Owning your First Stud Boy
This is a decision which should not be undertaken without considerable thought.
When you are considering buying a Stud boy there is one sure way to find out how reputable your choice of breeders are. They may be subtle in the way that they ensure that you are the right person for one of their male kittens. They will ask if they can see your queen’s paper work which is necessary for them to check the compatibility of the pedigrees. It is also a good way for them to see who has sold you your queens and where you have been to stud ( if applicable) and if you have kept any of your own breeding. This helps them to know what sort of support you have had in your early breeding days. This is also a good way for a breeder to ensure that you have enough queens for the potential stud boy that they are considering selling you. A breeder who just says that they have a boy and you can collect him with no questions asked is one to stay away from.
In general if a new breeder finds a good mentor they will help find a boy when the time is right.
Are you the right person to be the owner of a stud?
You may need to advise the owners of visiting queens and so you should have considerable knowledge of breeding, acquired from practical experience and be well informed about the Ragdoll. You must understand simple genetics in order to know what colour kittens may be expected from him and the various colour queens that may come to him and you should be aware of any faults arising in the breed so that you can advise on the suitability of a mating between your stud and any proposed visiting queen. You should also understand the registration policy for the Ragdoll along with your clubs breeding policy, otherwise there may be problems registering the kittens.
Have you sufficient time to devote to the keeping of a stud cat?
Remember that you will probably buy your stud boy as a kitten who will spend his first 6/7 months as your pet much loved and spoiled which is necessary to have a good natured well socialized boy . However, it is essential that he spends time outside BEFORE he HAS to!! There is no point in having a kitten as a stud boy live indoors with you 24/7 and then, at 6/7 months old suddenly be put outside because he will not understand this and may become introverted and extremely unhappy. He will need to spend a few hours every day outside in his stud quarters, with company, from an early age to adjust to this environment and this will help ensure that, when the time comes for him to live permanantly outside, he will be happy and secure within the confines of his pen. You will need to ask yourself if you will be able to do this .It can be heart breaking for yourself and your new boy and if you don’t feel you can or if you have any hesitation, don’t buy a stud boy.
You should try not to to let your Stud boy ‘work’ too early! Once they start they often do not want to stop!! This ii itself can stunt their growth so it is wise to let them reach at least a year old before introducing a Queen for the first time. It is always wise to mate him the first time with an older experienced Queen who will encourage him and make things easy for his first time. The worst possible thing to do is to put a maiden Queen with a Stud boy who has never entertained before. This can actually be detrimental to future experiences form them both as neither may know what is expected of them.
A stud requires separate accommodation – in view of the usual antisocial urine spraying behaviour of the majority of stud cats – he can lead a lonely life unless you are prepared to spend time keeping him company. It is not sufficient for most studs just to have company of another cat (one of your own queens or a neuter) as is borne out by the numbers that have to be neutered because of a deterioration in their temperament through frustration and loneliness.
It has been found by several rescue agencies that neutered studs can be extremely difficult to rehabilitate. These are the boys whose owners have neglected their needs for human company and may have been frustrated in their desire for queens. They then find it difficult to adjust to a human household. Do not assume that if you have a stud and it doesn’t work out it will be easy to keep him as a neutered pet. This doesn’t always follow and then what will you do?
In addition to the time spent keeping your stud cat happy and contented there is also the time to be spent in keeping the stud quarters clean and the considerable time involved with visiting queens (and their owners). If you have no experience of what is entailed have a chat with other stud owners and this should convince you that it is not just the case of ‘popping her in with him’. Far from it!
Not all queens are quiet and submissive. However docile they are in their own homes, they can change out of all recognition when confronted by a strange stud cat in unfamiliar surroundings. Many hours of patience may be needed before a satisfactory mating is obtained. What may seem a large sum for a stud fee is not easily earned.
You should have sufficient money to spend on the buying and keeping of your stud.
You will need a male kitten of excellent type when measured against the standard of points for his breed, of good temperament and with a pedigree free from hereditary faults. If you are unknown in the cat world as a breeder and exhibitor, your stud should be of such quality that you are able to show him to advantage at cat shows, to enable him to make a name for himself. It may involve a long and exhausting search before you are able to locate such a kitten and you also may need to convince the breeder that you are a suitable person to undertake the task of keeping him as a stud cat. All stud cats require a GCCF Certificate of Entirety before any kittens can be registered. Ask the breeder to obtain the Certificate before you take delivery of the kitten.
You will need suitable accommodation. A stud house may be built to your individual requirements or bought ready for assembly. It should be well insulated, well ventilated, have plenty of window space and be easy to clean. There should be a run of adequate size for exercise, made of stout timber and Twilweld netting and a safety run to provide security against escape. Always remember you are responsible not only for your own cat but also for the safety of any visiting queen. Her value to her owner will be beyond price.
A female will require separate quarters within the stud house. The queen’s apartment should be large enough to accommodate her, her bed, her litter tray and her food and water. It should provide her with seclusion but enable her to see, hear and smell the stud.
Safe heating and lighting will be required for the stud house and electricity bills in winter can be high.
Be aware that some cats are inclined to be noisy. Studs may call for queens and visiting queens may continue to call whilst they are with your stud. How close are neighbouring houses? Make sure the cats do not have access to the run at night but are inside a well insulated house or you could become extremely unpopular with your neighbours.
Your stud will need to be kept in peak condition and will require a high quality diet in order to achieve this.
Your stud must be fully vaccinated against enteritis and cat flu and the recommendations for booster doses carefully followed. He should also be tested for feline leukaemia virus and possess a recent negative certificate. Owners of visiting queens will probably want to make certain that this is the case. In return, it is your responsibility to check that all queens are tested by insisting on a certificate. Your stud needs your protection against infection.
The stud quarters will require thorough cleaning and disinfecting after the visit of each queen, well before the arrival of the next. This must be carried out conscientiously as you are responsible for the health of someone else’s pet. Never use a phenol based disinfectant as these are poisonous to cats, such products turn water milky when added to it. Household bleach is a good safe disinfectant but always let the house and run dry before replacing the stud cat.
You should have sufficient knowledge to recognise signs of any infectious or contagious problems that cats may have. If you do not check visiting queens thoroughly, you may find that your stud will end up with fleas, ear mites, ringworm, conjunctivitis or something much worse.
The number of queens demanded by studs of different breeds vary – some require an average two queens per month to keep them contented and happy. Ask yourself if there is sufficient stud work available for your boy in your area. If there is another cat of similar breeding in the vicinity who is better known, he will get the work, and kittens sired by him, and sold in the area, are unlikely to be brought to your stud. If you are unknown in the cat world as a breeder/exhibitor you will find it more difficult to attract queens to your stud and he may suffer as a result. Do not keep a stud unless your circumstances allow you to have sufficient queens available of your own, in the event of others deciding not to use him.
If after this you finally decide to keep a stud, there are various publications and leaflets available on stud houses and stud work. A word with your breed club, local cat club and local stud owners should assist you. Learn as much as you can before embarking on the venture.
You will need considerable money, time and know-how if you are to be a successful stud owner.
NB: Please think twice about purchasing a Red Series Ragdoll Stud (Red/Cream Males) until you understand the genetics of the Red series.