Breeding Abyssinians
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ruddy kittenAbyssinians have a reputation for having small litters and predominantly male kittens. An average litter size is 3-4 kittens. Of course there are always exceptions. We have had a couple of litters of 7 over the years, and we even heard of a litter of 10 Abyssinian kittens born a few years ago to a U.S. breeder!!

If you are just starting out and think you might like to breed Abyssinians you need to approach it as a hobby. This pastime is not always as profitable as it may appear on the surface.

To start a breeding program with a Ruddicat Abyssinian you need to purchase an open female that is a good representation of the breed and exhibits no disqualifying faults per the TICA standard for the Abyssinian breed. Currently a breeding quality female Ruddicat Abyssinian kitten starts at $1500 Canadian and could be more depending on her age or show record or conformation.

Your breeding female Aby kitten would be ready to breed when she is between 11 and 14 months old. Abyssinians do not normally come into heat as young or as often as domestic cats, but by this age the average female will have had about 2-3 heat cycles. You can tell a cat is in heat, or coming into heat, when they start to get quite vocal. The girls will also spend more time daydreaming and calling out the windows or trying to get out the doors, so be careful!! Once she is in heat your Abyssinian will position herself in a crouch on the floor as if she is presenting herself to a male cat to be bred. On the average this cycle lasts about 3-5 days. Sometimes the female may not come into a heat cycle again for a couple of months but sometimes they will come right back into heat the next week! As your female ages her heat cycles will become more intense and more frequent. When your Abyssinian is in heat she may not eat as much and some even vomit occasionally. There may be a slight clear discharge from her vaginal area. The females can become very clever at ways to get out of your house and meet the “man of their dreams”. They do not care if they are bred by an Abyssinian, so it cannot be stressed enough how careful you must be with any possible escape routes!

When your Abyssinian female is ready to be bred you will need to transport her to a suitable stud male Abyssinian. Traditionally the female always travels to the male. When choosing a male you need to pick out a mate with a good pedigree and with features that will compliment your female. You can not always just breed to the Abyssinian male located closest to you. We can always help you with this decision when the time comes. For a first time queen, (a female breeding cat), it is best to find a male for her that has been bred, or “proven” with other cats. We are always happy to help you locate a suitable male for your queen or you can enjoy researching this yourself and in the process learn more about the breeding process and develop contacts with other breeders in the same “hobby” as yourself! Your queen will usually stay with the male for 1-3 weeks for her first breeding. Subsequent breedings do not usually take as long as she will be more receptive.

The cost of a stud service varies depending on the show record and breeding record of the male. Some stud owners will take a kitten back in exchange for stud service; others will charge you close to the price of a pet kitten for the service. It is up to the owners of the Abyssinian stud what they want to charge for his services and some owners don’t even offer stud services to outside females, they just keep their stud for their own cattery use. This is called a closed cattery. Some catteries can be hesitant to introduce any outside cats into their cattery because of the risk of disease. You may be asked to get blood work done on your cat before transporting her to a cattery for this same reason.

Kittens nursingThe average gestation period for an Abyssinian queen is 63-65 days after the date she is bred. You will notice your queen getting restless and starting to look for a dark, safe, place to nest in the last week of her pregnancy. On the day she is going to deliver she will sometimes become quite vocal and not want to leave your side. She will usually stop eating a few hours previous to delivery. Some queens make a big production out of the delivery with lots of howling and digging and running around. Others quietly go off and take care of business without any help from you! Some queens need help getting kittens out of the amniotic sack and others won’t let you near them when they are delivering. We have delivered many litters and will be available to give you more information and tips when the due date approaches.

If you find you love this hobby as much as we do you may want to get a second queen and your own stud male Abyssinian at sometime in the future. To keep a stud happy you would really need to have a minimum of 2 breeding females for him. And that is really a minimum! If a male Aby is not getting bred on a regular basis he is very unhappy and cries and cries. Because the males get very pungent as they age, they are not usually kept in the main part of your home once they are over 18 months old. We keep our males in spare bedrooms and then outside in runs in the daytime in the summer. See ABOUT RUDDICAT for more details. Because they are more confined they can get really bored. For this reason it is important to keep them busy breeding or have a companion cat for them (like they do with racehorses!) Toys and climbing areas help, but another cat is the best thing to prevent boredom with a stud cat. If you are not breeding your Abyssinian male enough then you need to neuter him. A male Ruddicat Abyssinian for breeding purposes is more than a female and we sell very few of them. They start at $2000 Canadian and can be more, depending on the age and show or breeding record. Because a male can breed much more often than a female they will have more of an influence on the breed over the years. For this reason, an Abyssinian male sold for breeding must be a premium specimen. We would not sell a male for breeding purposes less than 6 months of age. At this age we can accurately evaluate the quality of the cat and feel confident that he exhibits qualities and a pedigree that will enhance the Abyssinian breed in a breeding program. See RUDDICAT SALES CONTRACT for more info on our breeding guarantee and restrictions.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is general in nature and is not intended to replace veterinary advice.