OWNING A STUD CAT

An article I wrote for Tonkinfo

I hope this helps anybody thinking of owning a stud for the first time

 

 As the proud owner of five handsome stud cats, over a period of time, I should like to share a few concepts about owning Studs

When we acquired our first Tonkinese stud, Jo and I, never dreamed that owning a stud cat was going to be such a responsibility. If we had, had more information and insight into breeding cats, we know we would have gone through a different process; but I am sure we would have still ended up keeping a stud cat. Hopefully if anyone is thinking of taking on a stud for the first time you will be able to avoid some of the problems that Jo and I encountered in the first 3 years.

 

Jasper Lady Christine Richards

It is important that people keep Tonkinese stud cats, although not everyone has the time or facilities to keep a boy due to their habits [the boys, not the owner]. It is very important to have a large gene pool so that the breed can progress through the generations. Jo and I were very lucky that the first boy we acquired was very good type and in our opinions, had such a good pedigree; no two cats had been used twice in his pedigree. Although we didn't really know what we were letting ourselves in for, we bought a little female at the same time, luckily for us  another good pedigree and unrelated to the boy. We took our prized possessions home to a life of love and reasonable luxury for cats.

As kittens they gave us such joy and unconditional love. How proud we were when we took our 'children' to cat shows.

However, the biological clock was ticking by and I knew the time was coming when I would have to put our beloved boy 'up the garden'- to be in the cold, rain, snow and away from the people he loved. Our hunt was on for the best cat house we could find. Nothing was to be too good for our boy. At this time I can only say that we thought the most expensive we could find would be the best. We thought that if it had the best insulation and central heating, for the winter months, with windows and a stable  for the better weather, our boy would be happy.

How wrong can one person be?

Fudge Lady Christine Richards

Three months after the house, was ordered, it still had not arrived. We had an entire boy in the house with an entire maturing girl. At eight months he started to spray occasionally, by the back door, but he soon began to spray around the house. Needless to say, eventually all the carpets had to be replaced. Thank the Lord my husband was so understanding.

 

The stud house was finally delivered and installed. To my horror, I felt as if I had been robbed. Once the Queen's Quarters were in position there truly was not enough room ' to swing a cat'. This area was meant to be for visiting queens, poor little loves. I would not have subjected one of our own cats to that, let alone someone else's cat. So more money, back to the company for alterations and a Queens run. Some people will say that a Queen has only one thing on her mind when she's with a boy, but I wasn't happy to put a girl in a 2' x 4' x 2' box room. This brought first house is rubbish, not worth the money we paid for it, the company never came back to make the repairs on this house {if you would like the name of the company please e-mail me}

However, that was not the end of our little man's saga of being deposited up the garden. The entire garden had been dug up to install the electricity. Lino and bed linen were needed. We have since replaced the lino with ceramic tiles, much easier to keep clean. A visit to a friend, was to supply us with a wealth of knowledge and advice. Was I the one who was merrily going to pick the queen up after she was mated to put her back in her own area? Pauline Earley will tell you 'yes'. Without her knowledge and experience of owning a stud I would probably have had my arms ripped to pieces. I am ashamed to say that I didn't know a queen will turn on the nearest thing to her after being mated - even if it is her beloved human mother.

Fudge Lady Christine Richards

I recall an incident, in our earlier days of breeding, when taking one of my girls to another breeder. In my hurry to pick up the screaming girl after work [Jo had already taken her to the vet for the required blood test]. I forgot to clip her nails. I spent nearly 2 hours trying to clip her nails whilst Tom cat and his owner nearly 'wet their pants' watching me shorten her talons - only to have her sink her fangs in my poor finger in objections at the cruel fate that was to be bestowed on her. A queen's claws can do a lot of damage on the poor Romeo.

I  realised  that we were about to spend a lot of our time up the garden from then onwards. Thank goodness for modern technology, in the shape of an answer phone. By now, you will see that we were totally ignorant about breeding cats. We had to learn the hard way and fast - Yes! If you put a boy to a girl you will eventually get kittens, but that is another story.

We'd already decided that our boy was to be at 'limited' stud instead of open stud. In our opinion, it was going to be better for us to protect our cats against diseases that might be brought in. However, this has its own problems as by now we had purchased another queen, which is not really enough to keep a very young boy happy. So you end up with a male cat that is always screaming and upsetting the neighbours. The answer to this was to have a neutered cat in with him all the time or a queen that has had a 'depo' injection to prevent her calling. Your queens may have a life of luxury indoors with you but a stud's life can be very lonely in comparison, even if he sees you several times a day, Unless you are one of the very lucky ones who does not have a noisy boy

Puddie senior Lady Christine Richards

It is quite a responsibility owning a stud that is used by other people. It means keeping up to date with inoculations [something you must do anyway, especially if you show your cats] and having your stud blood-tested at least once a year, to make sure, that he doesn't carry infections. It means informing the queen's owners of anticipated delivery date and the likely colours of kittens, to expect from the mating. It means giving the first time breeder advice on the registration of the kittens and making sure that the queen's, stay with you, is not traumatic

When Jo and I knew the time was right to have a second boy, we went about it, in an entirely different way. We'd been looking at large sheds, which I was going to convert into a cat's house, when we saw an advert for a second hand cat house. We eventually went for the latter option. We repaired and transformed the house into a large house with 2 big runs, attached to the back of our house, so that the indoor cats could have access to one of the runs. This house , even with renovations, cost a fraction of our original 'good' cat house and in my opinion, it is far superior as it offers my cats space and comfort. The only drawbacks to this house are [a] it costs far more to heat, and [b] we have yet to build a safety gate onto it. But I know which one my cats like the best. The one where they have toys and a climbing frame indoors - not out.

If somebody were to ask me, if I would do it all again, I would say, 'yes, but differently'. I would have first found out as much information as possible, about and experienced, breeding. Then I would have at least four queens prior to buying a stud. I would have furbished a large garden shed to my own design with a large run. All of this would have been over a number of years. I feel that maybe Jo and I have missed out as we have always been in such a hurry.

  Hopefully I have not put you off. Our boys are so affectionate and have produced some beautiful kittens

Since writing this article, these two stud houses have been pulled down and we built our own double glazed house. The boys room would house a single bed, The visiting girls room is larger than the original house we purchased. You can see this being erected on our third garden make over

The two enclosed areas outside the house are both much larger than our first run.

My advice here would be, to have the largest area, that is possible within your garden.

tonkaholics@tiscali.co.uk

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