Last updated: August 10, 2016
This is a really good question, since there are a lot of different types of cat, from the absolutely HUGE to the size that can sit on your lap, (which is what mine is doing right now,) and a lot of sizes in between. So to start on how many kittens can a cat have, let’s explore the one we know. There are around thirty-six species of cat, but we can’t look at all of them, so here is the one we know – Domestic Cat. A lot of poetry has been written about them, but I found this one and I’m sharing it because I’m sure we cat slaves have all had the same experience!
On a cheek or a chin –
That is the way
for a day to begin!
Domestic Cat (Felis Catus)
These are the cats with which we are most familiar. How many kittens can this little moggy have? The surprising answer is that they can have as many as eight, although the average is more like four to six. Most of these will live to be old if they are domesticated and well looked after. Their wilder friends, the ferals who live in the streets, often in big colonies, are likely to have the same number but with a smaller survival rate due to environmental conditions and lack of veterinary care. These wild cats mature more quickly and will be impregnated more easily due to the number of intact males. Make no mistake – your average tomcat is a despot and not too many girls can put up much of a fight!
Neutering Your Cat
It’s in the best interest of your pet to get her/him neutered as soon as possible. Don’t worry about the psychological impact on your cat. They are not like us and they don’t care whether they’re neutered or not. They don’t understand why, they just know that if they are unneutered they have an uncontrollable urge to go out and find a mate, so unless you want to breed, you’ll have a happier, healthier animal if they’re sterilized. Here endeth the lesson!
Is My Sweetie Kitty Pregnant?
If you suspect that she may be pregnant, there are a few ways to find out. Around a month after conception, her tummy will begin to ‘show’ and her nipples will redden and get bigger. This is called pinking up. Believe it or not, cats sometimes get morning sickness too (poor kitty – I know how that feels!) If this becomes severe the best thing to do is to take her to the vet. She may also show signs of tiredness (well, that’s a no-brainer! Wouldn’t you?) And she will be chowing her way through cat food at a rate of knots so make sure you have plenty.
How Many Kittens Can She Have?
So how many kittens can a cat have? If you decide to breed from your female moggy, it’s not recommended that she becomes pregnant in her first estrus which occurs around 6-9 months. Short haired cats mature faster than long haired ones, though. At this time, though she may be fertile, she is not physically ready, since she hasn’t yet grown up properly. If she falls pregnant while she’s still growing herself, it could possibly stunt her growth. It’s like a 13-year-old girl having a baby! So it’s best to wait for a few months before you have her covered by a male. In the meantime, good luck keeping all those amorous toms away!
The younger the cat, the fewer the number of kittens she can expect to have at the first mating. A younger female will probably only produce two or three babies. A few years later it can be up to five but it can be as many as eight.
Because the queen can have as many as three pregnancies a year, and she can produce as many as six to twenty-four babies, it’s best to have her spayed. If this birthrate continued unchecked the poor lady will have given birth to around 180 kitties during her lifetime, if not more, because older cats don’t necessarily become sterile and cats can live into their late teens without any problem at all!
A Multitude of Moggies
If an unneutered queen cat has twelve kittens at her first mating and ten survive, of which five are female, and if the same pair of cats continues to breed and their offspring continue to breed unchecked, even despite a twenty percent death rate and a thirty-five percent sterilization rate, after only ten years 10,680 female cats will produce 57,672 kittens of which 49,021 will survive and 22,795 will be females who will go on to breed again.
Born to Breed?
Cats only release their eggs from the ovary after mating. It seems that they were born to breed! Dogs ovulate twice a year regularly as clockwork, but unless she is impregnated, the female cat will go into heat every two to three weeks until the days become shorter, roughly around October. Because the gestation period is around two months, kittens conceived then would be born in midwinter, giving them a poorer chance of survival.
The Sick Kitty
Unspayed females can have serious medical conditions as well as having lots of unwanted kittens. She may develop mammary cancer or cancer of the ovaries and uterus, or another disease, pyometra which is a severe infection of the uterus. To treat this is very difficult and extremely expensive. It can cause your kitty problems for the rest of her life, and may even kill her. If you want to know how many kittens can a cat have the best answer is none! But if she is being mated how many kittens can a cat have? The average number seems to be between four and six, but perhaps a better question to ask is how many kittens will be wanted kittens and have a good life? I know mine has and I hope yours does too!