How many kittens can a cat have? Most litters consist of anything between one to 12 kittens. Larger litters are usually observed in pedigree breeds. On the other hand, feral and moggie cats will usually have 3 to 4 cats on its litter. Aside from its breed, the mother cat’s genetic history, age, and health will influence the size of its litter.
How many kittens are in a litter?
Cats can have a small to large litter per pregnancy, depending on some factors. For the most part, moggies or no-pedigree cats can give birth to its kittens without any problems. If you’re wondering how many kittens your cat may have, you should consider some factors.
The first one is if it’s your cat’s first time to get pregnant. First-time queens usually produce smaller litters as compared to those that have been pregnant for several times. This is because the act of breeding stimulates the release of more eggs into the uterus. This is why cats that have been through multiple pregnancies in the past tend to have bigger litters.
Moreover, you should also consider the health of your pet. Infections like feline peritonitis can decrease a litter’s size during pregnancy. Even if the cat produces a sizeable litter, some of it may not thrive due to poor health that it inherited from its mother.
The breed of your cat may also dictate the size of its litter. Siamese and Persian type breeds often yield bigger litters, with some consisting of 12 kittens. Please read here what are most expensive breeds
Lastly, the nutritional status of the mother cat will affect its pregnancy. It will impact the size of litter, the health of the kittens, and the queen’s ability to nurse.
Overall, if the cat will get pregnant three times a year with up to four kittens per litter, it can produce about 50 to 150 kittens on its lifetime.
How many times can a cat get pregnant in a year?
The estrous period among cats can occur 2 to 4 times a year, with each cycle lasting for about 15 to 22 days. A female cat that’s been mated while in heat will have a shorter estrus cycle of just four days. However, if the cat in heat doesn’t get mated, its estrus cycle will continue for up to 10 days and then recur after 15 days.
On average, an unspayed cat can be fertile and give birth three times a year. However, cats that are kept indoors may cycle all year long since they are exposed to artificial light. Since their bodies can’t detect the start and end of the days, their system might get tricked to experience more estrus cycles.
Usually, it’s safe for cats to be pregnant several times a year. As long as you get your pregnant cat checked regularly, it will have a safe gestation.
If you don’t wish your female cat to get pregnant, it’s best to have it spayed as soon as possible. Female cats should be spayed upon reaching maturity so its hormones have settled and its body has fully grown. Please read here how to tell if your cat is pregnant
How to determine your pregnant cat’s litter size
If your cat is pregnant and you’re keen to know the litter size, the best person to call is the vet. The veterinarian will conduct an ultrasound exam to your cat to count the litter. Take note that the vet can only estimate the number of kittens during the early stage of pregnancy.
Later in the gestation cycle, your cat can undergo an X-ray test to determine the exact number of kittens in the litter. It’s very important to know this information so pet owners can prepare for the new addition to their homes. Also, it will give the vet an idea of how the delivery will be.
The vet can also determine if your cat is a candidate for C-section instead of normal birth.
Remember, though, that some cat litters may be reduced if some kittens have poor health. You should also ensure that the mother cat will nurse all the kittens to increase the litter’s rate of survival.
Cat pregnancy timeline
Cat pregnancy lasts for up to 67 days or roughly 2 months. Some cats may have extended gestation of about 72 days.
During the first 15 to 18 days of your cat’s pregnancy, you’ll notice that its nipples are enlarged and reddish. The cat may also experience morning sickness. Upon reaching the first month of pregnancy, you will notice that your cat’s tummy is starting to swell even more.
On the latter part of the pregnancy, your cat will gain about 1 to 2 kilograms, depending on the size of the litter. You may also observe that the queen is more affectionate or maternal as it prepares for delivery.
Also, cats that are on the later stage of pregnancy will have increased appetite. This is due to the growing kittens, but you should also have your cat checked for potential worm infestation.
A week before your cat starts to give birth, it will experience pre-labor. Your cat will seek warm spots in the house to prepare for delivery. During this phase, you may also notice milk droplets along the nipples of your cat as well as poor appetite.
Once your cat enters labor, it will keep licking its abdomen and genitals to stimulate the birth of the kittens.
How many kittens can a cat have? It depends on the age, health, breed, and condition of the feline. Most of the time, it can be anywhere between 1 to 4 kittens for moggies and up to 12 for pedigree breeds.