Taking A Break

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Being a cat breeder and exhibitor is a hobby that for many becomes a lifetime passion.

Unlike other hobbies, breeding cats is a 24/7 occupation. Addressing health issues, supervising pregnancy and the delivery of kittens, housing at least one stud cat — every detail involved in maintaining a breeding population of felines requires an enormous amount of time, energy and money. The cat breeder must keep detailed health and breeding records, vaccination certificates and pedigrees. Then the breeder needs to market their kittens, ship kittens, provide support to the kitten buyers. In this modern age there are photos and videos to produce, a website and Facebook account to maintain. It can be financially draining, time-consuming, physically and mentally challenging.

If the breeder also shows their cats, there is yet another level of effort added to the list.

Weekends are spent traveling and showing, often with little time off if campaigning. In between, the exhibitor is studying the standings, choosing and entering shows, bathing and grooming show cats, all the time also caring for the other kitties in the cattery.

For even the most enthusiastic breeder/exhibitor, it can all become overwhelming after many years of participation.

If you begin to feel it isn't fun anymore . . . if the satisfaction has gone out of it . . .
if you just aren't enjoying it anymore . . .
it may be time to take a step back.

Sometimes a person just needs a sabbatical.

There are a variety of reasons you may decide to stop showing or breeding for a while. You have nothing to show. Your daughter is getting married and you are deeply involved in the wedding plans. You are building an addition to your home. You are raising your toddler niece. It's called LIFE! :-)

Take A Break From Showing

If you breed and show, and you feel the need to cut back, the easiest first step to take is to simply reduce your show schedule. For some, it means showing less while others may choose to stop showing completely for a season. For the person who stops showing, it may be that they have nothing to show or they are re-working their bloodlines or it may be that their lives are just too hectic to find the time and energy to show. There may even be financial concerns that make it smarter to stop showing for a time.

Take A Break From Breeding

While it is comparatively easy to step back from showing, cutting back on breeding can be a more complicated matter. Female cats cannot be left to cycle for months without being bred for fear of developing pyometra. If you decide to breed less, it may mean placing or leasing your girls with another breeder. You can often sell or a female at a significantly reduced price or give her to another breeder in exchange for a future kitten back. This allows you to keep the bloodline while reducing the number of queens in your program.

You may decide to retire and spay some of the girls. Sometimes, just reducing your numbers while still breeding a few litters a year will work for you. It is an individual choice. There is no one size fits all.

How Long Is A Break?

Sometimes, the break is a few weeks or several months. Sometimes, it's longer. Some breeders "hit the wall" and decide to retire, only to return after several years. It will vary with your particular circumstances.

Will You Miss It?

You will probably miss showing and breeding if you stop completely and especially if you do it cold turkey. If you decide to take a break just from showing, you will also be missed in the show halls so let people know you are okay, just treating yourself to time off. Letting people know you are taking a break will stop any "rumors" of why you aren't out there showing.

Will You Return?

For some people, taking a break is a prelude to retirement. For most, after they have a chance to recharge their batteries, they will get back out there busier than ever, or perhaps with fewer cats or showing fewer weekends a year.

Why Taking A Break Is A Good Thing

Taking a break prevents burn out. It keeps you ready for new challenges. It renews your interest and love of your cats.

If the time comes when you start to feel overwhelmed by your involvement in the cat fancy, a short sabbatical is an excellent way to catch up on the other areas of your life then return to breeding and showing invigorated and refreshed. The choices are there for the picking. Take care of yourself!

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