How Many Kittens Can a Cat Have?
Have you noticed your cat having some swollen pink nipples? Maybe she is sleeping more than usual or eating a lot more. Has she put on some weight? Do you notice her looking for quiet secluded places? Your guess is as good as mine. She is Queening! In no time, you should be welcoming a fine litter of fur balls into the family. If this is the first time your cat is giving birth, you must have so many questions in mind but perhaps the most significant is how many kittens can a cat have.
On average, cats have about 4 kittens per litter. However, there are factors that might affect the number of kittens key among them being the age of the cat. If you would rather not wait until the big day to find out how many kittens your fur ball is going to have, there are some solutions to help curb your curiosity.
- X-Rays and Ultrasound – The most reliable method of finding out how many kittens can a cat have is through ultrasound or X-Ray. This is also preferred because you don’t have to wait for too long.
- Palpation – By the fifth week of pregnancy, your vet can gently squeeze the cat’s tummy and feel how many kittens are present. This might not be the most accurate method but it is quite affordable and does not expose your cat to unnecessary X-Rays.
Taking Care of a Pregnant Cat
Before you find out how many kittens can a cat have, you need to care for the mama cat well enough for her to carry the pregnancy to term and deliver the bundles of joy. Usually, this takes anywhere between 63 to 65 days.
Unlike humans, cat’s don’t go into menopause. They are able to give birth well into their senior years from when they are as young as 4 weeks. They go into heat every 2-3 weeks from spring right into early fall so you can safely say, they are always ready to give birth unless they are spayed.
In some cases though very rarely, the cat might have some morning sickness especially in the initial stages of the pregnancy. If this happens, you need to take the cat to the vet. She might also show some signs of fatigue but this will wear off eventually.
Part of the caring process should include bulking up the feeding bowl so your cat is able to meet her new calorie demand. She might be able to eat as much as 1.5 times her normal portion as the pregnancy comes to a close. This might not be a good time to feed your cat corn and most vets recommend you put her on some kitten food instead and some occasional peanut butter treats might also be a good idea.
During the pregnancy, it is absolutely necessary to make sure that mama cat has all her vaccinations on schedule to prevent infections spreading to the unborn kittens. Also you have to consult with the vet before giving any medication to your cat even for deworming to make sure it is safe for the pregnancy.
What to Expect During a Labor and Delivery
Like in every delivery room, you never know what to expect. The least you can do is prepare for the worst possible scenario and hope things don’t get there.
The first sign that labor is close is that your cat stops eating. 24 hour prior to the delivery, cats stop eating and their temperature drops to below 100F. At this point, you should have a comfortable place ready for the queen to bring her new princes and princesses to the world and you should not let her go out. God forbid she goes into labor when roaming the great outdoors.
You might also want to take her to the vet for a last minute check when you notice her going into the nesting mode. In case of any complications, it will be easier to identify them at this stage. Once all that is done, all you have to do is wait. Don’t sit there gazing at the cat without batting an eye. Just like us, they love some privacy during delivery.
The pregnancy period of cats is short and full of surprises. It is a great opportunity for you to know your cat more and also figure out how many new members the family will have. It is also a good time for you to know just how much more you have to invest in feeding all those mouths!