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Starting Your Very First Cattery

Aug 17, 2007
It all began with one cat. Most people who own a cattery started their breeder career because they fell in love with a specific breed. The cattery might have begun as an attempt at having one litter of kittens and then the urge for more started to grow - the fledgling breeder couldn't stop at one.

A cattery is the feline equivalent of a dog kennel. The cattery is where multiple felines are kept on the same site for the purpose of breeding and improving the line of a specific breed. One of the biggest challenges for the cattery owner is maintaining the houseful of cats. Cats are not "pack" animals like dogs are. Felines have no hierarchy, and males usually won't bother with a female unless she's in heat.

Forcing a lot of cats to live in one place can be pretty stressful at times. You want to keep them happy and healthy to the best of your ability. After all, your cats are more than dollar signs, they're your pets above all, and they depend on you.

Having so many cats in a single household requires a lot of time and effort. Your felines are relying on you to provide what they need. These needs include enough space to live comfortably, clean bedding, proper ventilation, food, and water. Daily care and cat health should be at the forefront of any cattery.

Make the rounds and visit other catteries in your area. Visiting a cattery in person will offer you the opportunity to see the layout of an existing cattery and ask questions of the owner. A cattery can be set up anywhere, including an apartment if you have a big enough room.

Each cat will require at least 30 cubic feet. This is only the minimum space you'll require, and if you can afford more space, all the better.

Proper ventilation is important too. Everyone needs fresh, clean air and your felines are no exception. Fresh-flowing air will help decrease the spread of airborne diseases and germs harmful to you and your cats.

If there are no windows available in the space, you will have to look at having ventilation installed. The easiest solution is installing a ventilation system like the one you would find in a kitchen or bathroom.

If you're lucky enough to have a sun porch or a room with a lot of windows, lighting isn't difficult. If you don't have a bright, sunny room, you will have to install some form of artificial lighting.

A lack of sufficient light might have an adverse affect on the coats of the cats, as too little light can cause the cat to shed. You need to maintain a natural cycle of light so the feline biological triggers respond accordingly.

Water is probably the most important thing you can provide for your cats. You could have the best food and vitamins in the world, but without fresh water readily available, all of your other efforts will have been in vain.

The best way to keep water fresh is to use water bottles. Leaving water to sit in open bowls makes the water susceptible to bacteria. Even your cat's saliva can affect the water. You can use the same water bottles used for small animals like rabbits or guinea pigs.

When it comes to food, your best bet is to talk to your veterinarian about your options. Breeding cats have different nutritional requirements than an average house cat. You want your cats to be in optimal health to produce healthy litters. Also, a nursing mother might need a different diet than a female cat who isn't nursing.

Neglecting to keep your cattery clean can have severe consequences. Built-up waste can provide a lush breeding ground for disease, bacteria, and viruses that could be harmful to your cats, their kittens, and you.

Washing and airing out the rooms should be done at least on a weekly basis. All the food and water bowls should be washed as well. Litter boxes should be emptied daily, with a thorough scrubbing with bleach once a week.
About the Author
Mike Selvon owns a number of niche portal. Please visit our cats portal for more great tips on starting your first cattery, and leave a comment at our cats blog.
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