|We decided to post this page
since we have increasingly been
receiving questions from people
who think they may way to breed
The information on this page is a realistic look at the time, physical &
emotional effort, and expenses that it takes to start up and maintain a small,
hobby breeding cattery. We DO NOT support nor condone anyone breeding
for the sheer pursuit of making money, or large, unregulated 'kitten mills'. If
you think that is what breeding will be for you, a profitable business, than you
are sadly mistaken. We are into breeding healthy, happy cats to be able to
introduce people to the beauty & wonderful natures of the Siberian breed.
What are your motives for breeding?
Making money - wrong motive and something that will not
happen if you are breeding correctly
You love the Siberian breed and want others to get to know
the breed - this is a noble motive. But read on to see what you
will be getting yourself into.
I think it would be fun to always have some pregnant mommas
around the house, and a bunch of little kittens underfoot to play
with and love - breeding is not about YOU it is about the BREED
Breeding is hard work - it is not just buying a mating pair of cats and letting them 'have at it' and
have litters indiscriminately. Breeding is a thoroughly planned, thoroughly researched endeavor. It
is not something to decide to do one day, and start doing it the next.
Breeding Headaches & Worries
Will I have enough money to buy only the best nutrition for the cats/kittens?
Will I have healthy cats - both physical & psychological?
Will our kittens be well socialized and what customers are
expecting as a 'product' being sold?
Are the kittens I sell/adopt out be going only to the best families? Will they
always be loved and cared for like I would love & care for my own kitties?
Will our kittens live long, healthy lives in their new homes?
Do I have the room/environment/resources to breed the cats like I want to?
Assessment - of your home environment - what will I have to change or how will
I rearrange the setup to accommodate breeding studs & queens, keeping the two
separated until it is time to breed, have workable nursery area/s for multiple
Assessment - of your personal breeding philosophy - what will be the 'mission
statement' for my cattery - the name?
Assessment of your goals - how many litters/year? How many breeding cats will
I need for start up?
Startup costs - this link will take you to a page put together by a veterinarian
who breeds - it also gives a good idea on how much money you need to invest
INITIALLY to start a breeding program. Remember also - that there are
ONGOING costs to maintaining a cattery.
Will I have the time, physical & emotional energy to startup and maintain a cattery?
LEARN, LEARN, LEARN before you even get started...
Network with other Siberian breeders online - join Siberian
listserves - recommended
Get a mentor, or two, or three. You NEED people's advice to get you started. This does not
take the place of you doing your own startup research. However, when it comes to trying to
decide on breeding cats - buying cats that are to breed Standards, where the
pedigrees/breeding lines are genetically free from defects, and the moment to moment
'how-to's' of breeding, as well as help with trouble-shooting unexpected occurrences, all
requires having someone you can trust to talk to and gain advice and knowledge from.
Several of our mentors are from overseas - they were breeding Siberians long before we
were and have been following the genetic lines for years and years.
Read books, websites, etc. to find everything you can about breeding. We can recommend
a few books below. Don't just trust information from ONE source - compare information
from book to book, website to website. Not all websites are accurate with their
information!!!!! Look for sites where the breeders have themselves researched the
information and can provide websites to the researched sources - i.e. PawPeds, Siberian
Research Inc, The Winn Foundation, among others.
|So You Think You Can Breed...
|Answering with complete information takes a lot of time and long,
interactive emails and phone calls on the part of all parties, so we
thought we would give out this general info to the curious in
hopes that these basic questions can be fully addressed.
Begin to study pedigrees - your mentor can guide you on which cats and lines are what are
considered 'foundation' cats - the cats that essentially start off a line. F-1 cats are the first
cats ever used to start a line - they may have more feral tendencies. The closer your own
breeding cats are to the F-1 lines, you may find that you have to deal with more tempermental
kittens that will take much more time to social.
Learn the lingo -
INBREEDING - this is an acceptable breeding technique IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE
DOING. Otherwise, don't even think about it. This entails breeding closely related cats - i.e. a
father and a daughter, first cousins, etc. The goal of this breeding is to try to clarify breed
type/breed standard in a line of cats. The negative of inbreeding is, however, is compromised
immune systems and more likelihood of genetic defects. Some purebreds have had so much
inbreeding ( i.e. Persians) to get their current 'look' that often there are multiple kittens born
with birth defects in each litter. You never see these kittens because they either die at birth,
immediately after birth, or are humanely euthanized.
CROSSBREEDING - a method used to generally strengthen the health of genetic lines by
adding more genetic diversity into the gene pool. However, it is breeding outside the breed - i.e.
breeding a Siberian with a Maine Coon to improve on size (heff). THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE
PRACTICE. Some breeders introduce this information as an idea on how to help a breed's health
out - for example, presenting their ideas to the boards of CFA or TICA. This is how new cat
breeds are generated often - for example, the ****** is a breeding of a wildcat with domestic
cat. Generally this must be approved before being experimented with.
Heff - the large size/bulk that the Forest Cat category tends to have in their standard. These
breeds include the Siberian (Sib or Sibi), Maine Coon (MC), and Norwegian Forest Cat
(Wedgie). For example, Siberians have thick, muscular legs, especially hind haunches, and grow
to large size - 15 - 17 lbs for males at maturity (as much as 22 lbs), and 9 - 13 lbs for females.
Colors & Patterns - see this for more info