Until what age do domestic cats give birth?

If a young cat has appeared in your home, then today you need to think about how you plan to protect her from unwanted pregnancies. Many people think it’s too early to think about this, because in front of you is a playful kitten. In fact, time flies very quickly. Every owner should know at what age a cat can become pregnant, because forewarned is forearmed.

First things first

Of course, the numbers will be averaged, because each animal develops differently. The cat family is distinguished by its fertility and early maturity. The age at which a cat can become pregnant for the first time will be influenced by several factors:

  • Breed.
  • Genotype.
  • Other features.

On average, a cat's first heat occurs at 6–8 months. It also marks the possibility of getting pregnant. Usually a young female is in no hurry to set off on an adventure. But the likelihood of having offspring will be higher if you also have a cat.

Breed Features

The larger the pet, the longer it takes to develop. Therefore, Maine Coons and similar animals most often become sexually mature a little later. The first heat, and with it the opportunity to become a mother, usually occurs at 12–14 months. This also includes those with long coats. These are bobtails, Siberian and Norwegian cats. Shorthairs can mature before 6 months; in some, the first heat occurs at 4–5 months. This must be taken into account if you take home a young female. After all, without knowing at what age a cat can become pregnant, you can allow the birth of unwanted offspring.

Everyone's responsibility

At first glance, reproduction is a natural phenomenon. Moreover, many believe that childbirth is necessary and important for the health of the animal. But look around. Today there are so many abandoned, unhappy kittens, cats and female cats who need a family that allowing new ones to be born is simply a crime.

Everyone hopes that good hands will be found for every kitten that their pet has. And usually they are found, especially if the litter is spring. Children are taken to the dacha during the summer holidays for children. What happens in the fall? They are abandoned in summer cottages, left at bus stops, or simply thrown into the yard.

Therefore, think very carefully before allowing your pet near the cat. If she is not purebred, then it is best to sterilize her. Some owners, in the old fashioned way, drown newborns and bury them in the garden. Despite the apparent inhumanity, this is better than starvation and painful death.

Features of physiology

Every owner should understand at least a little about these issues. Where his experience and knowledge are lacking, a veterinarian is needed. Today we’ll talk about the age at which a cat can become pregnant. From the moment of her first heat, she is physiologically ready to become a mother. This ability is sometimes retained until old age. There is no such thing as menopause in cats. That is, the reproductive age lasts from the first estrus until death. This must be communicated to the owners even before the furry beauty crosses the threshold of their home.

Features of cat physiology

While the cat is feeding the kittens with milk and taking care of them, she has no time to search for adventures; usually young individuals become mothers twice a year. The older the animal becomes, the longer the recovery period and, accordingly, the cat gives birth less often.

When for some reason a cat loses her cubs, the recovery period after birth is delayed or occurs with complications (for example, inflammation of the mammary glands is possible). In this case, you need to consult a doctor. Usually the veterinarian prescribes injections of hormonal drugs, recommends giving less liquid to drink, and applies a medicinal bandage to the cat.

If the kittens are taken from the mother too early, without allowing her to feed the litter, she may again begin to insistently demand mating.

Pedigree representatives of the cat family are allowed to register up to 2 litters per year. Since a period of 8 months is considered optimal for the restoration of the body, 3 litters within two years are normal.

Thus, the correct answer to the question “Until what age do cats give birth?” sounds like this: an animal is capable of producing kittens until its death. However, to avoid pathological births and defective babies, breeders prefer to castrate or sterilize their pets at the age of 6 or 7 years.

Timing and stages of pregnancy

Gestation of kittens lasts from 58 to 78 days. It depends on the size of the animal and the breed. For example, Siamese cats bear offspring faster. After about three weeks, the nipples become enlarged, and it becomes possible to feel the babies in the tummy. At this time, the cat must be provided with adequate nutrition. It is best if it is special food for pregnant and lactating women.

When there are 1-2 days left before giving birth, the expectant mother becomes restless. She clings to her owner, looks for a secluded corner, meows. Now it’s best to equip her with a nest. A cat attached to its owner will want to give birth in his bed, and a very independent lady will try to leave the house for this. A cozy nest will help you avoid these extremes.

Does gestational age depend on the number of kittens?

If you thought that kittens grow like zucchini in a garden, slowly and unhurriedly, then you are very mistaken. The fact is that experts distinguish five periods in cat pregnancy, each of which is extremely important for the proper formation of fetuses.

Let's list each of them:

  • The first stage lasts exactly 25 days from the moment of mating. At this time, kittens begin to form, and numerous hormonal changes occur in the body of the expectant mother. From the outside, they are also quite noticeable: they swell, enlarge the nipples, and their color changes to deep pink. The cat becomes calm, sometimes more playful, and tends to spend more time next to the person.
  • The second stage begins at 30-31 days. During this period, intensive growth and formation of embryos continues, they quickly increase in size. The animal prefers to devote more time to sleep and rest, and its appetite increases significantly.
  • The fact of cat pregnancy itself becomes most noticeable in the fifth or sixth week, when the practically formed kittens completely “hang out” the uterus and it descends into the abdominal cavity. The cat's belly sags, it becomes very calm and phlegmatic. The kittens themselves are almost completely “ready” at this time.
  • The fourth stage is perhaps the most difficult for the animal. At this time, kittens’ fur begins to grow rapidly, and all internal systems of the body, including excretory systems, are fully activated. Due to an increase in the level of their metabolic products, the cat may experience a significant decrease in appetite. This period lasts from approximately 40 to 50 days.
  • Fifth stage. If you put your hand on the animal’s belly at this time, you can clearly feel how the kittens move. The cat is restless, looking for the best place to give birth.

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Or vice versa? Does the number of kittens depend on their gestation period? Yes, there is some dependence. The more babies there are, the shorter the period may be, especially for young cats. True, the greater the number of kittens in the belly of a young mother, the higher the likelihood of some kind of trouble. This is due to the fact that her fragile body may not be able to cope with such a high load.

When can you date a cat?

If you have firmly decided to have offspring and know well how you will look for a new home for your babies, then you need to first of all make sure that the expectant mother’s body is fully prepared for such stress. Knowing at what age a cat can become pregnant for the first time, you need to carefully protect her from accidental mating. After all, this is similar to how an 11-year-old girl who got her period for the first time would become pregnant and give birth to a child.

The owner's task is to maintain the health of the pet. This is what should be the priority. The onset of the first estrus only indicates physiological readiness to reproduce. But the owner must think about the other side of the issue. Both male and female cats should be examined by a veterinarian before mating. They are prescribed an examination for hidden infections, treatment for worms and other parasites, as well as vaccination.

Both breeders and veterinarians agree on the age at which a cat can become pregnant for the first time. To ensure that bearing offspring does not have a negative impact on the expectant mother, it is necessary to skip 2 or 3 heats, starting with the first. Pregnancy is a very energy-intensive event. Therefore, before the first conception, the female must be absolutely healthy and in excellent physical shape.

Here it is necessary to say once again that a caring owner should first of all think about the health of his pet. The myths that a cat needs to give birth constantly are unfounded. If your beauty is not the best representative of the breed, a winner of numerous exhibitions and a valuable carrier of the gene pool, then it is best to sterilize her upon reaching puberty.

Age for first pregnancy

Of course, the exact age at which a cat will begin to suffer from unsatisfied lovesickness is not entirely easy to name, but from the age of 7-8 months you should be extremely attentive to the behavior of your pet. The following factors can also affect a cat's fertility:

  • Breed
  • Heredity
  • Other features of the body

It is not uncommon for small short-haired breeds to come into heat at the age of 4 months, which is when they are ready to mate with a male. However, this does not mean that the cat is able to bear and give birth to healthy kittens without consequences for her health.

But as for large long-haired cat breeds, such as Maine Coon, Norwegian, Siberian and Bobtail, their first pregnancy occurs no earlier than the age of 1 year. Such factors must be taken into account when keeping young cats in the home.

The moment of the first heat is the cat’s physiological readiness to become a mother . She retains this ability throughout her life. The concept of menopause does not exist in feline physiology; cat owners should be aware of this feature, and remember that the answer to the question at what age does a cat become pregnant for the first time is very simple - after the onset of estrus.

In cases where a kitten is purchased from a breeder, it is not difficult to find out the pet’s age, which cannot be said about a cat picked up from the street. In this case, predicting the onset of estrus will be much more difficult. But there are some signs of this phenomenon.

Signs of feline puberty:

  1. Weight. Mature cats weigh at least 2.3 – 3.5 kg. In this case, a lot depends on the breed of the pet.
  2. Heat and chant. There are cases when, to all of the above, an invitational song is added, which lasts quite a long time. Thus, the cat invites the cat.
  3. Character and behavior. During the period of heat, a cat becomes an easy-going and loving furball, always begging for affection and stroking. At the slightest touch, it purrs, arches its back, and rolls on the floor. Even the cat’s gait becomes characteristically swaying, slow, with its hind legs bent.

Cats pay special attention to males. During this period, it is worth postponing stroking the back; this will only increase the cat’s sexual desire.

How long after it can be repeated

By about one and a half months, kittens become completely independent and are ready to move to a new home. It's time for owners to think about when a cat can get pregnant again. Usually just when she starts her next heat. But this does not mean that her body is ready for such a turn.

You can plan a pregnancy no earlier than in 5–6 months. And even if the previous lambing passed without complications, the animal must regain its strength. Bearing kittens, giving birth, feeding - all this is associated with a huge loss of nutrients and minerals. Mommy spends a lot of calcium, phosphorus and vitamins. All these substances go towards the development of fruits. Therefore, it is necessary to give her the opportunity to regain weight and normalize hormonal levels. This will take at least 3–4 months. It is believed that a cat should not have more than two litters per year. Otherwise, it wears out the mother’s body.

Frequency of pregnancy

Breeders and just cat lovers are often interested in the question: how long after a previous pregnancy can she give birth again? Despite the fact that a new estrus occurs after one and a half to two months after delivery, and in some cases earlier, the animal’s body is not yet strong enough to bear kittens again.

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Cats are fertile animals, as they can bear numerous litters several times a year.

If there is no control over sexual intercourse, she can become pregnant even during lactation. But frequent pregnancies can negatively affect the health of the mother, whose body is depleted, as well as the future offspring, who will not receive enough micro- and macronutrients.

The next mating should not be planned until five months to a year has passed. Such a break guarantees the complete restoration of the hormonal levels of a cat of a certain age, saturating its body with vitamins and minerals in sufficient quantities.

How often can a cat give birth?

This is another important question that veterinarians are also often asked. Now we know what time a cat can become pregnant, but we still need to understand how to be careful during the year. If her living conditions are good and her nutrition is adequate, estrus will occur with enviable regularity, and you will be faced with the problem of placing the offspring in good hands.

Of course, this frequency is typical for animals that have free access to the street. If there are cats living next door, then surprises cannot be avoided. In this case, it is extremely important to consider how many months a cat can become pregnant. After all, the offspring of a young female will most likely not be viable.

Even if your beauty is still nursing her babies, she may go into heat, and if there is a male nearby, she may become pregnant. This leads to exhaustion, weight loss, inflammatory diseases and other problems. As we said above, if the owner approaches breeding responsibly, then he must exclude such a possibility.

The onset of old age

First heat is the age at which a cat can become pregnant for the first time. After this, throughout adult life, the owner needs to ensure that mating occurs no more than twice a year. If pregnancy is, in principle, not desirable, then it is best to coordinate the sterilization procedure with your veterinarian. They do it throughout their lives. True, there are also contraindications for health reasons.

In this regard, many are interested in when does a pet stop giving birth to kittens? Features of sexual behavior allow them to continue their race until old age. Therefore, you should not hope that after a certain number of years it will be possible to loosen control over the animal. In old age, they give birth to fewer kittens, but this does not fundamentally solve the problem.

The owner must approach this issue responsibly and not allow animals older than 7 years to be bred. When a cat reaches this age, it is easier to sterilize her so as not to create problems for herself and her. None of the professional nurseries will receive offspring from an animal that is 6–7 years old. Late childbirth will not add health to an elderly female, but her life is a fundamental value.

Characteristics of a cat's reproductive age

Representatives of domestic cats are characterized by rapid maturation of the reproductive system. A cat can become pregnant for the first time as early as 6–9 months, with the onset of estrus. But such early fertilization has a negative impact on the still growing body, so it is better to protect your pet from contact with the male until she is one and a half years old.

It is worth noting that in large and long-haired breeds, which include Maine Coons, bobtails and others, estrus may occur later, at the age of one year.

On the contrary, owners of short hair, especially outbred ones, can make their owner happy with pregnancy, starting from the age of five months. In veterinary medicine, such deviations are considered the norm.

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The ability to become pregnant remains in a cat until death, since the concept of “menopause”, applicable to humans, does not exist in these animals. Of course, the duration of puberty is influenced by certain factors. These include:

  • living conditions (including feeding);
  • presence or absence of stressful situations;
  • heredity.

The safest period for fertilization and pregnancy is considered to be between two and five years of age. In this case, the time interval between births must be at least a year . Only in this case can you be sure that the cat will not undermine its health and will live to an old age.

What drugs can be used

Above we have already touched upon the issue of contraception. Since birth control is necessary, it means that special medications are needed that can prevent mating. Moreover, given the age at which a cat can become pregnant, they should be used from a very young age. This issue is acute for owners of purebred animals during the rehabilitation period. Today there is a large selection of contraceptives for pets on the market. The following are especially popular: “Sex barrier”, “Stop-intim”, “Counter-sex”, “Gestrenol”, “Libidomin”.

Caring for an animal in position

Pregnant pets require increased attention at all stages of their existence. They are kept away from danger, fed properly, their coat taken care of, and comfortable living conditions are created.

Animals in position are fed nourishingly and unobtrusively, with food balanced in terms of vitamin and mineral balance. You should not radically change your usual feeding routine - this can cause allergies and rejection in your pet. It is considered sufficient to add the necessary components, checking a professionally prepared diet. You can purchase specialized food for pregnant cats, but your pet should be switched to it gradually and carefully.

The animals are combed out carefully, with gentle, stroking movements. In the later stages, it is better to abandon this procedure altogether.

Bathing pregnant animals is allowed only in the early stages, up to 20-25 days of pregnancy. After crossing this line, they refuse to swim so that the stressful situation does not provoke a miscarriage and premature birth.

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In the later stages, 1-2 weeks before birth, it is recommended to limit the animal’s traumatic mobility, do not allow it to jump onto high window sills and shelves, or jump down from them.

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