I thought it was important to put up something for those who ask us for stud to read.
Careful consideration is taken to have a NEW cat or kitten which we intend to purchase tested before it leaves the premises of the breeder and again upon arrival. It is only rarely we will accept a cat in which hasn't been tested before it arrived, which we then test.
Testing is wonderful and horrible all at the same time. Why do I say that?
Sometimes you can bring in the most beautiful cats to your cattery which look perfectly fit and healthy and they only display the symptoms of their internal issues when they are stressed. Basically, even if you test your cat before it leaves, it could show positive when tested on arrival due to stress triggering the immune system level to drop, allowing the virus to be (in simple terms) allowed to develop and attack.
The times of stress in a cat usually involve either:
C: Settling into a new home/ environment,
If you have had a cat tested before it leaves for a full upper respiratory panel including Calicivirus, Chlamydia, Mycoplasma and Herpes, along with a faecal PCR (Poo Sample), then this gives a full range of results of the status of the cat in a normal state i.e. non-stressed. The cost of these tests are £225 per cat for us.
Upon arrival, the cat would then require to be tested ideally immediately and AGAIN about 2 - 3 weeks later (with results taking 10 - 14 days to come back) to ensure any infections had adequate incubation time to be displayed on a PCR test result. This way the cat has been tested 3 times and had a quarantine period of at least one month at our premises before being fully admitted i.e. a stud being put with a queen.
If we have a new Queen, then our policy is that we will allow her at least 2 months of settling in time, before considering putting her with another cat to live with. The 2 months is not inclusive of the quarantine period as there is a specific pen to cover the quarantine period and we only have one (or two if from the same place) at the one time in this area.
Why would we spend £££ per cat on testing before having them fully integrated?
Most Upper Respiratory Infections spread so easily among catteries as they can be spread from clothing, shoes, gloves, door handles and even the air.
This is why perspex is used in the event that the tests have missed something which hasn't been shed at the time of testing so that if anything does ever come up it will be contained to a pen. (Touch Wood).
So if your cat was in heat and you brought her to us, you would've spent around £225 x 3 sets = £675. And this is before your stud fee was charged. We would also retest our stud and show you a clear panel but this would be included in the fee.
Fee-wise - what would we need to charge for this to be worth it?
The normal fee for stud in the UK is £500. If we deduct £225 from this it's not really worth all the hassle...
Some cats have intermittent shedding of viruses so it cannot even be detected with tests unless you repeat weekly - I never want to have to go through the cost of that so I don't want to put my cats at risk.
Your cat would have to clear the 3 months quarantine procedure so we would need to then wait for the appropriate heat period to have her mated thereafter. Housing someone elses cat for 3 months plus however long a hear-period takes to appear can be very costly when it's a heated pen, food water, wastage etc. So now realistically we're into the £850+ fee for stud by the time the testing is done too.
£675 testing + £850 stud fee = £1,525 cost outlay to you.
Oh, and have you got an HCM scan certificate to show us?
By this point most have ran a mile. When we mention HCM scans they don't want to know!
READ ABOUT HCM HERE.
We will not allow any of our boys to mate an untested Queen inclusive of HCM too. Our HCM tests cost £135 per cat, so if you haven't done it already then include this into your cost.
Now you're at £1,660 and you know that Savannah Studs can be purchased between £1,500 and £4,000, right? You can own your own tested and safe male for the same cost it would likely be to stud here. Always ask for the test certificates for HCM and PCR tests before you bring a male into your cattery. You can have a happy female more likely to be mated because she is at home and putting her in a males pen on your own premises will not cause any high levels of stress. It is always worth noting that any mating process is stressful for any cat as they are highly hormonal during that period so it is not normal behaviour for them. By moving the female off-premises, it can trigger other elements of stress which can cause complications and then who will be the one to blame - the one with the Stud or the one with the Queen?
Chances are, as soon as we mention tests, people tend to run a mile and just take their cat untested to Joe Bloggs' cat untested and hope for the best. That's fine if they are happy with that - it's completely none of our business and we are only writing this to display the reasons why we don't offer stud. Call us too protective perhaps, some even call us over the top. Some breeders will tell you that you don't need to test, that you don't require an HCM Scan because it's inconclusive particularly in early gens (which is a load of rubbish as we've never had an inconclusive result even on F1's!), that HCM is not a problem in the breed so you don't need to worry (they obviously do not read about the owners who have lost cats to HCM on Savannah groups), that the disease is in all cats so you may aswell not worry about any infections...(no comment) and my all time favourite...wait for it:
"But I KNOW my cats are fine. IF there was anything wrong with them I'd be able to see it. I've never had any problems so I KNOW they are fine and don't need to test them."
Yep. I have even discussed testing before with a breeder which claimed the above. Wow, really? Microscopic Vision. I have heard it all now! You cannot KNOW simply by looking at your cats. The only way to truly know is perform a full panel of PCR's.
As long as we're clean and healthy and continue to produce clean and healthy cats then that's all that matters here. I'm sorry we can't help you out but hopefully potentially saved your cat or whole cattery from being put at risk by you reading this.
NOTE: We don't offer stud to general public but do work with Zoos and private owners on the above stud plan when working to preserve any at risk species with some of our other wild cats, where the husbandry we provide is also reflected in their own facility.
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All about Stylisticat, written by Kayleigh McIntosh-Lowrie
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