Planning the Breeding
Cat breeding is not an activity that one can take lightly; you should have a broad understanding of everything that will be involved in the process. The following are things you have to consider when planning to breed a cat:
- Caring for the breeding pets
- Caring for a pregnant cat
- Caring for the kittens
- Finding homes for the kittens
Breeding a cat takes a lot of knowledge, dedication, time, and a deep pocket. Of course, the pet population is another to consider when breeding. According to Cats Protection, there are about nine million stray cats in the UK alone.
Female cats need to be fully grown before breeding. If the cat is bred at an early age, it will be risky for her and her kittens; her energy and nutrients will be distributed to the unborn or newborn kittens rather than for her own growth. The female cat must be eighteen to twenty-four months old to be set for breeding.
Male cats must be eighteen months old to be allowed for breeding. The ripe age will aid in determining if the cat is healthy and fit to breed.
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Here are health-related considerations that need to be taken before the breeding season begins:
- Both male and female cats must be in good health and free from:
- Ear mites
- Vet appointment calls for:
- Physical examination
- Stool exam for internal parasites
- They should be tested for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (feline leukaemia virus).
- They should also be tested for genetic conditions such as:
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Heart diseases
- The female cat must be at her ideal weight (cats that are too heavy or underweight may have difficulty in conceiving, carrying, and giving birth).
Check with your vet if there are breed-specific diseases that need to be examined before the cat breeding. Additionally, besides the physical health of the cats, personalities and temperaments play a big role in determining the characters of the future kittens. If both parents are docile, friendly, and playful, there is a good chance that the kittens will take on their parents’ characteristics. However, if the parents are aloof or aggressive, it might affect the kittens in their early development weeks.
The Heat Cycle
Generally, cats are known to be seasonally polyoestrous species. Meaning, cats, especially females, go into heat in particular seasons in a calendar year, and they go into cycle multiple times if not bred. They are reflex ovulators as well, which means that they need to be bred before they can ovulate. Heat cycle often occurs during spring and summer for outdoor cats, whilst indoor cats that are likely exposed to artificial lights may cycle through the entire year.
Female cats continue to be in heat until mated and impregnated. Oestrus lasts for seven to ten days, and has three possible outcomes:
- The cat will not mate or is not interested in mating. She will go into heat in a day or up to two weeks later. This cycle may repeat multiple times until she mates or the cat breeding season ends.
- She mates and gets pregnant. She will go into heat around eight weeks after giving birth. This will usually occur simultaneously with the time when her kittens are weaned.
- She will mate; however, she does not get pregnant or has a pseudopregnancy, otherwise known as false pregnancy in which signs of pregnancy will be observed. This includes an increase in appetite, weight gain, and even to the extent of producing milk. She will go into heat approximately four to six weeks later.
Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any cat breeding tips you would like to share? Tell us through the comments section below!