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Breeding timing in cats refers to a specific period wherein a
female cat achieves maximum fertility. This is when the cat’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 owner’s legs or other items, and knead with her
back feet etc.These are basically indicators of the female’s
readiness to mate. She uses these signs to communicate the fact
to male suitors. In scientific terms, this “breeding time” is
referred to as “Estrus” and in common terms, as “heat”. 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 isn’t the ultimate factor in successful
breeding among cats. A lot depends on the luteinizing hormone,
which is released through the stimulation of the female’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
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
cat’s age, the onset of Estrus, and existing health issues to
determine her viability for breeding. He/she will also look at
the cat’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. It’s a simple procedure, done under
general anesthesia that basically results in the removal of the
female’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.
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
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 cat’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
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 cat’s breeding season will depend on a number of factors,
including daylight hours, environmental conditions, and the
presence of other cats. A female cat’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
- 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
- Assuming a crouched, receptive
posture (known as standing estrous).
- Treading with the back legs
(this appears as “walking in place”).
- Moving the tail to one side to
- 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
- Excessive affection and
physical contact with owner and/or other pets.
- Unusual aggression toward
How to Avoid Heat Cycles
The heat cycle is a normal part of every female cat’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 cat’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
Why Cats Meow
Finding the Right Cat Breed
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.