Hello, cat lovers. You’re probably wondering how many kittens can a cat have. Since kittens are the cutest thing on this planet, you are curious how many of them will be there when your cat gives birth, am I right?
However, it seems that there are so many kittens and you don’t know what to do with them. As felines are very prolific, if you don’t observe them enough, they can produce and produce as many as some would want.
Could you ever imagine that one unspayed female cat can produce 420 000 kittens in seven years? Fascinating isn’t it?
No matter what, we will now see everything you need to know about cat litters and kittens so keep reading.
How Many Kittens Can A Cat Have?
It is normal that a cat per litter has 4 to 8 kittens, but there is also a possibility that litter can have less kittens or more than 8 kittens. A first cat mom will usually have 2 to 3 kittens in a litter.
There is also a possibility that a female cat gives birth to kittens with different fathers, no we’re not talking about Georgia Miller from Ginny and Georgia. If a cat mates with multiple tomcats while she’s in heat, she indeed can have kittens with different parents.
That’s why one litter of kittens can have many different kittens in so many colors and coat lengths.
Female cats can have litter twice a year but it is surely not good for a cat and not recommended. After one litter, it is best that you have your cat spayed to preserve their health and long life time.
Also, you’re responsible to find homes for those kittens of your momma cat because usually those kittens that don’t have a home are euthanized, and we don’t want that!
How Many Kittens Are There Per Litter?
To say exactly how many kittens will be in one litter, we can’t since that number depends on external and internal factors.
Cats only release eggs when they’re bred since they’re induced ovulators. So, the number of kittens that are produced depend on the breedings per heat cycle. This is the reason kittens can have different fathers as we mentioned earlier.
Female’s breed and age also affect the litter number. Younger cats usually produce a small number of litters as well as old cats when they’re in older years of production. Cats that are 3 to 4 years of age usually have a bigger number of litters.
When it comes to breed, Persians usually produce a smaller number of litters while Siamese cats produce a bigger number of litters. Those are internal factors, now we’ll talk about external factors.
When we talk about external factors, the most impact on the number of kittens definitely has diseases and nutrition. Queens that have a high-quality diet will have larger litters while those that don’t eat much will have smaller litters.
Diseases that will increase the rate of fetal abortions and lead to smaller litter size are feline distemper and feline infectious peritonitis.
How Many Kittens Can A Cat Have Throughout Her Life?
You cannot count how many kittens a cat can have during their lifetime. Cats don’t undergo menopause so they can produce baby kittens all the time. Senior cats can also get pregnant and give birth so the age doesn’t really matter.
So what is the number of kittens during their lifetime that they can produce?
If we take into account that the average lifespan of most domestic cats is 12 to 15 years, we do the math and we get the result: four kittens per litter, three times a year for 12 years and that is 180 kittens throughout her life.
But we also must take into consideration that females mature around the end of their first year and won’t be able to bear kittens in their last years. And also, you as a cat owner won’t handle new kittens every few months.
What do we want to say with this? We want to say that those numbers won’t be exact and probably will be lower. However, we have stray cats that don’t have owners and they mate non stop when they’re in heat so they can have more than 180 kittens over their lifetime.
How Many Kittens Are Supposed To Have Cat’s First Litter?
Pregnancy of a healthy cat normally lasts around 60 to 65 days and pregnant cats will probably have an estrus cycle during their four weeks of giving birth even though they’re nursing.
A healthy queen will normally give birth to 3 litters a year, and those litters will usually contain up to 12 kittens.
Cats are fertile breeders and one cat that is unspayed in 5 years can produce 20 000 kittens. But the average size of one liter is usually smaller. Most litters will have 4 to 8 kittens but that also can vary depending on the health of your cat.
But first litters are usually smaller and will contain 2 to 3 baby kittens. That can also depend on genetics and pedigree, for example British shorthair can have 4 kittens in one single litter.
On the contrary, we have Balinese, Siamese, and Tonkinese cats that will have 12 kittens in one single litter.
RELATED: Do Kittens Remember Their Mother?
When Can A Cat Produce Kittens?
The average domestic kitten hits puberty around 5 to 9 months of age but some may mature a little slower or faster depending on the breed.
When a kitten reaches sexual maturity, she can give birth after her first estrus which is known as heat or reproductive cycle. The first heat usually happens when a kitten is 6 months old.
Cats have many heat cycles during the breeding season which is usually May to June and February to March. That’s why felines are known as seasonally polyestrous.
The place your cat lives also can affect their estrus cycle. Those felines that live in warm climates may have heat cycles throughout the whole year.
RELATED: How Do Mom Cats Discipline Kittens?
How To Determine If Your Cat Is Pregnant?
You’ve probably wondered if your cat is pregnant or just fat. It can be challenging to determine and see the signs of your cat’s pregnancy. The easiest way to find out are x-rays, ultrasound, blood test or abdominal palpation.
A queen is usually the name a pregnant cat goes by. Her behavior won’t be that different from her usual, but some cats can become more aggressive or affectionate during pregnancy.
You may notice that a pregnant cat will have a rounder belly and her nipples will be more distinguished. But these signs are visible only later in the pregnancy.
Did you know that cats can also have a pseudopregnancy or false pregnancy? Hormonal imbalances are probably responsible for that state, and usually manifest in symptoms of pregnancy like lactation and behavioral changes.
These symptoms will usually manifest two months after the heat and can last for over a month.
How To Take Proper Care For Your Pregnant Cat?
Pregnant cats will have different nutrition than cats in a normal state. Here are a few tips when it comes to taking care of your pregnant feline friend.
1. Make Sure That The Cat Food Is High-Caloric
It is logical that pregnant cats should have a high caloric diet in the fourth week of pregnancy, and also while they’re weaning.
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2. The Meals Should Be Frequent
Pregnant and nursing cats have a higher metabolic rate that is connected to birthing, growing, and feeding kittens so the diet and nutrition need to be sufficient.
Because she now has a rowing fetus inside her belly, there will be less room so the meals should be smaller but frequent.
3. Observe If There Is Vaginal Bleeding
The vaginal bleeding is not normal during any feline pregnancy and that’s why you need to watch out for it.
If you see the bleeding you should be concerned and take your cat to the vet as this probably means that the queen aborted the babies or had a miscarriage, if it happens to be in the early or middle stages of her gestation.
If the vaginal bleeding is noticed at the very end of her pregnancy, it may mean that the labor started and the vet should be called immediately.
4. Take Your Cat To Do Stool Sample
It is advised that you take your cat to get fresh food stample checked by the vet, as the intestinal parasites can be found, and we don’t want any parasites in the womb!
5. Your Pregnant Cat Should Be On Safe Flea Preventatives
While your cat is pregnant it is crucial that your cat is on vet-approved flea preventative. You should always check with your vet if the flea preventative is safe for your pregnant cat. This will not only ensure your cat safety but also the safety of the baby kittens.
6. Vaccine Shots Are PROHIBITED For Pregnant Cats
Keep in mind that your pregnant cat should never be vaccinated while she’s pregnant since those vaccines can put your cat in danger and kittens can be put at risk of defects.
Those queens for breeding should be vaccinated prior to pregnancy.
7. Make A Birthing Space For Your Pregnant Cat
As a caring cat owner, you want to prepare everything for your queen so you should prepare a quiet, cozy and comfortable place for birth, something like a birthing box.
8. Learn The Signs Of Labor
Cat owners should be aware of the signs that the labor is coming. Pregnant cats will usually show symptoms of labor 48 hours before actually giving birth and those are:
- Whimper, meow or yowl
- Visit their birthing box
- Groom their vulva more than usual
- Have a lower body temperature
- Loose appetite
Wrapping It Up
So, how many kittens can a cat have? 4 to 8 on average, buuuut, that number can slightly differ depending on the age and the breed.
Take care of your pregnant cat and make sure kittens go to appropriate caring homes. And, it would be great if you spay your cat after the first pregnancy if you are not a breeder.