A current customer of mine has recently called to let me know that her soon to be departing cat, to the wonderful country of pet friendly Norway, has become pregnant!! After looking into various regulations on exporting/importing pregnant cats, I came across some interesting tidbits on just how fertile cats really are.
The cat pictured here is a calico cat, so you know that she must be female (since it’s genetically sex-linked: all calico cats are girls). So for example sakes, I thought it would be safe to use this. My customer’s cat is an outside/inside cat and she was a bit shocked to find out just how this happened. After learning more on just how active cats are, a more appropriate question would be how could it NOT have happened if cat is not fixed?
Cats are seasonally poly-estrous (they go through several ‘in heat’ cycles). They are not like dogs. A female dog has reproductive cycles that last around 3 to 4 weeks, and most of them cycle twice per year, at no particular time. Cats shut down the kitten-maker in the late fall and winter, when the food supply is less certain for them (in nature, anyway). With spring, they begin to cycle constantly. They are “in heat” (sexually receptive and fertile) for four days, out for eight, in for four, out for eight, in for four, etc. This continues until the cat gets pregnant, or next winter, whichever comes first.
A cat in heat tends to act a little crazy, yowling and assuming odd postures and behaviors. Many veterinarians get late night calls for what sounds like a “dying cat”... But in fact, these sounds later proved that the cats are simply in a lusty mood and making their ‘call of the wild’ mating sounds.
Cats are induced ovulators, which means that the ovaries don’t release the eggs until mating takes place. This means that when cats are trying to make babies, they don’t “miss the day” of ovulation. When it comes to getting pregnant, they are reliable little machines.
In fact, cats are so fertile that once they are once they give birth, they can do it again within weeks! It’s quite common for mama cat to be two weeks pregnant by the time the first litter are weaned!
Cats can usually crank out two litters per season, and three is not uncommon. This is why it is so important to make sure your cats, prior to their relocation and for the control of the population, are to be spayed as soon as possible!
Importing pregnant cats can be done, however we will avoid it this time since the cat is so far along and it seems best on both mama and her kittens not to cat travel!