Cat Mating and Conception

Illustration on facts about cat reproduction

Female cats that aren't in a breeding program should be spayed before they reach adolescence. Estrous cycles, also known as heat cycles, begin as they enter puberty. Heat cycles in domestic cats occur from February to October in the Northern Hemisphere, however they can continue all year in indoor cats.

Estrus (the time of receptivity to mating) will recur every two or three weeks until she marries or is spayed, bringing distress to both the queen and her human companions. Queenie's whole concentration during this period will be on either fleeing the house to mate or mating with an intact male housemate. She'll be single-minded in her desire to mate, vocalizing (calling) loudly and lurking around doorways, waiting for the chance to hook up with one of the raucous feline Romeos who will congregate near your home, battling for the right to impregnate your queen.


Estrus is a phase of receptivity to mating that is associated with the generation of estradiol (a kind of estrogen) by ovarian follicles. In contrast to dogs, cats in heat rarely have visible vulvar swelling or discharge.

Female cats are induced ovulators, which means they do not ovulate without being stimulated in some way. If the female cat does not mate during estrus, hormone levels will decline, and the estrous cycle will begin again in two to three weeks.


The queen will display a particular position to indicate her eagerness to mate: chest down, forelegs bent, rear quarters elevated with tail to side to reveal the vulva ( this posture is called lordosis). Her back legs may walk in place, treading regularly.

The ​tomcat will mount the female from the rear, often holding her on the back of the neck with his teeth and insert his penis through her vulva.

Male cats with intact penises have barbed penises, and the female cat will frequently cry when the male cat withdraws. The barbed penis is said to trigger ovulation. In fact, "Teaser Toms" are frequently used by breeders to trigger ovulation and end the estrous cycle in queens who aren't ready to reproduce. Teaser Toms are neutered by vasectomy, but the barbs on the penis are left to trigger ovulation.


Ovulation normally happens between 20 and 50 hours after mating. The eggs are fertilized in the oviduct and then transferred to the uterus via the uterine horn, where they embed in the uterine lining after 12 to 13 days.

Common Questions

Can a Litter Contain Kittens From Multiple Sires?

Yes. On the street, a may mate with two or more tom cats throughout her estrous cycle, which lasts up to 21 days on average. Although the queen's genetics may play a role, multi-colored kitten litters frequently show multiple mating. Some pedigreed cat breeders keep the and chosen tom together for numerous matings in order to assure conception.

Can My Cat Become Pregnant While Nursing?

Yes, unfortunately. As a result, it's crucial to keep her indoors and away from any full guys in the house. To avoid further litters, the mother cat should be spayed once the kittens are weaned. In addition, whether the kittens are retained in the original household or adopted, they should be spayed/neutered.

Can My Cat Be Spayed While Pregnant?

Generally speaking, , although veterinarians differ about some of the factors involved.

At What Age Can a Cat Become Pregnant?

Although female cats are sexually mature by six months, it is not uncommon for them to begin the estrous cycle as young as four months. If she is allowed to get pregnant at this age, the consequence will be a kitten giving birth to kittens, putting both the mother and the babies in risk. To avoid catastrophes like these, many veterinarians are increasingly recommending early spay and neuter.

It is on purpose that this piece seems to be a thinly veiled message. Not only can spaying your female cat help with the overpopulation problem, but it will also make her a happier and healthier companion in the long run.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.