*How do cats mate? How female cats end up getting pregnant? What is cat’s breeding age? For all cat people, it is important to understand the cat breeding behavior. The female cats on heat should be monitored to find out if cat is becoming pregnant or not.
There are a lot of things to know between cat mating and cat pregnancy. Later on the delivery of kittens is also a concept which requires detailed information otherwise the breeder or owner would be upset at any step which is sensitive for cat’s well-being.
Types of Breeding
It is important to determine the type of breeding that needs to be done. There are mainly three types of breeding, used for different reasons, one needs to plan on any one of inbreeding, line breeding or out-crossing.
Inbreeding refers to breeding cats that are diligently related to each other, such as full brother and sister, or it can be half-brother and half-sister or sometimes even the parent and offspring.
Line breeding makes use of a queen and the tom cat that have a common ancestor but cannot be termed as otherwise closely related.
Out-crossing is when the Queen and the Tom Cat do not share any common ancestor and are not at all related to each other.
Mostly practiced breeding is Inbreeding and line breeding where the intention of the owner is to conserve the physiognomies and characteristics of the line, while, in case when correction of any flaws in the line is desired, out-crossing is the best option whereas inbreeding can lead to protection of positive traits in a breed but because of the hazards of inbreeding and the resulting mutations defects, it is usually not advised.
Cat Breeding Process
The stages of cat pregnancy and the whole breeding process is sometimes taken lightly by breeders. Signs of cat’s pregnancy are often not clear until the fifth week of pregnancy (Read about week to week cat pregnancy period).
The cat breeding process can begin after the Queen starts showing signs of heat cycle. Owners should wait for 2 or 3 days after the observance of heat and then allow the female to enter Tom cat’s pen. A large breeding cage or a quiet separate room can be used for this purpose. Even though the female is on heat it is likely for her to not allow the male near her, especially inexperienced Queens. Owners should not interfere in the process and allow the pair to remain in the area for 2-7 days depending on how experienced they are and how soon mating takes placing.
The process can appear to be slightly savage but completely natural. The male will climb on the females back and grab the back of her neck with his teeth to keep her in control, since she will try to resist, even though in heat. Next he will insert his penis for mating to take place which will be for about 1-3 seconds only. To be certain the cats can be allowed to mate more than once.
When the owner is sure that the Queen has been bred efficaciously, the owner can separate the Tom Cat.
Cats can breed more than one time and with different Tom cats as well (this happens when an un-spayed cat is allowed to roam the streets) thus, it is possible that the kittens in a litter might have different fathers.
The Ovulation will generally take place within 20 to 50 hours after mating, and the eggs are feasible or are capable of being fertilized for just about one day.
Choice of Cat
One should choose the Tom Cat and the Queen, and decide that if they hold the qualities that one has determined to be present in the offspring that will be expected after mating. The items that need special attention before breeding cat are:
When an owner plans to breed their cat, they need to make sure that she is healthy. This is essential to ensure that the Queen has an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. In order to minimize complications one should wait before breeding until the queen is fully mature, along with provision of proper cat health care over and above providing her with high quality, proper and suited diet that is rich in supplements.
Before breeding, the owner should have the cat checked for any parasites, possible or already occurring infections, and update the cat’s vaccinations. Take care not to give any vaccinations after the Queen is confirmed bred since this may affect the fetus resulting in birth defects and delivery complications. It is best to get the cat’s health checked by the vet.
Bloodline of the cats must be investigated to make sure that they have a good quality genetic makeup. It is necessary to make sure that both the Queen and the male cat are free of any genetic flaws, are well made and possess a sound outlook. The bloodline of pure breeds can be obtained from a registering authority. In case of mixed breed cats, the only context one may be able to obtain is the type of Tom Cat and Queen who birthed the cats. Here the main purpose should be to determine that whether the genetic history of the selected mating partners will produce the kittens with the precise makings one is looking for.
In order to preclude any genetic defects of “inbreeding”, one should make sure that the pair is not inter related.
The personality of cat will depend on the breed of the cat. The most important quality to look for is the temperament of the cat, which is passed on from the Tom Cat and Queen to kittens and is essentially present in breeds which have aggressive tendencies, for example Siamese, on the other hand, the Russian Blue and the Cymric breeds have non aggressive tendencies, so one must investigate the Tom Cat and Queen’s temperaments and the temperament desired in the kittens before taking on the decision to breed.
It must be made sure that the cats have the physical traits that are desired for, with absence of any defects, disfigurements or detrimental qualities. An example can be looking for signs of “transient milky appearance in eyes” while breeding Burmese cats; this is a communal genetic problem with this breed that results in eyesight problems. This condition poses the Burmese Cats less looked-for for show cats.
After successful breeding, owners need to ensure that the female cat is healthy by giving her a balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals to avoid any pregnancy complications.
The Eggs are still ripe on day four and begin dying on day five. If breeding is done keeping all this in mind, then fertilization occurs usually after 3 days of breeding. Normally, kittens are born 63 to 64 days from ovulation; this does not mean 63 days from breeding, as breeding can take place some days before, and even after ovulation.
Signs of Pregnancy
- Nipples: When a cat’s nipples begin to turn pink and become enlarged, it is a clear sign that she is pregnant and the delivery time is near.
- Heat cycle: When the heat cycles of a female cat stops, then one can be certain that she is pregnant.
- Enlarged Abdomen: Around fifth week of being pregnant, the cat’s abdomen will start swelling, showing that it is carrying kittens, and will continue to enlarge till delivery.
- Ultrasound: This investigative apparatus may identify fetuses as early as the subsequent week of pregnancy, and the heartbeats of the kittens in the cat’s uterus may be sensed sometime after the third week.
- Palpitation: This is one of the finest ways to determine if a cat is pregnant. Palpating the cat in the approved manner requires practice. For cats, this can be done to feel the foetuses after about 20 day’s pregnancy. The cat needs to be placed on a solid surface, facing the owner. Then the right hand should be placed, palm up, beneath the cat. The right thumb, along with the index finger, should be gently pushed up rubbing the cat from back to front. In case of the cat being pregnant, the grape sized kittens will be felt between the thumb and finger. Special care needs to be taken while palpating the queen as if done improperly, this might lead to miscarriage. The best advice is to get it done by the vet.
- “Nesting” Activities by a Pregnant Cat: This is a later of sign of cat’s pregnancy, a few days before birth. The pregnant cat might seek out silent, isolated places for giving birth to the kittens.
- Increased Appetite: Pregnant cat may show an increased interest in food. She will not only be eating for herself but for her fetuses as well. Yet, this is not the only sign to determine the queen’s pregnancy as the increased appetite might be result of something else for example increased activity hours etc.
- Increased Affection: During pregnancy, the cat might become more affectionate than usual and may often seek out the owner’s attention. It should be given to her, by all means. Yet, one should not take it as the only sign of cat pregnancy as cats might want to get closer to the owner for other reasons for example fear of something etc.
When the time of whelping or say delivery is near, a whelping box needs to be prepared almost 6 inches longer than the size of the Queen, keeping in mind that all the areas of the box are accessible. The best practice is to place irregular layers of plastic sheeting and newspapers in the bottom of the whelping box, so that as soon as the bottom of the box becomes dirty, one can slide out a layer of paper together with a sheet of plastic leaving a clean layer in its place.
The kittens’ Delivery Time
Owners should be aware approximately when the time for delivering is near. Cats mostly thrash from still born kittens, breach births, and other pregnancy, delivery and birthing problems. If one sees any complications, like slow birthing, or partial birthing, one should not hang back from taking the delivering Queen to the emergency vet; and one should have no time to lose in such a situation. After the delivery, kittens need to be kept warm. Owners need to make sure that the kittens are able to nurse and the supply of milk is adequate. The Queen, after delivery, will clean the kittens herself by licking off the afterbirth and will help the kittens position him/herself for the suckling.