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At Landsker we feel that it is better for the kittens to be brought up in the home environment and kept with their mother until they are ready to leave for their new homes at 14-16 weeks old. Research shows that kittens are still learning from their mother at 14 wks. Kittens are always born in my bedroom and kept there until they are starting to wean, All Landsker pet kittens will now be neutered before they leave home.They are moved downstairs into the kitchen come living room for socialisation with the rest of the household cats and more interaction with us when they are 6 weeks old. Landsker kittens are handled a lot from birth so that by the time people come to see them they are very used to being handled. I also run them through what I call the vet routine - checking bottoms, inside mouths and inside ears so that when they come across these things at the vets it is not so unsettling for them. I also take them out for rides in the car so that can get used to travelling. Cat carriers are left around the home for them to get used to, it's easier for them and the new owners to travel with them. I firmly believe that doing these things in preparation for their new homes gives them a much better start in life and is the responsibility of any breeder. Kittens are vaccinated at 9 weeks old and again at 12 weeks old. They are treated with advocate to give them protection against fleas and worms. As the flea can be the host to the tapeworm I always give drontal 3 or 4 days after using the Advocate. So all Landsker kittens that are going to pet homes will be now be neutered and microchipped as well as getting a veterinary health check before leaving our home. If you have any questions about kittens then please feel free to give me a ring or email me on the details given at the top of the page.
My views on neutering are very basic. If I decide that one of my cats isn't happy being bred from or is unsuitable for breeding from, then neutering is the only option for me. Meggie, for instance was my foundation female and it was agreed that she would have two litters and then be neutered, which I adhered to. I think that cats are actually healthier and less prone to a lot of hormone related problems if they are neutered. Neuters are always welcome in my home unless they are not happy and I feel that they would have a better life as a much loved pet. This is covered in the Re-homing section further on.
KEEPING STUD CATS
Keeping a stud cat is a huge responsibility and people choose different ways to do this. As with people, cats are very individual and as such need to be treated accordingly. Some males are happier outside than in, whereas others are happier with being in the home with outside access. The spraying when it comes can be horrendous and I don't really blame some breeders who just can't deal with it in their home! Personally I feel that if I am using a male to breed from then I owe it to him to allow him access to my home if that is his choice. My current male, Tippo was very much happier going out as he chose but living mainly in the home. I have a pen built on two levels, the upper level which covers the window into the kitchen so that he and the girls can come and go as they please. Tippo had lots of company with the girls and I feel that it would have been cruel to leave him outside in a pen all day and all night. I also feel that it isn't a good idea to keep a male breeding for years. They don't usually have the best of lives in my opinion and I will only keep my males entire for a finite amount of years before they are neutered and either placed in a family home or stay with us. As far as the gene-pool goes it is actually better to use two brothers at stud than it is the father. Too often a male will be used again and again, due to popularity or availability with no thought for the future breeding. This is why I will only use my males on my own girls for a set amount of years and also other breeder's who have queens they want to bring to them. My feelings are that 6 years is the most I would want to keep them in the breeding program, giving them a chance at a normal life after that.
I also have strong views on the way that males are used in this country. The restrictions that some breeders put on the breeding cats that they sell are mainly for their own personal control issues and not in any way of benefit to the breed. They are also strangling the breed and will end up bringing problems in the future. To me it's far better to assure yourself of the attitudes and perceptions of a new owner that wants to buy a breeding cat from you so that you can place your trust in them to do the right thing in their breeding, than to try and keep control of them to such a degree that you are the one deciding what they can and can't do with the cat that they buy from you. When you sell a cat for pet or breeding I can't see that what that person does with them in their own breeding has anything to do with you anymore (obviously being cruel or unkind to the kitten is not covered in this and should be suitably pursued if that comes to pass) . So if you have sold the kitten to an honest and responsible person there should be no issues to contend with. Too many times I have come across new breeders who are at their wits end because either they can't find any breeder who will let them use their stud or the only ones who will have over used them in the gene-pool and it's hard to find a pedigree without that stud in. I believe that we have taken so long to progress the breed over here because of just these sorts of attitudes and therefore I now have a policy that reflects my feelings on the matter. Any Landsker stud is open for enquiries to any suitably tested and unrelated queens on the active register, but there will be restrictions on matings done with my studs and also on kittens sold for breeding so that the Landsker lines stay true.
Always a tricky subject as a lot of people cast slurs upon any breeder that re-homes a cat that has finished breeding. I have pondered this subject for the last two decades and always end up with the same question - what is best for the individual cat? Working on that basis is the only way to be for me. I have re-homed some of my cats over the years that I have been breeding and I still believe that I did what was right for those particular cats. Say you have a young female that is overly hormonal and gets into a state because she feels that she needs to compete with the other females in the household. Well obviously it's better to neuter her than keep her entire for a lifetime of contraceptives and problems with the other cats. Maybe when she is neutered she feels the need to compete more due to her losing even more status from being neutered. This is to me a time to think about re-homing to a family that will love her and give her the individual attention that she needs to live a happy life. In my view, I think that a breeding cat's life is not a natural one and most of them can be offered a better life in a family home as a neutered pet when they have finished breeding. The trouble is that we love them, some of them more than others and for this reason we can want to keep them with us to the bitter end. I can't go along with this, some breeders end up in a situation where they have up to and sometimes more than 20 cats of varying ages. To be able to carry on breeding when your cats are neutered at say 8-10 years old, you have to either keep kittens from your own lines or buy in from other breeders. Each male needs at the very least three females and more like six for some, so that's another say 7 breeding cats on top of the ones you have kept over the years. Most breeders have a finite amount of space in their homes so they either start putting the neuters out into pens to lead a life in a large cage to maybe rotate with others in the house, (no matter which way you look at it, that is what it is) or you make a decision to re-home. My common sense says that any of our beloved companions would rather be in a home where they are given all the attention they need with maybe a few companions, than in a house with lots of other cats to compete with or stuck in a pen outside. Some breeders say that they would question the home if a cat is thought to be better off as a pet in a smaller cat household but I say that is just a rationalisation that they use to feel better about what they are doing themselves. Try not to judge the breeders who don't do as you do, but ask them why and try to understand why they do as they do.