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Most shelters and rescue organizations are overflowing with mixed breed and purebred cats that are perfectly friendly and adoptable, but there simply aren’t enough homes for them. As a result, approximately three to four million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Producing more kittens just exacerbates the current cat overpopulation problem.
Before you breed your cat, honestly consider if you have the time, commitment, and finances required to raise a litter. Ask yourself the following questions:
Can I afford to raise a litter? The mother cat should be vaccinated and dewormed before she is bred, and screened for diseases, such as feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (the cat version of AIDS), as well as any genetic problems she could pass to her offspring. The male cat should also be screened. Female cats will require prenatal exams and possibly radiographs (or X-rays), and ultrasound examinations. If there are problems during the birthing process, she may need an emergency Caesarean section. After birth, the kittens will need veterinary exams, vaccinations, dewormers and kitten food before they are sent to new homes.
Can you be there to assist with the birthing process? Do you know what to do if there’s a problem? If there are complications, the mother cat and/or some of the kittens may not survive. Remember, if you want your children to learn from the birthing process, it can be a difficult experience for them if things don’t go smoothly.
Do I have the time to care for the kittens? Some mothers reject their litters. If that happens, will you have time to feed each kitten several times a day and provide other care at this critical stage?
Good breeders take responsibility for their kittens not just until they find a new home, but for a lifetime. Reputable breeders:
There are always potential risks associated with pregnancy and birth, especially with very young or very old cats.
Whether you breed your cat or not, spaying or neutering can help eliminate some potential health and behavior problems. Female cats that are spayed don’t develop uterine cancer and uterine infections; they are also less likely to develop breast cancer, and they also won’t subject you to yowling heat cycles and unwanted litters. Male cats that are neutered are less likely to urine mark in the house or roam the neighborhood looking for fights.
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