Mating Season For Cats – What You Need To Know

Posted: October 29, 2021 by Anita

mating season for cats

Cats are efficient breeders. All it takes is a female cat in heat, a willing male cat participant, and BAM, you got a pregnant queen.

In this article, I discuss the mating season for cats, why it’s essential to know about the mating season as a cat lover, and what you can do locally to support your local shelter and cat rescue.

Let’s run down a few reproductive facts about female cats.

When can a cat get pregnant?

Puberty is the stage in a cat’s life where your cat becomes sexually mature. Just like in humans, the beginning of puberty in cats depends on certain factors:

  • when the kitten reaches a certain weight
  • type of breed
  • external factors such as the time of year, amount of daylight exposed to

Puberty begins early for cats. Female cats can get pregnant as young as four months old, with the average age being six months old. Slow maturing breeds, usually large breeds such as the Maine Coon tend to go into puberty later.

Cats are efficient, prolific (capable of producing large numbers of kittens) breeders. A single intact female cat (the queen) can create as many as 420 000 kittens over seven years.

That is one female cat having a lot of kittens. Multiple 420 000 times the number of female cats out there in the world.

That’s a lot of cats, folks.

Cat reproductive cycle

The heat period in cats is part of the female cat reproductive cycle, better known as the estrous cycle. There are four stages of the estrous process:

  1. anestrus – inactive stage – runs from late September through mid-January. The low light and short length of day light is a primary factor in suppressing the heat cycles during the winter months
  2. proestrus – period in which the cat is coming into heat, but not ready to mate
  3. estrus – period of time the cat is in heat – ready to mate
  4. metestrus – period of time right after cat is in heat – returns to normal self

Signs of cat in heat

You will think your queen has gone crazy, but actually, she’s just ready to make kittens. Here are some symptoms of a cat is in heat:

  1. very affectionate
  2. very demanding and constantly wanting attention
  3. persistently rubbing against you or furniture
  4. rolling around on the floor
  5. very vocal; howling
  6. moody
  7. marking which is urinating or spraying vertical objects (like your walls) with urine. The urine contains pheromones and hormones that attract male cat suitors that are not spayed

How long is a cat in heat

The queen will be in heat for at least a couple of days if she mates. Depending on the cat, heat can last from a week to 19 days if she doesn’t mate.

Cat mating

The mating season in cats is a very intense time. The female cat will very loudly announce cat mating time by her incessant cat mating call – a loud, obnoxious ear-splitting meow that you will come to hate. The female cat mating call lets the male cats in the vicinity know that she is ready to mate. – she can mate quite frequently.

While in heat, a female cat mates with a male cat. During the mating, she will produce an egg (known as induced ovulation), the egg is fertilized, and then moves on to the next male cat.

Your furry feline queen is officially in heat.

And since she produces an egg only during the mating process, she can have a litter of kittens with as many different baby daddies as she pleases. Induced ovulation makes it possible for a queen’s litter to have more than one baby daddy.

How do cats mate?

The mating of cats is a violent dance between the queen and her male cat suitor (known as tom or stud cat) when mating begins:

  • While in heat, the queen will signal her interest by using her cat mating call (screeching meow that will set your teeth on edge).
  • she assumes the breeding position – butt low to the ground; tail to the side.
  • male mounts and grasp the scruff of the neck of the female with his teeth
  • the male penetrates the queen
  • she violently shakes him off – the male cat runs off
  • the queen rolls around on the ground
  • after a few minutes, she’s ready to mate again

When is the mating season for cats?

Cats are seasonal breeders. What does this mean? It means cats only breed during a specific time of year when the days become longer in the spring. The mating season ends during the Fall when the days become shorter.

Between April and September, you will see litters upon litters of kittens being born – typically called “kitten season” by cat activists, animal shelters, and cat rescue organizations.

mating season for cats

Kitten season

Mating season leads to kitten season. Kitten season is the period in which female cats have litters of kittens. The period for kitten season is between April and September.

Primarily, it is strays and feral female cats that are giving birth to these kittens. A single female cat can have multiple litters of kittens during one mating season. Multiple stray and feral female cats giving birth to several litters of kittens a year leads to a whole lot of cats in need of homes.

Why is it important to know about mating season for cats and kitten season?

It is important to know that your local animal shelters and rescues become overwhelmed with cute cuddly kittens during mating and kitten season. The ASPCA states that these kittens “make up a large part of the roughly 3.2 million cats entering shelters each year, of whom approximately 860,000 are euthanized.”

Kittens under 8 weeks old require a lot of tending to and many shelters don’t have the resources or space needed to take care of them.

The need for care for these at-risk kittens is where cat lovers such as yourself can step in and provide assistance to local shelters and rescues.

Here’s how you can help

Your local shelter and cat rescues could use your help, especially during kitten season. What can a cat lover do to help?

  • volunteer at your local shelter or cat rescue
  • adopt a kitten or two (2 kiitens are always better than 1)
  • contact your local shelter and become a foster parent to kittens under 8 weeks
  • if you’re not able to foster or adopt a kitten, supplies like litter, food, blankets and toys are much needed – Click here to check out kitten supplies on Amazon.
  • Donate to your local shelter or cat rescue

AmazonSmile Charity Program

A great way to support your local shelter is to shop through AmazonSmile – click here for more information. Amazon will donate .5% of your eligible purchases (at no cost to you) to the charitable cat organization of your choice when you purchase through the smile.amazon.com webpage.

Amazon also has a charity list program where you can shop and donate charitable items needed by your favorite cat charity organization or animal shelter. You can go to this page to take a look at animal welfare organizations that Amazon supports – click here. Simply choose the charity that you would like to support, add items from your favorite charity’s list to your cart and check out. Your favorite cat charity will receive those items directly from Amazon.

Conclusion

In this article, I discussed the mating season for cats, why it’s important to know about the mating season as a cat lover, and what you can do locally to support animal shelters and cat rescues.

The mating season in cats is a very intense time. The female cat will very loudly announce cat mating time by her incessant cat mating call – a loud, obnoxious ear-splitting meow that you will come to hate. The female cat mating call lets the male cats in the vicinity know that she is ready to mate. – she can mate quite frequently.

Cats are efficient, prolific (capable of producing large numbers of kittens) breeders. A single intact female cat (the queen) can create as many as 420 000 kittens over seven years.

That is one female cat having a lot of kittens. Multiple 420 000 times the number of female cats out there in the world and that’s a lot of cats.

Mating season leads to kitten season. Kitten season is the period in which female cats have litters of kittens. The period for kitten season is between April and September.

The ASPCA states that these kittens born during kitten season “make up a large part of the roughly 3.2 million cats entering shelters each year, of whom approximately 860,000 are euthanized.”

Your local shelter and cat rescues could use your help, especially during kitten season. What can a cat lover do to help?

  • volunteer at your local shelter or cat rescue
  • adopt a kitten or two (2 kiitens are always better than 1)
  • contact your local shelter and become a foster parent to kittens under 8 weeks
  • if you’re not able to foster or adopt a kitten, supplies like litter, food, blankets and toys are much needed
  • Donate to your local shelter or cat rescue

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