Welcome to the world
It wasn't a smooth ride this time around.
Nico required some extra help after secondary uterine inertia. She had two on her own... then everything stopped. So after some oxytocin only partially got things moving, and she had two more... it stopped progressing again, and she required a c-section to deliver the last little one. One of the babies took a long time to start spontaneously breathing on it's own. Nico had a rough wake up. We were tired but we kept going.
2 babies never took a breath and gained their wings. Run free sweet ones
We have 3 healthy live babies who all look to be mini-Henley clones in colour.
Forever thankful to my colleagues at Willunga and Aldinga Vet Services you guys are champions.
Today also marks the 1 year anniversary of losing our sweet girl Asher, Ziggy's littermate sister I suppose the universe is always working to balance things, and where there is death, there is also life. It's been a scary, wild, emotional rollercoaster.
Check out this video I made of her last year. I love you Asher girl, my beautiful housewolf
So a little birdy mentioned to me that some people think I'm too open about our breeding stuff. There's been a big push lately in both the dog and cat world to become more transparent about reputable breeding practices. I intend to continue this. Breeding isn't all kittens and rainbows. Sometimes it is... but if you're doing things right, then you'll also encounter some hard truths. You don't just put two cats together and out pop a healthy litter. There's health testing, vet work, paperwork, money, food, litter, registration, shit and tears. It's loads and loads of record keeping. You weigh every litter multiple times a day, every day to begin with to make sure they're gaining, and if they're not you set alarms all hours of the night to supplement feed. You spend hours, days, weeks, months on socialisation and exposure so the babies are confident and playful and happy to be around vacuum cleaners and car rides and vet visits and loud sounds and handling and grooming and the list goes on. You don't make a profit. And if you do, you're probably doing it wrong. If anyone doesn't believe me, I'm more than happy to show you my cost sheet.
We do it because we love this breed. We want to enrich their lines. And celebrate their amazing traits. We want to remain true to the breed standard. To do this, you need to get to at least some shows to have a third party critically evaluate your cats. You need to be told the good things AND the things to improve on. I don't understand the people who go to shows, and throw tantrums when the judge doesn't tell them "what they want to hear". They've missed the entire point of it. Or those that don't show at all? How do you know if you're on the right path if you're not getting feedback from a neutral third party?
There's never an end point. The whole entire thing is about learning and improving and striving for better. We just got some hip scores back on two of our adults, and they are mid range. Not the best, not the worst. But they could be much better! We know we need to work on hips, chin depth and ear set. So those are our targets for the next generation and the next stud boy we choose to go over Nico and Adelaide's daughters will have at least one of these traits, if not all, which will improve them.
We hip score, heart scan and DNA test for all the known Maine Coon diseases and issues. We breed away from the problems and towards the good healthy traits. We vet every animal, they are vaccinated, wormed, and the kittens come microchipped, desexed, and with health records. You can see all our health testing results, all our pedigrees and if you're going to have one of our babies, you get loads of real time updates (photos and videos) from me.
Tell me, why are others getting cranky at me for being honest? Why are they saying I *should* sweep the difficult stuff under the rug? Because they cbf talking their own *realistic* health issues that they *will* inevitably face within their program? Do they think that everyone thinks we are perfect? That's not real!
This is real... We've been dealing with some respiratory infections that we are now pretty much on top of, and we've researched and developed a plan of how to deal with it and it's working. We take the advice of our vets and my uni contacts, and we do something about it.
In any breeding program, in any species, you WILL face diseases, genetic issues, mortalities, defects, problems. You will have to administer medication at some point. You will have diet issues and sneezes and upset tummies at some point. Same with livestock programs, wildlife conservation, working dog programs, and any other companion animal. There is no getting around this fact. Just because breeders in the past haven't talked about it, doesn't mean it's never happened.
Backyard breeders often get it easy and lucky. They just want to let their bitch have one litter so they can "experience it"... or their cat got out and came back pregnant and they might plan to let it happen again coz it's cute, or because it means a bit of cash when they sell the kittens or puppies. No breed health checks, no vet work, often no idea who the father is, and often a super large and healthy litter pops out and it thrives and they *think* they have it easy and it's quick cash. Then they get bored or it's too hard, and so that's the end of it. They won't take an animal back if it has behavioural or health problems. Often the offspring end up in shelters and THAT'S what's contributing to the shelter problem.
Reputable breeders do NOT contribute to the shelter problem - despite what the adopt-dont-shop people say. We take an animal back, always. We thoroughly chose homes, and if it's not the right fit, then we find one that is. We personally spend MONTHS developing friendships with our pet homes because we care, and we provide lifetime support. We are the second contact on the microchip and we will never let any of our offspring be rehomed without our help. We look at pedigrees and we plan matings based on health and genetics. We produce offspring with predictable health and temperament (it's the same with reputable dog breeders). You put any two breeds together? You might get lucky, but you also run the chance of developing a genetic dumpster fire or a neurotic mess. You won't reliably get good health and temperament for 90% of litters. You might get it 10 or 20% of the time. The "oodle" community who cross poodles with any old breed and call it designer, with little to no health testing and then selling them for thousands.... are playing with fire because unless it's part of a breed program that's intentionally creating a new breed based on health and genetic traits.... you will not get predictable health and temperament reliably from every litter. You get a mixed bag. The breeders that sell a certain colour, gender or trait for a more expensive price are not ethical. Each baby gets the same vet work, food, socialisation, exposure and upbringing. They should all cost the same if being sold as a pet.
I know I bang on about it, but I say this because I must, and if no one opens up and talks about this, then nothing will change. If you want to be part of something better, then you have to get in the midst of it and make it happen.
If you only ever support shelters and rescue animals, then you are, by proxy, only supporting backyard breeders. Read that sentence again.
There will always be a great place in this world for rescue, and I've been a part of it in the past, and it's why I chose to begin breeding. People who rescue are AMAZING. I am not knocking them. Believe me!
But our companion animals need and deserve better than to be chucked together by someone who doesn't care or who just wants to make a quick buck. What's gona happen in 20 years if we just keep going the same old road?
We need to push for, and support reputable breeding.
If you want a new pet, please research and get to know your breeder. It doesn't have to be me. But just ask them the questions, ask about health testing. If they're cagey about results, move on. If they sell their kittens or pups for a different price based on colour or gender, move on. They should be proud to show you their health testing results! They should be excited to tell you about their breed and why it shines! By all means rescue an animal, but also think about getting a well-bred pedigree animal as a friend for them. Support these breeders! Please ♡
I didn't intend on saying all this at the beginning of this post, but my newborn kitten posts are some of my most popular posts, and I will say it as many times as it's needed.
Much love ♡