Table of Contents
- Do I Want My Cat to Have Babies?
- What Advantages Are There to Letting a Cat Have Kittens?
- What to Expect When Your Cat is on Heat?
- When is It Best to Get My Female Cat Spayed?
- How to Tell if Your Cat is Pregnant?
- How to Care for a Pregnant Cat?
- How Many Kittens Does a Cat Usually Have?
- Signs of Labor and What to Expect?
- What Age Do Cats Stop Having Kittens?
Your adorable little kitten is growing up fast and you may be wondering what age can a cat get pregnant?
You might be surprised to find out your cat can get pregnant from as early as the age of 4 months old.
Cats are very fertile and can fall pregnant easily so let’s find out about cats and pregnancy, so you are fully informed.
Asking what age a cat can get pregnant is a great question and wonderful knowledge to have because many cat owners have been massively surprised to find a big litter of kitty cats are on the way.
Do I Want My Cat to Have Babies?
The first major consideration you need to make is if you want your cat to bear kittens.
Your kitten will reach sexual maturity at only four months old and then is capable of getting pregnant. So this is a question you should ask yourself as soon as you buy or adopt your little fur ball.
If you want your cat to be a mother cat, then as a responsible pet owner you need to ask yourself the following questions.
- Will I keep any of the kittens?
- How many should I keep?
- Should I keep males or females?
- How will I home the remaining kittens?
- Can I afford this?
- Do I have time to take care of that many animals?
- What are my reasons for letting my cat have kittens?
Ideally kittens will be weaned from their mother around 8 weeks old so you will be responsible for caring for the litter until then. Before that it’s vital they are with their mother and receiving her milk for their health and well-being. Also before then their eyesight and hearing is still developing so they need to be protected by their mother.
If you don’t want a house full of kitties, you need to have your cat spayed (or keep her away from male cats).
What Advantages Are There to Letting a Cat Have Kittens?
If you want to have more cats for your own pets, then it totally makes sense to let your cat have kittens.
If you have your own children seeing a cat have kittens and understanding all the different stages can be educational and interesting for them. If you know your friends will be lining up to adopt some of your cute little felines that could be a good enough reason to let your cat experience motherhood.
Many people believe it is healthy to let a cat have at least one litter of kittens before being spayed. But actually, there’s no proof of health benefits for your cat.
Some pet owners claim their pet’s personalities changed after being spayed or neutered. This also hasn’t been proven. So, you don’t need to worry that your cat’s charming nature will change overnight. Your cat will be the same adorable happy paws you know and love.
What to Expect When Your Cat is on Heat?
Cats go into heat when they are ready to get pregnant. It is called queening.
To attract a male cat they will wail, meow loudly, roam around and generally be restless. They will urinate more to spread their scent and may become slightly aggressive. You might see their bottom and tail raised high indicating it’s ready to mate. This lasts a few days.
Queens continue to go into heat every 2-3 weeks throughout the breeding season (February to August).
Her actions will attract male tom cats (cats that haven’t been neutered) and they can detect her show from miles away. Most cats are not fussy about potential partners. They will mate with any Tom, Dick or Harry that comes along. That puts your cat and her kittens at risk of disease.
The ideal time for a cat to breed is 18 – 24 months of age.
You should talk to your vet or a cat breeder if you want to find a stud for your queen. They will be able to advise you on the best process that will include a health checkup for your cat to make sure she is ready to bred.
The best way is to prevent unwanted pregnancy is to keep your cat inside during her heat cycles. If you have an outdoor cat or live on a farm this isn’t so easy. You need to record her heat patterns and be aware of the signs she is heading into heat.
A new trend that has value for cats in heat is catios. A catio is an outdoor cat enclosure that has space for your cat to play in a safe and enriched environment. You can add toys, scratching pads, plants and ramps. It can be as fancy or as basic as you like.
The main point is your cat can have an outside area safe from dangers. If you have the space and some DIY skills you might want to consider investing in a catio. The male cats won’t be able to get to your cat, although it won’t stop the tom cats hanging around.
When is It Best to Get My Female Cat Spayed?
If you decide your cat won’t be having kittens then you can book an appointment with your vet for spaying when your cat is two to four months of age.
The vet will remove your cat’s uterus and ovaries. It will be anesthetized so won’t feel any pain. After the operation some discomfort can be expected and your cat will naturally not be so happy with you. All will be forgiven and forgotten after a few days as recovery passes.
After being spayed your lovely cat won’t be going into heat and chasing tom cats all around the neighborhood. You won’t need to worry about her getting pregnant and the loud wailing during heat won’t be echoing throughout the neighborhood. It will be more peaceful all around.
Another advantage is spaying reduces the likelihood of your cat suffering from hormone-related diseases.
Studies show if you get your cat spayed before the first time it goes into heat it is even less likely to be diagnosed with disease such as cancer later in life.
The cost of spaying depends on where you live but is on average around $100. Some local authorities have programs to help fund or off-set costs to encourage pet owners to neuter or spay their pets. This is done in an attempt to reduce numbers of unwanted animals dumped or taken to shelters. Also, it supports kind people who rescue stray animals that have been abused or abandoned.
How to Tell if Your Cat is Pregnant?
You certainly would have noticed if your furry feline was on heat – it’s impossible to miss from the yowling alone. So you will be watching for some tell-tale signs of pregnancy.
Here are some clues to look for.
- A larger belly that is round and growing by the day
- Enlarged and darker pink nipples
- Nesting (yes, just like humans your cat will try to prepare a cosy nest to give birth in)
- Morning sickness (again like humans, cats can suffer from morning sickness with feeling ill and possible vomiting)
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Moodiness or easily irritated
- Excessive affection or reclusiveness
A visit to your local veterinarian will confirm if your cat is pregnant for sure.
Depending on how far along your kitty is your vet will be able to confirm the pregnancy by feeling her stomach or doing an X-ray or ultrasound. An estimate on how many kittens are coming will be possible but isn’t 100% accurate.
The cat gestation period usually lasts 63 – 65 days (but can go to 72 days).
A weight gain of up to 2 kg can be expected. This is an exciting time for everyone in the house. It won’t be long before you have a lots of baby meows filling up your home.
How to Care for a Pregnant Cat?
A cat carrying kittens needs some special care. Here are some ways to pamper your pregnant pet cat.
- Prepare more frequent meals for her (but they should be smaller than normal)
- Invest in cat food for pregnant cats that are high in vitamins and nutrients
- Make sure she’s getting enough water
- Avoid giving medication including vaccinations during pregnancy
- Give plenty of love and cuddles
- Keep her away from any potential danger such as animals in the neighborhood
- Watch for any signs of distress or discomfort
- Prepare a large and comfortable bed for her to give birth and take care of the kittens
How Many Kittens Does a Cat Usually Have?
The average litter size is four kittens but it can range from only one right up to a dozen.
Pedigree breeds like Siamese and Burmese are more prone to giving birth to large litters. It is rare for a cat to only have one kitten.
An interesting fact is that cats can mate with several cats during one heat cycle and may be pregnant with kittens from different fathers. Nature will drive them to mate up to 20 times a day when they are on heat and if given the chance it will be with several different cats.
Signs of Labor and What to Expect?
If you have been counting the days down until the exciting event you will have some idea when the birth should happen. A growing belly will be evident and if you look closely you might even see the kitties moving around. Your cat may start showing signs of instinctually nesting.
The mother cat may or may not want to use the cat birthing bed you have prepared. Don’t worry if she’s not interested in the next you made. You might notice her exploring the house in search of the perfect birthing spot.
With vaginal discharge and swollen nipples that may be leaking milk you will know the labor is soon.
More signs to look for:
- Your cat might stop eating or seem picky
- Your cat might be thirsty
- Feeling unwell or seems sick
- Becomes reclusive and distant
- More frequent washing and grooming
- Your cat wants to urinate but isn’t able to
Generally, cats are able to give birth successfully without assistance and prefer to be left alone. In the wild they will find a safe, warm place away from danger so their instincts kick in and they prefer to deal with the labor process without intervention.
But you can keep an close eye on your new mama cat as sometimes they do need a little help or in rare cases veterinarian care. If you are ever in doubt first call your vet for some over the phone advice and they will guide you from there if you need to pay a visit.
What Age Do Cats Stop Having Kittens?
Cats don’t go into menopause so can keep producing litters for a long time, right into old age.
If not spayed they will go into heat for their whole lives and the kittens will keep coming.
There are so many stray kittens and cats in the world waiting to be adopted. Unwanted or unexpected pregnancies and stray cats mating cause the kitten population to grow quickly out of control. Cats can carry about 3 litters per year so it is no wonder there are so many wild cats in some places.
With this issue showing no signs of being solved in many countries around the world it is worth considering if you cat really needs to have kittens. Even if you want another cat or kitten wouldn’t it be nice to adopt? You could offer a forever home to a kitten that might otherwise grown up in a shelter or be euthanized.
So now you know that your cat can get pregnant from as early as four months old.
You need to decide if you want her to have kittens and plan accordingly from there.
Either way we are sure you will be raising a healthy and happy cat that will be purring and smooching her hours away with or without a litter of kittens.