decision to keep a cat at stud should not be taken lightly.
It is not for the beginner. Stud work is not easy; some queens
can be extremely difficult to mate and supervising such matings
can take a great deal of time and patience. If your cat is
at public stud you will have the additional responsibility
of looking after other people's cats.
fees may seem expensive, however, if you buy your own stud,
provide him with suitable quarters, heating, lighting, food,
vaccinations and blood tests and then add up the cost, you
will realise that stud keeping is an expensive exercise.
deciding to keep a stud, you must consider whether he will
have enough work with just your own queens or whether you
will accept outside queens; some studs are happy with very
little work provided they have plenty of human company, but
others are unhappy if they do not have regular work. A stud
who does not get many queens to mate may become difficult
to handle or may be very noisy and upset your neighbours.
Studs of the more popular breeds will usually get more work
than those of the more obscure breeds or colours, but the
presence of other studs in the neighbourhood should also be
considered; if your cat's Grand Champion sire lives only twenty
miles away, your stud is unlikely to get much work if he is
the same colour.
stud cat can sire a large number of kittens, so it is important
to ensure, as far as possible, that he is:
good example of his breed, conforming well to the Standard
of points, with no physical abnormalities ('veterinary
defects'). A cat at public stud may not get much work
unless he is successful on the show bench and, in any
case, it does not help a breed if poor quality cats are
bred, according to the Registration Policy for his breed
on the 'Active Register' with GCCF or, in the case of
FIFe , not endorsed 'not for breeding'. Kittens sired
by cats on the Non-Active Register, or who are endorsed
'not for breeding' cannot be registered.
healthy as possible: do not be tempted to keep the smallest
kitten just because he is of good 'type'.
from hereditary defects: if there is a known hereditary
breed problem for which it is possible to test, your cat
should be tested as early as possible and certainly before
he sires a litter. At present there are relatively few
such tests available, but Korats should be tested for
GM1/GM2 gangliosidosis, white cats of any breed should
be tested for deafness and a cat of any breed in which
Polycystic Kidney Disease is found should be scanned under
the FAB/PKD scheme. Learn as much as possible about the
other cats in the pedigree and their litter-mates. If,
for instance, the sire has sired monorchid kittens there
is a risk that your kitten will pass on this defect.
a cat can be used at stud he must have an official certificate
of entirety; a veterinary surgeon must examine the cat, to
make certain that he has two normal testicles, fully descended
into the scrotum, and then complete a form which you will
need to get from the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy Office.
Without this certificate, none of his kittens can be registered.
well as studying potential hereditary problems, you should
also learn about coat and colour genetics. If you have a cat
at public stud you will be expected to know what he could
sire to any particular queen; in some cases this may be quite
simple - Russian Blue mated to Russian Blue very rarely produces
anything other than Russian Blue - but in the case of Asians
or Orientals, with hundreds of different colour and pattern
combinations available, it can be very complicated.
or private stud?
breeders keep cats at public stud. This:
to ensure that the stud has sufficient queens to keep
other breeders access to the stud's bloodline. This can
help to maintain genetic diversity within a breed
others the opportunity to breed without having to keep
their own studs
people keep cats at stud purely for use on their own queens.
The breeder may wish to:
going out to stud to help protect the entire cat household
access to a particular bloodline
the cat to sire one or two litters before being neutered
cats will usually require their own accommodation as active
males have a natural instinct to spray their territory with
extremely strong smelling urine. As the stud may spend his
entire life in the accommodation provided, it must be made
as pleasant, interesting and comfortable as possible.
accommodation varies from a converted room in the owner's
house to purpose-built stud quarters in the garden. Each design
must suit the individual circumstances but must provide adequate
facilities. If an existing room or outbuilding is being converted,
the size and site are fixed but the internal design can be
altered. If a stud house is being built it should be planned
in advance to be as near the ideal as possible. The accommodation
must be designed to provide safety from injury and escape,
and the entire premises must be constructed to facilitate
majority of cats at public stud are kept in their own separate
stud house in the owner's garden.
stud house should be sited:
it is easy for you to observe. The cat will be happier
if he can see you and converse with you when you are working
in the house or garden.
easy access; you will have to visit the stud at all hours
and in any weather.
gain maximum benefit from the sun, but be shaded at the
height of the summer and have protection from the prevailing
with windows facing south-east or south-west; the view
from them should be as interesting as possible to help
relieve the boredom when the stud is alone.
enough from other cat accommodation to be isolated; if
a visiting queen introduces infection, this infection
must be confined to the stud and not transmitted to your
stud house should:
connected to the main electricity supply as this provides
the best and safest form of lighting and heating.
well lit. Matings will often take place in the evening
and the stud and visiting queens must be checked last
thing at night. If the lighting is inadequate it will
not only be difficult to supervise the cats, but impossible
to clean the quarters properly. The run should also be
lit and it is helpful too if the pathway is lit to make
visiting at night easier and safer.
kept at a thermostatically controlled temperature, using
safe electric heaters placed so the cats cannot injure
themselves. The temperature will depend on the breed:
Longhairs and British usually require a lower overall
temperature but some like a warm spot in which to bask
occasionally; Orientals and Siamese, however, usually
prefer a higher ambient temperature, again with somewhere
to bask. However, all cats are individuals and the temperature
should be adjusted to suit their preferences and those
of the visiting queens. All electric fittings must be
inspected regularly to ensure that they are safe and not
a fire hazard.
good ventilation to minimise the risk of disease and to
reduce stud odour. Fixed ventilators or extractor fans
may be used; the windows may be made to open by varied
amounts depending on the weather.
be connected to a water supply to facilitate cleaning.
good drainage for efficient cleaning of the outside run
without soiling the surrounding ground.
stud house should be at least 7' x 5' and must be high enough
for people to walk in comfortably. However, a larger house
is desirable in order to provide a comfortable exercise area
indoors as well as out, but it must be remembered that the
bigger the house, the higher the heating bills!
cat-house manufacturers specialise in the planning, construction
and fitting of cat and stud accommodation. If you wish to
design and build the accommodation yourself, you will find
full details of design, construction and materials in the
FAB Boarding Cattery Manual.
cat in an outdoor stud house must have a run in which to take
exercise and view the outside world; the size will depend
on the space available but it must give ample room for the
stud to exercise.
possible, plant Buddleias near to the stud run so that the
stud can watch the butterflies they attract; pruning the bushes
at different times will help to spread the flowering season.
Flowering climbers such as Clematis can be planted to climb
over the run, but avoid vigorous climbers as they may pull
the structure down.
stud house should have:
non-slip floor or be provided with a heavy mat so that
the stud has a firm foothold when mating.
of varying heights, ladders and scratching posts in both
the stud house and the run, to provide interest and exercise.
The shelves in the stud house must be wide enough for
the stud to jump on to to get away from the queen after
mating, with rounded corners to prevent injury, and be
at a suitable height.
quarters for a visiting queen, big enough to provide a
sleeping area and space for litter tray and feeding dishes
as well as room to stretch; the queen should be able to
see and smell the stud, but there should be some solid
wall for her to hide behind if she wishes. A 3' high pen
built within the stud house will provide adequate accommodation
for a short stay and the pen roof will provide an extra
shelf. A large house may be sub-divided to give a full
height compartment if preferred whereas if a stud has
few outside queens a folding kitten pen will be adequate.
you will need to spend much time with the stud, a comfortable
chair in the stud house is very useful but, as it will almost
certainly be sprayed on, it must be easy to clean and disinfect.
Many stud owners also install a radio, or even a TV for themselves
and for the stud, but this must be positioned out of spraying
reach. An intercom can be very useful so that the stud owner
can hear and talk to the stud. Video cameras can also be used
to keep watch on the stud; these are particularly useful for
those studs who refuse to mate their queens while being watched.
Again, all fittings must be out of spraying reach.
safety of the stud and visiting queens from disease, injury
or escape is of prime importance. If the garden is visited
by neighbouring cats, it is advisable to install a second
fence around the stud's run, with at least a 60cm gap between
the two, to minimise the risk of disease spread from these
cats to the stud, or to cover the outside of the run with
solid transparent plastic up to about 4'. It is also necessary
to prevent visiting cats from getting access to the roof of
the run: quite apart from the disease risk, their presence
will often annoy a stud cat.
is essential to provide an escape run through which the stud
house is entered, to make certain that neither stud or queen
can slip through and escape when you enter.
stud house, queen's quarters and run must all be inspected
regularly; there must be no sharp corners, protruding nails
or splinters on which the cats could injure themselves. It
is equally important to check that all hinges, bolts, hooks
or other closures are secure and in good condition, that all
woodwork is sound and that all wire is in good condition and
firmly fastened in place. Repairs must never be put off; a
door or window that can come open in a high wind may allow
a cat to escape into the run and a terrified cat can force
apart a weak spot in the wire and escape. A visiting queen,
especially, may then be impossible to catch.
stud house and queen's pen must be easy to clean and disinfect;
any torn flooring or coving must be replaced immediately.
Separate cleaning equipment should be used to reduce the risk
of disease spread; a hand-held vacuum cleaner is useful to
remove loose hairs and cat litter from shelves before disinfection.
Many studs like to mark their territory liberally: with such
studs is it often more practical to keep the house tidy and
basically clean every day, restricting the full scrubbing
and disinfecting to once a week, as well as when a visiting
queen is expected and immediately after she has left. The
stud will then spray his favourite spots until he is happy
with the results.
run should also be easy to clean and disinfect, especially
if visiting queens have access to it. A grass run with bushes,
although more interesting for the stud, should only be used
if he has no visiting queens.
equipment must be easy to clean; disposable dishes and litter
trays may be preferred, especially for visiting queens. If
visiting queens are accepted, all items from the stud house
should be cleaned separately from items used by other cats
in order to minimise potential spread of disease. The stud's
bed must be easy to wash, but many studs are not content until
they have marked their bedding with urine and some appear
to prefer the bed saturated; when presented with a clean one
they will spray it liberally until they are satisfied and
then settle down happily in the middle of the stinking soggy
is essential that the queen has a clean bed and, if the stud
house itself is well heated, or overhead heating is provided,
it is often better to use a cardboard box which can be discarded
when the queen leaves; if a heated bed is used it must be
easy to clean and disinfect. The queen may be given the blanket
from her travelling box so that she has something familiar
in her strange surroundings.
stud must be in perfect health and if there is any doubt about
this, all visiting queens must be refused; a cat which is
slightly off colour may become sick while the visiting queen
is present. A mild conjunctivitis may be passed on to the
queen or may prove to be the first sign of a respiratory infection.
A slight loose motion may be purely dietary but may turn out
to be an enteric infection. The stud must also be wormed regularly
and must, of course, be free of fleas, ear mites and ringworm.
should be vaccinated regularly against feline infectious enteritis,
(FIE or panleucopenia), respiratory virus infections and feline
leukaemia (FeLV). It is also possible to vaccinate him against
Chlamydophila disease. He should also be blood tested regularly
for feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
His certificates should be available for inspection by the
queens should also be vaccinated up-to-date against FIE and
respiratory viruses; some stud owners also require vaccinations
against FeLV, but this should not be considered a substitute
for testing. All boosters should have been done at least a
week before the queen goes to stud, to minimise the stress
and to ensure good protection, but some stud owners insist
on a longer period. Most stud owners insists that visiting
queens are blood tested for FeLV and FIV within the 24 hours
before visiting the stud but these requirements vary; some
accept tests up to a week before the visit, especially in
areas where tests are more difficult to obtain.
of visiting queens should always be told in advance what vaccinations
and tests are required and should also be warned that the
queen cannot be accepted unless she is in perfect health.
Before being allowed near the stud's quarters, the visiting
queen must first be examined thoroughly and all of her vaccination
and test certificates should be checked. She should have clean
ears, eyes, nose and rear end, and a clean coat with no sign
of fleas, scabs or bald patches. If you have any doubts about
her health you should refuse her, explaining that this is
for the benefit of both stud and queen.
any of your cats have had any infectious disease within the
past month it is most unwise to accept any visiting queens,
since some infection could be lingering and could be transmitted
to the visitor, despite all efforts at isolation. Similarly,
if the owner of the queen has had any infection in her cats
within that period, the queen should be refused. Explain that
a queen going to stud is under stress and that such stress
could be enough to reveal a latent infection.
addition to the vaccination and test certificates, a stud
owner should also inspect the pedigree and registration papers
of all visiting queens. These should show that the queen is
registered on the Active register or not endorsed 'not for
breeding', that her breeding conforms to the Registration
Policy for her breed and that she is owned by the person who
is bringing her to stud.
discrepancies in the paperwork should be discussed thoroughly
with the queen's owner, and preferably confirmed in writing,
before the queen is accepted for mating. A pet owner may wish
to breed from a cat which has not been sold for breeding,
purely to keep a kitten and give the rest of the litter to
friends, but they should be made aware that the cat could
have been placed on the Non-Active Register for very good
reasons, such as genetic abnormalities in the litter-mates.
A stud owner should, therefore, not accept such a queen for
details of the queen should be written down as these will
be required for the mating certificate. It is also advisable
to keep a copy of the queen's pedigree: this will assist the
stud owner to advise the queen's owner what colours and patterns
of kittens may be expected.
terms and conditions attached to the mating must also be agreed
in writing before the queen is accepted. The queen's owner
must be told the stud fee for the mating and made aware that
this does not guarantee that kittens will be produced, although
most stud owners will offer a free return mating if no kittens
the queen is collected, her owner must be given a properly
completed mating certificate and a copy of the stud's pedigree
with all registration numbers and breed numbers.
that all is in order, the queen will be taken to the unit
in her container. Never carry a queen in your arms and never
permit the owner to do so. If the owner does not take it home,
the queen's container should be kept away from the stud and
from your other cats.
stud should be restrained or shut out into his run while the
queen is secured in her pen. Settling in times vary greatly;
a maiden queen may not stir from her bed for up to eight hours,
while an experienced one may do her best to seduce the stud
within a few minutes. Some maiden queens may go off call for
several days, especially if they are nervous. Great care is
necessary in all instances, and normal practice is to mate
a maiden queen with an experienced stud, or a mature and experienced
queen with a young stud. It is not advisable to put two inexperienced
the queen has ventured to the dividing wire and begins 'crooning'
to the stud and he is making little 'chirruping' sounds back,
the stud owner should open the pen door so that the queen
can join him in his quarters, or he join her in hers. An experienced
stud will watch the queen carefully and usually wait for her
to make the first approaches; should this be her first mating
she will probably want to sniff around the stud's quarters
before showing much interest in him. Having satisfied herself
that all is well, she will then allow him to approach her.
is essential for the stud owner to remain in attendance during
mating as, even with a pair of experienced cats, foreplay,
mating and separation can at times be quite violent. One of
the reasons why the height and siting of the shelves is of
utmost importance is because a queen after mating will turn
and scratch the stud, so he must be able to jump up and get
away from her. Following a successful mating, the queen may
be returned to her unit - but only after she has passed the
voluptuous rolling over stage that follows mating. To handle
her too soon is to risk a nasty bite or scratch. The stud
owner must keep complete records of all matings.
some stud owners will place a queen directly into a stud house,
with no separate queen's quarters, this poses a risk to both
queen and stud. A queen who is not ready to mate may attack
the stud and cause serious damage before the cats can be separated
- often at risk of severe injury to the stud owner. A stud
who is rebuffed by a queen or simply does not fancy her may
attack her instead of trying to mate her. As it is a stud
owner's responsibility to minimise the risk of damage to both
the stud cat and to visiting queens, separate queen's quarters
should always be provided.
there is no definite rule, most owners would expect to keep
the queen at stud for three or four days. Whatever the period,
the need for several consecutive matings is very important
to ensure ovulation and conception. Once there have been at
least three supervised matings, some stud owners will allow
the stud and queen to run together, mating at will; although
this will give the optimum chance of conception, whether or
not it is permitted will depend on the temperament of the
queen and stud and the wishes of both owners, since there
is obviously a greater risk of damage to both cats. A few
studs will refuse to mate queens while they are being watched;
the stud owner can sometimes watch from a distance if there
is sufficient window space, can listen from outside or even
over an intercom, or can even watch via a video camera, but
the queen's owner must be warned in advance that the matings
will not be supervised.
a queen has had to travel a considerable distance, some stud
owners may board her until it is clear that she is pregnant,
provided that they have a spare house and run in which to
keep her. Much depends on the temperament of the queen - a
nervous cat may become more so if away from her owner for
too long. Many queens are reluctant to eat when they first
go to stud; you should ensure that they are offered the food
that they are used to, which may not be what you keep for
your own cats, but if this fails, entice them with delicacies.
Every cat is different and must be treated accordingly. Successful
handling of cats is an acquired art so that keeping a stud
should not be embarked on without full knowledge of all it
at private stud
cat who does not have visiting queens may not require such
elaborate stud quarters. Indeed, if he is a youngster who
is only being kept entire long enough to sire one or two litters,
he may be able to live indoors as a pet with the other cats,
although there is a risk that he may well mate a queen other
than his intended spouse: cats are not averse to incest! Most
studs do start to spray when they become adult and then require
their own quarters, whether indoors or outside in a stud house,
but a very few never learn this habit and may live indoors
happily as part of the family.
studs who live outside are happier with feline company and
live with a neuter except when they are actually mating a
queen. Even cats which are at public stud may have a neuter
for company if they do not have many visiting queens, but
the companion must be removed to a separate house when a visitor
keeping a stud you must consider what you will do when he
is no longer required at stud.
which are only kept at stud for a short period will usually
settle happily in the household as pets after they have been
neutered, especially if they have never had to live in their
own separate quarters. However, studs who have lived in their
own stud house for a while can become very territorial and
some, despite being neutered, will never settle back into
the household. If they are fairly young, some of these will
settle if they are rehomed where there are no other cats,
but some older studs may never be completely happy if they
are removed from the premises in which they feel secure.
it is often necessary to find a replacement stud before the
original stud dies of old age, this can mean an increasing
number of stud houses as time goes by.