Saturday 4 October 2008

Purebred Pedigree Cat Breeders

Purebred Pedigree Cat Breeders are, I think it is fair to say, likely to keep some information about their cattery to themselves. They keep information about their failures or problems close to their chest and this is perfectly normal and to be expected. However some breeders think there should be greater openness in the interests of the profession and the cats.

So, it was a surprise when I bumped into a survey of 1978 (yes thirty years ago, things have probably changed a bit since then). The survey was carried out by RC Povey, who at the time worked at the Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, Guelph, Ontario. The article was published in THE CANADIAN VETERINARY JOURNAL in August 1978.

The purpose of the survey was to investigate reports from veterinarians in North America that Purebred Pedigree Cat Breeders were experiencing a problem in breeding. The problem was as I understand it the frequency and size of litters - a "reproductive failure problem". They were low or lower than before it seems.

Does anyone have any knowledge of the expectations of cat breeders currently on this topic?

Mr Povey sent out 105 questionnaires, that were quite wide ranging, to breeders in Canada and the United States. 29 returned complete records implying some were returned incomplete. That represents a 28% success/return rate. Considering anyone doesn't much like filling in forms that isn't too bad really. The vast majority responding were located in Canada.

I have picked out the information that interests me (& hopefully any the odd visitor who might wander by) and it is presented in a table below. Some breeders didn't keep good enough records to complete the questionnaire. It shows that the average litter is about one per year. This is done deliberately by cat breeders for the sake of the queen cat and careful and considerate cat breeding.

Desmond Morris in his celebrated book, "Cat Watching" says that the European Wildcat has one litter per year and 2-4 kittens while the domestic cat may produce 4-5 kittens in each of the three litters per year.
Purebred Pedigree Cat Breeders data
The Data
The Number/percentage
number of breeding cats per cattery
6.5 on average
breeding more than one breed
5 out of the 29 responding
breeding long and short hair breeds
1 out of the 29 responding
ratio of male studs to females
1 male to 4 (or less) females
percentage of kittens alive at 8 weeks of age
72.7% (sample size 1,329)
percentage of kittens dying first week
86.% (sample size 1,329)
average age of Persian breeding females
47 months
Average Persian cat litter size
3.2 kittens
Average Himalayan cat litter size 3.3 kittens
Average Siamese cat litter size 4.7 kittens
Persians Ave. number of successful matings in a yr.
Himalayans - ave number of successful matings in a yr.
Siamese - ave number of successful matings in a yr. 1.1
Persians - % kittens dying first week
Himmies - % kittens dying first week 14%
Siamese - % kittens dying first week 3%
Burmese - % kittens dying first week 7%
Other SH - % kittens dying first week 6%
Persians - kittens alive at 8 weeks of age
Himmies - kittens alive at 8 weeks of age 68%
Siamese - kittens alive at 8 weeks of age 81%
Burmese - kittens alive at 8 weeks of age 74.7%
Other SH - kittens alive at 8 weeks of age 82.1%
% still births in ave. Persian litter
% still births in ave. Manx litter 14.7%
feeding with mixture of fresh meat, raw or cooked, canned, dry, semi-moist
the majority of catteries
Number of catteries feeding raw meat as a greater than 50% component
2 out of the 29
Number of catteries feeding canned food as a greater than 50% component 10 out of the 29
Number of catteries feeding dry food as a greater than 50% component 7 out of the 29
Catteries providing vitamins
6 out of the 29
Number of completely indoor catteries
17 out of the 29 remainder gave limited outdoor access
Catteries reporting Respiratory disease
19/29 - 65%
Catteries reporting Feline Urological Syndrome
16/29 - 55%
Catteries reporting Enteritis
11/29 - 38%
Catteries reporting Coccidiosis
7 - 24%
Catteries reporting Anemia
6 - 21%
Catteries reporting Panleukopenia
5 - 17%
Catteries reporting FIP
3 - 10%
Catteries reporting Leukemia
3 - 10%
Catteries reporting Ringworm
2 - 7%
Catteries reporting Pyometra, endometritis
2 - 7%

This is not a knock cat breeders post. It is simply posting information about cat breeders which some people might find interesting. I certainly did as it is rare to see this sort of information.

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