Before you embark on breeding here's some tips.
Before you can apply for a prefix, you need to be a member of a GCCF sponsored cat club for one year. If two people are the registered owners of the cat, both people need to be members of the club!
Apply to the GCCF for a prefix well before you need one! It really does take about 3-5 months for them to confirm you can have one of your selected names. As you can imagine, there are a lot of names already taken so you may not get your first choice. (Yeloperyl was our 5th choice!) Please give at least 8 names and do not put down names you do not want.
The Katakoustiks website we found to be a very true source of information. Please read this before you embark on the breeding of any cat. You may change your mind ....
Read a lot of books about cat breeding and ask breeders about their experiences. Existing breeders are an excellent source of information. You may not have any issues when the time comes, there again you may. Being prepared is very important when the time comes - a bit like human births really only without the epidural ....
Choosing a Mate
Make sure you have pre-arranged with two males to mate with your queen. This is because one of the choices may already have a queen at the time you need him!
You'll know the queen is pregnant the first time about 3 weeks after mating. Her nipples will go a brighter pink. and a couple of weeks before giving birth you should notice that she is eating more and more often. She should begin to lactate just prior to giving birth.
Items you might need are:
A birthing box with washable lining. We chose to buy a Newborn Birthing Box that came with an excellent booklet on what to do when the queen goes into labour... We let the cat get used to being confined a week before the due date. We placed the birthing box inside the kitten pen but this is not necessary.
A kitten pen (optional shelf and casters) top and side opening with washable bedding. A good place to put the kittens from 3 weeks onwards as they'll start exploring at this age. From day 2 post-partum you can open the front door and let the queen wander around.
Small litter box, water container and food bowl for the queen when confined to an area.
What do you need at the birth?
Washable bedding - as you'll be washing a lot. Old towels as you'll be changing these on a daily basis. We cut up a duvet and covered it to put in the kitten pen.
Children's hair bands of different colours. You need to log the progress of a kittens growth and a band is ideal to identify similar looking kittens. Siamese kittens all tend to look the same at birth (small white with tails)
Sterile scissors and kitchen roll.
Kitchen scales that register in grams so you can track the weight gain progress in the first few weeks.
You hear stories that the cat will choose where to give birth. You can have a say if you buy somewhere appropriate in advance that the cat can use prior to giving birth. (The only downside is your other cats may feel that a heated birthing box and bed is much better than their usual radiator bed ...our male Siamese, decided a heated bed was just what he needed!) The latest birth was in the summer and 12 hours later Tamar choose to move the kittens into our spare bedroom wardrobe (next door to the usual kitten room) where it is quieter and cooler. No birthing box required this time!
Our first litter Experience
Our first litter was born to our queen Tamar, a seal tortie point Siamese, on the 20th of December 2003. It was Tamar's first litter so felt a bit like the blind leading the blind. We recommend you read up well and ask breeders for advice, even post-birth!
We successfully delivered 5 kittens - 2 boys and 3 girls in about an hour ... Tamar appeared to know what to do (although passed on eating the after-birth). We just followed the instructions in the whelping/kitten book (literally) that came with the birthing box.
Tamar's waters broke on our bed and contractions started about 6 am. She very considerately made her way to the birthing box inside the kitten pen. By 8 am we had 5 kittens. Tamar did not produce milk immediately so we had to rush everyone off to the vet for to kick start her lactation with a shot of oxytocin. Put the kittens in a small box inside the cat transport basket so they do not roll around under the mother cat while in transit. Keep all the cats together as the mum cat will be very protective of her kittens if separated and ensure the transport cage is free of draughts so the kittens do not catch a chill.
We now have at least three weeks of sleepless, troubled, noisy nights ahead of us as the kittens develop! At least they are in a kittening pen (well worth the cost) so will not be able to disappear under the furniture or in the bed!