out that Devons WORKED for THEIR ALLERGIES...I cried too. Huge. You cannot put a price on that. But, the reality is, I do not make any money at this. Very few breeders do, and none of them that are small scale come out ahead. We do this because we love what we are doing, care about the breed and it's future.
Well, where does all the money go?
Well, to begin with, we cannot go to the local Walmart and get great cat food. (Of course we live in the middle of beautiful mountains pretty much in the middle of nowhere so there is nothing BUT the Walmart in our town).
We use a mix of Natural Balance Rabbit, Purina Pro and Purina One chicken (the best thing we CAN get in town, in case of an emergency)
We use high quality litter -S'Wheat Scoop (again, part of the fun of living in the mountains, cannot get it in town).
We do regular vet visits and screenings. All kittens get a well baby visit. All kittens and cats are routinely vaccinated and screened for common illness.
And...sometimes, the feared happens and we get a sick kitty. Whether it is a simple cold or a pyometria, stuff happens. (as a nurse, I hope that one of my "Super=powers" is seeing things early) Or an emergency C-section.
Of course, toys, cat trees and other treats. A bored kitty is not a happy kitty.
We routinely show our cats and are active in the breed club and breed council as well as local-ish club.
We register and show in both CFA and TICA.
The following intended for those interested in becoming a breeder
All this hasn't scared you off yet, YOU WANT TO DO THIS TOO!!!
Fair enough-thankfully, some of us still get hooked :)
~First, make sure this is what your heart wants and that you are doing this for the right reasons.
~Ask lots of questions. This is true whether you are looking for a pet, a show kitty or a potential breeding kitty.
~Reseach! The breed, the breeder, the pedigrees! Google is a marvelous thing. Use it. Don't know why a pedigree might be important in a breeding cat? Ask me.
~Did you get any sort of "red flag" in any way? Any little hinkly feeling in the back of your neck?
Yeah, listen to that. Trust me on this one. I cannot stress enough how important it is to trust the person you are working with.
~Hook up with someone who will work with you (Trust me, doesn't have to be someone near you-I have learned more from friends thousands of miles away than I can tell you!). This person will be your mentor...and hopefully, your friend. Please know that I will ONLY consider mentoring or working with folks that I consider a FRIEND. I have to trust you for this kind of relationship (And yes, sometimes you have to learn this the hard way). Just dropping me an email and telling me you want to buy a cat to breed with isn't gonna cut it.
Words to look up that could apply to pretty much anyone breeding Devons-even on a first litter:
Pyometria, Neonatal isoerythrolysis, coefficient, FIP, spasticity, HCM, Luxating Patella, Polycystic Kidney Disease...and that is just a start...the advanced class might involve Giardia (We picked it up once at a show), herpes or...ringworm. We try very hard to do that right thing, and sometimes...sometimes, stuff happens anyhow.
And...finally...alot of the stuff I learned about breeding, I learned in Kindergarten (Copyright, me!)
1. You can't trust everyone. Remember the kid who stole your ice cream when you were 6? He is still around and trust me, he wants a cat.
2. Just cause its a pretty color doesn't mean you should take it home.
3. Wash your hands. Yeah, REALLY. Trust me.
4. No matter how much you want to be friends with everyone. It ain't gonna happen.
5. Mom was right. Don't be a hog and grab more chips than you can eat.
Ahemmm likewise don't grab more kitties to take home with ya than you can spend
appropriate time and love on.
6. That little bitty baby bird you picked up off the ground after it fell from its momma's nest is never gonna live. Neither is your 8 week old kitten that you got from some back yard breeder. (Our babies cannot leave until, at the VERY earliest, 12 weeks, and usually older)
7. Look what followed me home. Can I keep it? No. You still can't. Take it back where it belongs. (Don't make impulsive decisions!)