Pregnant Cat: Reproductive Cycle
Basically, the cat is an animal that has no regular reproductive cycle like human has or other animal’s. For humans, cows, dogs and other animals, the reproductive cycle occurs periodically and regularly. Therefore, dogs and women are regularly menstruating.
Another similarity of dogs and humans in terms of reproduction is in the release of eggs from the ovary. In the medical language, it is often referred as ovulation. The ovulation occurs regularly and spontaneously.
The cat is a little different. Cat’s reproductive cycle doesn’t take place regularly within a certain period. The phase of mating lust or estrous of cats is influenced by many things. One of which is the length of the sun shines on a single day (daylight time).
In countries with four seasons, the sun shines period is different between summer and winter. Cats usually mate in seasons when the sun shines longer.
In tropical countries where the sun shines much the cycle remains relatively unchanged. In those countries, the reproductive cycle of cats is relatively more regular with a period of 1-1.3 months.
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Pregnant Cat: Length of Gestation
Cats’ gestation period varies between 59-70 days, 63-65 days on average. The easy way to remember is to compare with humans’. Women are pregnant for 9 months, whereas cats need 9 weeks.
The earlier kittens are born, the more birth weight and weaker immunity they have. Kittens are born at 59 days of gestation, they require extra attention in order to live and continue to grow.
Kittens are born after 65-70 days will have a greater birth weight. They tend to be more powerful and aggressive to ask for feeding on their mother cat.
The delivery time depends on the interaction of the mother and kittens in the womb. The delivery process begins with the releasing of several reproductive hormones of the kittens. Mother cats respond by releasing other reproductive hormones that play many roles in the birth process.
Pregnant Cat: Many Fathers
Cats are superfecundity animals. This means that from one birth, kittens can have different fathers.
If at the estrous time cats mate with several males, at birth later, it could be that each of these males has kittens.
In the large cat family such as lions, it is a common case that dominant male lions kill their little cubs. This usually happens when a lion had just taken over leadership of the group. The new lions’ leader will try to kill all the cubs of the previous leader.
Pregnant Cat: Risks During Pregnancy
The critical period of cat pregnancy is during the first three weeks. Various infectious diseases and drugs can affect fetal development. For example, if a pregnant mother cat is exposed to the panleukopenia virus, kittens who are born usually suffer severe brain damage.
The similar thing may happen if during the pregnancy the mother cat is vaccinated. The development of the fetus will be impaired. Thus, the mother cat should be vaccinated before pregnancy (before mating). Then, immunity to certain diseases is increased and some can be inherited to the kittens in the form of passive immunity.
Pregnant Cat: Pregnancy Hormones
During the pregnancy, progesterone production in the cat’s body is increased sharply, reaching a peak around 35 days after mating. At this time the cats become calmer and the stomach starts to look bigger.
Pregnancy period of the cat lasts for 59 – 70 days. The last few days before birth, the mother cat becomes agitated and starts looking for a quiet place to give birth. The mother cat will try to spread her body’s odor in the area where she plans to give birth, to make it easy for the kittens later knowing their playing area.
Closer to the giving birth time, mother cats’ appetite will begin to disappear. She becomes agitated and begins to breath pantly accompanied by contraction.