Breeding cats can be a wonderful experience. However, unless you are prepared to learn how to take care of a breeding cat and have homes for all the kittens, you should spay your cat. There are already many unwanted kittens in the world, and unspayed cats are at more risk for several diseases, so usually spaying your pet cat is the best option. If you want to investigate responsible breeding practices, however, here are some commonly asked questions.
At What Age Can Cats Be Bred?
Cats may become capable of pregnancy at as early as four months of age, but they should not be bred until they are at least one year old. If your kitten becomes accidentally pregnant at a very young age, you may need to take her to the vet get the fetuses removed.
How Long Does a Cat's Heat Cycle Last?
A cat will go into heat for one to two days or longer, every few weeks until she has been mated. In the northern hemisphere, these cycles will usually last from around January until around August. While in estrus (heat), female cats will try very hard to escape and find a mate, and may be very vocal. They will also attract male cats.
How Can I Mate Her to a Particular Tom?
Cats are capable of having kittens from different fathers in the same litter, so if you want your cat to only have kittens with one father cat, you should lock them up together for at least 24 hours, or up to four days to make sure. A female cat will continue to try and mate until her estrus cycle is over, regardless of whether or not she has already been made pregnant, so keep her away from other cats until she has finished her cycle.
How Can I Tell If She Is Pregnant?
The gestation period lasts between 60-65 days. The first sign of pregnancy will be that your cat's heat cycles have stopped, but this in itself is not a sure sign of pregnancy. Her nipples may swell slightly and turn pink, and she may begin to eat a little more. At around the three week mark, your vet should be able to feel the kittens with palpitation. At five weeks, your cat's stomach will start to swell.
What Food Should I Feed My Cat Before and During Pregnancy?
It can be tempting to overfeed a pregnant cat, but generally they only need a slight increase in meals until the final few weeks of pregnancy. Simply feed them normally, with a high quality food. Overfeeding her may be harmful, as it can make her unfit and less able to deal with the stress of birth. Three weeks before the birth, switch to kitten food, and give her small, frequent meals. You might also want to add calcium supplements at this time.
Breeding cats is not difficult if you have thoroughly researched the process and anticipated any problems. Take the time to make sure that your cat is happy and healthy and her kittens will be as well.