Cat Breeding And Taking Care of Your Pregnant Cat
Cats evolved about 5.3 to 3.6 million years ago. When most of the mammals were hardly recognizable in the evolution period, the cat features had already been established in the cat family. During the evolution of cat, there have been little changes in their features and habits.
Even though a number of experts say that you should spay your cats, most of you may want to breed your cat and have a litter from your pet. If you are thinking to breed your cat, make sure you have proper knowledge about cat pregnancy and delivery, and ready to handle worst-case scenario. Before you decide to breed your cat, you should consider some of these points.
Things You Should Know Before Breeding Your Cat
Time: You must be ready to spare at least two months so that you could look after the pregnant cat, nursing cat and the litter.
Cleaning: You have to clean the cattery daily, and watch over the kittens and keep a close eye on how they are developing.
Space: If you have a small apartment, it is not a good idea to breed a cat. Breeding needs large space. Kittens are playful, they love to explore the house. Don’t breed a cat until you have spacious house/apartment.
Responsibility: If you are keeping the kittens, you must take the responsibility to integrate them in your family. If you are giving your kittens to other people, you must make sure the person who wants to take the kitten is a cat lover. You should never abandon your kittens and make them homeless.
Supplies: You must have enough supply of cat food.
Medical care: You must be aware about cat diseases and the necessary vaccines. You must provide good veterinary service.
Knowledge: You must know how/what to feed the pregnant cat. If your cat has difficult labor, you must be prepared for c-section. In case of c-section, you must know how to take care of the mother cat and the kittens.
Money: Breeding costs money. You must be ready to spend good amount of money for food and veterinary bills. During the pregnancy period, you should take your cat to the vet for regular check up. You need to spend money for de-worming, vaccines and medicines.
At the time of birth, the kittens are blind and deaf. It takes 10-12 days for their senses to function. It may take couple of weeks for the kittens to acquire their characteristic markings and color.
Cat that is weaned too early, could suck its paws and tail, clothing and blankets, and people's fingers and earlobes. This nursing behavior depicts their kittenish behavior. Cat also can express some behavioral problem of self-mutilation by too much grooming, sucking, and chewing things.
Cats spend lot of time in sleeping. However, cat’s sleep patterns are different from humans. Cat don’t go into long period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is one of the reasons behind dreaming, like human beings. Cat has episodic sleep pattern, which means can become instantly alert when it is sleeping.
What You Need to Know About Cat Breeding
The reproductive age of a house cat is between 7-12 months. When a female cat reaches the reproductive age, it can be in heat (the period of heightened sexual arousal and activity) up to five times in a year. The heat lasts about five days. During the heat, cat caterwauls (the yowls made by a cat in heat) from time to time, thus inviting a mating partner. The breeding female is called a queen or tabby. A house cat (domestic cat) can have about three breeding seasons, whereas their wild counterpart wild cat breeds only once a year.
Cat has a gestation period of 63-65 days. It goes in labor for about two hours. Cat delivery is called kittening. Numbers of litter depend on the breed of cat, normally, four kittens in average (the Abyssinian cat has fewer, the Siamese more). Each fetus is inside a separate amniotic membrane. The membrane breaks at the time of birth. If the kitten is still inside the membrane after the birth, the mother breaks it by licking. The mother cuts umbilical cord and eats the placenta. Eating placenta stimulates lactation. She also licks her kitten to clean them and help blood circulation.
Cat Sterilization: Castrating/Spaying
In the early times, domestic cat population was controlled through selective killings of the newborn. However, these days different methods of sterilization is practiced. Sterilization is done through simple operations known as castration (in males) and spaying (in females). Sterilization is also called neutering or altering. Neutering helps the cat to adapt for indoor life.
Castration is a process of neutering a male by removing the testicles. It is done when the male kitten is about six or seven months old. Castration helps to control the adult male's tendency to mark objects in and around the house with its own urine and impregnate the queen (breeding female cat).
Spaying is the process of neutering a female by removing the ovaries. Spaying stops pregnancy, and reduces the chances of breast cancer and uterine diseases.
The domestic cat has average life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Since the neutered cat live longer than non-neutered cat, experts suggest castrating and spaying cat. The reasons for this long life in neutered cat are:
- They have less desire to roam.
- Reducing chances for breast cancer and uterine diseases.
Cat’s dentition is built up for meat diet: canines to catch and kill prey and the molars to tear flesh. Since there are no flat surfaced teeth, cat cannot chew food. The alimentary tract includes stomach that secrets enzymes that acts primarily on meat, and short intestine. Cat is omnivorous, which means, cat also eat plant products. As an omnivorous animal, all-meat diet is not recommended for a cat. Feeding cat with only meat will trigger nutritional deficiency and diseases. Cat diet must be balanced with meat and plant products. Ingesting a small quantity of vegetables may work as laxative and hairball remover. Cat fulfill its desire for moisture (fluids) from it food, therefore they have low thirst desire.
Commercial cat food is loaded with high carbohydrates, but lacks fiber and moisture. Relying on commercial cat food may make your cat prone to various diseases such as diabetes, urinary tract infection, and obesity. Even though cat has omnivorous food habit, its digestive system is basically built up for carnivorous diet. Cat’s digestive system cannot handle too much carbohydrate derived from grain. Cat food may also contain GMO (genetically modified organism) and extracts of species inappropriate for cat. Seafood is a big no-no for a cat. Cats are not only allergic to sea animals, but also may become sick because of chemicals used to preserve seafood.
You should try to feed your cat with natural carnivorous diet. Try to avoid commercial cat food and prioritize meat-based diet with low-carbohydrate. If you take care of cat diet, you may be able to stop some common diseases. If you rely too much on commercial food, your cat may reject other healthy food.
Gifts Ideas for Cat Lovers
Anyone who owns a cat/s will love photo frame. Photo frames are not only affordable, but also a great gift for pet owners. Cat lovers love to frame the pictures of their feline friends, and show to their friends and family, and preserve them in memories.
If you are buying gifts for a cat lover, you should always consider the cat breed he/she owns. You should know if the person has an indoor cat or outdoor cat. Most of the cat gifts are designed for indoor cats. Indoor cats are usually trained to use litter box, which can be another gift for your cat lover friend.
Catnip is a popular treats for cats. Cats are addictive to the aroma of catnip, it makes them drunk and hyper, which will be a great show for the cat lovers. You can also use chew toys and play balls as gifts.
You can also gift mats with cat pictures, it will be great if you can personalize the mat for your cat lover friend. Gift for cat lovers may also include cat videos, cat toys and treats, musical cat dolls, cat shaped mail boxes, cat key rings, and other goodies designed for cat lovers.
Things to consider when adopting a cat (or kitten)
- Get a cat from a reputable source (breeder, adoption agency, local pounds)
- Make sure the cattery is clean and in good health
- Make sure the cats are not overcrowded.
- See if the litter box is clean, food and water boxes are clean and full.
- The kittens aren’t caged.
- All cats appear healthy, their coats shiny and showing no ribs.
- The kitten is used to human touch.
- Kittens are at least 12 weeks old. Older kittens are in good health because they have developed proper immune system.
- Cats have been vaccinated and don’t show any symptoms of diseases.
© 2013 Vinaya Ghimire
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