Cats Breed Like Rabbits

Kapi-Mana News Pet Health Column Article for 4 September 2012

Written by Dr Ian Schraa, 04/09/2012

Did you know that cats are more efficient at breeding than rabbits? While rabbits can produce more offspring each year, when cats mate they are almost guaranteed to get pregnant. This is because female cats, called queens, are known as induced ovulators. This means the queen when they are on heat, or cycling, only ovulates, or releases their eggs, when they actually mate with the male cats, called tom-cats. Most female animals release their eggs at a certain stage of their reproductive cycle and if they are not mated at the right time they do not become pregnant. Cats however will nearly always become pregnant if mated. In addition, if they are not mated, they continue to cycle every 2-3 weeks until they become pregnant.

It is breeding cat breeding season at present. Cats are day-long breeders. They become sexually active as the daylight hours increase. When cat breeding season occurs we call in “calling” because the queens make a lot of calling noises, to attract the male tom-cats. It can be very noisy, and sound even like cats preparing to fight.

Cats cat also become pregnant as young as 5 months of age. If a kitten was born in March she may become a mother cat by November. To avoid this you should look at getting your young cat spayed, or fixed as some call it, right now.

If you would like your cat to have kittens then you need to keep them indoors all the time, so that they are not mated too young. However there is no shortage of kittens with the SPCA euthanasing many unwanted kittens every year.

Although we prefer to do it when they are not cycling, we can spay cats while they are on heat. It is a straight-forward day trip to the vet clinic.

It is important to remember that neutering the male cats is even more important. One male cat can make many female cats pregnant. Neutering male cats is the easiest way to keep the number of unwanted kittens down.

Either way, the best age to neuter female and male cats is around 5 months of age, although we can do it earlier if required. Call your vet clinic to make a surgery appointment for your young un-neutered cat, before it is too late.

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Dr Linda Hayes

Dr Linda Hayes
Qualified in 2000 with BVSc. (NC State USA)

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