Whether you are considering breeding your cat or just interested in learning more about their reproduction, it is very beneficial to be knowledgeable about this process. It gives you extra insight into specific stages of your cat’s life and can help you prevent unwanted pregnancy for your cat. A natural question about cats’ reproduction is, do cats come from eggs?
Cats do not come from eggs, as they are part of the mammal family. Mammals give birth to live young. This means the entire development process for kittens occurs in the mother kitten’s womb, and the female births a baby.
Understanding how cats reproduce is important, so read on to learn more about what actually takes place!
How Do Cats Reproduce
The feline reproductive cycle requires both a male and female cat to come together and copulate at the right time. Cats have heat cycles, which is a particular time in their overall cycle where they can ovulate. These specific windows of time are the only time when female cats can get pregnant.
The female cat may start going into heat as young as four months of age, and she will usually have 2 or 3 heat cycles a year. There are specific cues female cats will start giving while they are in heat.
These cues are part of their typical mating behaviors and are entirely normal. Sometimes you can tell if your cat is going through this stage of her cycle if she is rolling around and yelling more aggressively. This is how the female cat typically signals to male cats that she is in heat and available for reproducing.
Cats are also able to mate more than once during the same heat cycle. A female cat can breed with several males during the same cycle, resulting in kittens in the same litter having different fathers.
Do Cats Reproduce Asexually
Cats do not reproduce asexually when a single animal can reproduce without the union of individuals or gametes. Instead, cats reproduce sexually.
This means the new organism or kitten is created from a combination of genetic material from the two individual parent cats coming together.
In simpler terms, it requires both a male and female cat to come together and mate for cats to reproduce. A female cat cannot get pregnant on her own.
For cats, in particular, there is a specific window throughout the year when they are in season for mating. This is typically between January to September, but some female cats may be in heat longer than that throughout the year.
How Long Is The Pregnancy Of A Cat
Cats are typically pregnant for around 63-65 days, or just over two months in total duration. This is much shorter than the pregnancy duration for humans and means that cats can have multiple pregnancies a year.
Cats can get pregnant as young as four months old, as this is typically when a female cat first goes into heat. Due to this, it is possible for there to be a cat who gives birth as young as six months old.
How Does A Cat Give Birth To Kittens
Female cats usually go into labor around the 63-day mark of their pregnancy. As a cat’s body goes into labor, her birthing canal will begin to relax and widen so that the kittens can easily pass through.
This initial stage of birth can take between six and twelve hours, and your cat may try to hide or groom themselves excessively while their labor starts.
After that point, your cat’s contractions will strengthen, and they will begin to strain to get the kittens out. The kittens should start making their entry into the world soon after this. The kittens are each individually born with a thin sac around them, which should be removed once they are born to breathe on their own.
Cats can usually give birth on their own at home with few complications, but it is always important to monitor them during the process. You will want to call your vet if your cat seems to be straining for over half an hour with no success birthing the kittens or if her vitals seem to be changing.
Some things to look out for during a cat delivery and birth that are not normal are green discharge, bleeding, kittens getting stuck in the mother’s pelvis, or problems removing the sac from the baby kittens. It is essential to be aware that this issue could arise and know how to deal with them in an emergency.
Things To Consider
It is not always obvious when your female cat is pregnant. Cats can mate very quickly, so you would not likely witness the act taking place.
If your female cat is not spayed, there is always a high risk that your cat could become pregnant unexpectedly. That is why it is strongly recommended to get your cat spayed at four months old before they go into the heat for the first time.
If you suspect your cat might be pregnant, look for the following signs. To start, it is common for a cat’s belly to start to feel bigger or change shape if they are pregnant.
You may also notice your cat’s nipples will get larger, swell, and become a red color as their pregnancy advances. Some cats also get sick at the beginning of their pregnancies, which can look similar to morning sickness in humans, with fatigue and nausea.
Of course, taking your cat to the vet is the easiest and safest way to determine if your cat is indeed pregnant. The vet will be able to do an ultrasound as soon as 16 days to confirm the pregnancy.
They will not be able to determine how many kittens will be in the litter from the initial ultrasound. An x-ray can take place once your cat is further along, around 50 days pregnant. At this point, the vet will determine how many kittens are in the litter as well.
It is strongly encouraged to take your cat in to see their vet when you believe them to be pregnant, as the vet will be able to advise you on how to keep your cat healthy during the pregnancy, with everything from what medicine they should be on to ensure the kittens looks healthy.