Lawyer by day, cat breeder by night. That’s life for Cherrylene, who runs a British Shorthair specialist cattery called ChubbyBuddy, along with Samantha and Sheryl. From favourite names to being overly attached to the cats and playing feline cupid, the cheery trio behind ChubbyBuddy Cats gives us an insider look at what being a responsible breeder looks like!
ChubbyBuddy: A Business Born Out of Passion
What is ChubbyBuddy?
We are a British Shorthair specialist cattery in Singapore that breeds pedigreed cats purposefully and responsibly. We believe in preservation breeding i.e. doing as many forms of health testing as possible. All our adult cats are scanned and tested for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Essentially, our focus is to provide healthy kittens to our clients!
Is this a full-time venture?
No, we actually have day jobs! I (Cherrylene) am a full-time lawyer, Sam and Sheryl are in the pet industry and that’s how I got to know them in the first place. ChubbyBuddy was born entirely out of passion — we just wanted to make the best British Shorthairs with the best bloodlines available to people in Singapore who might be looking for them.
How did the name ChubbyBuddy come about?
When we looked at the British Shorthair cats, we envisioned a very fat teddy bear. It was in conversation where we said, “it would be so cute if we had a chubby buddy,” and that’s how the name came about.
How did you guys get about into starting a cattery?
Cherrylene: After owning a dog for a couple of years, I felt ready for a second pet, but wanted one which was comparatively low-maintenance in order for it to suit my lifestyle. I have always loved the British Shorthair but couldn’t find one locally that I liked enough — so I went to my friends for help!
Sam: We started tracing the best pedigrees, all of which were located overseas. We thought that since we were going through the tremendous effort of finding the best bloodlines, why not make them accessible to other British Shorthair lovers in Singapore as well? That was when we bought our first breeding pair.
Sheryl: Essentially we just found a particular breed of cat which we love, acquired one, and, well…the rest is history.
All About The British Shorthair
Why British Shorthair?
We were looking for a low maintenance breed. Nowadays, with all our commitments in life, we wanted a breed that didn’t require a lot of time commitment and was generally healthy. We didn’t want to breed cats with a lot of known genetic problems such as the Scottish Fold or a Munchkin with their arthritis. Since we all own dogs in our homes, we wanted a confident and easy-going cat that could blend well with the dogs.
Describe A British Shorthair cat in three words.
Round, round and round: a chubby teddy bear! They’re round all over: round face, round ears and round eyes, accompanied by a stocky and broad body.
Why is it important to let the kittens meet people and socialise from a young age?
There is a very critical window during which the kittens must be socialised and that is between two to seven weeks old. During this period, essentially every good habit that they pick up, like being exposed to new people, new surroundings and new textures, stick with them for life. So when they become adults, it’s easier to introduce new things to them. Once you miss this period of socialisation, they might become more fearful and withdrawn in general.
Being A Responsible Cat Breeder
Adopt, Not Shop — Where Do You Stand?
Cherry: We encourage all prospective owners to consider adoption especially if they are open to giving a homeless animal a chance and will be flexible about its type or temperament. In fact, we specifically nudge them to think about it in our kitten enquiry form before approaching us for a kitten. In buying a pedigree and especially a well-bred British Shorthair, what you are guaranteed is your kitten, when it matures into an adult, would have a stable temperament, and it would look and act a certain way. Ultimately, we believe that good rescues and good breeders both hold a place in helping people make good decisions when it comes to choosing the right cat. Rather than the place of acquisition, the dedication and research that one puts in before choosing their cat is what makes a difference.
Sheryl: We are however strongly against backyard breeding and purposeless breeding. We put a huge amount of work into the history, health and temperaments of our ChubbyBuddies, and take great pains to produce the best possible version of a breed. This is why all our cats go to their new homes already desexed.
Sam: At the end of the day, choosing to adopt or buy a cat is a personal choice. If a person finds it in their heart to own a cat and love the way it deserves, it should always be supported. Most importantly, all prospective owners should do their homework, bearing in mind that “licensed”, “certified” or “pedigreed” doesn’t mean ethical. Wherever you choose to get your cat from, remember to ask lots of questions, even difficult ones, so that you are best prepared for your new arrival.
What’s the difference between buying from a responsible breeder or pet shop or anyone else?
If you consider the statistics, there are a lot of European and American studies that have shown that only 1% of the animals in animal shelters come from responsible animal breeders. The remaining 99% of them come from the backyard breeders and pet shops. Anything we breed, we are prepared to keep. If we are responsible for bringing the cat to life, we will be responsible for seeing the cat to its end as well. Whatever the reason, we will always take the cat back. We are contactable 24/7! Anytime our clients need us, we will always be there to guide and help them.
When we enter into a contract with each of our client (should they buy a British Shorthair), we have the right of first refusal when they want to give up a cat. They should not just approach any relative or shelter when they do not want the cat anymore. We’ll always take the cat back, regardless of what state it is in.
Why Would People Choose A Purebred Cat Over A Normal Cat?
While adoption is something we ask our prospective owners to consider before approaching us for a kitten, not everyone might be flexible about a cat’s type or temperament especially when there are young ones in the family. In buying a pedigree and especially a well-bred British Shorthair, you’re more-or-less guaranteed the way your cat acts and looks when it matures into an adult.
How Many Times Do You Breed The Cats?
We don’t breed them very often. We try to limit the number of times the cats are bred in their lifetime, to ensure that they’re in good health when they nurse their pregnancies and consequently, their kittens. How often we have kittens depends on whether or not the mothers are ready to be bred, which is why we don’t have kittens available all year round.
How Do You Screen Your Prospective Customers?
Because of the limited numbers of kittens available in one year, we are quite fortunate to be able to be particular about the kinds of homes our kittens go to. When people first approach us for a kitten, we expect them to fill up a questionnaire, which will tell us more about the sort of person they are: the way they live, how they live, if they have existing pets or if they have young children at home…etc. Before giving our cats over to them we also insist on meeting every buyer in person.
Reflections: The Good, Bad & Playing Feline Matchmaker
What is the best part about being a cat breeder?
Naming the cats! My favourite names are Spark and Joy, because I wanted the cats to spark joy in their new families. But, their owners ended up changing their names…and I cried a little at that! We put a lot of thought into naming the cat, but no one has kept [the name] so far.
What is the worst part about being a cat breeder?
The poop. Cat poop is really smelly! It’s even smellier than my [Cherrylene] dog’s poop! Especially kittens — they are poop machines! Since their digestive tracts are very short, each time they eat they poop almost instantaneously!
Being Overly attached. Every time they go to their new homes, we do cry a little, haha! But, we’re very happy to know that the cats are in a good and loving environment.
Toys, toys, and more toys. We spend thousands on toys — most of the time we have to buy the toys at cat shows since we can’t get them online. If you want the cats to be happy (and your furniture not to be scratched), you need to provide a lot of scratching material and toys to entertain them.
Playing cupid: Tell us about your cats William and Kate!
I visited William’s breeder in the states, wanting to buy a male British Shorthair cat. It just so happened that he was a new-born and was very cute, so I bought him….and ended up buying a female cat as well. I named them William and Kate respectively, and we made an executive decision that they are boyfriend-girlfriend!
Now hop on to our video with ChubbyBuddy to catch these charming four-legged furballs in action! If you’re interested in taking home a British Shorthair cat, find out everything you need to know at ChubbyBuddyCats.
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