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As a result of being a highly prolific breeder, cats are capable of producing untamed colonies of kittens. The size of the litter varies according to many factors. A cat can give birth to a litter of 3 kittens, up to a litter of 10.
Cat’s Pregnancy Cycle: An Overview
In most cases, cats hit the age of puberty and become sexually mature when they reach the age of 6 months. This is also the time when they have their first estrous cycle, better known as the heat cycle of a cat. This cycle usually lasts up to 16 days. The cat’s body becomes receptive to sexual activity, and a significant change in the behaviors can also be observed.
The gestation period for cats varies from 60 days to up to 70 days, marginally shorter when compared to those of other animals or humans. After giving birth to a litter, cats are capable of getting pregnant again, within a short time. This concludes that it is possible for a cat to give birth to as many as 3 to 5 litters in a year.
The concept of menopause doesn’t exist in the cat’s world. Their rate of fertility might decline over a period of time, but they never completely become incapable of giving birth to their younger ones. They have the ability to give birth around 4 times a year. Considering that overpopulation is a major issue in most areas, it is important to control and limit the conditions under which a cat may become receptive to giving birth to a litter.
Taking Care of a Pregnant Cat
When your feline friends are pregnant, they tend to display varying moods that you must be up to host. They not only go through morning sickness cycles like humans but become highly affectionate, moody, stressful, vocal, but equally excited.
At such times, they expect extra care and affection from you. Make sure you take them to regular vet visits. Keep them properly nourished with the right kind of food and plenty of water. Treat your cats with their favorite cat toys, plushies, rings, and other pet toys that are safe to use.
After she gives birth, allow her some privacy with her little ones and keep them safe and protected.
Factors That Affect Litter Size
Feline litters can vary from breed to breed, and with respect to various factors. Some of the essential ones that influence a litter size are as follows:
- Cats that have contracted diseases, infections, viruses, and bacterias are visibly weak, and have major health issues; they have a lower fertility rate as well. This affects their capability to produce large litter sizes around the year. Their bodies become weak and they are not physically competent to give multiple births or have a large litter size.
- With age, the fertility rate of cats also reduces. Previous health complications or genetic history also plays a major role in determining the size of the cat’s litter. As and when the cat gets older, her litter size gets shorter.
- Fitter cats deliver larger sized litters in comparison to cats that are in poor shape, less active, and out of condition.
One should never purposely breed one’s cat. It is important to restrain the multiple births that a cat may be able to give in a year.
The process of neutering and spaying the cats must be encouraged and administered.
The process of sterilizing male cats is known as neutering, while the process of sterilizing their female counterparts is known as spaying.
There are many cats that are left unsheltered and become a victim of abandonment and death. Neutralizing not only benefits cats by prompting fewer unwanted litters but also helps them live a longer, happier life.