Friday, 11 November 2016

What happens to cats during puberty?

This post has been written by Dr Sarah Elliott BVetMed MRCVS, Central Veterinary Officer at Cats Protection

It is tough growing up, particularly when puberty strikes and hormones go haywire.

But did you know that some cats experience puberty from only four months of age? And there are plenty of feline teenage mums out there who are not having a great time!

Cats reach puberty at around four months of age

When puberty hits, a cat becomes capable of reproducing. They will start exhibiting certain behaviours which will let other cats know that they are looking for a mate. A female cat may ‘call’ for a mate, and become more restless or affectionate. This behaviour last for around five to 10 days and will continue every couple of weeks until she successfully finds a mate. Male cats may start to roam further away from home and become more territorial, getting into late night fights and spraying their territories with strong-smelling urine.

After puberty, cats will become prolific breeders. One female cat may give birth to up to 18 kittens in a year! Young mums are particularly at risk as they are physically underdeveloped and too inexperienced to successfully raise their kittens. The mother’s own health can suffer as a result of carrying a pregnancy when still so young.

Fortunately, cats can be neutered before puberty begins. Neutering from four months of age is hugely beneficial for cats from a social, health and population control perspective. Four months is the age at which neutering recommended by Cats Protection, The Cat Group and many other veterinary bodies.

To find out more about neutering, visit www.cats.org.uk/neutering or speak to your vet for advice.

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