At what age is it best for a cat to have the first litter of kittens
At what age:
is it best for a cat to get her first litter of kittens?
is a female cat fully physicaly developed so she can have kittens in the safest way for the mother and kittens?
is a female cat fully mentally developed to best take care of her kittens?
is it safest for a cat to have kittens with lowest chance of problems for both the mother and her kittens?
is the risk for complications during labor the lowest?
This question is not about what age a cat can get pregnant, it is only about what is the best for the mother and her kittens.
This question is made to give people and their cats guidance when they want to have kittens.
There are so many homeless cats and kittens in shelters, I urge people to give serious thought as to why they would want their cat to have kittens at all. Spaying or neutering your cat will prevent it from happening at all, and helps to mitigate potential behaviour problems such as spraying and fighting.
The cat should not be too young
Even if starting to call is a sign that it is possible for a cat to get pregnant, it is not the best to start so soon. In a german breeding club there is a rule that the maiden queen has to be at least 10 month old, or 9 if a veterinarian has given their ok. http://www.evbl.net/zuchtrichtlinien.htm
I found a homepage of a breeder who says the following (https://thecatswhiskers.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/when-should-you-breed-your-cat/):
- If your queen is a maiden queen (i.e. never been bred before), then the rule of thumb seems to be wait until she is a year old, or has called at least 3 times. However, some breeds of cats come into call earlier than 12 months. For e.g. the Orientals have been known to go on heat at 4 months old! In the end, you have to play it by ear – a calling cat can lose condition if she calls repeatedly – and take the advice of the breeder who sold you your queen. She owns the mother cat to your cat, and in most instances what applies to the mother cat applies to the daughter too.
On a comment he/she is answering a question about the 3-times-rule:
This three times rule is not set in stone. I think it applies more to young maiden queens who start calling before the age of 1. And again, restricting the first mating to over 1 year old depends. When I first started, I waited until my queen was a year old – I was told by her breeder that this was to ensure she was mature enough. If the queen is too young, then there could be issues with the birth etc. because she’s not physically ready to have kittens.
So finally I would say: If you want to be sure that your cat is old enough: Wait until she is 1 year old. Or ask your vet.
The cat should not be too old
When cats get older, they have more problem with getting pregnant or, if they are maiden, there can be health complications. To avoid problems, a general rule is that cats which are 4 to 6 years old should not be bred or only if a veterinarian is watching and gave the ok.