How Often Do Cats Get Pregnant?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Cats can reproduce at a much quicker rate than humans.

    Cats can reproduce at a much quicker rate than humans.

    Cat overpopulation is a growing epidemic internationally, from large metropolises to sleepy suburbs. The problem stems not only from unfixed animals roaming the streets, but also from a combination of short gestation periods and very big litters. Consider being part of the solution and spaying your little one immediately.

    Frequency

    A female cats can become pregnant again essentially right after she gives birth to her litter. Reproductively mature queen cats go in and out of "estrus" or the "heat cycle" seemingly nonstop, generally once every two to three weeks or so. The heat cycle typically lasts a little over a week. Therefore, as soon as a cat is in heat, she is able to mate and become pregnant again. Although the typical feline mating season runs roughly from about March up into the fall, cats can become pregnant all year long, including in the winter.

    Annually

    In the span of a year, a female cat can give birth to a staggering 5 litters of kittens. On the low side, she could give birth to just one kitten, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, she could also give birth to 6 at a time. The size of the litter typically depends on the mother cat's experience and age. Young first-time mother cats typically have smaller litters than more seasoned queens.

    First Heat

    Cats cannot get pregnant until they enter into their first heat cycle. For the most part, cats become sexually mature at around 5 to 9 months of age, although it varies. Certain cat breeds usually mature faster than others. Siamese cats often go into heat at a tender 4 months of age, while Persian cats often don't reach full maturity until almost a year old.

    Spaying

    If you're concerned about your fluff ball becoming pregnant, don't hesitate to get her spayed. Hospitals and clinics often spay and neuter kittens at very young ages -- think 5 or 6 months old. Not only does spaying a cat prevent her from mating and becoming pregnant, it also spares her body from the massive physical toll of carrying her young. Not to mention, the ASPCA indicates that the surgery often minimizes the risk of breast cancer and uterine infection in female cats. The procedure also helps keep feline overpopulation in your area down -- another major benefit.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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