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FAQs on Reproduction (Heats & Pregnancy) in Cats
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Reproduction and Breeding
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At what age can a cat have her first litter?

Puberty (the age at which animals can reproduce) in the cat ranges from 4 to 12 months, with the average being 6 to 9 months. At puberty, cats are generally about 75% of their mature body weight. Domestic shorthair cats, as a breed, generally reach puberty earlier than domestic longhair cats.

Can a cat breed at any time during the year?

Female cats are unusual in that their heats are influenced by seasonal changes in the amount of daylight. Cats usually 'cycle' and are bred between January and September.

How often does a cat come into heat?

A female cat is also unusual in that she basically will keep coming back into heat every 14-21 days or so until she is bred or the amount of daylight decreases (October).

How can I tell if a cat is in heat?

You will know. A cat in heat is very vocal, calling and calling for a male cat. She will roll and roll on the ground and constantly rub against furniture or your leg. She will assume a breeding posture with her head and front legs near the ground and the rump area held high. She will become very affectionate. You may notice her urinating frequently. She will be in heat and accept a male for 3 to 16 days.

How long is pregnancy in the cat?

Cats generally have their kittens 58 to 65 days after they are bred.

How many kittens are in the average litter?

Generally, a cat has 4 to 6 kittens in each litter.

How many litters can a cat have in a year?

The average cat could have 3 litters a year.

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