Over 30 years ago, my daughter, still living at home, rescued a young short-white-haired cat from the neighbor’s garden next door. I did not want pets at the time, so it took a lot of begging from my daughter to agree to take in this kitty. I knew that I would be taking care of this animal, not her, and I did not have the time or know-how. But, eventually, I gave in and gave this fur baby a new home.
A few weeks later, I found out this kitty was pregnant! When Beebe finally delivered her brood, she had two kittens, and then there were three. All I could say to my daughter was, “This is insane!” Beebe did everything perfectly and did not need our help. She also cleaned up the mess after she delivered her kittens. You would never have known she had just delivered two kittens. I could never give these babies away, so we adopted the two new babies.
Can You Tell How Many Kittens Your Cat Will Have?
First off, and if you did not know this, cats are meticulously clean animals. A mama cat bathes herself and her kittens a few times every day. In mama Beebe’s case, she was constantly cleaning ears, eyes, noses, toes, and everything in between.
Beebe’s one kitten was not going to live long, and she knew this, which is why she kept pushing that kitten to the side. Mama focused all her attention on the healthy kitten named Bitzy. Bitzy was with us for 17 years. We took on the job of feeding the ill kitten Itzy, which the vet said had a congenital heart defect and would not live past a month. We held out hope that she would survive. However, the vet was sadly right.
Mama became pregnant weeks later before it was OK to get her spade. Beebe’s second litter had three kittens, two white kittens, and one black kitty with a bit of white on its chest. We kept her kids, Bitzy, Vesta, Jimmy, and Pudge Bear. During the years, Mama Beebe took care of her children as though they were newborns.
I quickly learned that cat owners do not have to do much for a cat, pregnant or not, unlike dogs. Cats are naturally independent in their care and that of their offspring. Of course, you need to do the essentials for your cat. While cats appreciate you playing and interacting with them, cats keep themselves busy and usually sleep up to 18 hours per day with a few CATnaps in between.
A cat’s routine can vary significantly during pregnancy and when drawing nearer to giving birth. Ensure that you take your cat for a vet’s examination to make sure she is alright physically.
Pregnant cats find a secret spot in the home to deliver their kittens when the time is right. The mother’s secret place to have her babies will be challenging for you to find. Mama cats clean up the delivery mess and ultimately care for her kittens, feeding and bathing them daily or more. Unless your mama cat is ill, keep your distance and don’t interfere with the care your cat gives to her kittens.
You need to find mama’s hiding place so you can look in on her to ensure the delivery does not become problematic and she needs an emergency vet call. Never let your mama cat see you, and do not touch anything in this secret place. If your mama cat smells your scent, she will likely move to another hiding place. The most we did for Beebe was to place fresh food, water, and a litter pan near her hiding place. We changed, cleaned, and refilled the dishes twice a day and kept the litter pan clean.
It is not easy to know how many kittens your cat has in her belly. You can no doubt see how big your cat’s belly is; however, this information will need the expertise of your veterinarian.
How To Tell How Many Kittens Your Cat Will Have?
A pregnancy in a cat lasts for about nine weeks before delivery. At about four weeks of being pregnant, your vet can palpitate your cat’s belly to feel how many babies your cat has in her abdomen.
A pregnant cat should not have an X-Ray until they are at least 40 days into the pregnancy. Your vet can tell how many days your cat is into its pregnancy and can do an X-Ray or ultrasound of your cat’s abdomen. An X-ray actually shows the number of kittens present. An ultrasound tells the vet that your cat is pregnant, but this test cannot tell you how many babies are present.
A cat usually delivers one to six kittens. However, if this is your cat’s first litter, she could have one to three kittens. All cats have a different makeup, meaning that your cat’s litter of kittens could be more or less than what is typically noted.
No matter how many kittens your cat has, you must ensure that your cat eats a healthy diet and always has fresh filtered water to drink, a clean litter pan nearby, and a warm cat bed or blanket.
How Many Kittens Do Cats Usually Have?
Cat experts and seasoned cat owners can give you the usual number of kittens that mama cats deliver. However, these numbers significantly vary. Every cat’s makeup and genes are different.
Cat experts say that if this is your cat’s first litter, she could have one to three kittens. However, your cat may deliver only one kitten or possibly three or more. Not even the experts can say how many kittens cats usually have. Our Mama Silly gave birth at eight months to her first litter of six healthy kittens.
Did you know that your mama cat is unique, special, and totally different from any other cat on Earth? For this reason, knowing how many kittens a cat has is purr..ly guesswork unless your veterinarian does an X-Ray of your cat’s abdomen. As an added note, an occasional X-Ray will not harm your cat or her babies.
Cat experts seem to all agree that the number of kittens your cat has depends on several different factors.
- The breed of the cat
- The cat’s age (senior cats can get pregnant, but there are risk factors for an older cat)
- The general health of the cat
On average, a cat can have four kittens. This cat could also have three to six or more kittens. The lower end of the spectrum of these numbers is that a cat with one kitten is as rare as a cat with 19 kittens.
I found in my research that there have been instances where a cat delivered 15 kittens and another gave birth to 19 kittens. Both of these figures are rare. If your cat delivers this many kittens, know that the mother will push the weaker kits away to focus on the more robust kits.
When this happens, devoted cat owners must step in and feed these more fragile babies. It is best to have your vet check out all the kittens to ensure none have a congenital condition and can live.
- A cat can get pregnant at four months of age.
- A cat stops growing at six months of age.
- A cat becomes an adult at one year.
- A cat becomes a senior at ten years.
It is not a good idea for a cat to become pregnant until at least one year. You never want a kitten giving birth to kittens. A kitten has not developed mothering instincts until at least six months of age. We found this fact out with Mama Silly.
- A cat should not have any more than two litters in one year.
- The mother needs to recuperate after each litter.
- A mama cat should not get pregnant after six years of age.
Unless you are a cat breeder, there is no reason not to have your cat spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Spaying or neutering your cat assures a longer and healthier life.
If you have a female cat and you allow your cat to run wild, it will get pregnant. The kittens will have a difficult time surviving in the wild. It is not unusual for a female cat to have over 45 litters during its lifetime. This female cat can easily give birth to hundreds of kittens. Even I have my limits.
It is not unusual for a female cat to become pregnant with a male cat and pregnant again with another male cat. When the mama’s kittens are born, she could have a bunch of different-looking kittens. These kittens vary in breed, color, fur length, and size.
If you allow your older female cat to run wild and not have her spayed, you put her at risk for health problems for her and her unborn kittens.
Our Personal Experience with Three Mama Cats and Their Kittens
During our time of cat rescue, we had three pregnant mother cats. Beebe had two liters. She delivered two kittens in the first litter, with one dying of heart failure and the second living to be 17. A year later, she gave birth to three healthy and robust kittens who lived long lives.
Miss Black, a stray we took in for a short while, had a litter of two kittens. One died at birth, and the second, Sweet Pea, lived to the ripe age of 18 under the care of my daughter.
Mama Silly had only one litter. She delivered six healthy and robust kittens, four males and two females.
Silly was a rescue cat and was not more than eight months of age. She never went outside. However, before we could get Mama Beebe’s son Pudge Bear neutered, he apparently started to court Silly behind our backs, and before we realized it, Silly was pregnant, and Pudge was to become Papa Pudge Bear.
How did we know Pudge was the father? Silly delivered two white-haired kits looking like Mama Beebe and two black females and two black males with a white bowtie at their necks. All had gold eyes and looked just like Papa. And, yes, Beebe was now a doting grandma and her days got even busier. And, yes, we adopted all of them and would not have done it differently.
Never do as we did, but do as we recommend to take your cat to the vet to be spayed or neutered as soon as possible!