It’s quite difficult for a new cat owner when your female cat is in heat. You may feel anxious with many unclear questions. How does my cat mate? Which signs will the queen (mother cat) have? Do I have to do anything to help her? What should I provide for my cat? The answers may not be clear for all. The whole cat mating process and cat pregnancy can be rather worrying to owners who have never experienced their pet having kittens before. I know I was really anxious the first time too. However, generally most pregnant felines, even first time mothers will be able to cope with the whole process themselves.
To make your pet life easier, here is the basic guideline you may need when your cat experiences her mating period.
Should You Breed Your Cat?
Cat overpopulation is a huge issue around the world with literally millions of kittens euthanized due to there just not being enough homes. For this reason, it is not recommended that you breed your cat unless you are a registered cat breeder with registered cats. There is many homeless kittens that you may want to adopt and give them a better life.
If you are a registered breeder or have decided to breed your cat it is important to have her checked over by a veterinarian prior to mating. She should be in excellent health and have all her vaccinations. A suitable stud should be found who is also in good health and up to date on his vaccinations. Both cats should be screened for the Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus prior to mating.
Cat Matting Age and Breeding Season
Female cats will normally have their first period of being in heat at around six to eight months of age but for some cats this may happen even earlier at around 3 and half months.
For the Male they normally begin to mature at around ten to twelve months of age but again this happen much earlier at around six months for some male cats.
It is therefore wise to note that if you do not wish your cat to have kittens or for your male to father any kittens that it is best to have them spayed/neutered at around 4 to 6 months of age.
Usually, cats are ready to breed when they are in heat. There is a very large range of what is normal when it comes to time frames for the domestic queen’s cycle. The cycle of heat (4 steps) starts with Oestrus (Estrus) cycle and if cat successfully mates then she becomes pregnant. The cat would be ready to start being on heat right after the delivery of kittens. So this heat cycle could keep on going without any intervals. The biggest season of cat breeding is the “spring” and “summer”. Cats mate in these seasons because of many factors. Naturally, this season is good for breeding because the kittens could survive in a better way during summer time as compared to winters.
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Signs of cats in heat
Of course before your kitty becomes pregnant there will be a period of time where she is in heat and displaying all the usual signs of this. During this time there will be a period of mating which can last for many weeks until she has been fertilized, even then it may continue for a few more days afterwards. There are clear behavior changes that you will notice with a cat in heat. When the female cat is ready to mate she will begin to display certain behavior to show her readiness such as:
Signs of cats in heat
- Becoming excessively friendly
- Rolling around on her back
- Wailing and yowling in a different tone
- Raising her hind quarters with her tail in the air and padding her feet (especially when stroked on the back
- Wanting to go out more often
- Urinating more frequently to spread her scent around.
The mating process can be a little disturbing to some owners as it can look rather brutal and you may worry for your female cat’s health. However by understanding the mating process you will realize there is nothing to worry about.
Signs of cat pregnancy
So how do you know if your cat is pregnant or not? The first signs of a cat pregnancy are:
Signs of cat pregnancy
- Your female cat in heat process stops.
- She may start to demand more food than usual.
- At 3 to 4 weeks into her pregnancy her nipples will start to enlarge and turn a purplish pink.
- Her abdomen will start to swell and she will put on weight. However this may not start to show much until much later into the pregnancy.
To be completely sure that your cat is pregnant, take her to be examined by your vet. However your vet will only be able to feel the kittens inside your cat from around the week 3 or 4 of the pregnancy. It is not advisable for you to try and feel your cat abdomen for the kittens as you could harm them.
What Should You Do In Cat Pregnancy Period?
It is important to ensure that your cat is as healthy and strong during her pregnancy for several reasons. The kittens will be born healthy and your queen will be strong enough to take care of them and produce enough good quality milk.
There are several things you can do for your pet to make sure the pregnancy and the kittens are healthy.
What Should You Do
- Feed a good quality cat food during and after pregnancy.
- Towards the last third of the cat pregnancy your cat may start to demand more food more often. This is OK and you can feed small meals on demand, up to four times a day.
- If you make your own pet food then a calcium supplement may be recommended as well.
- Worm your pet monthly and ensure the flea treatment you use will not harm the kittens (check with your vet).
- A little of kittens can have different fathers: On the street, a queen may mate with two or more tom cats over the length of the estrus cycle – up to 21 days, with an average of seven days. Although genetics of the queen may come into play, multi-colored kitten litters will often vividly demonstrate multiple mating. Some breeders of pedigreed cats keep the queen and chosen tom together for multiple mating to ensure that pregnancy will result.
- You may sometimes misunderstand cat false pregnancy behaviors: Approximately 30 to 35% of queens will ovulate without any direct contact with a tom. When eggs are released, but not fertilized it is called psuedocyesis or false pregnancy). You might notice some changes in your queen such as increased appetite. This period lasts for 30 to 35 days.
These are the basic requirements for safely breeding healthy, happy cats. Breeding cats is a serious, time intensive, expensive undertaking. Experience and knowledge of cat matting are vital before you breed your cat. Most new cat breeders will find a mentor to help them establish a breeding program. But can also be a very rewarding experience incorporating a lot of very cute kittens! Being a good and kind owner, I know, it is not easy at all.
However, when you are a friend, a father or mother of your cat, make sure you know at least you are responsibility for her pregnancy. Let’s share with me your experience when your cat mating. I’d love to hear your story.