British Shorthair - Breeder Spotlight
British Shorthair Cats by Cuddleton
Today we welcome Pamela from Cuddleton British Shorthairs, our very first guest in our Breeder Spotlight...
Pamela has been very kind to take time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her beautiful British Shorthairs.
How long have you been breeding British Shorthairs?
We started with our first girl in 2004 so it would be twelve years now.
What made youÂ pick British Shorthairs to breed?
We had a grey and white cat that we called Pookie.
We adopted him from the Cat Haven as a mature cat and thought he looked like a British Shorthair (he didnâ€™t!)... When he passed away from FIP we wanted a cat to remind us of him but not replace him so we adopted our blue girl.
We got interested in showing her and then we were lucky to be able to have a litter with her and the rest is history.
Do you show your British Shorthairs?
We show a lot. That is the main part of our hobby. We do all of the CatsWA shows, the Perth Royal Show plus we try to do the ACF National Show every year and most years we also do the CCCA National Show.
We travel on average twice a year interstate to shows. We show for a lot of reasons. One many breeders will agree with is to check that our cats are meeting the standard that they should and that we are on track with our breeding.
Personally I think the social aspect of going to shows is a huge part of the attraction too. It is a great way to catch up with a bunch of friends who love cats as much as you do. Having your cats do well is also a thrill.
I also steward and sometimes judge so I get to handle other peopleâ€™s cats and kittens, who wouldnâ€™t love that!
Are there anyÂ congenital defects are in British Shorthairs?
The breed is pretty healthy and doesnâ€™t have any specific issues that are not found in other breeds and indeed domestic cats.
They can have problematic teeth so a diet that is good for dental health is great. We have older cats that have had many teeth out and ones who have had none so it depends on the cat.
Other issues that have historically affected the breed include Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), heart murmurs and Hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy (HCM) plus Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).
These conditions are not specific to British Shorthairs though and affect cats in general.
Do you breed in a wayÂ to avoid those defects?
Some health issues can be DNA tested. For example PKD should not exist in the breed anymore as the DNA test for it has been available long enough for carrier cats to be taken out of the breeding genepool.
That is certainly the case for us. Other diseases such as HCM are trickier as there is no validated DNA test and cats can only have expensive tests on their hearts by specialists.
Those tests only say how their heart is at that moment and with a progressive, later in life disease like that a cat may have already had kittens and retired before it shows up.
So we test for what we can and we use some judgement on everything else. We also keep in touch with our kitten owners and give them lots of ways to communicate with us.
We ask if they have health issues to let us know and they do and we can adjust our plans if we need to.
What size is yourÂ breeding operation?
Well it is a hobby but maybe a bit of a bigger hobby than most. I always say it is cheaper than having horses! Where do your cats spend most of their time? We have a semi rural property.
Our stud males have lovely Somerzby Homesteads to hang out in. The other cats live in our big American style barn in big pens with lots of things to jump on and play with.
They will soon be getting some outdoor play areas too. We also have our desexed cats in the house when there are no kittens and when we do have kittens the babies and mums stay in our big cat room inside.
Are you able to offer anyÂ health guarantees?
We guarantee that our cats are FeLV negative, that the kitten is free of disease at the time of adoption.
We also warrant that the kitten is genetically sound, and will replace the kitten with another at no additional cost if they die of a genetic defect and that defect is evidenced in an autopsy report.
What happens if the kitten gets sick?
If a health problem is found we will take the kitten back and offer a refund if they are returned within 7 days with a veterinarian's certificate stating the problem.
We are also always available to our owners to discuss health issues and problems. This has happened many times over the years. Even just advice on diet and feeding. We like to be available to listen.
One of our owners said we offered the best â€śaftercare serviceâ€ť around.
Are there any niceÂ adoption stories you can share?
Every kitten adoption is fun. It is often like you are giving someone a gift.
We have had kittens that have mended broken hearts or filled gaps in peopleâ€™s lives.
Some have gone to be friends with kids with special needs and some have gone to be a new friend for an older cat. Everyone is special.
What makes this kitten or cat â€śpet qualityâ€ť or â€śshow qualityâ€ť?
To start with they need a great temperament. That is a big part of our breeding right now as we want them all to have happy lives and make their owners happy.
Then a show kitten is going to be the one closest to the breed standard as you can get so the one with neat small ears, big round eyes, super plush coat. The pet kitten is not really the lessor kitten.
It is just the kitten that we decide not to retain for show or breeding. Sometimes it may have a reason to not be show quality such as a tail fault or unsound coat colour but mostly it is just a good kitten but not quite good enough.
We donâ€™t mind if anyone wants to show any of the cats we have bred. They may not be as competitive but if they have fun doing it then go for it.
Do you keep some of your cats for your own?
We have many cats that we have kept either as breeding cats or pet cats plus our family have a few as well. Our Suzy is our desexed show cat who still places high at eleven years old.
There are also cats we have kept for health reasons such as Patty who has a heart defect. She is best with us so we can love her and make sure her shorter life is a happy one.
How old is your oldest cat?
Our oldest cat is our first British Shorthair who is twelve. We had several cats before her who have sadly passed.
Favourite looks for your British Shorthairs?
The cross look. They can get a very grumpy look on their faces. It is super cute.
Do you raise your cats underfoot?
Yes our kittens are in the house as they grow up. We have a kitten play room for them during the day then when we get home they go crazy running around and climbing over the couches.
Do you send or post photos of the parents before you adopt a kitten?
Our website needs updating but we try to make sure a photo of the parents is on the kittens available page with each litter.
We donâ€™t use other peopleâ€™s stud cats so when the new owners come to visit their kitten they get to meet mum and dad (and often grandmas and grandads).
That is important to us. We want them to see the grown up version of their new baby.
Do you send the kittenâ€™s pedigree when you adopt a kitten?
Absolutely. We print one from our pedigree software and when we have transferred the kitten to the new owners name with our association we send them the official pedigree.
Can people interested in purchasing one of your cats visit your cattery?
No. We both work fulltime, probably even longer than fulltime hours. If everyone that was interested came to visit we would have zero time to do anything else. It is our hobby and that is how we choose to do things.
Every breeder has their own way of dealing with enquiries which is fine.
If a possible adoptee cannot visit your cattery, are you willing to talk to your adoptee on the phone?
No. That sounds blunt but the reality is that our breed is really popular and at the same time the amount of kittens available every year is small. We are only able to be contacted if you fill out an online form on our website.
In less than twelve months well over two hundred and fifty people have signed up to say they want a kitten. If we gave out our phone number it would be a lot more and we just donâ€™t have the time.
We are absolutely available to talk on the phone to the people who are adopting a kitten once we have them available.
What if a kitten gets adopted and the customer is unhappy with a kitten, what do you do?
They can come back straight away.
We never want one of our babies in a home where it is not wanted. Our cats can come back to us at anytime, now, next week or in three years time. We make that very clear to our new owners.
How are your kittens registered?
What about vaccination?
We use a killed F5 vaccine. We vaccinate at eight weeks then again with desexing at twelve weeks.
What are the kittens fed?
Our cats are all fed Royal Canin as their main diet. The kittens have Royal Canin Baby Cat then Kitten plus Royal Canin kitten wet food. They go home with a 2kg bag of Kitten plus some Royal Canin Kitten sachets and a voucher for a discount on the next bag.
To get in contact with Pamela
Toni Benton - Toni has a lot of experience with keeping pets and pet enclsoures, with her very cheeky British shorthair cat named Charlie and a rescue cat Rosie who is now nearly 17. Toni's pets also includes Dwarf Lop rabbits and Australorp cross Chickens.