Various factors need to be considered when it comes to the number of litters a cat has in their lifetime.
In this article, we are going to be looking at how many kittens a cat can have, as well as some general information on kitten litter and expecting mother cats. Let's get started.
What Age Can A Cat Start Having Kittens?
Before we go into the number of litters that a cat can have, let's first look at when cats can start having litters of kittens.
Cats can become pregnant when they have their first heat cycle, with some reaching sexual maturity as young as four months old.
It is not advised to allow a cat to become pregnant at this young age though as kittens don't tend to reach adulthood until they are at least 12 months old, continuing to develop even when they stop physically growing at around 6 months of age.
If a cat gets pregnant at such a young age, this is essentially a kitten having kittens!
This could lead to a wealth of issues for both the mother and the litter, as not only do young pregnancies in cats affect the development of the mother, but they also mean that the mother cat might not have developed the necessary maternal instincts to care for their litter.
How Are You Able To Tell If A Cat Is Pregnant?
There are a few different signs and symptoms that a pregnant cat will begin to display.
They have a gestational period that typically lasts for around nine weeks, and a pregnant cat will begin to show both behavioral and physical signs not long after they become pregnant.
Let's take a look at a few symptoms to look out for:
Enlarged Mammary Glands
This is a sign that will differ from cat to cat, but some will begin to experience engorgement within their mammary glands whilst they are pregnant. Some cats won't experience this engorgement until after they have birthed their kittens.
A Change In Nipple Color
As well as engorgement, check your cat's nipples for a change in color. The teats will become darker in color when a cat's pregnancy progresses, and also become thicker.
This is likely to be easier to see in a cat with light fur, so check this area thoroughly if you have a cat with darker fur that you suspect is pregnant, as it is likely to be harder to spot.
Sudden changes in usual behavior are common in pregnant cats, so keep an eye out for any differences that are unusual for your cat.
An example of this is if your cat is usually independent but suddenly begins seeking attention more than usual. Pregnant cats are also more prone to affection in general too!
Pregnant cats are in need of extra energy and nutrition, so they are bound to be more hungry than they might normally be.
Nesting refers to when a cat starts to look for a place where they can give birth. This will normally be an area that is comfortable, quiet, dark, and out of the way so that they can birth their kittens peacefully.
This is common behavior, particularly as a cat gets closer to birthing their kittens, so if you have a cat that likes to spend time outdoors, it might be best to keep an extra close eye on them to make sure they don’t go somewhere too out of the way.
Much like humans, cats will start to get a large, protruding belly when pregnant.There are medical conditions that could also cause this, though, so it is imperative to take your cat to the vet if you notice a distended belly.
Another symposium similar to humans is nausea and vomiting but again, this could be caused by various medical conditions so make sure to have it checked out.
How Many Litters Is A Cat Able To Have?
On average, a cat can have around five litters of kittens every year. This stems from the fact that cats can go into heat whilst they are still nursing a litter, and the gestation period whilst pregnant is around two months.
However, cats shouldn't have more than two or three litters a year. Cats need time in order to recover between having litters of kittens, and five litters a year doesn't give them much time to do so.
In a lifetime, a cat can have around 50 litters if they are healthy, which could mean birthing over 250 kittens in their lifetime if they have an average of seven or eight kittens per litter.
A cat should be stopped from becoming pregnant after reaching middle age though- at around 6 or 7 years old- as they might experience more difficulties.
What Factors Affect The Amount Of Litters A Cat Can Have?
There are several factors to consider that can affect how many litters a cat can have- and how many kittens will be within that litter- including the following:
The number of litters that a cat is able to have will vary from breed to breed and from cat to cat, with some cats able to have around five litters a year.
However, it is always important to remember that mother cats are much like humans after giving birth. They need time to rest and recover.
Some cats might recover faster than others, but it is always best to keep the health of the mother cat in mind at all times when it comes to the amount of litters that they can have.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.