We often get questions asking to explain the way we manage our
breeding studs. The first step is to realistically assess the space
you have available.
Enclosures Toms will need an area where their spraying and
calling to females will not be a problem. Some breeders have a
basement that is converted. Others use a garage that is temperature
controlled. Others use outside pens with accommodations for weather.
VERY VERY few actually are lucky enough to have a male that does not spray.
We have not been so lucky. We have had some males that spray when let
out to roam the house, but not a significant amount when confined. For
these boys, a large stud pen works fine in one of our patio rooms. We
have large outdoor pens that they can visit during the day. However,
our neighbors did not appreciate his calling to available females, so we
bring him in at night.
Enclosures can be successfully made out of many
materials. Dog runs with a top, wood with metal fencing attached,
plastic coated metal closet shelving and PVC as a frame with fencing
attached are but a few of the options. The most important thing is to
give the cat as much area as you possibly can. Also, make areas they
can climb. Either shelves or ramps or cat trees. Give them
something like logs with bark to scratch and anything you can think of to
occupy their minds. Bottom line, MAKE IT ESCAPE PROOF! Because
they will use all of their time to try to get out. This is especially
important when you are entering or exiting the enclosure.
Cleaning - cleaning up male spray is a constant job.
The male cat can spray a minor amount or some can be "hosers" spraying
everything in sight. Outside pens are best served by use of pine
pelleted litter. This absorbs the smell well and discourages flies.
Use of Bleach and an enzymatic cleaner is required. Everything in the
pen must be deodorized frequently or the ammonia will be overpowering and
unhealthy for both you and your cat. Cats use their urine to attract
mates. Males can smell in season females from incredible distances
away. So, it may not be just your queens influencing him to mark his
territory. It can also be caused by other males in the neighborhood.
We use a cleaner called "Bio-Matic" which works well for us. We clean
litter boxes regularly with bleach water and replace the litter.
Cleanliness is critical to maintain the health of your cats. Failure
to clean the litter box appropriately is not only cause for odor, but can
cause and spread bacteria and protozoans from cat to cat.
Breeding - When your Queen comes into season, chances
are, she will call loudly and become very affectionate. Some queens
will roll and call for a male. One Savannah Queen we had, actually did
not call, but rolled continuously and wanted us to be with her. An
experienced stud cat will know if and when a female is breed able. If
you place a queen in with a tom that are acquainted, he will usually attempt
to breed her right away. If she resists, he will usually back off
briefly, but keep trying again and again until he has success. When he
as successfully penetrated her, you will hear a loud scream on her part.
His penis is barbed and the process is actually painful for the queen.
After he pulls out, she will roll vigorously and lick her vaginal area.
This is your sign that an actual breeding has occurred. Mark your
calendar for this day and 63 days afterward would be a new queens projected
Some breeders put their breeding cats on Clavamox during breeding
to avoid problems with bacteria entering the uterus during breeding.
We try to avoid the over use of antibiotics and only this method when we
have a queen with reproductive problems or going to an outside stud.
Management - The biggest
job other than cleaning (which is constant) is to keep your stud happy.
Some cats will do well with a spayed or pregnant female for company.
However, some very determined studs, will breed ANYTHING near them. In
these cases, it is not practical to keep a female with them. In these
cases, it is up to you to try to provide stimulation with toys, trees,
whatever you can think of to entertain your cat. Spending lots of time
with them is the best alternative. Chances are you will be spending
time with them daily, cleaning their area. We have found that the old
fashioned toilet brush with the u shaped top works EXCELLENT as a grooming
and petting tool. It removes loose hair and the same time, cats LOVE
it. It also can help you to catch a cat that has jumped out of your
arms or run out the door of their enclosure. Check out this site for ideas
on Enriching your stud's environment. Cat Housing
Neutering -In some cases, no matter how hard you try or how
much you want to have your own stud, it is just incompatible with either
your schedule or where you live. In these situations, it is best for
you and your cat to neuter him. Some neutered males, given a month or
two, will stop spraying and can become wonderful pets. Others, can
take much longer and still others, never stop. For those cats that
never give up the habit, an inside existence becomes difficult. If
this is the case in your cat, seek out veterinary assistance.
Sometimes hormones can assist with this problem.
The choice to add a stud cat to your life should not be made
lightly. As you can see, stud cat management takes lots of effort and
a real commitment. It is just not for everyone. Seek out the
options for stud service in your region of the country. You may or may
not be able to secure adequate stud service in your area. If you find
someone willing to allow you to use their stud, chances are they will
require you to perform health checks on your female. These would
include FIP titer, Feliv, Fel Aids and a fecal check. Some breeders
require you put your female on an antibiotic prior to mating to insure you
do not bring in a bug to their cattery. Again, if you wish to use
someones stud, you will need to honor their wishes in this respect.
The following are just a few examples of stud
housing. As you can see, you just need some money, imagination and