claire jaggers, three wishes cattery
I have always had a great love for animals, especially cats. All throughout my childhood I was always adopting stray cats, and trying to save abandoned kittens. I love how cats seem to know how you feel and their very presence is just therapeutic to the soul. I have always been impressed by their intelligence and independence.
An animal lover at heart, when I decided to become an at home mother to my four children, I knew I wanted to be a hobby breeder. At one point in my life I dreamed of owning beautiful cats and today I am so happy to say that I am a breeder of them.
Over time, my cattery has evolved from only Himalayans, to Persians also, and now to mostly only Exotics. I went by Clover Paws cattery for over 3 years, but when I decided to switch to Exotics, I felt like I was ready for a change and so the cattery was renamed Three Wishes. I adore Exotics for their loving personalities which are nearly the same as Persians, and for their ease of grooming. Exotics to me, are like the Cadillac of Persians. They offer all of the wonderful looks and Personality of Persians, without so much work grooming.
My cats are my "career". Maybe not in the financial sense but it's been said that the difference between a job and a career is doing something you love. Having a cattery can be 24/7 work at times and very expensive. Even when I am not at home, I often find myself thinking about my cats and things I'd like to do to improve my program. I have put hours and hours into research trying to soak in all of the information I can. I have never found it boring, not even for a moment.
There have been a lot of ups and downs along the road. I could make this one paragraph into a book but I will try to keep it short. Many breeders will only tell you about the positive aspects of breeding, and have you believe they produce nothing but kittens made of gold. An honest breeder will tell you that there are just as many failures as there are triumphs. Not all breeding cats prove successful, not all kittens survive, sometimes kittens can get sick, and breeders experience the same issues as any pet owner but on an even larger scale. Breeding is not only full of joy, but also heartache. For me, the most difficult part of being a breeder is having to re-home adults when they are retired from breeding. I can't help but worry about how they will do in their new home, and after having them and caring for them over an extended time period it can be hard to let go.
I do not run a large show cattery. I do show my cats some, but on a small scale. I breed for the CFA show standard and I feel that attending some shows helps me keep in mind exactly what the standard is. Showing can be fun, but I don't like to go overboard with it. I have seen some show breeders become so competitive that their attitude towards others becomes very poor, especially towards those who choose not to show or those who are new and inexperienced. I simply won't allow myself to become like that. Showing and breeding should be fun and that's the way I choose to keep it for myself.
I have met many other breeders since I began my cattery. Some of them were wonderful role models. I strive to be like those breeders that I have admired, combining my favorite qualities from each of them. Others were unfortunately not as wonderful and have taught me what NOT to do. I try my best to benefit from lifes lessons. I'm not perfect but I always strive to be the best that I am capable of.
One quality about myself that I want to express is my honesty. I know that in this day and age many people are afraid of internet sales, and for good reason! Individuals who scam or lie do exist! I myself have had it happen to me in my quest for adding new breeders to my program. I'm not perfect, but I strive to be the kind of breeder that I am looking for when I purchase a new kitten. I stand behind my word. Never be afraid to ask me any question! I treat all of my new kitten owners fairly and with a good, professional attitude.
I don't get rich breeding cats. More often than not, I spend what I make, trying to improve my cattery. I breed because I adore the Exotic breed and I am determined to improve breed type in the colors of cats I have chosen. But without kitten sales, I would not be able to afford this hobby. It's really is more of a hobby then it is a business. It's hard for people to comprehend all of the work and expenses involved. There are numerous costs, and never-ending labor. I have thousands invested into my program. I price my kittens very fairly for the quality I have. Many of my breeding cats cost me well over what my own prices are . I do this because I enjoy it. Being a breeder fills up my time as an at home mother and housewife, and I truly enjoy the company of my cats and kittens. I love seeing someones face light up when they finally get to take their new kitten home.
I consider my husband, Charlie, and my children to be my silent business partners. Much of the socialization my kittens receive comes from my large, loving family, and my husband is right there by my side every step of the way, helping me and supporting me.
My husband, Charlie, and I