This post contains affiliate links.
Cats, unlike humans, do not have the same taboos about incest and interbreeding. An unneutered cat’s natural instinct will kick in when it is the breeding season (usually in the spring). At this point, they can and will breed with any other fertile cat.
A mother cat can and will mate with her offspring. Kittens born from incest are at high risk of being born with or developing severe health problems. A female cat will also mate with other males from her family including her brother and her father.
What Age Do Cats Reach Sexual Maturity
Cats can reach sexual maturity as early as four months of age.
Female cats can conceive, and male kittens can fertilize a fertile female while still kittens, as strange as it may appear. Given that a cat’s average gestation time is 63 days, a kitten as young as six months old could give birth to a litter. The health and physical risks to the pregnant kitten are too terrifying to contemplate, never alone the reality that a kitten lacks the mental capacity to nurture kittens.
Veterinarians now prescribe a “prepubertal” spay/neuter to prevent any unintended pregnancy. It is safe to use with kittens once they weigh at least two pounds, between eight and twelve weeks.
Kittens, on the other hand, are simply adorable. What’s the big deal if there’s another litter? The big issue is that not every kitten is born into loving and responsible forever homes. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, around 72 million homeless cats are on the streets, and in shelters, all of whom were once kittens.
If kittens are not spayed/neutered, they will become part of an ongoing breeding cycle. The kitten season, depending on climate, begins in spring, peaks in mid-summer, and ends in the fall. People will bring litters that their cat “accidentally” had and those they find on the streets into shelters that are already overcrowded.
And those kittens that are born outside have to deal with the repercussions. The adorable little individuals are practically helpless to survive independently, and they have a high mortality rate, with around 75% of them dying from the harsh conditions. Those who survive and are taken to a shelter are usually adopted first, at the expense of older, less adoptable animals like seniors, cats with disabilities, or black cats.
How To Stop Unwanted Cat Litters?
Having your cat spayed or neutered at a young age is the only way to ensure that there will be no unplanned or undesired litters.
The basic fact is that a male cat is programmed to seek out a female cat in heat, and a female cat will remain in heat until she mates. And that includes indoor cats, as they can wander outside by accident.
Reasons For Neutering and Spaying Cats
There is no need to enable your cat to continue having kittens unless she is purebred. The reality is that, despite public awareness campaigns emphasizing the significance of spaying and neutering pets, the United States still has a severe pet overpopulation problem, as we discussed above.
Because kittens are so popular, most people will choose to adopt kittens rather than adult cats. Adult cats are left homeless and at risk of euthanasia as a result. Adult felines are more likely to be euthanized if there are more kittens available.
It’s ideal to spay a female cat after she’s had kittens and weaned them. By the age of four months, all kittens should be neutered or spayed.
When kittens reach sexual maturity, they can and will mate with their littermates or mother cat. It’s preferable to have them sterilized well ahead of time. Pregnancy in young cats can be pretty risky. Your cats will be happier and make better pets as a result of spaying or neutering.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Pregnant
There are certain symptoms that your cat may be pregnant. Many are identical to the ones we’re familiar with from humans.
You can tell if a cat is pregnant because it will usually have cravings for specific meals, as well as morning sickness and a rapidly increasing tummy size are key indicators that your cat is pregnant.
However, if your cat has more appetites than usual and grows larger around the waist, this does not necessarily imply that babies are on the way!
However, if morning sickness, swollen nipples accompany this, and your cat is more attentive than usual, the indicators could indicate that you will soon be welcoming extra kittens into your home.
If you suspect your cat is pregnant by her offspring or other family members, you should consult with your vet as soon as possible.
When Do Cats Become Pregnant?
Cats are one of the most prolific animals on the planet. A non-neutered cat can have three litters a year! It can become pregnant as soon as it is fertile and receptive.
The fertile or “on heat” days are when your cat is most likely to become pregnant. This can happen every two to three weeks if the cat is receptive and not neutered.
How Do Female Cats Act Whilst “on-heat”?
Being “randy” or “in heat” refers to the stage at which a cat is ready to mate. Hormones play an important role here: oestrogen levels are rising, ovulation is approaching, and the female begins seeking a tomcat – things can become rather exciting if there are numerous potential partners present!
A cat may accept multiple mating partners in the wild, which is why kittens frequently appear to be so dissimilar.
Whilst on heat female cats might do the following; rolling about, emitting distinct scents, loud mewing, and possibly even the tail and bottom pointing upwards are all signs that it’s the mating season!
This indicates that the cat is in heat and is ready to breed. During this time, some cats may even lose their appetite. This “random” phase usually lasts until a suitable mating partner is identified, after which it’s “back home again.”
How Long Is A Cats Pregnancy?
It will take around two months for the offspring to mature sufficiently to enter the world. Until they are ready to give birth, the little ones go through various stages of growth.
Kittens are born after 58–67 days of gestation, depending on the breed. Smaller breeds take less time compared to large breeds such as The Maine Coon.
If nothing has transpired by the 70th day, you should see a veterinarian who will thoroughly check the mother cat and advise you on how to proceed.
The Cats Gestation Period’s Length And Phases
- Day 6: Fertilized eggs are transferred to the uterus.
- Day 12: The uterine wall is settling in.
- Day 15: The embryos are connected to the vascular system of the mother cat.
- Day 21: An ultrasound scan can now be used to see the embryos.
- Day 28: The embryos have grown to a size of 3-4 cm.
- Day 38: Sensory organs, nerves, and muscles are established.
- Day 50: The babies are about 7 cm tall now, and the fur is thickening.
- Day 60-63: Ready for delivery
The kittens are getting ready for the big event. They’re already fully grown, small kitties “with all the trappings,” measuring around 13 cm just before delivery.
What Is The Average Number Of Kittens In A Litter?
Each litter has a different amount of kittens. The average amount of kittens per litter is four. However, this can vary from One to twelve depending on the cat.