The process of cat breeding might seem simple to an observer. In reality, it is the opposite. Cat breeding as compared to dog breeding is slightly different. The reason is that pregnancies in cats differ from the way it takes place in bitches. However, the general principle is that you need to be careful of certain things pre-breeding, during pregnancy, and post-birth. For instance, you need to run a complete check of your cat’s health to determine if she is ready for mating. Then, you have to make sure and catch your cat at the exact time when it is at heat.
Conception and Mating in Cats
If you have recently adopted or just have been gifted a female kitten, you should know that you are up for putting in a lot of time and effort. With time, your kitten will grow into a fully mature cat and at that point, you might think that having a couple more will not hurt. While the thought circulates in your head, you might observe your cat acting suspiciously. The first thought that comes to mind is heat. It might be that your cat is ready to become pregnant and it starts to worry you what if it sneaks out the door and becomes pregnant by a frisky male cat. Worry not, we have got you covered.
Is Your Cat in Heat?
This is the most popular question in the world of cat breeding. Those who have adopted a cat for the first time find it a bit hard to identify the signs of heat. If a female cat has not been spayed already, it will eventually come into heat. Once you are familiar with the signs, they become quite unambiguous. A kitten might have her first heat within 3 ½ months, therefore, do not fall prey to the “wait at least six months to spay” advice. Furthermore, you should also know that unless a cat is spayed or mated, it will come into heat again and again after its first heat.
Signs of Pregnancy
Cats in heat will do anything to come in contact or mate with a male. On the other hand, male cats have sometimes been known to create havoc to find a female cat in heat. If your cat is in heat and is able to find a tomcat, the chances of your cat becoming pregnant are huge. Once your cat is pregnant, you should be aware of several physical changes. For instance, the cat will gain weight, it might experience morning sickness, the nipples will become swollen and the heat cycles will cease. This is the first sign of pregnancy. If you notice that the heat cycles of your cat have suddenly stopped, it means that she is pregnant.
Stages of a Cat’s Pregnancy
Understanding the stages of a cat’s pregnancy is yet another important factor related to the science of breeding. Apart from waiting for your cat to be in heat, you should know that an unspayed cat’s fertility process occurs every two to three weeks during summer and spring. The reason is that sunlight triggers the release of hormones that help in activating ovulation. Once your cat has entered the stage of estrus, she is ready to mate and her eggs will be open to fertilization for about seven days. You will notice that your cat is going to be extra affectionate during this period.
As the cat enters the third week of gestation, the embryos start to develop. At the time, since a physical change is taking place inside the body, your cat’s weight will increase along with the intake as well. As a part of the process, the cat will create a huge surge of hormones. Furthermore, the nipples will become swollen and appear darker. As the embryos start to develop, the cells of the body and head develop first. Additionally, the development of the placenta begins at the time of implantation as well allowing the exchange of waste products and nutrients between the embryo and mother.
Close to 4 weeks, most of the organic structures in your cat have been formed. The embryos will turn into fetuses and the first trimester is completed. From now onwards, your cat aims to grow the fetuses, which is going to require the majority of the cat’s energy until birth. Therefore, make sure that you provide only the best quality foods and make regular visits to the veterinarian to prevent complications while being pregnant.
Looking after Your Cat While Being Pregnant
Whether you have adopted a pregnant stray cat or your own cat has become pregnant, you will need to look after certain things to ensure that the health of the cat and the kittens remain optimum. Since your cat is pregnant, it might feel lazy due to a lack of energy and will most probably spend her time sleeping. Make sure that you provide a litter box, a proper place to sleep, and some scratching toys as well.
Caring For the Mother and Newborns
The first two to three weeks after birth are the most crucial for both the mother and newborns. During this time, the kittens need to be developing rapidly and if there are any postpartum problems with the mother, it should show up by this time. Furthermore, provide a quiet area to the mother as well as the kittens so that they are not disturbed while resting. Moreover, make sure that the area is warm enough. Newborns do not have the ability to withstand cold temperatures since their bodies are not even mature yet. Therefore, ensure proper care for the mother as well as her newborns.
How Should I Ensure Successful Breeding?
As mentioned earlier, breeding cats is quite different from breeding dogs. To ensure healthy and successful new cat breeds, you should know that a female cat could be bred at any time of her heat cycle. The reason is that cats tend to be induced ovulators, meaning the breeding act encourages the release of eggs by the ovaries. As a result, the eggs are only released when the sperm is deposited in the reproductive tract. Depending on the female cat, it might require three to four matings within a 24-hour period to ensure ovulation.
What Happens during normal delivery and labor?
When a cat is about to enter the labor stage, it will show signs of nervousness, panting, and over-grooming. Moreover, sometimes a cat might also stop eating just before the delivery day. Mostly, the rectal temperature drops to less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 24 hours signaling impending labor. In addition to that, although cats mostly give birth without any complications, you should observe the birth process especially if it’s your cat’s first litter. If in case, an emergency was to arise, you should have your veterinarian on speed dial.
Before breeding your cat or cats, you must become aware of the basic knowledge and information to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Since there is a huge variety of cats in the market, you should consult a vet before adopting one. And if you have provided a home to a stray cat, make sure that you learn about its type and personality traits as much as possible so that you compromise neither its health nor the health of its kittens in the future.