Site hosted by Build your free website today!

FURRY BOOTS Norwegian Forest Cats: GENETICS used to produce better TYPE (and better health) without In-breeding!!!

[Please note I do not endorse any advertisements you may see on my website.
These are placed without my control by angelfire in return for a "free" website.]

"Supreme Champion Furry Boots SINDRI" in winter coat.
He is shown as a kitten lower down on the page.

My book "Cat Genetics - What will the kittens look like?", first published in 1994, has had some lovely unsolicited reviews. The book covers basic cat genetics without assuming prior knowledge. I now propose to expand on its concepts developed for breeders, with an exciting new concept which has been "in the works" for several years so far. What I want to do on this page is new and different and BUILDS on that basic known cat genetics knowledge. You won't need the book to follow the method here, though it is a nice reference on all the basic color combinations and gene categories.

The book explains all the cat coat and eye colors and other basic genetics, with the help of a bookmark so you do not have to memorise a bunch of gene codes as you read. (Every gene has a unique internationally accepted abbreviation, so that you know what gene it is, in any country, in any language.)
The book also advises on the selection of mates so that each parent complements the other to reinforce good features, and overcome poor ones. Unique questionnaire charts and color cross-reference charts, make this easy to do in a special breeder's section.

If you would like to order
"Cat Genetics - What will the kittens look like?"
here is how: Send orders to Furry Boots, at
P O Box 4703, Spokane WA, 99220-0703, USA.
Payment is accepted by check or moneyorder within the USA, or by International post office money order in US dollars from Canada or by Western Union Transfer or other international check (bank draft) or international money order in US funds which includes any exchange costs from other countries. Price is US $43.50 plus postage and handling.
USA postage and handling is $7.50; international postage and handling on request.

Payable to Furry Boots or to Irene de Villiers.
(Wired funds not accepted due to exhorbitant bank charges.)
I'll send the book within a week of receipt of order. Where available, I make use
of the new flatrate priority or global priority system; otherwise I use international airmail.

SINDRI as a kitten.

As to my followup second book, here I want to go a whole step further, to provide for healthy breeding with improvement of type, applying known genetics principles in a new way. The intention here is to dispel old myths about inbreeding being an acceptable thing to do "if you know what you are doing" as so many folks have been taught to believe - and instead, to explain what inbreeding REALLY is, what causes it, and how and why to avoid it. Best of all, here is a methos whereby you can improve TYPE without inbreeding!!!
This is practical application of the true genetic facts behind the principle of avoidance of inbreeding, to achieve health and type at the same time.

Here is a little introduction to my way of thinking on this:

People have long believed that inbreeding "in the right way" will help them improve type, ie show quality. However, most them know that inbreeding deteriorates health. While I have never been a proponent of inbreeding for any reason or excuse at all, there have been no alternative methods offered, by which pedigree breeders of any pet, can improve show type, much less a method which *also* improves health! The time has come to apply the genetic facts and theories, to practical methods of achieving health and type together.

*** I propose here a method to breed better type without inbreeding! ***

Please Note Copyright, by Irene de Villiers.
I am contactable by snailmail at:
P O Box 4703, Spokane WA 99220-0703, USA.

Email (Please copy it down carefully, removing spaces and using the @ and . where indicated)

furry boots at fastmail dot com


Purry, left, and Loki, center, are an example of a really excellent breeding pair for both type and health.

. Why? .
. . . . . . . .

The picture on the right is of Sindri, a kitten of this mating. He is an improvement over his parents.

I do make use of the true definition of inbreeding for the method I am proposing as a healthier way to breed. In-breeding has long been summarised to breeders, as being the breeding of close relatives. As a rule of thumb this was proposed as a guide. Unfortunately, it has resulted in a lot of unhealthy cats in the cat fancy, because it really has nothing to do with how genes behave, and what true inbreeding is.

A creature is said to be inbred if it has a large number of homozygous gene pairs. This genetic principle is the key.

For reasons best known to nature, such an inbred creature, with lots of homozygous gene pairs (where both genes in the pair are the same eg two dilute, two nonagouti, two classic tabby etc), is less healthy, less big, and of poorer temperament than those creatures bred to be non-inbred and therefore having lots of heterozygous gene pairs (eg one each agouti and nonagouti, one each dense color and dilute color, and so on with lots of dissimilar gene pairs).

Being inbred then, involves a cat having lots of homozygous gene pairs. Being non-inbred, involves a cat having lots of heterozygous gene pairs. That's really all there is to it.

The difficulty lies in obtaining lots of heterozygous gene pairs in the kittens of a mating, especially of pedigreed cats.
We have not had any method for doing this till now, other than avoiding relatives, on the *assumption* that related cats will produce homozygous gene pairs, and on the *assumption* that non-related cats will produce heterozygous gene pairs. Unfortunately these assumptions are often incorrect, and hence the method proposed here goes back to the true definitions to achieve true non-inbred results, rather than using the assumptions which for *pedigreed* cat breeds wiill tend to be incorrect.

Why is the breeding of non-related cats often inbreeding? Taking an example, let's use two Siamese cats, both lilacpoints. They may well come from different lines and so be unrelated. But the chances are the breeder has selected cats who both have big ears pointing the desired way, both have clear coats, both have near ideal eye shape, and perhaps eye color, and so on. The two parent cats then have many many features the same, and to standard. The breeder hopes to "fix" some of these characteristics.
But oddly, the lilacpoint kittens from this mating are smaller than their parents, tend to bicker with other cats more than their parents did, and react badly to vaccinations, and perhaps have goopy eyes as babies. Why?
The answer is that they are inbred. They have too many gene pairs which are identical for both halves. This is so, despite the fact that they were bred from totally unrelated parents.
So it really matters to the genes whether there are lots of homozygous gene pairs or lots of heterozygous gene pairs. THAT alone is what determines whether a cat is inbred. The genes do not know whether the parent cats were related or not! They just behave according to rules of homozygocity or heterozygocity.
So what do we do to stay within the breed type standards, and still achieve heterozygocity - that is, *non-inbred* cats. The answer lies in the fact that ALL features of all cats are determined by genes, not just the features which we look at towards defining a breed type.

Examples of features for which cats receive one gene from each parent for all aspects of a feature, are as follows and we can use *these* features to decide on two parents to breed who will produce kittens with genes as *different* or *heterozygous* as possible:

Remember that each parent provides one gene for each gene pair. This point is critical to understanding heterozygous - noninbred breeding.
So if the parents are *different* in a lot of features, then the kittens will have heterozygous gene pairs for those features. That's the aim - to maximise the heterozygous gene pairs in the kittens.

We do *not* need to make the features for *breed type* heterozygous - those can generally be homozygous if that is best for the breed. But those features are a very small minority of the total gene pairs which affect whether a cat is heterozygous mainly (non-inbred) or homozygous mainly (inbred).
So we can look at mixing genes from parents and making non-inbred kittens, by looking for parents who are as different as possible: For example, father likes fish, mother likes beef; father has ribcage wider than it is deep, mother has ribcage deeper than it is wide; father has relatively longer thighs in proportion to total leg length, mother shorter; father drinks water often, mother less; father has fur texture of one kind, mother's is different; father has cheek bones different from mother, forehead different, maybe knees different, perhaps is outgoing where mother is shy; father is perhaps very active, mother laid back. The point is to look for differences,
*as many as possible of as many kinds as possible*,
in the parents, while not affecting the relevant breed characteristics concerning type.

I have been working on this method of non-inbreeding since 1990 with my Norwegian Forest Cat lines at Furry Boots. My current litter is between Sindri and Frigga - a 4th generation breeding at Furry Boots, and the first to involve related cats.
The kittens however are very much heterozygous, NOT inbred, and though only two weeks old at time of writing this, it already shows:
They are a record 135g average weight at birth, with no runts, and at 2 weeks are robust, rushing about, running and climbing. Their healthiness is obvious, and the birth from a maiden queen was easy too.

The kittens have a high percentage of heterozygous genes because of the very different characteristics of the parents.

(more on this next time I get to my page for update - I'm in the throes of moving at the moment! Please bear with me.)



Click Here for More FURRY BOOTS Fun:

SINDRI - Cream Cameo NFC Stud
LOKI & ODIN - black NFC studs

Email (Please copy it down carefully, removing spaces and using the @ and . where indicated)

furry boots at fastmail dot com