by RSPCA companion animal welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines.
7 Cat Mating Facts: Did You Know?
- Cats can reach sexual maturity and get pregnant at just four months of age (kittens can have kittens!).
- Cats are seasonal breeders and only enter their reproductive cycle at a certain time of year. This generally begins in spring as daylight starts to lengthen, and stops in late Autumn when daylight is reduced. This explains why litters of kittens are typically seen between April and September.
- Female cats ‘queens’ will signal that they are ready to mate or ‘in heat’ by becoming more active and quite noisy! Usually, she’ll do lots of rubbing, rolling and attention-seeking behaviours. You will probably see her arch her back downwards with her hindquarters raised, which is called ‘lordosis’.
- Females can be mated by more than one male within a short period of time and this includes relatives, even her father and brother.
- Mating doesn’t take long between cats, so it’s easy to be caught out!
- Cats don’t ‘need’ to have a litter of kittens; there are no proven health or welfare benefits.
- There are lots of health benefits to neutering, including a big reduction in the risk of getting FIV (the cat version of HIV/ AIDS).
Caring for kittens can be a struggle for unsuspecting owners
Many kitten litters are unplanned and cause great heartache and headaches for owners. These unsuspecting owners often struggle – not only to find good homes for the kittens – but also to care for the mum and kittens in the early stages.
Being pregnant and caring for kittens can also be very stressful for the cat. Making sure that everyone stays happy and healthy requires a lot of time and knowledge, and can also be very costly. So….
Remember to get your kitten neutered at 4 months
The best way to avoid unwanted litters and to protect your cat is to get him or her neutered at four months of age. This procedure, often called spaying in females and the snip in males, requires an anaesthetic but is fairly simple and your cat can be brought home the same day!