Maine Coon cat breeding - 2 tips

Richard H Gerardt is a former president of the Cat Fanciers' Association and a distinguished cat show judge. He also bred cats and therefore knows a lot about it. He makes one or two interesting points about cat breeding in his book The Complete Cat Book.

The first point he makes which is of interest to me is that (and I'll quote him verbatim): "Male cats produce an especially high proportion of abnormal sperm cells, 25% on the average, compared to males in other species."

Beautiful Maine Coon
Beautiful Maine Coon. Photo in public domain

He said that if a bull had such a low level of sperm quality they would not be a suitable prospect for a stud. And he goes on to state that the more inbred a male cat is the more abnormal his sperm also is. This, then, makes him less useful as a stud. Therefore, a new breeder of cats should not select a male "that is too closely bred, that is, one with the same cats appearing over and over in his pedigree."

The second point that he makes, and which I find heartening and very important, is that cat breeders should provide their male cat with best home that they possibly can. I'll explained what I mean. A male breeding cat is destined to be in a cage for the rest of his life because they spray urine everywhere to mark territory and to attract females. The females find the urine smell attractive but of course humans detest it. They must be confined and their quarters cleaned and disinfected daily.

The living arrangements should be as good as possible because of this confinement. The only reason why they're confined is because a person decided that they should be stud cats. Therefore they deserve as large an enclosure as possible with a cat tree and shelves to climb. There should be plenty of room to play and jump, and natural light. Ideally the breeder should provide a stud male with an outside run. The stud male should be allowed to behave as naturally as possible.

When I visited A1 Savannahs in Oklahoma many years ago (they breed high quality Savannah cats) it frankly upset me to see how breeding cats live, even though the enclosures were quite large, I suppose, by some standards. They are confined all their lives like zoo animals. They're confined like this to please people and make money. Is this morally acceptable? Particularly when bearing in mind the millions of unwanted cats in the world.

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