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If you have decided that you would like to breed cats of your chosen variety, you may also be thinking about becoming a registered breeder. The main registration body for cats in Britain is the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), which is the feline equivalent of the Kennel Club, although you can also register cats with two international cat associations that have branches here - The International Cat Association (TICA), and the Fédération International Féline (FIFe) known here as Felis Britannica, which you can always check out on their respective websites. And you can always register with more than one organisation if you wish. To register as a breeder with the GCCF you will need to have a unique prefix that will be used as the first word of the names of all kittens that you register, and will be completely unique to you - nobody else will be allowed to use your prefix once you have registered it. GCCF have had a prefix system for around 100 years and so a lot of the more obvious names will already have gone. There are currently more than 25,000 prefixes registered with them, including many for people no longer breeding and even those who are long since departed (and these cannot be re-used by somebody else), as well as the GCCF's own administrative prefixes. You will need to have a good look on the GCCF website before you apply to register your own prefix so that you don't apply for something that has already been granted, and you will need to be fairly inventive! There is a maximum of 26 letters allowed in the name of any GCCF-registered cat, including the prefix, and so it makes sense if the prefix itself is not too long, to allow you more flexibility with the rest of the name. You will not be allowed to have anything that is too close to an existing prefix, and nothing that is considered unsuitable or potentially offensive. There is a rule about not using place-names that might imply that the prefix-holder is the most important breeder in that particular area, county or town, though you may well get away with the name of a very small village or of your road! Many people use a variation of their name (or combination of names if it is a joint prefix), or perhaps the name of a mythical creature or something reflecting the characteristics of your breed - the existing list may give you some ideas. The GCCF website provides very clear guidelines on how to apply for a prefix and information about what is and what isn't permitted. In order to have your prefix application considered and approved, you will need to have been a member of a GCCF-affiliated club for at least a year. If your prefix is to be a joint one (with a friend, partner, spouse, parent etc) both applicants will need to have been a club member for at least a year. You can download a prefix application form from the GCCF website, and you will see that it asks for a minimum of four possible names, although it's a good idea to add some additional names on the back of the form - but don't put something you don't particularly want, just to make up the numbers, as that may be the name that you end up with! When you have completed the application form, send it to the Secretary of your chosen breed or area club so that they can confirm that you have been a member for a year - most people also enclose an SAE addressed to GCCF as well as a cheque made out to them (currently £75 in 2012), together with a letter to the Secretary to ask them to sign the form and then send it on for you. The application process usually takes about 4-5 months, and you will receive a letter from GCCF telling you which name they have approved for you - you cannot register any kittens under your new prefix until you have received this letter, and it must also have been approved prior to the birth of your kittens to be able to use it with your first litter. You will then be able to use the prefix to register your kittens under your own unique name - perhaps if your name is John Smith you may have registered 'Smiffys' as your prefix so that you can have 'Smiffys Red Adair', 'Smiffys Big Feet', 'Smiffys Summer Delight' etc - the possibilities are endless with your own prefix to make the name unique! Once your prefix has been approved, you can start using it to advertise your kittens, or just to advertise yourself as a breeder on commercial websites and cat-show catalogues, and you will soon have the fun of seeing your name appearing in print at shows and on pedigrees, especially if some of the kittens you breed go on to become Champions, Grand Champions and Imperial Grand Champions! Nowadays many breeders have their own website with information about kittens for sale, show successes and pictures of all their cats. On the other hand, you may prefer to wait until you have bred a litter of kittens before you apply for your own breeding prefix, to see how things go, and decide whether cat breeding is going to be for you. In this situation, GCCF will register your kittens but will allocate their current 'administrative' prefix to each kitten in the litter. However, their administrative prefixes will also be used to register other breeders' kittens and so will not be unique to you - plus you will have to make sure that the rest of the name hasn't already by registered by somebody else. If you have your own prefix, the registration of kittens is slightly cheaper than if you are using the GCCF name for that period.
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