Is Your Cattery Healthy?
Published January 2016

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It goes without saying that one of the goals of every cat breeder is to ensure that the cats in their program are in excellent health.

Maintaining a healthy cattery doesn't happen by itself, however. So, at the start of this new year, let each of us ask the question, "Is my cattery healthy?".

The health and well being of a group of breeding cats is dependent upon good husbandry practices, informed veterinary care and careful observation by the conscientious owner.

Once your cattery is established, following a well-planned system designed to minimize illness, prevent the spread of infectious disease and lower stress will help keep the cattery healthy.

Unfortunately even the finest care and best intentions can not ensure that there will never be a health problem with the kitties.

Complicating matters for the cattery owner, it is easy to miss a problem in its early stages. In addition, if a health issue begins small and progresses very slowly, it is human nature to begin to think that this is just the way things are. If your weaning kittens always seem to get the sniffles or have diarrhea, you begin to think this is normal for weaning kittens. If you always have some kittens stillborn in every litter, you will think this is the way it is for all breeding cats.

To double-check that you are not following into this all-too-human trap, take this little quiz.

Answer these ten questions to determine whether your cattery is healthy -- or not.

  1. Over the past year have you had a cat with chronic weeping eyes?
    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.

  2. Over the past year have you had a cat with an upper respiratory infection?
    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.

  3. Over the past year have you had any cats with extended bouts of diarrhea?
    Do you have a cat with chronic diarrhea? Do your kittens experience extended bouts of diarrhea when weaning? Do any cats have watery diarrhea for more than one bowel movement?

    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.

  4. Over the past year have you had a cat develop pneumonia?
    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.

  5. Over the past year have you bred any queens that didn't get pregnant?
    1. Give yourself 0 points your answer is is "No".
    2. Give yourself 1 point if you have had a single cat that didn't get pregnant.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if there was more than one queen that failed to conceive.
  6. Over the past year have you had any female cats develop pyometra?
    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.
  7. Over the past year have you had any queens give birth prematurely?
    1. Give yourself 0 points your answer is "No".
    2. Give yourself 1 point if you have had a single premature litter.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if there was more than one litter born prematurely.

  8. Over the past year have you had any queens give birth to stillborn kittens?
    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.

  9. Over the past year have you had any litters of just one kitten?
    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.

  10. Over the past year have you had any seemingly healthy kittens die unexpectedly?
    1. Give yourself 0 points if your answer is none.
    2. Give yourself 1 point if your answer is 1.
    3. Give yourself 2 points if your answer is more than 1.

Total your score for all ten questions . . .

The Results

If you have:

  • 0-5 Points:
    Your cattery is healthy. While there may be an occasional problem or breeding issue, it is not indicative of a cattery-wide health issue.
  • 5-10 Points:
    Your cattery may be developing a health problem that could balloon into a major issue. You should consider preventative measures which may include changing or refining your husbandry practices.
  • More than 10 Points:
    If you score 10 points or more your cattery likely has an ongoing health issue that is impacting your success as a cat breeder.

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