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I have countless times in recent years, probably since all way back to just a few years after they released the requirement that the cats imported to Sweden need to be titer tested for rabies or admitted on dispensation before 3 months of age. When they changed the rules so that we only need to get rabies vaccine and then wait for 21 days to take the cat into Sweden, it became a LOT easier for us, though this requires that you travel to the country where the cat is and pick up the cat yourself, if someone else will bring the cat to Sweden for you a trace certificate is required, this is quite expensive and tediously to obtain. (unreasonable if you ask me, but such are the rules). 

Well, it was not the different ways of import I wanted to talk about, although this is actually more than relevant in this case as countless breeders from the eastern countries are more than happy to send the cat with a person to the appropriate airport and hand over the cat to you there, and this is actually not allowed without a traces, the cat will count as smuggled in, and it seems like most new breeders do not even know about this.

Buying a cat with breeding rights in Sweden (and as far as I understood, the same goes mainly for all other countries in the world), is not easy, but I can honestly say that I have myself received very few requests, and even if they all would have been asking me, it would just not have been possible for me to sell kittens with breeding rights to everyone who seems to be searching for kitten to use for breeding. However, it’s not as difficult as it may seem, I have talked to lots of friends who also breed and everyone I do know,  seem to have the same attitude as me, they are by no means averse to sell kittens for breeding to a new breeder, on the contrary!

However, as well as most of my friends, I want a proper presentation, we want to know that you have thought this through really well, that you got a goal for your breeding (here I think, I can speak for both show-breeders and outcross-breeders, we want you to have a registered cattery when looking for the kitten, or at least have one before it's time for the kitten to move in). We want you to have a plan and a goal, a thought regarding your breeding, of course, the one who will sell the kitten to you wants your goal to be in good agreement with the goal he or she has. Your breeder should be your mentor and then it is good if you have a similar view on breeding. Talk to breeders well in advance, create a relationship with breeders, this will make your way to a new kitten for breeding so much easier, and not just that first one, but also all the future breeding-cats. A breeder who knows you well, will gladly be your mentor and vouch for you to other breeders.

 

Let’s talk about the big question, to import, maybe mainly from the eastern countries (please be aware that there are a lot of good breeders there also, not all are bad).
What makes imports from those countries so attractive? I can see that it’s not just in Sweden this happens I see it all over the world? And what risks does this involve?

To import is an adventure even for an old experienced breeder, so wait with importing a cat/kitten until you got some experience. If you would like to try this as a new breeder, please make sure you have a very experienced breeder that helps you, a breeder with many contacts abroad who can help you find a good breeder that they know,  or know someone who knows, etc. 

It’s been countless times over the years when I have seen various cases where things went very wrong because someone has done an import without having the knowledge.

 

I’ve seen imports from Australia/New Zealand/USA,  being imported to Sweden and claimed to be very unique lines. I threw a single look at the pedigree and found ou that, the grandmother is actually being born at my friend close by in Sweden, the same thing with the father's side in the pedigree, even there was perfectly known cats from the Nordic countries, together with a few so-called. Dozen lines, ie cats found in each and every pedigree. When import it’s not a fact that if it’s further away it’s more unrelated lines (apart from the US) most of the countries far away from Sweden actually got mostly imports from Europe themselves. So don't cross the river for water. In this case, it would actually be a lot less expensive and a lot easier to just travel 1 hour to get a cat/kitten with those lines then import from the other side of the world.

 

Another case I have seen was a male represented as completely unique, purchased from "some" country in Europe and imported to Sweden.  In this case, the male already had a brother who was already imported and bred in Sweden, just about a 1-hour drive from where this new male was located.

 

Now, I am not saying that it is WRONG to find cats that are related and import to the same country, I  have done it as well as others, but we should not fool ourselves into thinking that what we take in is unique when it’s not.  Learn to read and recognize both cats and cattery names before deciding to import. Learn to be able to recognize names in pedigrees. So that you know what it is you bring in, so you how much or how little the cat/kitten you bring into the country actually are.

 

A tip that I always advise is to make test matings, with all imported cats you can remember in our country, (here it definitely helps if you have been breeding for a while or if you have an experienced mentor who’s been doing this a little longer). I found a boy a while ago, unfortunately, one of the parents had HD, so I could not buy him but, what a pedigree!  I did test mating with all the cats I could come up with here in Sweden, both imports and Swedish-born, females and males, show lines as outcross-lines and the absolute closest I came in inbreeding was 0.07% in 8 generations… (of course also low in clones), It was a really unique line for Sweden, but unfortunately, things do not always go as we want, so I just keep looking and hope to stumble upon something equally unique but this time with all the qualifications I personally wish for. 

 

Finally, I just want to point out that of course there are good breeders in the eastern countries, just as there are ridiculously bad breeders also in the rest of the world. So the main advice is really to wait with imports until you got a bit more experience or to ask for help from some very experienced breeder.

 

By: Malin Sundqvist