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Home > Cats > How to Become a Cat Breeder: 6 Ethical Steps Explained

How to Become a Cat Breeder: 6 Ethical Steps Explained

Burmese new born kittens

Have you ever considered becoming a cat breeder but have no idea how to proceed or what it even entails? Becoming a cat breeder can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not to be entered into lightly—it’s not as easy as people may think—you need to learn all you can about the breed you’ve chosen, potential genetics of the breed, and feline management to ensure you’re breeding practice is ethical and safe.

Money is a huge factor in becoming a cat breeder. You’ll have vet bills, food expenses, and housing to consider, and most of all, you’ll need the know-how to breed cats safely. In this post, we’ll list how to ethically become a cat breeder in six steps so you’re equipped with the information you need to ensure the safety and health of your cats.



As we’ve mentioned, you’ll have a lot to consider. Becoming a breeder is a big responsibility, and before you embark on such a project, you need to make sure you have the time, the facilities, and the funds needed before you start. You’ll need to assess your financial situation and ensure you can fund breeding stock, vet bills, food, supplies, litter, toys, and so on. Breeding stock fees will vary depending on the breed you’ve chosen, as rare breeds are more costly.

The 6 Ethical Steps on How to Become a Cat Breeder

1. Consider Your Motives

Are you looking to make extra money, or do you love cats and have the desire to preserve a particular cat breed? If the former is a motivating factor, we suggest moving on to something else and skipping becoming a cat breeder altogether. Becoming a cat breeder is an expensive venture, and you must be willing to put the cats’ safety front and center. For most cat breeders, it’s a special hobby, but one that takes planning.

2. Do Your Research

We can’t emphasize this enough: do your research! You can’t simply take two intact cats and breed them, then turn around and sell the kittens. First, if you don’t already have a breed in mind, select one you would like to breed and learn everything you can about that breed. You’ll need to study the breed’s genetics and any predisposed health concerns and how to treat them. You must also research how to “breed out” major health issues through educated breeding practices.

You must learn your state and local laws, ordinances, and regulations regarding breeding cats in your home, and you’ll need to acquire a permit and/or license to breed.

woman making notes on smartphone and in notebook
Image By: fizkes, Shutterstock

3. Set Up Your Cattery

Now that you’ve learned everything you possibly can about your chosen breed and have acquired all necessary permits and/or licenses, it’s time to set up your cattery. A cattery is the name of the living area you plan to designate for your breeding cats and living area. A spare room, a finished basement, or even a room you construct yourself are excellent choices for this purpose.

The area should have adequate space to accommodate everything the parents and kittens will need. You will need to get all the cat equipment, including food and water bowls, litter boxes, bedding, scratching posts, toys, and adequate environmental enrichment. You need to allow plenty of space for the cats to play and rest. Finally, 4 weeks before a litter is due, the mother will need a kitten box where she can deliver the kittens.

4. Purchase Your Breeding Cats 

After successfully setting up your cattery, it’s time to buy your breeding cats. You’ll want to buy a breeding-quality cat rather than a show cat or a pet cat. Learn the best characteristics within your chosen breed and look for a male and female with those characteristics. The only place to buy pedigreed cats is through reputable, registered breeders—some buy both the male and female, while others buy a female and hire a stud.

Have genetic testing done on both cats to ensure either cat has no unwanted illnesses or characteristics to pass on to the kittens (this is where you attempt to “breed out” certain health conditions or defects). If one of your cats carries a predisposed illness, do not attempt to breed the cat and take the loss. You should also have the affected cat spayed or neutered to prevent the illness or condition from passing on to kittens.

ragdoll cat with its kittens
Image By: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

5. Register Your Cats/Kittens

Register your breeding cats and any litter of kittens with a reputable cat council, such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association. You’ll then need to take the kittens again to your veterinarian for a thorough examination before selling them and keep all records so you can provide the bill of health to potential owners. Before selling the kittens, ensure you have a contract for potential owners to sign to ensure they understand your processes. It’s a good idea to have a lawyer read over the contract to ensure you’re in compliance with any legal responsibilities.

Some breeders elect to have a spay/neuter clause in the contract, requiring the owner to have the procedure done when it’s safe to do so, or you can elect to spay/neuter before selling the kittens when it’s safe to do so.

Remember how we emphasized doing your research? Any potential owner will have lots of questions for you to ensure you are reputable and understand every aspect of the breed. If you don’t know the answers, you could be considered a non-reputable cat breeder.

On the other hand, be selective in choosing potential owners—you certainly don’t want to sell a kitten to a bad owner, and you must be prepared to screen them for a positive outcome for the kitten.

6. Sell Your Kittens 

Kittens will be ready for their new homes within 12–14 weeks after birth. Some breeders elect to include the veterinary cost with the terms of the sale of the kitten, and some do not—that decision is ultimately up to you. As for price, study the competition to determine a fair price for your kittens. Get to know the family who is buying the kittens because you need to make sure they are going to the right place, where they can be taken care of in the best possible way.

british shorthair kittens
Image By: Onishchenko Natalya, Shutterstock


Is Cat Breeding Right for You?

The decision to become a cat breeder is not simple. You should only breed cats if you desire to keep your chosen breed’s integrity intact and preserved. Strive to practice safe, healthy, and ethical breeding practices, and you must be willing to learn all you can about your chosen breed, inside and out. You must also consider the financial factors and ensure you have the funding to breed cats safely.


Final Thoughts

Becoming a cat breeder can be a rewarding experience, but you must learn the ins and outs before proceeding. Being a reputable cat breeder takes dedication, passion, research, and above all, the love of cats. Instead of looking at it as a money-making profession, it should be a passionate hobby to preserve the integrity of a breed.

Featured Image Credit: biggunsband, Shutterstock

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