Code of Ethics OWNERS Owners should only keep as many cats as they can care for adequately and provide with the attention they need. Where there are a number of cats in a pet household, or where there is more than one breeding queen in a breeding household, the emotional wellbeing of the whole household should be monitored and considered carefully. Cats and kittens must be provided with warm and comfortable housing, with plenty of opportunity and space for exercise and play. Cats should be kept indoors at night for their own safety. Drinking water must be available at all times and cats must be fed regularly and adequately. Cats should not be confined needlessly for long periods. Cats should be regularly checked and if necessary treated for parasites, e.g. fleas, mites, worms etc. Cats should be regularly vaccinated against FIE, FVR and FCV (‘cat ‘flu’) in accordance with current veterinary recommendations. Veterinary attention must be sought whenever a cat is showing signs of illness. Any treatment should be administered under the guidance of a qualified veterinary practitioner. Cats should receive an annual health check (usually at the time of vaccination). Older cats may need more frequent checks; particular care should be taken with dental health as many cats suffer for considerable time from unnoticed dental conditions. Cats that are bought as pets, not for breeding, should be neutered or spayed at the age recommended by your veterinary surgeon. If cats are registered on the Non-Active register, this means that under no circumstances should the cats be bred from (no progeny from these cats will be registered by the GCCF). Breeding without the knowledge and consent of the breeder who sold the cat is both illegal and a serious breach of trust. Owners should consider carefully the best means of identifying their cat in case it should become lost. This can be done by means of microchipping by your veterinary surgeon and then registering the number of your cat with the Kennel Club and also by notifying the GCCF of the cat’s chip number. Alternatively, cats may wear some form of identification on a collar. However, these must have an elastic panel that will allow the cat to escape if it becomes caught by the collar. Members of the OSSC should at no time behave in such a way that may compromise the health or welfare of any animal in their care, the Siamese breed in general, or bring the Club into disrepute. BREEDERS Breeders should breed for health and temperament before type, and breed only from queens and studs that are healthy and have no obvious hereditary defects, avoiding lines known to have difficulty in birthing. Inbreeding should be avoided. Breeders must be available at the time a litter is expected and rear the kittens in a warm, safe, stimulating and loving environment, with frequent handling from an early age to facilitate socialisation and normal, healthy growth. Adequate food should be available at all times. Queens should not be allowed to have more than three litters in any two-year period, with a minimum period of 19 weeks between litters. In households with two or more queens, the total number of litters to be reared in any year should not place stress on the household, nor should it exceed the availability of suitable homes for kittens. Breeders should only sell cats where there is a reasonable expectation of a happy and healthy life, both in the health of the cat and the suitability of the new home, and should ensure that kittens are house-trained, inoculated and fit and healthy before sale. Lines from which life-expectancy is unusually short, or where a high proportion of cats die from genetically-linked cancers or other illnesses should be avoided where at all possible. The breeder should be prepared to help with the rehoming of any cat bred by them if at any time circumstances require the cat to be found a new home. Breeders have a moral responsibility for all kittens that they cause to be born, and should ensure that they do not sell kittens to unsuitable or inappropriate homes: Prospective homes should be carefully checked; personal contact with the person with whom the cat will reside is essential in establishing that the kitten will receive appropriate care and love throughout its life. Owners/Breeders should not sell any cat to commercial cat wholesalers, retail pet dealers (including department stores) or directly or indirectly allow cats to be given as a prize or donation in a competition of any kind. Cats should not be sold in online auctions. Breeders must not knowingly misrepresent the characteristics of their Siamese, nor falsely advertise cats nor mislead any person regarding the quality or health of the cat, the rarity of the breed, and must ensure purchasers fully understand the implications of the Non-Active register when selling pet kittens. Breeders should discuss with elderly purchasers arrangements for the care of the cat should it outlive its owner. The OSSC recommends the use of written contracts of sale for all kittens, samples are available from the Club on application. If a persistent recurring illness becomes established in a breeding household, breeding should not continue until the problem is eliminated and carriers/shedders have been removed from the environment. OSSC Welfare is available to support breeders in this position. Novice Breeders should not sell kittens for breeding and should seek the advice and support of an experienced breeder both in finding a suitable stud, and in caring for a pregnant queen and kittens. An understanding and competent vet is essential to the health and welfare of breeding households. Advice and support for novice breeders, and those considering breeding, is available through the Club. All breeders should respect the requirements of stud owners regarding active or inactive registration of the kittens, and should check these requirements BEFORE taking a cat to stud. All kittens sold as pets should be placed on the Inactive Register. Breeders selling a kitten for breeding on the Active Register should ensure the implications of breeding are fully understood by the purchaser (including cost, the dangers to the cat, obligations of the owner and responsibility for the offspring) and offer advice and support to the new owners. Owners should not breed cats in a way that is deleterious to the health of the cat or the breed. Maiden queens should not be bred from until fully mature. Guidance in breeding is available from the Club. Kittens should not be sent to new homes before the completion of a full course of vaccination for FIE, FVR and FCV (‘cat ‘flu’) given by a Veterinary Surgeon or by a listed Veterinary Nurse under the direction of a Veterinary Surgeon, and a full health check. Manufacturers recommendations for vaccines normally recommend first vaccination not before 9 weeks of age and a booster at 12 weeks. The OSSC also advise that kittens should not be rehomed until 7 days after their booster vaccination, i.e. at 13 weeks of age. New owners should be advised of any previous medical history, even if there are no current symptoms. Kittens with any health defect must not be sold or given away without full disclosure of the condition to, and the agreement of, the new owner. New owners of kittens should be provided with written dietary instructions and advice on bringing a kitten into a new home, particularly where other animals are present. A sample of the kitten’s regular food and also a small sample of familiar cat litter should be provided for the new owner. It is recommended that breeders stress that instructions should be followed to avoid distress to the kitten or disappointment. It is recommended that breeders avail themselves of the free insurance cover for kittens offered by a number of insurance companies. The progress of kittens should be followed up, especially at the age when the kitten will be teething and when those not sold for breeding have reached the age for neutering. In the event of health problems occurring after sale, breeders should be prepared to advise and support the owners and, if necessary to take the kitten back if the illness occurred soon after homing. Breeders and owners must ensure that all relevant pedigree and registration documents are provided to the new owner when selling or transferring a cat, in accordance with GCCF Rule 10 (quoted below). GCCF Rule 10: 10a. When a cat or kitten is advertised or sold as a pedigree cat or kitten the breeder shall, at the time of sale, provide the purchaser with a properly completed pedigree signed by the breeder, carrying 3 generations at least, showing all the breed numbers and registration numbers, also the breeder’s name and address. If the vendor is not the breeder, the pedigree must additionally be signed by the vendor. If the cat/kitten is not registered, a copy of the mating certificate (Rule 3d) shall be supplied by the vendor to the new owner. 10b. If, at the time of sale, the cat or kitten is registered the seller shall provide the purchaser with a transfer form, duly completed and signed by the seller, unless it is jointly agreed in writing by both parties, at the time of sale, not to do so. Breeders are advised that pedigrees provided with kittens are legal documents and must be copied and prepared with great care to ensure their accuracy to the best of the breeders’ knowledge. OSSC records are made available to members to assist in checking spelling and other details on their pedigrees. NB: pedigrees, particularly those that are handwritten, often have accidental errors and should be independently checked where possible. Breeders should make clear arrangements for the care and rehoming of their cats in the event of their death. Breeders should consider carefully the necessity to retire from breeding before they become too old or frail to care for their cats adequately. KEEPING A STUD Breeders should only consider keeping a stud when they have been breeding for at least five years, and have acquired adequate knowledge of the characteristics of the breed, bloodlines, pedigrees, the housing and handling of other people’s cats, the mating procedure and the care of pregnant queens and kittens. Studs have far more offspring than queens, and therefore contribute considerably more to the gene pool of the breed. For this reason, a new stud should be chosen with excessive care over his bloodlines and genetic health. New studs should not carry any genetic or type flaws, nor have a bad temperament. The bloodlines of other studs should be considered to ensure the new stud will not significantly duplicate existing bloodlines. The availability of a suitable number of queens to occupy the stud should be established before considering keeping a stud. Studs should be kept in large, safely constructed, adequately heated and well ventilated accommodation. This should include a separate compartment within the stud house to provide seclusion for visiting queens. but designed to allow sight and scent of the stud. The cost of erecting and maintaining this accommodation is considerable, and should not be undertaken without careful planning, both financial and practical. This is essential as the stud cat will spend all his working life in this area. Stud owners should spend considerable interactive time with their stud every day to enrich his life and mitigate the circumstances of confinement in which he is kept. The OSSC recommends a minimum of 2 hours daily per stud. A cat that is unhappy, frustrated or stressed by living as a stud should be neutered and rehomed to a more congenial environment. OSSC Rescue is able to offer assistance and support in rehoming. Studs should obseve a period of quarantine of not less than 14 days between visiting queens, and preferably longer. This period will also ensure that a stud is not overworked. Visiting queens should be limited to a number that can be maintained throughout the working life of the stud, and should ideally visit at regular intervals where possible. Studs should not go through periods of intense activity followed by periods of inactivity as this can lead to frustration and stress. Studs should be tested regularly for communicable diseases, and the OSSC recommends that visiting queens are not accepted without recent blood tests to protect the stud and other visiting queens. Stud owners should supervise all courting and mating, particularly whilst a stud is a novice, and also with maiden queens, since they often require encouragement and reassurance. A reluctant queen should NEVER be held down and forced to mate. Queens should never be left unattended with a stud if there is any possibility they may fight, particularly following mating. The care of another person’s cat is a serious responsibility, and the security, health and welfare of visiting queens should not be taken lightly. Stud owners may only accept GCCF registered queens on the Active Register, with correct transfer certificates and up-to-date vaccination certificates. Paperwork must ALWAYS be checked. The pedigree of a prospective queen should be examined to ensure the mating is an adequate outcross, and that the queen does not carry any known genetic problems. Stud owners should ensure owners of visiting queens fully understand any conditions of mating BEFORE the queen is brought in. The OSSC recommends that a written agreement is used. The stud owner should be prepared to advise the owner of the queen on all aspects of breeding, kitten rearing and aftercare, and share with the breeder the responsibility for any kittens sired by the stud. Stud owners must supply owners of queens with a mating certificate in accordance with GCCF requirements following any mating. Failure to do so is an offence under the rules of the GCCF and the OSSC code of ethics. RESCUE Members should not undertake any rescue work on behalf of the Club without the consent and guidance of the Club’s Rescue Officer. However, in emergency situations the welfare of the cat should be foremost in all decisions regarding action taken. Recommendation: The OSSC recommends that all breeders and stud owners share their experience, advice and information about their own cats freely and honestly with other breeders, in the interests of the breed as a whole and the welfare of their individual cats.