A Guide To Cat Reproduction

Before breeding your cat, make sure you understand a cat reproduction cycle. Between overbreeding and lack of knowledge, too many kittens die from poor health and irresponsible breeding. To raise healthy kittens and ensure the health of your female cat (also known as a queen), cat breeders must know exactly what they are getting into.

The Cat Heat Cycle

Female cats come into heat within the first year of life, usually from December to August. The exact age differs depending on the cat breeds and quality of health. Once a cat is in heat, she must breed or her behavior may become troubling to pet owners.

Typical behavior of a cat in heat includes loud meowing day and night and overly affectionate behavior. They often lay on the floor with their rear quarters raised into the air (readied for mounting).

Once she comes into heat, your cat will often stay in heat for about three weeks (and come back into heat every couple of weeks). Some breeds remain in heat until they mate.

Eggs leave the ovaries when a queen mates with a tomcat. Therefore, it is common to allow cat sex to occur for a minimum of 24 hours. Do not leave them together for too long, however. You will need to be able to estimate when the kittens are due.

Understanding a Cat's Pregnancy Cycle

A cat reproduction cycle involves a pregnancy lasting approximately 9 weeks. Typical signs of pregnancy show up after three weeks and include:

  • Appetite increase
  • Enlarged nipples
  • Increased need for affection
  • Vomiting

As the cat's pregnancy advances, you will feel the enlarged uterus and the growing kittens. Make sure she is getting extra food. Switching her to canned food during the pregnancy is beneficial because it also increases her water intake. During the eighth week of pregnancy, add a calcium supplement to her food to make sure the cat reproduction health is optimal for delivery and nursing.

During these last two weeks, your cat will begin nesting. Provide her with a box or cage lined with clean towels. Place the box or cage into a quiet room, and keep the door closed. At the end of their pregnancy, cat's prefer to be away from crowds and noise.

The Birthing Aspect

Most cats deliver their kittens without human intervention. You should still check on her progress periodically to make sure things are advancing normally. As each kitten is born, the mother cat will lick off the birth sac, which stimulates breathing and gets the kitten's circulation going. If the mother cat fails to tend to any kittens, you will need to use a washcloth to do this process yourself.

Once all kittens are born, the mother cat will eat her placenta. This replaces her body's nutrients and hormones vital to milk production. Some breeds will not eat their placenta, so you'll have to dispose of it.

In the final stage of cat reproduction, the mother cat allows her kittens to nurse. Make sure she's getting enough food and water, and check the kittens to make sure they are thriving.