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How Old?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm just wondering how old a cat should be before she's allowed to get pregnant and have a litter of kittens? We have a cat that was found as a stray and given to us.....we only have an idea of how old she is and we figure close to 8 months, but we're not sure. I'm just curious as to whether she is to young and what is a safe age?
post #2 of 18
A cat can get pregnant at any time she is in heat - there have been cases of kittens in heat at 5 months and getting pregnant.

Why do you feel you need to let her have kittens? She is old enough to be spayed now. You will save a lot of money, problems, etc. by spaying her. There is no health reason to let her have kittens before spaying. Too many unwanted cats/kittens in the shelters now.

Spaying is much more healthier for you little stray. Please call the vet and get her in now before she does get pregnant.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Actually, we want to allow her to have kittens, at least one litter. We have discussed getting her fixed, but have decided not to at this point. We are also aware of how many cats don't have homes, as we have taken in a lot of them. We live on a farm and while all the other cats we have taken in are outdoors, except my husbands, she was so small when we got her, she is now in the house and a part of the family. We will be keeping the kittens as they are family, and we are only planning on having one litter. I just wanted to make sure that she's not to young and it wouldn't be dangerous for her to get pregnant now. In the past few months when she goes into heat, we have kept her seperate from our male, so she wouldn't get pregnant till it was safe.
post #4 of 18
Hi and welcome. Every time she goes into heat it increases the chances of cancer and other diseases later. But it is my understanding that most breeders( I am sure someone will correct/confirm) do not let their breeding queens mate till at least 10 months, and some later. Are you sure you want to do this to her?
post #5 of 18
What I see as a potential problem with allowing this girl to have kittens has absolutely nothing to do with her age ... the problem here is that in breeding cats of an unknown heritage and ancestry, you might be reproducing negative genetic traits - without knowing what possible issues are contained within her bloodlines in the past, it would be impossible to say the kittens would be born healthy. I would think that is taking a pretty big risk.

If you are interested in experiencing the miracle of birth, can you not contact one of your local shelters or rescues and offer to foster a pregnant girl for them? You would still be able to have kittens, care for them until they were old enough to either be adopted out or you could keep them with you, depending on what you wanted to do.

I am certainly all for the idea of breeding if that is your cup of tea so to speak, but if you are going to do it, please do it responsibly. I strongly encourage you to rethink this idea and consider the possible risks you are taking.
post #6 of 18
I had a Persian queen that I had waited until she was 2 years old to breed, Picked the perfect stud, She was on the best food, Had 2 ultrasounds & x-rays done through her pregnancy & when her labor went array, I then took my baby to get an emergency c-section & spay to save her.....But it didn't save her, She died right after surgery. Think things through before breeding your pet. You could lose her & the kittens even in the best circumstances. I'm not nagging but instead wanting to let you know it's dangerous as well.
post #7 of 18
I agree with gayef. Perhaps you should adopt a pregnant female from the shelter and let her give birth in her new home. You say you plan on keeping the kittens and that is great but why produce more when there is already and excess? Why not adopt a girl who is already expecting and save her AND her babies?

But to answer your question I think it really depends on her size and her health. Have a vet check her out and see what they say about it. They will know many options for you.
post #8 of 18
Do you also realize how much it is going to cost you to then spay and neuter and worm and vaccinate all of these kittens, as well as the mother cat and the male you already have? That is a ton of money right there. Let alone if something goes wrong and you have to rush this cat to the vet if an emergency occurs during birth. Then there is always the great risk that the babies will be born unhealthy becuase this rescued stray cat could be carrying some awful diease that could be passed down to the babies. Plus under a year is much too young to have babies, and she can get pregnant when she IS NOT in heat so you have to keep her away from the male ALL THE TIME.
AND she can get pregnant again almost immediately right after the kittens are born. This is a lot to think about, on top of the fact that you do not know anything about the genetics or health history of the two cats you wish to mate. They are also not registered obviously since she was a stray. That right there is reason number one not to breed them. If you do that it is what is known as backyard breeding. Backyard breeding is the reason there are soo many unwanted shelter cats dying everyday. Maybe you don't realize that but do you really want to be a part of that?

Breeding should ONLY be done when you are basically an expert at the breed of cat you wish to work with. You should show the cat to get a judges perspective on just how perfect the cat is for breeding. You make sure you know everything there is to know about your cats, their health history, their family lines, their genetics, EVERYTHING. THEN you can start breeding.
You don't just toss two random domestic house cats together and let them go at it and hope for the best. That is a bit irresponsible. Sorry to be a bit harsh but it is not a good idea to go through with this.

Please please go to your shelter and tell them that you would like to foster a pregnant mother cat and then adopt the babies. They will take care of the spaying and neutering and the vaccinations and worming and you will only have to pay a small adoption fee. That is much better then the cost of these kittens getting spayed and neutered on your own dollar. The shelter wil be forever grateful. AND you will get to experience a birthing. AND you will be saving lives instead of creating more unnecessary ones. AND you will save these guys from having to experience shelter life.

Spay your cat asap. For her health and for the sake of risking her and her kittens lives and to save some helpless shelter cats.
post #9 of 18
I think you have gotten some good advice here. A lot of people here at TCS are involved in rescue, so of course are going to advise not to allow a mixed breed cat to have kittens.

About 10 years ago, we moved to our current home in the country, and we got 3 female "barn cats". They were pets, but lived outside. Over the next year or so, we had some joys and sadness, as our girls had litters of kittens. One of the sweetest things was to have a kitten who looked siamese, from a brown tabby Mom! He was so sweet, and he made a good family pet for us. One kitten was severely injured, but survived, and we kept her all her life. The other kittens were all rehomed to loving homes.

I finally decided to spay all the girls, after losing too many kittens. Two girls were spayed, with the third being allowed one more litter. We lost her in childbirth.

Personally, I don't think there is anything "wrong" per se about allowing one litter, who you will care for. But do be aware of the potential risks.

Since April 2004, I have been fostering. Three litters of kittens were born in my home, starting with Festus. I am currently taking a break from fostering, because I'm finding it too hard to give the kitties up! But if you decide not to let your precious girl breed, but still want a litter, just call a local foster agency. If you look on Petfinder.com, you will see the foster agencies listed. Some don't provide vet care for the foster cats, but some do. Just something to think about as you make your decision!

Either way, I hope you stick with us at TCS! I think you will learn a lot here, I know I have. I also have gotten a lot of support and help!
post #10 of 18
Before I would even consider mating a stray to a cat I owned..I would have it tested for FIV/FELV. No reason to allow that disease to spread to your male. In fact, I wouldn't let another cat in my cats presence before it had received a clean bill of health from a vet.

Personally I would have her spayed...I know the numbers of cats euthanized in my state and couldn't really bear to bring more kittens in the world when so many are looking for homes. I also recommend going the foster route....just because so many shelters need assistance with pregnant cats..many of which were also strays.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
I feel the need to verify a little here. First off, Snuggles was a small baby when we got her. She was checked by a vet then so that we know she is in good health. Second, I'm not wanting her to have kittens so I can "experience" the birthing process or whatever. I grew up on a farm and have been there to help deliver many different types of animals. She is a part of our family and we would like to have her babies around as well. I am not in a big hurry for this, I was just wanting an idea as to when she would be considered old enough. I do understand about shelters and the animals there, that is where we got our dog, but here we pay the adoption fee and have to pay for the spaying and neutering, so either way it comes out of my pocket. I appreciate everyone's input and advice. Thanks.
post #12 of 18
Just as long as you are prepared for any potential issues during the pregnancy....I would still hold off until she is at least a year. Also, once you mate her to your male...you should get him neutered. It can take a month before a male cat no longer has active sperm and around a week after giving birth, your female could become pregnant again...so best not to risk it.

post #13 of 18
TCS is first and foremost an educational cat welfare site with a very strong pro-spay/neuter philosophy. As such, it would be irresponsible and contrary to our policies to assist you in ~breeding~ your non-pedigreed, mixed breed domestic shorthaired cat. The Pregnant Cats and Kitten Care Forum was created to assist people who, for whatever reason, found themselves caring for a pregnant cat or raising kittens. It was not designed to assist people who are not experienced, registered catteries/breeders in breeding non-pedigreed, mixed breed domestic cats.

I have strongly urged you to reconsider your plan, but since it seems that you are going to go ahead with it no matter what, then know we will be here to assist you if your girl does become pregnant.
post #14 of 18
Just wanted to point out, you said you had her checked by the vet and she is healthy. Did you have her tested for every possible thing out there? Do you happen to know if she could be carrying something that would not be present in her, but could be passed down to her babies? I am guessing the answer is no.
It is irresponsible to go ahead with this but it seems like you will do what you want anyway without caring about the fact that you could be risking your cat's and her kittens lives.
But think about it. WHY? Why let her have babies just because you would like her babies around just like all your other animals? Why do that when you could easily save a few lives? There is no point.

Are you at least going to have her spayed after this one litter? You have to do it very quickley was the kittens are old enough because that male will get at her real fast. At least neuter him immediately after he gets her pregnant. You sitll have a few weeks though that you have to keep him seperated before he can no longer get her pregnant.
post #15 of 18
Originally Posted by sunshine77
I feel the need to verify a little here. First off, Snuggles was a small baby when we got her. She was checked by a vet then so that we know she is in good health. Second, I'm not wanting her to have kittens so I can "experience" the birthing process or whatever. I grew up on a farm and have been there to help deliver many different types of animals. She is a part of our family and we would like to have her babies around as well. I am not in a big hurry for this, I was just wanting an idea as to when she would be considered old enough. I do understand about shelters and the animals there, that is where we got our dog, but here we pay the adoption fee and have to pay for the spaying and neutering, so either way it comes out of my pocket. I appreciate everyone's input and advice. Thanks.
I guess I am just not understanding why you insist on having Snuggles get pregnant if you want to raise a litter of kittens and are in the position to do so? You could just as easily rescue a pregnant stray and then raise them. Why add to the population when you can save some of the animals that are an inevitable addition to the population?

Are you thinking that you will get a bunch of 'mini' Snuggles or something? I can assure you, that is not how it works. And if you have been around litters of animals growing up, you should know that. Our Shenzi had 8 kittens and they all have different personalities, they are now 7 months old. We kept 4 of the kittens and keep close tabs on the other 4. As a matter of fact I am 'kittysitting' 2 of them in our home now for a week while their owner is on vacation. I can say only one of them acts anything like the mother. And she is the only one Shenzi even pays much attention to. She gets along with all of them, but no more or less than she does with our other cat who is no relation at all.

If you love Snuggles so much, why purposely risk her health by making her go through pregnancy and delivery?

If you have the means to care for a pregnant mother cat and her litter, I am here to plead that you spread the love by taking in an already pregnant cat who needs a safe, forever home for herself and her unborn kittens.

I am sure you will do whatever you want, I hope that you think about it long and hard first.
post #16 of 18
I have been saving multitudes of cats over the years. Cats seem to bred like rabbits. The problem with this is that people generally don't want them. They see them as a pest. Because of this, unless you have a pure breed cat that someone wants because it is worth money, you are going to have a hard time at finding them a good home.

Now the problem with keeping all of those cats if they are out doors is the potential problem of diseases being spread. Do you keep your cats up on their shots? Most people don't and that leads to problems. With more cats running around you are going to have a harder time paying for the up keep of shots and vet bills. I believe that it is the responsibilty of the owner to make sure that an outdoor exspecially, is up on shots.
post #17 of 18
Quite simply, a cat of unknown heritage should not be allowed to breed, ever.

As wonderful as Snuggles is, there is no guarantee what her kittens will be like. The way genetics works, outwardly healthy parents are very capable of having offspring with horrible genetic defects. And on a more mundane level, how many great people do you know who have awful parents or awful kids? I can say I know plenty. The apple can fall very far from the tree, so to speak.

If you want more cats, why not offer a home to some of the many homeless cats like Snuggles?

Bottom line is that pregnancy comes with a multitude of risks. I personally had a foster cat die from complications related to delivering kittens. It was heartbreaking and if the person who had her before had gotten her spayed, she'd be alive today. Another foster cat of mine needed an emergency c-section, which cost almost $1000. Complications happen and you can't predict which deliveries will go smoothly and which won't.

It is in Snuggles' best interests to be spayed, the sooner the better, and not to have kittens.
post #18 of 18
Please take in an already pregnant queen. It is just as rewarding as having your cat have babies. There are so many who need loving and deserving homes. Most domestic cats end up on the side of a road in the country once their owners decide they are too much trouble. Have you considered that she may have many kittens. I took in a pregnant queen and luckily she only had 2 kittens so I will be able to care for them, but if your cat has 8 kittens are you really prepared for all that will follow. Remember, cats are not colletable dolls which you can just play with, they are a lot of work.Anyways, if you do go ahead with your plans, goodluck and I hope all goes well.
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