If you have a pregnant cat at home, there are a number of things that you’ll need to be aware of before it gives birth. 

It is important that you are prepared by getting all the information you can. We will take a close look at feline reproduction, so you aren’t surprised later on.

Average Kitten Litter Size

A majority of indoor cats produce 3.7 to 4.5 cats per litter, though they can have up to five. The average litter size for feral cats is closer to three. This is mostly due to the fact that wild cats are typically less healthy than their indoor counterparts.

It is possible for a cat to have kittens from numerous fathers in a single litter, and it’s more common than you might think. These animals can produce eggs up to three or four times in a single heat cycle.

Cats can start becoming pregnant when they are just four months old. It is possible for these animals to become pregnant over and over every few months. Even senior cats can give birth, but the risk of complications increase significantly. This is because older cats generally have at least some health issues.

Importance of Knowing Your Cat’s Litter Size

It is crucial that you try to get at least some idea as to how many kittens your cat is going to have when it gives birth. This information will help you care for your feline friend a lot better.

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The more kittens your cat is going to birth, the more of a risk there is to their overall wellbeing. There is always the chance that one kitten could remain in the womb, which could potentially end the mother’s life. If a kitten is too large to safely go through the mother’s birth canal, both animals’ lives are at risk.

If you know that your cat is going to give birth to more cats than it can feed, you’ll need to prepare for that. Make sure that you have it.

red kittens sleeping

Factors that Affect the Size of Your Cat’s Litter

There are actually multiple things that can affect how big your cat’s litter is. While there is no way to know for sure how many kittens they will produce, these factors can help you make an educated guess.

1. Breed

The breed of your cat can definitely have a big impact on litter size. The fact is that certain breeds are known for producing fewer kittens than others when giving birth.

2. Size

You also need to consider the overall size of your cat. Larger cats are statistically more likely to have bigger litters than smaller ones. This is simply due to the animal’s physical capability of carrying kittens in their body.

3. Age

The older your cat is, the more likely they are to produce a relatively small litter. Younger cats almost always give birth to more kittens. This is something that has been observed in many other animals, including humans.

4. Overall Health

A very healthy cat is likely to give birth to more kittens than a cat that has major health issues. Certain conditions, such as feline distemper, increase the risk of stillborn kittens when the animal gives birth.

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There are also serious health conditions that can make it difficult for cats to become pregnant at all. Feline infectious peritonitis could make it possible for your cat to become impregnated.

If your cat experiences high levels of stress on a regular basis, there is a good chance that they will give birth to fewer kittens. Mental/emotional stress can have real physical consequences for these animals.

kittens in cups

5. Genetics of the Father

The father’s genetic makeup can also be a determining factor when it comes to the size of your cat’s litter. The healthier the father is, the better the chances will be of a good size litter when the cat gives birth.

How to Find Out the Litter Size of Your Cat

Cat’s have a gestation period of 58 to 67 days, which means that your kitten will give birth about two months after becoming pregnant.

The most definitive way to determine the size of your cat’s litter is to see a veterinarian. The vet will perform an ultrasound, which will actually let you see the unborn kittens. This works in much the same way as with expectant human mothers. While an X-RAY can also be useful for getting this information, an ultrasound is still the best method.

An experienced veterinarian should also be able to determine the size of a cat’s litter by simply feeling their stomach. They press lightly on their abdomen to feel how many kittens are inside. This only works once the cat has been pregnant for at least a full month, so you shouldn’t try before then.

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If your female cat has given birth in the past, you can estimate how many kittens they will produce by considering how many were in the last litter. While this method is not always accurate, it is still something to consider.

How to Avoid Large Litters

The most effective way to keep your cat from having large, unmanageable litters is to have it spayed. You should always wait until they have reached puberty before having this done.

Conclusion

  • The average litter size for indoor cats that have no major health problems is 3.7 to 4.5 kittens.
  • Outdoor/feral cats tend to have smaller litters with an average of 3 to 4.
  • Cats can become pregnant at just four months old.
  • Knowing the size of your cat’s litter will help you take the necessary steps to prepare.
  • Some cat breeds are known for producing smaller litters than others.
  • Larger cats generally produce more kittens than smaller ones.
  • Your cat’s overall health will affect the size of the litter. Healthier cats almost always give birth to more kittens.
  • Even the genetics of the father can play a part of in the litter size of the mother.
  • If you want to determine the size of your cat’s litter, take it to a vet for an ultrasound.
  • The best way to keep your cat from getting pregnant is to have it spayed, or have the male neutered.
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