Advice for Cat Breeders

Anyone who gets a cat from a breeder assumes that it comes from species-appropriate cat husbandry. We show the minimum conditions that must be met.

Appropriate Keeping of Cats: Nutrition, Care, Supervision

Adequate nutrition is always a matter of design: one is barefishing, the other is giving his cat dry food. The diet remains a matter for the owner. However, the law protects animals from permanent malnutrition, for example from insufficient feed or from barps without appropriate additives.

If you are interested in a kitten from a particular breed, feel free to ask why the breeder recommends a particular food. A balanced diet for cats speaks for competence and species-appropriate keeping of cats and thus increases the likelihood of healthy kittens.

A correct care should also be a matter of course. Anyone who does not brush a Persian cat so that it becomes matted is not acting in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act.

Whoever visits a kennel should make sure that all cats look well-groomed. For aspiring breeders, especially longhair cats, the following applies: Do not underestimate the amount of care that combing and brushing several cats every day. Small care routines should be practiced with the kittens.

The Breeder is Usually Not a Main Occupation

Most breeders have a job. If you want to breed but do a full-time job, you should have family or friends close by. They should be able to support you in an emergency.

It is easier if, for example, you can work independently from home and thus keep an eye on pregnant cats and their kittens. Retirees also have it easier in this regard. In any case, before you start breeding, you should not underestimate the effort involved in cleaning the litter boxes, socializing, visiting prospective customers, and driving to the vet.

Tip: make sure that you do not have two litters at the same time. Each toss will keep you very busy. Two litters at once would be a big challenge, and you may not be able to do justice to all of the young animals.

To Keep Cats Appropriate to Their Species, You Need Space

How big an apartment has to be so that it is suitable for breeding cats is not regulated in the Animal Welfare Act. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a new four-legged family member, you should pay particular attention to the keeping conditions of the parent animals.

Breeders usually have more animals than other feline friends, but it shouldn’t get out of hand with them either. When you visit a breeder, make sure that all animals have an adequate retreat and that there are enough litter boxes available. Sufficient space is a must for keeping cats in a species-appropriate manner.

It is also good if the mother cat has its own room at its disposal for the birth and the first few weeks together with its offspring, in which it is undisturbed.

For the “normal” cat household, the recommendation applies no more than one cat per room. Breeder households, who also often keep very social animals together, are often above this recommendation. But here, too, the following applies: If you live with eight cats – with the exception of young animals – in a two-room apartment, you not only set yourself but also the animals (too) narrow boundaries with regard to their habitat.

Caution: Certain hybrid breeds such as the Savannah require a correspondingly large enclosure up to the third or fourth generation, depending on the country. Speaking of enclosures: a secure free run is always a big bonus for any cat breed.

The condition of everyday objects such as scratching posts or cushions is often less representative for breeders than for animal lovers, who only have two cats in their household. However, this does not say anything about the quality of the breeding: It is quite normal that some items wear out faster with breeders.

The Swiss Animal Welfare Ordinance

This regulation is more explicit with regard to the keeping conditions: Here it is regulated, for example, that cats kept individually must have contact with people. If cats are kept in enclosures, they must be at least two meters high and seven square meters. Keeping them in a mere enclosure is only permitted temporarily, however.

In addition, the Swiss Animal Welfare Act stipulates that there must be scratching opportunities, increased rest and retreats as well as employment opportunities and one litter box per cat.

Keeping of Uncastrated Male Cats

Keeping uncastrated male cats poses a challenge for many: some uncastrated male cats mark with strongly smelling urine and are therefore difficult to integrate into a normal household. On the other hand, a hangover shouldn’t live permanently in isolation.

So if you don’t see him, be sure to ask about the hangover – provided he lives in the household. Show interest in getting to know him. Some breeders have separate rooms in which a male with a neutered cat lives separately from the rest of the animals.

Ideally, if the cat is kept in a species-appropriate manner, a small, secure free range is connected to these rooms. In no case should the tomcat live without regular contact with conspecifics or humans.

Know-how Around Species-appropriate Keeping of Cats

The German Animal Welfare Act requires that animal owners have the necessary knowledge about nutrition, care, and accommodation. That sounds obvious and shouldn’t be a problem for any serious breeder.

When a breeder also shows an interest in your knowledge, that makes them all the more trustworthy. After all, he wants to know where his protégés are going. For example, many breeders do not hand over their cats in unsecured areas.

Knowledge of genetics and diseases is just as important for breeders. Diseases include not only hereditary diseases – including the most comprehensive preventive measures possible – but also infectious diseases. These can be dangerous for kittens and can spread quickly in a household with many animals.

So do it if a breeder asks you to wash your hands or take off your shoes in their house. This is especially important if the small cats have not yet built up any immune protection.


Whether breeder or “normal” cat lover: Both should offer species-appropriate cat keeping. For a breeder, however, there is more to consider in this regard, as keeping several sexually mature cats including their offspring can be particularly demanding.

This requires sufficient time, space, knowledge, and financial resources to replace defective scratching posts or to be able to pay unexpectedly high veterinary bills.

For those interested, the following applies: If you are looking for a new cat and are looking at different catteries, you should always convince yourself of a species-appropriate attitude. Don’t buy from a breeder who keeps his velvet paws poorly out of pity. The supply regulates the demand and sooner or later another kitten will take your place.

What should be done if the keeping conditions are not only disappointing but even violate the Animal Welfare Act? In case of doubt, the respective veterinary office is responsible. Breeding clubs also have certain guidelines that must be complied with and can be a point of contact in the event of violations. However, always speak to the breeder directly about questionable circumstances first.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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