The Breeder's "Profit"
Please, Don't Make Me Laugh!
I can't count the number of times
someone has come up to me at a
show, or inquired by phone about kitten prices, then with either awe
or jealousy in their voice, said "Wow, you must be making a fortune
at this!" I either laugh myself into hysterics, or bite my tongue really
hard, to keep from saying what I'd REALLY like to at times.
People not involved in breeding, only
see the end "product"..the
kitten, therefore the sale. And a cat can have two or three litters a
year, so multiply that by X$ and boy, you're making money!
What they don't know, unless we as
breeders take the time to explain
things, is that there are ethics and responsiblity to using animals to
reproduce. And that a true breeder's aim in taking this up as a hobby,
(because there is no way it qualifies as a profit making business) is to
contribute to the continuing improvement of the breed as defined by
it's standard, and in the process, to ensure that they are breeding
healthy, quality show cats or pets.
That takes in a lot of territory. Like
limiting a female's breeding for
her own health's sake. Keeping kittens for three to four months and
often longer, to find them a responsible, loving home. And taking that
kitten back at any time in its life, or helping to re-home it, should the
buyer be unable to keep it, or fail in their contract agreement.
Yes, there are people breeding companion
animals who do make a
"profit". These are the brokers, mills and backyard breeders,
responding to a market demand for a cheaper, "product" pet. And
in these cases it is "caveat emptor"..buyer beware. You will not get
the sound genetic breeding, the dedication, nor the guarantees that
you would from a responsible cattery.
Just to give you an example of what
a breeder goes through, this is
my "account" book of breeding for 1999.
I started out the year, with five adult
females, two studs, and a
female kitten I had kept for showing and breeding. During 1999, we
had four litters totalling nine kittens. I have kept a male to replace his
father, and two females for show/breeding. The math is simple. I had
six kitten to sell for pets.
Out of the sales of those kittens, I paid for:
- three..count 'em, three.. C section
deliveries. One on a Sunday night.
- three spays, one after the emergency section.
- one week of intensive daily veterinary visits to care for a queen with
a uterine infection.
- two neuterings
-two dental jobs.
- Shots for seven adults and nine kittens
- travel, entry, hotel and meal expenses for four shows
- sundry supplies like grooming tools, vitamins, treats, show curtains
- and the everyday stuff: food, litter
This doesn't take into account expenses
you can't even estimate, like
nights with no sleep nursing a sick cat or delivering kittens. Or the time
spent in grooming, scooping, and picking up after.
So why do we do it? Well, it's certainly
not for the profit. In fact one
"wag" told me that if you're making a profit, you're obviously doing
Breeders are often criticized for promoting
breeding and preaching
spay/neutering at the same time. But responsible breeders do not
allow their cats to be used indiscriminately. And we guarantee by
contract or "speutering" , that our pets do not become part of the
All of this takes time and money. Kitten
sales offset some of the
expenses. Occasionally, most of the expenses. In a really good
year, we break even. And if we don't, we are working to support
animals that we love, and are dedicated to caring for.
Copyright Carraig Birmans,2000