If you are planning on breeding a couple of cats, you need to do so in the right way. It isn’t as simple as putting them in the same room together and hoping for the best! There are a number of things that you need to do beforehand including making sure both cats have grown to full size and checking them for any genetic health issues. Also, you need to catch your female cat when in heat. If you do everything properly, this increases the chances that the female will become pregnant and the kittens will be healthy.
To give you a starting point on cats mating, we have prepared this short guide to outline some of the basics. We will also look at some other key questions such as how do cats have sex and how do cats get pregnant.
Steps Before You Mate Your Cats
Allow Both Cats to Reach Full Size
Before you mate two cats, you should allow both of them to reach full size. If you breed them too early, this can stunt the growth of the female, putting too much pressure on them to raise kittens too young. There is also a problem in breeding the male too early – namely that you won’t be able to see genetic issues in their genes. Both cats should be at least 18 months old before they are mated.
Take Your Cats to the Vet
Before the mating process begins, it is worth taking both cats to the vet. First, they need to perform a full physical evaluation and give any necessary shots. It needs to be confirmed that both cats are healthy enough to mate. After the evaluation, the vet will be able to tell you if there are any likely potential problems involved in the two cats mating, as well as if there could be issues with the kittens.
Work Out When the Female is in Heat
Technically known as oestrus, young female kittens can be in heat as young as 4 ½ months old. This will continue until they are spayed, or she mates. For outdoor cats, the most likely months when this occurs is during the spring and summer. You will notice that the female becomes very affectionate, attracting males for around the next three weeks. If she does not mate within this period of time, she will leave heat, but will reenter just a couple of weeks later. As for indoor cats, it is possible that they can be mated all year round due to the way in which the artificial light impacts their cycle.
Put the Male and Female Together
After all the preliminary work has been done, you will now need to get the male and female cats together in the same room. If the female is in heat, she should allow the male to mate with her. How do cats mate, you may wonder? Well, it usually takes between 1 and 20 seconds. After they have finished, the male is likely to run away, while you may notice the female thrashing around – a process that can last as long as 10 minutes. In around 30 minutes time, the female will be ready for mating again.
Look for Signs of Pregnancy in the Female
Now, you can watch the female cat for signs of pregnancy, which are both physical and in terms of their personality. Gestation lasts between 60 and 67 days. First, you may notice your cat’s heat cycle suddenly stops after coming in regularly every couple of weeks. Next, you may see that your cat’s nipples will swell and become rosier in color. Your cat’s appetite will probably increase as they are now eating for more than one. Weight gain will probably occur. You can expect between two and four pounds to be put on. A type of morning sickness vomiting is also possible, and you may need to consult with your vet if this becomes too severe or frequent. After the fifth week, you will probably notice abdominal enlargement.
As for personality changes, you may find that your kitty becomes more affectionate. And this is a nice time to provide them with some love and attention! While cats already sleep a lot, pregnant cats tend to sleep even longer. You also may notice that your kitty starts to display some nesting behavior like seeking out a quiet and secluded space where they can give birth.
If you think that your cat is pregnant, it is a good idea to have them checked out by the vet to ensure that everything is progressing well.
Signs Your Cat Will Give Birth Soon
At the end of the gestation period, it will be the time for your cat to give birth. There are a few signs that tell you that this is about to happen. First, you may notice them seeking out quiet places where they can give birth. This tends to happen anywhere between a couple of days and a few hours before labor takes place. You may start to see your pregnant cat behaving in an anxious or restless way in the 48 hours before birth. Other signs include your cat vocalizing more than usual and a sudden loss of appetite.
Prepare Your Cat to Give Birth
You should have a few things ready to go including a nesting box, water, food, and litter box. Keep a cat carrier nearby in case there are any complications that require your kitty to be urgently taken to the vet. Have their number to hand too. Some clean towels are useful to clean off the newborn kittens. In general, your cat will not need you during this process, but you should stay close in case you need to provide any assistance.
Before you mate your cats, it is worth knowing about the process and what you can do to ensure everything goes smoothly. It is always going to be worth consulting with your vet for more information on the cat mating and reproduction process.