I think my cat should have one litter before I neuter/spay OR What if I want to breed my cat but it was sold as a pet?

In general, if your cat or kitten was sold as “pet” quality, the breeder believes that the cat should not be used for breeding. It doesn’t mean your cat isn’t a good example of the breed or seriously flawed necessarily, it simply means it fails to meet the very high standards set by the breeder for the cat to be used in a breeding program. There is a common misconception that cats “need” to have a litter to be happy, complete, or somehow have a feeling of accomplishment in their lives. This simply is not true. Cats do not “need” to have kittens to have long & happy lives.

My question to you is it worth that one litter of kittens to risk the life of your cat and the kittens? and here is why I ask this :

Breeding only once is not bad for them as long as you breed them early enough. Meaning before they turn 1 and half years old .. or better put they have not come into heat more then 6 times( this is not a for sure number but best guess) prior. Even that amount of time can lead to issues. That is why breeders might even start a girl out sooner if she starts going into heat early like 9 to 10 months old.  It is possible for them to actually start to go into heat as early as 7 months (very rare) .. so since they go into heat cycles every 3 to 4 weeks till bred it means they need to be bred by the time they are a year old.  The normal heat cycle starts at around age 10 months, so they need to be bred before they reach 16 months.  Now some girls are late bloomers and don't come into heat till they are around 15 months or older... normally those will have very small litters and most breeders actually will have them fixed and re-homed as pets since other issues could be involved.  So if you got a female and did not have a male for her and she came into heat around 10 months then you must find that male by the time she is 16 months or have her fixed since now she will be at high risk if she got pregnant, like Nina had and my sons Scottish Fold had(see Below). The reason this happens is many, but one is that every time the female comes into heat she is susceptible to bacteria or virus entering the uterus .. which is most of the time undetectable even after she has a litter and they do not survive.

Then there is the issue of first time moms. Cats have an instinct but normally it will not kick in with the first litter.  The first litter if you are not there to help out can lead to kittens born all over the house and smothering in their sacs... sorry for the ugly picture but its very normal for a first time mom to drop her kittens no matter where she is and not clean the kittens to remove the sacs that they are born in.  So you must be there for a first time mom every step of the way.. and to know when there is an issue and the possibility of needing to rush her to the vet.

Now let's go to the males

To find a purebred male with breeding rights is not easy. If you just wanted a litter of kittens my suggestion is to get a male kitten at the same time you get the female so they are around the same age and preferably not purebreds.  The trick is best to get a male first .. but then you have the spraying issue. A intact male will spray its just the nature of the beast and normally if they start spraying or get to that point even having them neutered might not fix the issue.  Better to have them fixed before they come into their manhood.  Plus a male cat needs at least 3 to 4 females to keep him happy... or he will try every chance he can to escape to locate the females (even an intact female will do this). Again finding one with breeding rights is next to impossible if you are just wanting one litter of kittens.   Since most breeders spent years developing their lines and don't want kittens with their cattery name and lines in with just any mating .. since it could create a sub standard kitten of the breed they have spent so many years and time in creating.

Another thing to be aware of is if the two cats have different blood types then there is another issue... the mothers milk in first 24 hours will be toxic to the babies it is called

Neonatal Isoerythrolysis

It is fatal to the kittens and normally is not ever caught in time.   So you have to make sure they both have the same blood type.. no mixing.

Many are not aware of all these things about breeding purebred cats or cats in general.  Domestic cats have much stronger immune systems and much easier to bred than your purebreds, but there are still risks.  Even then if you are not aware about your cat's background, blood type, what it takes to raise and bred kittens you could put your cat/kittens at a very high risk.  And these that I have mentioned are just a few of the risks, there are many others.

Story about my female cat Nina:  I got her when she was about 19 months old, she had never been bred but came into heat many times before I got her... I bred her and she lost all her kittens.  I was very lucky that Nina was very healthy and survived the ordeal.  My son's Scottish Fold (Yoda)  Yoda was a 3 year old cat that had always been inside, my son never got her spayed.  By accident she got out when she was in heat.  When it came time for delivery of the kittens she had a very rough time and could not pass them.  After 24 hours we rushed her to the vet where they performed a c section .. they saved 2 of the 5 kittens.. but Yoda was very weak and sick .. She did not make it :(.

So after reading all this I once again ask is it worth that one litter of kittens to risk the life of your cat and the kittens?

To be a breeder takes lots and lots of research, time and a high level of knowledge of your cats, their genetics, and just what you are wanting to accomplish with your cats and the breed.  It is not just a random mating and normally has taken many years and time, with tons of heartbreak and sleepless nights.  Normally a good breeder it is not in it for the money, or any of the other things .. It's normally due to the love of the breed and to make sure that they only produce healthy loving kittens for others to enjoy for many years to come.

If the idea of raising & showing cats appeals to you, the best option is to contact the breeder of your cat and request permission for breeding rights. Again, most breeders will probably be against a kitten sold as “pet quality” being used in a breeding program, but they might be willing to talk to you, mentor you, and perhaps sell you or assist you in finding a cat worthy of breeding. You can also check out these articles that my mentor gave to me when I first started out.  They were very helpful and it gave me an idea on what I really wanted to do with my breeding program. Breeding Cats?? and 10 Steps to Becoming a Successful Breeder