How Many Kittens Can a Cat Have in its Lifetime?

We all adore cute kittens and are excited when a cat is about to give birth. You must be curious about how many cats can give birth its lifetime. Cats are prolific animals and if not checked then they can produce a large number of kittens. The kitten season usually occurs each year between April and October. These months are warm months of the year which is suitable for mating and giving birth to kittens. Although this is the best time of the year, a cat can come in heat and get pregnant is any time of the year.

How Many Kittens Can A Cat Have Its Lifetime?

A cat can have about three litters of kittens per year. Each cat can have about three to four kittens per litter. A female can give birth her whole life even in old age. Cats’ pregnancy lasts about nine weeks and can get pregnant again very quickly.  A cat lives for about 13 to 15 years and starts giving birth when they are as young as 4 months. So you can do the calculation and determine how many does a cat gives birth to if it gets pregnant regularly. It gives birth to about 180 to 200 kittens in its lifetime. That is not a true number for every cat. Different factors can affect the number of kittens a cat can give birth to. The number of cats per litter also varies. Like their age, breed health condition, and many more. Cats are also induced ovulators so, they don’t release eggs until they are bred.

Signs Of Pregnancy In A Cat

pregnant cat When your cat gets pregnant you will be able to tell by the signs that they are showing. Here we have listed some signs that the cat shows when they are pregnant.
  • Increase in the appetite of the queen. They will desire more food than the usual amount.
  • Like a human gets morning sickness, your cat also shows the symptoms of regular vomiting in the early stage of pregnancy.
  • Increase in the weight of the queen.
  • Your cat will want to sleep for a longer period of time.
  • The cats’ nipples will swell and look darker and fully engorged compared to the usual size.
  • Halfway through the pregnancy, you might notice swollen abdomen. This may not be noticeable in overweight cats.
These are the signs you should look for but if you want to be 100% sure then it’s best to visit your local vet. You can use different methods like palpation, X-rays, and ultrasound to know whether your cat is pregnant or not.

Factors Affecting The Number And Size Of Kittens

Different factors can affect the number of kittens a cat can give birth to. Here we have listed different factors that can affect the size of the litter.


A young or first-time queen give birth to less number of kittens compare to later age. The first litter can have from one to three kittens. They are also small in size. The older ones also give birth to fewer kittens than they usually give birth to. So middle-aged feline produces more kittens compared to young and much older queens.

Size and Breed of Cat

Cats’ size of the specific breed can also affect the size of kittens. Some breeds like Siamese, Mane coons are known for having huge litter whereas Persians, Singapura produces a small litter.  When two tailless Manx cats are bred then it also tends to have fewer kittens.


Like many animals, cats also come in heat seasonally. When the season starts to get cooler and shorter, the cats stop going to heat. Outdoor queens experience heat during the spring and fall of the year. So, warm seasons are the time when outdoor cats get pregnant. The pet cats or the cats who are indoors most of the time don’t have an idea about the time and the season. So they can go easily go in heat and throughout the year. This leads to pregnancy all year round.

Health Conditions

The health of the cat also determines the number of kittens in a litter and the health of the kittens. If the queen is in healthy condition then the number of kittens may also be more in number with a higher survival rate compared to the unhealthy queen. If the queen has infections like feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) during early pregnancy then the kittens are born with disabilities. The queen is likely unable to nurture and care for their kitten which can also lead to the death of kittens.

Stress Level

The environment and the people may stress the cat. When they are stressed, their pregnancy also gets affected. They tend to eat less food and isolate themselves from people and other felines when they are stressed. This causes different complication during pregnancy and also lead to the untimely birth of kittens. The survival rate of the kittens is also decreased drastically.

What To Do During Your Cats Pregnancy Period?

During pregnancy, your cat feeds more amount compared to the usual amount. So feed your cat a well-balanced diet. This helps to give birth to healthy kittens and the queen also stays healthy. Your cats should be also up to date with vaccinations. This ensures any infections and diseases in the cat during pregnancy. Prepare a birthing space for your cat. The birthing space should be perfect for the kittens, It should be clean and warm for the kittens. Also, look for the signs of labor. When your cat is about to go into labor then you might notice them disinterested in eating. They will frequently visit their birthing box and start meowing, yowling, and whimpering. They are also likely to groom their vulva frequently and also experience a slight drop in body temperature.

When To Call Vet

Usually, the cat does not need any help as they are trained by nature to give birth without any help. Sometimes the situation is always not the same. Your cat might need extra help or might need to be rushed to the vet. Look for the following symptoms to analyze whether your cat needs to be taken to the vet or not.
  • When you notice blood in the urine
  • If your cat has trouble peeing.
  • Despite pushing for longer than thirty minutes and no kitten appears.
  • If your cat shows signs of lethargy mid birth.
  • Unusual and smelly discharge.
  • If the cat losses a lot of blood during or after giving birth.
So, cats can give birth to many kittens per litter and are also able to give birth frequently. Different factors like health, environment, age, size, and many more can affect the size and number of kittens. During pregnancy why not gift your feline a cat cave. They are perfect for your queen as they also help to keep your cat and its kitten warm and hygienic.


How many babies does a cat have?

Cats usually have an average of four kittens per litter which can also range from one to twelve kittens per litter. The number may differ due to different factors. The highest number of kittens in a litter ever recorded was 19 kittens back in 1970. A Burmese and Siamese mix gave birth to the highest number of kittens.

How many times does a cat get pregnant in a year?

Once the cat gets pregnant, the gestation period lasts about two months. The cat is able to get pregnant within a few days of getting pregnant. So, it is possible to get pregnant and give birth to as many as five litters per year.

Is it dangerous for a kitten to get pregnant?

Early age pregnancy is dangerous for any animal. Cats can pregnant when they are as young as four months old. At this age, the cat is not mature enough to get pregnant so complications are bound to happen. Also read: Why Cat Likes to Lay on Chest Do Male Cats Have Nipples?
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Arun Sapkota

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