The Cost of Breeding Kittens
There is really a lot that goes into breeding cats (if you are doing it well, and the cats are healthy). Before I started, I thought the kittens were so expensive, why did they have to be so much!? Now, I know! I am on year four of breeding and showing, and I have yet to even get close to breaking even. For a breeder that is doing it right, breaking even is a long term goal, after the health of the cats.
Here’s a glimpse into some of the expenses of breeding:
Purchasing Healthy Cats with Breeding Rights (normally overseas since breeders don’t like to sell their high quality cats to breeders in their own country) - $2500-$5000. Odd-Eyed kittens are around $5000 to purchase. Often, a cat has it breeding career cut short, can’t or won’t breed, needs a c-section, won't get along with the other cats, etc. In 2014, we had a cat that needed two emergency c-sections, that was the end of her breeding carrier. We lost two kittens due to the vet delaying the operation. Those c-sections were $1200 & $1700 each. We've also lost several cats to illnesses that we bought from other breeders, after spending thousands of dollars on them, and thousands on treatments only to loose them. Most breeders do not replace or refund those costs.
Shipping (with a transporter, you don’t want your $5000 cat ridding in the belly of a plane with barking dogs for 24 hours) - Around $1800
My most recent purchase of a Kitten + Transport = $5500 About every two years, we purchase new kittens to replace the breeding cats that are retiring. This year, I have three retiring, which means purchasing 3 new cats.
Food - I have found that feeding good food, leads to less health issues. A pregnant cat eats about 2-3 times as much as an adult cat. A nursing cat eats about three times as much! I feed the best dry, “Orijen – Regional Red” $80 for 15lbs, “Rad-Cat Raw – Chicken, Lamb & Turkey” $14 for 24oz., and “A/D Prescription” canned – This is highly calorie packed for nursing moms. $2.50 a can. With 4 females, and a male, maybe a couple kittens, we easily spend $500+ a month just on food.
Formula – We often have to supplement kittens with formula if mom doesn’t have enough or isn’t interested in the kittens, this runs about $50 a week for a couple kittens.
Vet Costs – We screen incoming cats and kittens, that’s about $500 per cat. As well as seeing our vet any time we have a concern. I joke that my cats sponsor a wing in the vet clinic & I'm pretty sure they do. We also have our kittens examined & vaccinated at the vet, this runs about $150 per kitten. Something normally comes up, something picked up at a show, the vet, someone hurts them self, needs a nose job, dental, a c-section, isn't acting quite right, or we are screening to make sure everyone is as healthy as we think. Last year, we spend over $7000 in vet expenses. The prior year was almost twice that, since we had a very ill cat that was sent to us, & he passed that to the rest. That year we had one kitten, & by the end of the year, had spent over $13,000 just in medical expenses. But hey, the cats are now healthy, & that's worth it. That is how I believe in doing things.
Showing/Travel – It’s important to know that you are producing kittens that meet or exceed the breed standard. Showing is expensive. If the show is local, like an hour+ away, you will spend at least $200 a day, two day show, you are looking at a hotel room, food expenses, gas, etc. Showing costs easily a couple thousands a year. We also do a lot of networking, visiting shows, meeting other breeders or pet buyers, in other cities/states.
Litter - We currently use Crystal litter that runs about $80 a month, and a kitten attract litter that is about $50 a month. Supplies – Kitten pens, litter pans, scratching posts, blankets, beds, puppy pads, heating pads, birthing supplies, show cages, grooming shampoos, face cleaning products & powders, toys, pet dryers, cattery disinfectant, playpens, probiotics, enzymes, supplements, etc. We spent well over $6000 on supplies last year.
Advertising – Website design & hosting, listings on other sites, business cards, etc. Several hundred dollars a year.
Sometimes, not all the kittens make it. We take them the ER vet, run autopsies on them, take time off work, hand feed day and night, and do and spend whatever it takes to help our cats and kittens. Kittens are very delicate and susceptible to illness, chill, all sorts of things. The moms need help with birthing, which means days off work, & sleepless nights. They need an area dedicated to kittens, kept extra warm, we keep them in a separate area, and run both pet heating pads, and extra heat even in the summer when we have kittens that runs more than $100 more a month in electric (we see the jump on our bill when we have kittens!).
Time - We also spend many hours a week cleaning, feeding and caring for the cats and kittens. While I very much enjoy my cats and kittens, just like a mom with small kids gets worn-out picking up the toys, and changing the diapers, I spend a lot of time doing things that are required, but not fun...Like disinfecting the cat areas (we run things very clean to avoid illness), treating ill cats, or new cats in isolation, cleaning and disinfecting litter boxes, cleaning bowls, floors, and kitten faces, eyes and everywhere else. I do weekly nail clippings, I'm always bathing and blow drying cats and kittens, running someone to the vet or researching info on cat care. I take many days off work to care for my cats. For anyone that has bought a kitten from me or inquired about a kitten, they know that many hours go into returning emails, and taking, and sending photos. Males often spray and mark when they are not neutered. They require special flooring, housing, enzyme cleaners for floors, walls, bedding, etc. We runs a couple loads of cat/kitten laundry daily when the kittens are litter training & learning to eat wet or raw food.
Breeding is not for the faint of heart! It is financially, emotionally and physically, very demanding. It all adds up very quickly, and we care more about the health of the cats, than breaking even. So why do we still breed and show? I love this breed, I love my cats, and love having kittens around. For me, this cat has the best personality, the sweetest look, and the cuddliest body. I want to improve the health & standard of the breed & I love to hear how happy new pet owners are with the new addition to their family. I know how much joy my cats bring to my life.
Pricing and Policies
If you are interested in one of our kittens or being added to the Notification list for when we have available kittens, please fill out our Kitten Inquiry Form after reading the terms below.
If you'd like to be added to the Notification List, I will add you to my email list where you can be notified when kittens become available. We do ask that if you are no longer interested, that you please notify us. We spend a lot of time keeping our list up to date, and determining the availability of kittens based on what people tell us they are looking for. We sometimes allow deposits ahead of time to reserve a place in line for a pet kitten, though are not taking deposits at this time.
Visits to our Home/Cattery - Unfortunately, I have heard too many horror stories from other breeders about allowing visitors into their homes. There are many illnesses that can come into our homes when visitors come to see if they are interested in a kitten. I am very concerned with the health of my cats and kittens and run many tests and screening prior to allowing a cat into my home. Kittens are highly susceptible to illness and don't even start to form their own immunities to the most common viruses until after their second vaccine and that is around 11-12 weeks old. By then, the kittens are reserved for their new homes and at pick-up time, the new owners are allowed to pick them up at my house.
There are also many people who have had their houses have been broken into later, or they had kittens stolen. So, for the safety of my family and the health of my cats, I am unable to have visitors. I know this is not ideal for local people who are interested in a kitten. I do however sell my kittens to families that are all over the US, and have never had a conversation about how a kitten didn't mesh with the family as they had hoped it would. I also send photos, or videos at least monthly, and have heard that the new families bond well with the kitten that way. Thank you for understanding.
More Photos! - My goal is to help new owners bond with their new kitten and help them to prepare for their arrival. I send updates and photos as often as I can, and provide a care sheet with the most common questions answered. Of course you are welcome to ask questions, however I do ask that you check the care form or. There are times where I am very busy, like when I'm litter training, weaning, multiple litters, etc. Every morning and evening I am caring for my cats and kittens, dumping and scrubbing, disinfecting litter boxes, washing kitten bedding, cleaning up accidents, preparing their meals, and cleaning them and their area up after meals, cleaning their living areas, bathing, blowdrying, taking them to their vet checks, bottle feeding, order their food, picking up their food, returning emails, updating my website, fb page, taking photos, loading them, and sending out to the new owners, and so on. When I take photos, I take several hundred to get a few good ones of each kitten. It's a long process of bathing kittens, hoping for sunlight, setting up, taking photos, uploading, editing and sending out. I feel like the process takes away from time I could be devoted to socializing the kittens, so I don't try to take new photos each week.
We are a small hobby breeder, our goal is to have the healthiest cats possible, and quality kittens. Raising healthy cats/kittens is very expensive (See the bottom of this page for info on that) & time consuming. I work full-time & have a family, this is my hobby, thank you for understanding and respecting my time. Our goal is to improve the breed, & we offer the kittens we don't keep, to loving homes & pay off some of the expenses in doing so. Our kittens come with an extensive health guarantee & are sold with a contact. All kittens are sold under a contract, view it here. Kittens are FIV/FeLV, PKD negative, & parents are tested for many illnesses and are regularly seen by a vet. Kittens are not available until around 12-14 weeks old. We selectively spay/neuter prior to placement. Pet kitten prices start at $1800. Kittens with Show Potential as a pet, are going to be more. Prices are based on pedigree, quality, & rarity in pattern color & eye-color. A deposit can be placed on a kitten that you would like to purchase to reserve it & hold it until they are old enough to be rehomed. The deposit is $500, & non-refundable. During this time, I am turning away many good homes, that are interested in the kitten. Make sure that you can meet this commitment of purchasing the kitten, before placing the deposit. I reserve the right to cancel the sale at anytime and will return the deposit if I cancel.
Kittens Sold with Breeding Rights:
I only sell kittens that meet or exceed the breed standard with breeding rights. I am very selective in which breeders I choose to continue my pedigree lines, & with what kittens. I don't often sell with breeding rights. When I do, I only sell to CFA or TICA registered catteries that share my ethics in the health & care of the cats. Cats don't belong in cages as their primary living arrangement. My kittens that are sold with breeding rights, start at $3000, and go up from there based on pedigree, homozegous or not, & whether they are carrying genetic material for OE/BE, as well as what I think their future potential is. I don't sell kittens as "Show Quality" & do not make claims to their future show success, because I believe, "Show Quality" is very subjective to the preferences of the judge, to the competition, politics, grooming, health and future development. I will classify kittens that I think will exceed standard at full-development, as having "Show Potential".
Transportation & Misc:
We are in compliance with the new regulations of a max of 4 breeding females, and so, we are able to ship in the US and overseas, however, I want the new owners to pick up the kitten in person from me in Salem, Oregon. I am currently only selling kittens in the US & Canada. If you are flying in from out of state, people fly in to Portland, Oregon & I try to schedule everyone to come in around the same time, so I'm not spending every day off at the airport. We can discuss me transporting if there is no way you can pick up the kitten, or possibly a transporter, but I am giving first preference to homes that will pick-up the kitten. If you are within a reasonable driving distance, I may be able to accommodate meeting you somewhere for a nominal fee. I can accept payment through Western Union, or Cashiers Check, or some forms of Paypal.
The availability of a kitten can change in short order. Please verify with me that you are wanting to place a deposit on a kitten before doing so. Also, only a deposit can hold a kitten. I often have several people inquiring about the same kitten. The person who places the deposit first is the one who gets the kitten.