Generally, GCCF advises that breeders think very carefully about breeding during lockdown, however, we understand breeders’ concerns about queens calling and losing condition (and risking problems such as pyometra). Please talk with your vet about oestrous control, but this can hold some risk for maiden queens, in that it can prevent a girl calling for an indeterminant amount of time.
If you are planning to go ahead and mate your queen, you need to find a stud as local as possible to where you live and to contact the stud-owner to discuss the possibility of a mating. Travelling too far to stud would not be in keeping with Covid rules; we are all supposed to stay in our local area as far as possible.
If a stud owner is willing to take a queen, she may require certain tests, etc., which will need to be organised with your vet, prior to taking her to stud. When you find a suitable stud, you will need to discuss arrangements in line with Covid 19 rules. Ideally, this will include not entering the stud owner’s house but handing over the queen outside and seeing, from a suitable distance, her settled in the queen’s quarters at the stud’s house. It is a good idea to wipe over the queen with a damp disposable cloth before she is given over. Obviously, the carrier should be disinfected before leaving home, and clean bedding placed in it, etc. Of course, if you or any member of your family feels unwell immediately before travelling, you must not go and must cancel that appointment and wait until you are well before visiting the stud owner (it is expected that the stud owner will behave similarly).
Both you and the stud owner should maintain social distance (2 metres) and wearing facemasks is sensible. Sanitising hands before and after exchanging the cat etc., basically using common sense.
Normally a cat would stay with the stud for at least 3 days and maybe up to a week or longer if mating doesn’t take place immediately (you should agree this with the stud owner who would normally contact the owner of the queen when she’s been mated). When you travel back to pick-up your queen, you should follow all the hygiene rules again – sanitising hands, wiping over the cat with a damp disposable cloth, disinfected carrier, etc. Aim to conduct all transactions and exchanges of paperwork outside in the open air, rather than indoors.
An experienced stud owner that is willing to take your queen, has probably been taking in other queens over the past year, so it is expected that they will advise the queen’s owner about what processes they are using to keep Covid secure. The advice would be to seek out someone experienced and to ask questions about how things will work beforehand.
Finally, assuming the queen is mated and becomes pregnant, you should consider in advance the selling and homing of the kittens (see CFSG Covid advice on this page below). It is hoped that by June or July things will be less problematic and the Covid rules may be more relaxed, but it’s always better to plan for every eventuality.