claire jaggers, three wishes
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 raise them.
For several years I raised Persians and Exotics, but have now happily moved on to raising only Ragdolls. I loved Persian and exotics, but over time began to feel that the face, nose, eye, and fur issues created by the Persian/Exotic breed standard were not fair to them, or their new owners. Many flat faced cats are cursed with a life of never ending runny eyes, snorting, sneezing, matting, and extreme heavy shedding. After discovering that Ragdolls are many times easier to groom and maintain than a flat faced cat, and have fantastic and fun personalities, I was hooked! I new that most families would have a much easier time taking care of them, therefor getting much more enjoyment from their beautiful new fur baby.
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, 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 parent 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.
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'm not going to be one of those breeders who tries to say there is no profit in raising pedigreed cats, but I don't get rich raising kittens. Some of my profits do go into my family and home but it is true that a large amount of what I make goes back into my program. I choose to raise my kittens because I love working with animals, I adore the breed that I work with, and I enjoy the challenge of improving breed type and lineage in my cats. Without sales, I would not be able to afford this hobby. It's hard for people to comprehend all that is involved. It truly is work. 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 . 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