|Kyrrekatt Kistrand as a baby - he was the first NFC stud cat we had, and an absolute darling.|
He also managed to kill the 'indestructible' aspidistra plant that he's sitting on in the picture.
My personal view is always that the health and happiness of the individual cats is even more important than the welfare of the breed, and very much more vital than the satisfaction of the relevant humans (though these things are often linked). So if there is a really super stud cat who isn’t happy and thriving in his lifestyle, he should be neutered in order to lead life as a happy pet rather than kept entire for the convenience of his owners. What one person considers a satisfactory life for a cat may be considered cruelty by others, of course. In fact I sometimes think that there are as many ways of keeping cats as there are breeders. In some countries studs are kept in isolation in small indoor cages, which would be considered unacceptable by most animal-lovers and certainly by the cats themselves. At the other extreme, some kind owners have sacrificed their own comfort in order to give their cats the best possible life; I have been to homes where the males are allowed to live as part of the family, indoors, but with access to a safe outside enclosure when they want. These homes usually smell overwhelmingly of stud cat to the point where a visitor would reel back at the fumes; for very few studs do not spray and even if they never deviate from the litter tray, the reek of their urine is incredibly strong. If someone could invent a pleasant perfume with as much staying-power as tomcat spray, their fortune would be made! Some novice stud owners have been heard to say “my boy doesn’t spray” but very often this is when the stud is very young – spraying sometimes begins as late as 18months of age. Of course, there do exist a few entire males who are compatible with a home life but then the owner has to be extremely careful that there are no mis-matings; keeping a female and male cat together will almost certainly result in unintentional kittens, for the male will know that the female is on heat before any human could guess, and if there is a stud right there, the queen doesn’t even need to waste energy in calling aloud if she doesn’t want to.
In the UK I have seen many stud cats because I started breeding a quarter of a century ago (eek!) and for many of my litters, used outside studs. (I only got my own boys once I had the time, space and number of mates they deserved. It isn’t kind to buy a male if you have only one or two females – they will inevitably become frustrated if they do not have a large enough harem.) So I have seen good and bad conditions for numerous boys, and have tried to work out a life that I feel is kind to my own studs. Often people do not intend to be cruel, but are simply unaware of their cats’ needs. Apart from the basics of food and shelter, Forest Cats need space and company. I think if a cat is kept in a “run” it should literally be able to run; a few paces in either direction is simply not enough, and they should have trees or wooden shelves to climb and scratch as well as human and feline company on a frequent basis. Even from a selfish point of view, it makes sense to ensure the contentment of your stud; a frustrated male cat can become irritable (and dangerous); noisy; lose weight; and even refuse to “perform”.
|International Champion Tilia Nova's Ingjalf, another magnificent stud we were kindly lent by Carli of Gyldenloeve. Ingjalf has his own post in the September 2011 section of this blog. He was one of my favourite cats, ever.|
|Father, Quink, likes to help bring up his kittens and teach them how to be Forest Cats|
|Valentine and Quink chilling out in each other's company|
|Champion Magnus More og Romsdal, one of our previous NFC studs caring for one of his kittens. Magnus was a big gentle blue ticked tabby boy we imported from the Netherlands.|
|Dansbjerg's Pelle Halelos, whom we imported from Denmark for his lovely type, size, health and temperament. Here he is snuggling up with his friend Champion Ragna More og Romsdal.|