How Many Litters Should You Let Your Cat Have?

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It’s normal for pet parents to be worried when their felines get pregnant, especially when it happens too often. Some are concerned about the safety of their pets when they have too many litters. That’s why we’ve researched the recommended number of litters for cats, and here’s the answer.

You should only let your cat have 1 litter a year, starting when she’s at least 1 year old up to 5 years of age when she’s at the peak of her health. It is part of responsible pet parenthood to set this limit since cats are known for having multiple pregnancies in a year and giving birth to an average of 4 kittens each time.

Hang on because we’re going to discuss everything there is to know about cat pregnancy so you know how to take care of your female cats. We’ll tell you more about the whole cycle. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

cat taking care of her litter, closu up photo. How Many Litters Should You Let Your Cat Have

Is It Dangerous For A Cat To Have Too Many Litters?

Cats are very fertile by nature. Sexually mature female felines can conceive up to 3 to 5 times a year (except, of course, when they’re spayed). So, if you allow them to keep on breeding, you’ll have lots of little kittens every year!

While it is normal for female cats to have many litters in a year, this isn’t recommended. Aside from the obvious issue of overpopulation, a cat’s body also needs time to recover after giving birth and feeding her young. Ideally, they should be allowed 1 litter per year.

Intentional breeding should only start when the feline is at least 1 year old to be sure that she’s mature enough to care for her young. The period between 1 to 5 years old is considered the best breeding age for felines since this is when their health is best.

Cat breastfeeding little kittens

There are potential consequences that could happen to cats when they’re allowed to give birth frequently. The mother cat can suffer from malnourishment since she’s probably still nursing her offspring when she gets pregnant again.

Frequent births can also cause hemorrhage, mammary cancer, or an infected uterus. Take note that mammary tumors are common among cats and 85 percent of these cases are malignant.

But of course, each cat is different. Some may have healthy pregnancies while some might experience health issues and other complications while giving birth. This is why pet parents should be educated about cat pregnancy so that they can give their felines proper care when they do get pregnant.

At What Age Can A Cat Get Pregnant?

Female cats reach sexual maturity at an early age. They can get pregnant even when they are as young as 4 months old, although the average age is around 6 months old.

This is the time when they reach their puberty stage and experience their first heat cycle. Cats do not bleed during this period, but you’ll be able to observe some behavioral changes throughout the cycle.

They can be more demanding of your attention, become more affectionate or start rubbing themselves on you or your furniture. Their cycle usually lasts between 4 and 7 days, but it can vary from one female to another. Some may experience it only for a day while some go into heat for as long as 3 weeks.

To help your lady cat deal with the stress of having her first reproductive cycle, it is best to keep her away from male kittens, shower her with your love and attention, play with her, and let her sit on a warm pillow or blanket.

If by any chance the female feline mates with a male, then there’s a probability that breeding may happen. That’s why if you don’t want your pet to get pregnant, you should have her spayed when she’s around 4 to 6 months old to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

What Age Does A Cat Stop Having Kittens?

Cats do not go through menopause. This means that they can get pregnant and produce litter during their entire life unless they’re spayed, of course.

This is why spaying is very important. You don’t just avoid unwanted (and a lot of) pregnancies but most importantly, you are able to protect your female cat from diseases such as breast tumors and uterine infections.

How Many Kittens Are In A Litter?

Cat nursing her kittens

The average number of kittens in a litter is 4, but in reality, there can be anywhere from 1 to 12 kittens in each litter.

When a female cat gives birth for the first time, you can expect a small litter size.

However, some breeds are more prone to produce a larger number of offspring such as the Siamese, Oriental, and Burmese cat breeds. A Burmese/Siamese queen holds the record for having the world’s largest litter at 19 kittens.

How Many Kittens Usually Survive In A Litter?

As mentioned earlier, there is an average of 4 kittens in a litter. Studies show that about 70 to 85 percent of them will survive.

Some newborn kittens are stillborn while some die during the first few weeks of their lives due to trauma, birth defects, nutritional problems, infections, and other health issues.

But then again, it will depend on the health of the mother cats and how they are able to care for their young. That’s why pet parents should give them the best possible care and support all throughout their pregnancy and after giving birth. Regular checkups with the veterinarian are recommended.

How Long Should Cats Wait Between Litters?

A cat’s gestation period usually lasts between 63 to 65 days or roughly 2 months. After about a month, she can go into heat again which means she can get pregnant once more.

But getting pregnant shortly after giving birth isn’t ideal. As we’ve said previously, the mother cat’s body needs adequate time to heal and recover from her birthing experience. She also needs more strength so she can nurse her newborn kittens until they reach around 2 months of age.

Responsible breeders would only allow their female cats to get pregnant once a year to ensure that their bodies are ready again for the demands of pregnancy and motherhood. This will also help in safeguarding the health of the mother cats and their kittens.

Can A Cat Be Pregnant With Two Different Litters At The Same Time?

Believe it or not, female cats can give birth to a litter and the kittens can have different fathers! This is called heteropaternal superfecundation.

It happens because female cats still go through their estrous cycle even when they are pregnant. They would naturally look for a mate when they are in heat, so it’s possible for them to be pregnant again while they are still pregnant.

When this happens, they are carrying different ages of fetuses in their uterus, and if they mated with different males, then those kittens would have different fathers as well.

cat taking care of her litter, closu up photo. How Many Litters Should You Let Your Cat Have

Final Thoughts

As a responsible pet owner, you should limit your female cat’s pregnancy to just once a year. It’s best to breed when she’s between 1 and 5 years of age when she’s in peak health. When you don’t want her to get pregnant anymore, have her spayed by the vet to ensure her good health and well-being.

To help your female cat care for her kittens, you can read these posts:

Are Cat Trees Safe For Kittens?

Can Kittens Have Temptation Treats?

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