Breeding Abyssinian Cats - Introduction

The welfare and prosperity of our purebred cats begins with a responsible and competent breeding program. I think that everyone agrees that it takes more than just two cats of same breed but opposite sex and simply putting them together. Basic knowledge and understanding about feline anatomy, physiology, behavior, nutrition, diseases, care, and genetics should be the minimum "tools" required.

Over the next couple of months a loose series of articles will be published here in order to give a better comprehension of how to breed healthy Abyssinian cats for the next couple of generations by using population genetic principles.

But first and foremost and if nothing else, stick to

The 4 Basic Simple Rules of Nature

by Dr. Agric. Per-Erik Sundgren, Swedish geneticist

Those who are looking for advanced breeding programs to correct all the genetic problems we see today are looking all in the wrong directions. They should try to understand exactly what has gone wrong and start to learn from Nature how animals can be kept viable over hundreds and thousands of years without any theoretical knowledge at all.

  1. The size of a population must be large enough to carry and preserve genetic variation. There is no way to succeed when a breeding population has less than about 100-150 breeding animals and twice the number is preferable.

  2. Only viable animals in good physical and mental condition and with all natural functions still present should be allowed to breed.

  3. In highly developed creatures the basic rule is that an individual animal should not be allowed to have more than a restricted number of progeny during its life.

  4. Matings between closely related animals should be avoided

Those are the four basic simple rules of Nature, rules which when properly applied will keep any population of animals healthy over a very long period of time. The one and only reason for the genetic disorders in our breeds of dogs and other pet animals (including cats) is that we neglect to consider the mechanisms to protect genetic variation created by natural selection during billions of years.


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updated: April 2018