All You Need to Know About Breeding Timing in Cats


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Breeding timing in cats refers to a specific period wherein a female cat achieves maximum fertility. This is when the catโ€™s chances of achieving pregnancy are at their highest. Some of the signs of breeding time include meowing constantly at higher volume and yowling. The female cat might also roll on the ground, rub against its ownerโ€™s legs or other items, and knead with her back feet etc.These are basically indicators of the femaleโ€™s readiness to mate. She uses these signs to communicate the fact to male suitors. In scientific terms, this โ€œbreeding timeโ€ is referred to as โ€œEstrusโ€ and in common terms, as โ€œheatโ€. Estrus first occurs in female cats older than 4 months. At this time, mating with a male cat will likely lead to a successful pregnancy. Many breeders and pet owners try to determine breeding time in order to initiate a successful pregnancy.

How Is this Done?

To improve the chances of conception through the identification of breeding time, the day of ovulation is first pinpointed. As we mentioned already, the female cat displays certain signs that make the job of determining the day of ovulation relatively easy. Another sign would be the presence of male cats that show interest. But, timing isnโ€™t the ultimate factor in successful breeding among cats. A lot depends on the luteinizing hormone, which is released through the stimulation of the femaleโ€™s vagina and cervix. Progesterone testing is also done to determine the ovulation cycle and it is considered to be the most effective method present today. Apart from encouraging reproduction, breeding timing is practiced to help overcome a history of failed conception

Diagnosing Breeding Time

Veterinarians are trained to determine breeding time in cats. This is usually done by conducting physical examinations, measuring body temperature, and observing the typical signs of Estrus. The veterinarian might also collect vaginal secretions for progesterone testing. Another method used is having an Ultrasound. Veterinarians will likely question you regarding the catโ€™s age, the onset of Estrus, and existing health issues to determine her viability for breeding. He/she will also look at the catโ€™s records to check for pre-existing conditions and vaccination history to make sure everything is fine.Even genetic testing might be carried to rule out the possibility of defects in her offspring. However, this is done only for specific breeds of cats that have been known to possess congenital problems. For owners who prefer not to have their cat bred, the option of an ovariohysterectomy may be suggested. Ovariohysterectomy is the medical term for spaying. Itโ€™s a simple procedure, done under general anesthesia that basically results in the removal of the femaleโ€™s reproductive organs. On the whole, the procedure lasts no longer than 30 minutes and recovery normally occurs within a week or two.

What You Need To Know About Mating In Cats

The cat mating process is similar to other mammals. Breeding happens in three stages: conception, gestation period and the last is delivery. You must care for your cat if she is pregnant. The to-be mother cat needs adequate nutrition, and after birth, the kittens as well. As a cat owner, it is your responsibility to find a loving home for the kittens.

In heat

Heat cycle is the first step in the mating process. A cat in heat is ready to mate. It will allow a male cat to come closer. These cycles start when the cat reaches six months' age. The heat cycle gets repeated approximately every two weeks until mating. You will know your cat is ready to mate when she turns extremely affectionate. The cat in heat will make more sounds than usual. A female on heat generally raises her rump on patting or stroking her back. She will also twitch her tail after raising her rump. The female cat through these actions signals her readiness to begin the mating process.Once you are confirmed that your female cat is in heat, do find a right male cat for her. Check the male cat's health and if it is of the ideal age. You must make sure the female has reached her complete adult size before you permit her to mate. This is important as the cat must put all energy to not only feed her kittens but nurse them as well. Ensure your cat is at least two years old at the time of mating. If your cat is male, he must be minimum 18 months old.Check your cat for genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and polycystic kidney disease. The prevalence of heart disease signs must also be checked. Personality tests could be done to estimate the personality of the future puppies. Grumpy cat father may result in grumpy children and happy cats usually give birth to playful kittens.

Gestation and labor

After mating, the probability of whether conception has happened or not can be understood after a period of four weeks. The gestation period approximates 65 days. Your female cat could turn shy and prefers not to be touched. It is perfectly fine for the cat to be a little weird at this time. You can help her by building a safe spot in the secluded corner of your home. Ensure she gets enough nutrition and adequate quantities of water. The cat will give birth around the 60th day of gestation. Delivery before or after 10 days within this period is normal.Labor may last from a minimum of 20 minutes to several hours. Do keep the vet's number on speed dial. You may have to rush your cat to the clinic if such a need arise. You can feed her between contractions. Note down the sex, color, and the weight of the kittens as they pop out. Your cat will lick her kittens clean after she gives birth. Assist her by cleaning the birthplace thoroughly. Be aware of placentas. You cat may gobble them up as they are nutritious. Do not panic if you see your cat eating them.Your cat will prefer to rest a few days after giving birth. Allow her to rest until she recovers enough to resume her old, playful self. Once you see her playing with her babies, that will be the time you should search for a new home for the kittens. If you prefer to keep them, you will have a dirty but a home full of love.

Cats in Heat - How This Phase Plays a Role in Cat Mating 

The heat cycle -- also known as the feline estrus cycle or female reproductive cycle -- is a period of hormonal fluctuations in a female catโ€™s fertility and sexual behavior. Throughout the feline breeding season, female cats go back and forth between being in heat (fertile/ready for mating) and not in heat (unlikely to get pregnant/not ready for mating). As a cat owner, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of cats in heat in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies, or in the case of breeders, to plan for a new litter of kittens.

When Do Cats Go Into Heat?

Female cats can go into heat as early as five months or as late as 18 months. The age at which your cat first goes into heat can depend on the breed. For example, Siamese cats go into heat earlier than longhaired breeds such as Persians.

Your catโ€™s breeding season will depend on a number of factors, including daylight hours, environmental conditions, and the presence of other cats. A female catโ€™s hormonal system is activated when there are 12 hours of daylight or more, so in the northern hemisphere the breeding season is from Spring to Fall, while in the southern hemisphere the breeding season is from Fall to Spring. During the breeding season, a cat will continue to cycle between in heat and not in heat unless she mates.

Symptoms of Heat

Cats in heat exhibit a number of distinct symptoms. These symptoms are present to alert male cats that the cat is ready for mating.

  • Meowing or crying. The vocalization of a cat in heat is unique -- the cat often sounds to be moaning or in pain.
  • Frequent urination and/or marking.
  • Assuming a crouched, receptive posture (known as standing estrous).
  • Treading with the back legs (this appears as โ€œwalking in placeโ€).
  • Moving the tail to one side to expose genitalia.
  • Clear vulval discharge.
  • Restlessness/pacing around the house or yard.
  • Interest in leaving the house/attempts to leave the house in an effort to get outside and find male cats.
  • Head and face rubbing on objects or people.
  • Rolling or writhing on belly or back.
  • Excessive affection and physical contact with owner and/or other pets.
  • Unusual aggression toward owner.

How to Avoid Heat Cycles

The heat cycle is a normal part of every female catโ€™s life and cannot be avoided without medical intervention. Spaying your cat is the most widespread practice for stopping a cat from having heat cycles, as no ovaries means no fertility. A catโ€™s heat cycle can also be stopped with certain forms of birth control, such as hormone injections from your veterinarian. This option is common among owners of pedigreed cats or those who want to stop the heat cycle only temporarily.

More on Female Cats and Cat Care

What to Feed a Female Cat
Why Cats Meow
Finding the Right Cat Breed for You

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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