Through this article, I would like to explain you why and how I came to create this cattery where the well-being of my cats is really at the heart of my concerns. I would like to change mentalities, at least I would like to make people ask themselves the right questions. Yes, it is possible to raise and love your animals!
We have all seen or heard about "factory" farms, where animals are treated like common objects without the least respect. These factories, unfortunately, are much more common than we can imagine. Whether in France or in other European countries, these "cheap" breedings are the ones that supply our pet shops and pet shows with various animals. Puppies or kittens from these "breeding farms" spend hours crammed into vans to cross borders illegally and reach the pretty windows of your favorite pet shops. They have grown up in cages filled with excrement and have never been petted or cared for. They often arrive before the age of 2 months, sick, with parasites and falsified papers but no matter, they will please happy people thinking of buying a puppy from a local breeding.
I invite you to research these "horror farms", and if you are not afraid, look at the pictures, dare to do it, do not look away!
French law too lax with breeders
Without falling into this extreme (common though), we just have to open our eyes and look at the farms around us. A lot of farms practice intensive breeding to be profitable. The principle is simple, a maximum of animals in a minimum of space with a minimum of care. But in the end, even though we obviously cannot tolerate this distressing behavior, who is more to blame? The breeders who have no love and consideration for their animals, the families who choose to adopt there to save a little money (because yes, a purebred animal is expensive) and who therefore encourage this immoral practice, or our government which authorizes and legalizes these horrors? I am attaching below an excerpt from the law concerning French cat breeding and I invite you to take a good look at the minimum legal surface area.
The minimum space requirement for housing cats is 2 square meters per cat. All or part of this housing space is sheltered from the weather and sun. It may be reduced for stays in isolation facilities while the sick animal is being treated.Ministry of Agriculture,
The floor of the housing is solid and continuous. The floor of the housing space must be designed and maintained so as not to be a source of nuisance, health risk and to guarantee the conditions of well-being of the cats.
The housing space has a sufficient number of platforms at different levels to provide each cat with a resting and observation area and a possibility to stay away from other cats. The surface of the platforms allowing the bedding is counted in the 2 m² per cat.
Unweaned kittens can be housed on this minimum area with their mother.
of the agri-food and forestry sector
Without anthropomorphism, how can we think that a cat needs only 2 m² to be happy? For information, dog breeding is not much better since each animal needs only 5 m² according to the law. I am outraged to read this kind of articles, and obviously I think also of all the other animal species which undergo the cruelty of the human being (all the animals of farm in particular where there the height of the horror exceeds any understanding).
Every problem has a solution
We, the breeders, are subject to laws like everyone else and even if some don't mind breaking them, many still stay within this legal framework. If only the laws on animal welfare were revised, the living conditions of our dear companions would be much more bearable. Why not revise these texts and integrate a little humanity between their lines. Impose much more pleasant living conditions, increase the surface area per animal, limit the number of litters for females, reduce the number of animals kept per farm, oblige breeders to ensure a warm retirement for their animals... There is so much to say and to do that the task seems almost impossible to achieve and yet it is more than necessary.
We are currently going through a special period and I see and hear people complaining about being confined (with all the comfort we have today), not being able to go out as they please or not being able to go on vacation. I just ask you to put yourself in the shoes of this cat who will spend her life in 2m² and will do litter after litter with only the walls or the bars of her cage for horizon. Think of all those animals who will spend their lives locked up because we, the "superior beings", have decided so.
An animal, whatever it is, is not made to live as a prisoner. They have the right to respect, love and compassion, just like we do. I am sure we all have a happy memory with an animal. They are innocent and non-judgmental, they don't impose their rules and live in the moment.
After having studied in the livestock industry (more than two years) I can assure you that I have seen things that have marked me for life. Horrors such as we can't imagine. People who claim to love their animals but who do not hesitate to do unspeakable things to them because they are no longer profitable. I have cried, countless times. I was so disgusted and hurt that after graduation I closed that chapter of my life thinking I would never have to face it again.
But the love of animals is a virus that, once caught, can never be cured. I have always been accompanied by balls of hair (big or small, from the little hamster to the horse), my life without them is inconceivable, they bring me this little extra something that I can't explain. Like many I think, I have picked up cats left and right, rescued from a neighboring unwanted litter, picked up on the side of the road. I spent many wonderful years with them, I think in particular of Titi, Tino, Vortex, Kiara... They shaped year after year my love for the felines, these small so marvelous beings.
My first pedigree cat
And then one day, a few years later, my spouse (whom I thank by the way) offered me a pedigree cat, it was the first time for me. I fell in love with the British cat that I didn't know yet but whose aspect of big teddy bear attracted me strongly. So we drove a few hours to go to a kennel found on the net. When we arrived, our enthusiasm was put to the test. Enclosures, cages, children's umbrella beds with female dogs and their litters inside, rodent cages with female cats and their kittens. I won't tell you how many, I don't know. An unbearable smell, an old dark building and a mess everywhere. The dogs were howling at us, at least two different breeds, the cats were hiding. The breeder, on the phone when we arrived, asked us to go behind a door in the back and "choose our kitten". We don't know how to react, it's very surprising but we go. Once behind the door in question, we thought it was a hidden camera. We were in a bathroom with a dozen kittens of different ages, dirty litter boxes, a terrible smell and a very small window allowing natural light. The kittens were frightened and it was difficult for us to approach one of them, they were between 3 and 5 months old. After several long minutes the breeder joined us and seeing that we did not seem "excited", she proposed us to follow her to see younger kittens. We followed her under the attic. What a sadness, what a feeling of guilt that invaded us. Four small cages of 80cm by 150cm, glassed, without opening. In each one of them a mother and her babies aged about two months. Babies who were going to leave their mother in a few days. We couldn't bring ourselves to adopt so young and went back downstairs to the famous bathroom. What to do? To leave these kittens in these conditions or to decide to "save" one of them but at the same time to encourage this breeder in her way.
You will have understood, we finally decided to take one, you know it, it is our Moka. We are not especially proud but today we are happy to have this little boy at our side. The first days at home were complicated, Moka He was hiding, we could not approach him, it lasted a good week before he understood that we were his family. Another sad vision of the breeding, it is not that which reconciled me with this "trade" which had however made me dream when I was young.
Doing things differently for animal welfare
The following year we had the opportunity to buy a house with plenty of land for our horses. I was employed in the financial sector at that time and far from me the idea to start breeding. Then one day, with the arrival of our second child, the idea of a change of life appeared on the horizon. This house allowed us to do it, I had the skills to do it and more than anything else, I had this unconditional love for these balls of hair. One thing leading to another, the idea germinated and blossomed in our heads. Leaving my job was psychologically complicated but with the help of my spouse and his support I did it.
Following two other disappointments concerning the breeding of Nala and PearlThe motivation and the desire to make things happen were stronger than the rest. It is very complicated to start breeding, it is a world of hypocrisy and jealousy. I am happy today to be able to count on a few breeders who have become friends and who see things the same way I do. Sincere breeders who love their cats above all. Breeding is, in my opinion, a job that cannot be done without the love of our animals.
The house where cats are kings
Today I have 8 cats at home, including Moka who is neutered, and they live with us like any other pet cat. We have almost 300 m² and our doors are always open. They sleep with us and go wherever they want. The only constraint is during the girls' heat when they are in our night area during the day and in our living room/kitchen area at night to avoid accidents. All my cats without exception go outside, we are lucky to have 22 hectares far from any danger. Some people ask me if I am not afraid that something will happen to them "considering the price they cost"... You should know that my cats have no idea what they "cost", and that before being British, they are cats. They are felines who love to enjoy the outdoors, feel the wind, chase butterflies, climb trees. If we lived in a housing estate I would not let them go outside for fear of cars, theft and other things, but it's because we bought this house and this land that I started this adventure... Be careful, I don't blame those who don't put their cats outside, I know that sometimes it's very complicated or even impossible when you live in town. I made this choice, like it or not, and I sincerely think that my cats are happy.
It is true that buying a kitten from a breeder who focuses on the quality of life, health, well-being and happiness of his cats is more expensive than buying a kitten from a "factory" breeding. I personally think that it is better to save a few extra months and take the time to choose a breeder who respects and loves his animals. You will see the difference on your kitten, it will be well in its paws, socialized and deeply attached to the human being. Moreover, a serious breeder will provide you with health tests of its adults, advice and a permanent listening for the continuation. You will have guarantees and an experienced person in front of you, not a simple carpet salesman.
If everyone thought about animal welfare and refused to encourage these farms, they would not exist for long: no customers, no merchants.
Animals bring us so much happiness, it is time to return the favor, we have the possibilities, it is up to us to change our behavior. Mentalities must change, our animals suffer, between those who will live locked up all their life to reproduce, those who will be abandoned at the first departure in vacations, those who will never know the softness of a caress...
I am hopeful that things will improve, and that one day we will be able to talk about these horrors in the past tense.