As cat owners, we always want what is best for our cats. One of the questions that arise is “can a cat get pregnant while nursing?”
Once cats have had a litter of kittens, it is not a surprise that we want to take care of them too.
The issue is that kittens can be a lot of work and finding them good homes can be even harder.
So, of course, the last thing we would want would be for our cat to have more litters of kittens than we can handle as owners.
Most of the time, cats will not be able to get pregnant again until their kittens are weaned off of their milk.
However, this is not always the case. Can a cat get pregnant while she is nursing her current litter of kittens?
The short answer is yes. Cats absolutely can get pregnant again while they are nursing their kittens.
Now, do not panic. This is rare, but just in case, here are the answers to some questions you may have concerning the topic at hand.
When Can My Cat Get Pregnant Again?
This is a good question and an important one to ask.
Cats have something that is called the estrus cycle, or their heat cycle.
This cycle is what allows the cat to be able to have litters of kittens.
A female cat can begin her heat cycle when she is only around four to five months in age.
While this is early for most cats, it is possible.
This is especially important to keep in mind if you are keeping your kittens and they are going to be in situations where they are capable of mating.
A female cat can get pregnant again a mere four weeks after she first gives birth to her litter of kittens.
While this is rare, it is entirely possible, and it is something you should watch out for if you have male cats that can mate with this new mother.
Even the mother’s own kitten could get her pregnant, as male kittens also mature enough to mate when they are four to five months old.
It may be that now you are wondering what the estrus cycle is. Well, let’s get into that next.
What Is the Estrus Cycle in A Cat?
The estrus cycle is something that happens to female cats when their breeding season is in the process of happening.
When is breeding season? Well, most of the time a cat’s breeding season would be in the spring and summer.
However, it can last even longer than that, sometimes even taking place into the winter depending on how warm it is in the environment and how long the days are lasting.
Most people do not even know it exists because humans do not experience it.
Most cats will mature enough to have their estrus cycle when they reach around six weeks old.
As we have discussed, they can also mature as early as four weeks or as late as ten. It depends quite a bit on environmental factors as well as just the breed of cat.
The estrus cycle of a cat will normally last around six days. During this time, she will either mate and become pregnant or she will not get pregnant and her cycle will end.
If she does not get pregnant, her cycle will occur every two to three weeks, and it will keep going for the entire breeding season.
If the cat does become pregnant with kittens, her estrus cycle will continue as early as four weeks after she has her litter.
Of course, some cats have longer periods between their cycles, and this will not be an issue. Nevertheless, it’s still extremely important to take the proper precautions with your cat.
How to Keep Your Cat from Getting Pregnant?
Now, you cannot prevent a female cat’s estrus cycle from happening while they are nursing their kittens.
However, there are certain actions you can take that will help to prevent them from getting pregnant during this time.
Before anything else, it is important to keep in mind that cats need time to rest between litters.
While it is normal and natural for a female cat to be able to have multiple litters during their breeding season, it can be extremely dangerous for them.
Giving birth in too close of time frames will not give your cat the time that she needs to be able to rest between litters.
The best thing you can do for your cat is keep her indoors and away from unsterilized male cats, not including her own kittens.
As I mentioned earlier, a male cat can mature enough to mate when he is only four months old.
Luckily, the kittens should all be weaned off of milk by this point, and you can take the mother to be spayed so that she can no longer have kittens.
Of all the options available, getting your cat spayed is the best one, especially if you are not using her specifically for breeding purposes.
How Do I Care for My Cat When She’s Pregnant?
If your cat is already nursing kittens, you may know the answer to this.
But just in case you are still trying to figure out how to best care for your cat, here are some tips that may help you.
To start off, if you are suspicious that your cat is pregnant, but you do not know for sure, the best thing you can do is take your cat to the vet.
Your veterinarian will have information on how best to take care of your cat.
They will be likely to recommend a different cat food for your cat to eat.
Specific cat foods are formulated for when your cat is pregnant. This will ensure that your cat is able to get the nutrition and all the calories she needs to be able to properly have her kittens.
During pregnancy, it is likely that your cat will start nesting all on her own.
Nesting is the process of a pregnant cat finding a warm and comfortable area for her to give birth to her litter of kittens.
You may want to make a nice place for her where she can give birth, though this does not necessarily mean she will choose this area.
Once your cat gives birth, you can keep her with her kittens and take them all to the vet to make sure that they are all healthy and happy.
Once you have done this, the best thing you can really do is just make sure your cat is comfortable and content.
Can a Cat Get Pregnant While Nursing? Final Thoughts
The good thing is that kittens will be able to wean off of their mother’s milk, on average, within eight to ten weeks.
This means once the kitten is completely weaned off their mother’s milk and can eat dry food, they can get the chance to go to their new forever homes.
If your mother cat is not yet spayed, and you do not plan on her having more kittens in the future, your best plan of action is going to be taking her to the vet to be spayed.
If you plan on keeping any of your kittens, it is a good idea to have them spayed or neutered as well.
While people do not always think about the possibility, cats can and will mate with their family members.
A female cat can also get pregnant with the kittens of more than one tomcat at once.
For this reason, it is a better option to have your cats spayed or neutered so they do not mate and have more kittens than you were hoping for.
So, to answer the question of “can a cat get pregnant while nursing”, the answer to that would be yes.
However, there are many factors that go into a cat getting pregnant.
This includes whether it is their mating season, how close their estrus cycles are together, and whether they are in the presence of tomcats or not.
Some people have purebred cats and purposefully breed them with other purebred cats for a living.
However, if this is not your calling in life, it may just be a better option to have your cat spayed to avoid any more pregnancies in the future.
If you plan to keep the kittens, you will want to have them spayed or neutered as well before they can become mature enough to have their own litter of kittens.
However, it is always best to get the opinion of your veterinarian on whether the time is right for you to be having the procedure done on your kittens.
Older cats can be spayed or neutered at any time but spaying a pregnant cat will end her pregnancy. I hope that this article was able to answer any questions you may have on cats and pregnancy.