It is not easy for a breeder to let go of a beloved cat, especially one who has been part of their breeding program. Not only have we raised them and seen them into adulthood and loved them as we do all of our four footed family members, but we have also nurtured them through pregnancies, sat beside them while they gave birth and rubbed their tummies to soothe the contractions, and played with them and their kittens as their offspring learned about the world. To say that we have a special bond is putting it mildly.
So why would we even consider adopting out one of these cats? Well it’s not easy!! But if a breeder wants to continue breeding you have to move forward. A queen will become less fertile as she ages and some may not be able to produce anymore at all. The same with males. I tend to breed my queens for only a few years so that they live the majority of their life as pampered pets without the stress of cycling and pregnancy. We add new, younger breeding cats by keeping the next generation. We also have to bring in young breeding animals from outside lines to add genetic diversity to keep producing healthy kittens. At some point you might decide there are too many cats in the house!
Having too many cats is not healthy for the humans or the cats. Overcrowding causes stress in cats which can lead to poor immune systems and the spread of disease. It really is impossible to be able to provide sufficient attention and affection to a large number of cats. So it is really in the cat’s best interest to find them another home where they can be the sole center of someone’s attention.
We are very careful about who we adopt our retirees to because re-homing an adult cat is more stressful and tricky than re-homing a kitten. Kittens are naturally gregarious and looking to explore new worlds. In nature a kitten would most likely leave home and find it’s own territory. Adults tend to live in the same territory for their entire lives.
When looking for a new home for a retiree, it must be a good fit both physically and emotionally for everyone involved. The ideal home will be stable and quiet without existing cats. It will be someone who has patience, understanding of cat care and psychology and has the time to help the retiree adjust to it’s new home. It also must be within driving distance since we will not fly adults. Also, if the placement does not work out, it is safer and easier to bring the cats back to us if they do not have to fly.
It is always with a mixture of heartbreak and hope when a retiree leaves for a new home. But it is a necessary part of being a responsible breeder.