Breeding cats can be very rewarding, however, it is a big responsibility and the breeder must understand what is involved. It must also be remembered that there are many unwanted cats and that the breeder is responsible for finding long-term loving homes for the kittens that they breed.

What does it mean when my cat ‘calls’?

Fertile female cats, known as Queens, come into ‘heat’ or ‘call’ several times throughout the year, the queen will become very friendly and vocal, demanding your time and attention. A queen in heat will raise their bottom when stroked and hold their tail to one side in anticipation and tread ground with their back legs,

The mating process – what to expect

Whilst mating the male cat will hold the queen’s scruff in his his teeth and upon the male’s ejaculation the queen will become very vocal and aggressive, this is normal behaviour and nothing to be concerned about.

How long is a queen’s pregnancy?

A cat’s pregnancy can last from 60-67 days. It is important that the date of breeding is recorded so the breeder can calculate the expected due date.

Diet during pregnancy

A pregnant queen will consume one and a half times more than her normal food intake, so it is essential that she is provided with more meals each day. It is also recommended to feed her a diet designed for kittens as this will provide her with the extra nutrition she will require.

What do you need to prepare before your cat gives birth?

You will need to provide your cat with a kittening bed, a cardboard box lined with old sheets or towels is ideal. The bed must be warm and inviting and in a private space.

Labour – Stage 1

During stage 1 of labour the queen is likely to take repeated trips to the prospective kittening bed and you may notice her bed-making. It is common for the queen to stop eating during the last 24 hours of labour and her temperature could drop below 37°C. Stage 1 can last for up to 36 hours.

Labour – Stage 2 & 3

During the second stage, the contractions will become stronger and more frequent. As the foetal head passes into the pelvis it will cause the queen to strain and bear down, this will help move the foetus through the pelvis. Delivery of kittens following on from stage 2 can take from 5 – 30 minutes.

Stage 3 follows on immediately and you will see the passing of the membranes – each membrane is normally passed soon after each kitten is born – as each kitten is born the queen will tear open the membrane and clear the nose and mouth area of the kitten. The queen will bite off the umbilical cord and subsequently eat the after-birth. The intervals between births ranges from 10 minutes to 1 hour.

Problems during parturition (birth)

If you notice any of the following it is advisable to contact your Wellpets vet.

  • A kitten is not produced after 20 minutes of intense labour
  • The queen is depressed, lethargic or has a fever
  • There is a large amount of fresh blood loss lasting more than 10 minutes