Often I get calls from prospective homes and the first thing they want to know is , "how much are your Persian kittens going for?"
This is such a difficult question as we breed to improve the breed and if I could, I would give all my babies away! However I have learned through the years of breeding that nothing is for free and these precious gifts of life are only appreciated for the cost that they were paid for?
'Often gifts pass from hand to hand as the owner does not feel obligated for this wonderful gift of life they have been honored with and its the cat that suffers in the end.'
Back to our topic: what goes into the raising of a good healthy kitten?
Firstly a breeder who is passionate about his breed and wants to build a profound cattery will work hard in finding good quality lines which most breeders hang onto with dear life and in most occasions end up importing lines from reputable overseas breeders. This can be a very costly affair and one can pay anything from R25000.00 upwards.
Then comes the shows to build a name and to make sure we are breeding to standard. Some of these shows are in Durban can cost quite a bit to participate in and this all adds up to building a good quality cattery.
So after years of dedication, passion and commitment to the reputation of your cattery you then venture down the avenue of breeding. We study our pedigrees and analyse the full back round of each individual cat and how the ancestors have performed through the generations and decide on which cat would work well with the other.
Once a mating has been done 63 to 65 days of top quality food, dedication to the well being of the Queen and tones of excitement as the day draws near. A couple of visits to the vet to check the progress of the pregnancy and an ultra sound starts the endless bills to a healthy baby. The big day comes and we pray that everything goes well as a cesarean can cost you R3500 upwards depending on the time of day / night.
The babies arrive and the start of 24/7 commitment to make sure these wonderful little gifts make it to the day they leave for there new homes.
For the first three weeks supplementing every four hours with a premium milk to assist the mother with feeding of the kits as well as antibiotics twice a day for the first seven days to prevent any infections from the birthing process. Depending on the maturity of the babies some of them will supplement till they 10 or 11 weeks of age!
There first de-worming starts at 4 weeks of age, once a week until they leave. At around six weeks of age they start on there solids and the milk formula slows down and meat starts to take over as well as there premium kitten kibbles.
By the fourth week bathing starts on a weekly basis with imported quality shampoos to deal with there silky coats. There eyes are cleaned once a day and everything checked to make sure there development is correct.
Then comes there first set of vaccinations at around 8 weeks of age and again a month later were they are also sterilized before leaving for there new home.
Cat Federation of South Africa registrations and putting together all there kitty packs ready for there new adoptions.
And then the heart wrenching good-byes to the 12 weeks of solid dedication and love......!
Looking back one realizes this has to be for love as no reputable breeder makes money out of breeding correctly; from the time, dedication, shows, bathing, shampoos, medication, litter, staff and so the list goes on.
Do we make money out of breeding; realistically if we cover our costs we are lucky!