Ask the expert…July-Aug 2007

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Dr. K. G. Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for south Asia.
Q: Please let me know about breeding in cats.
– Shekhar C Bhurke, Satara
Dr. K.G. Umesh: Female cats generally have their first season during 6 and 9 months of age. The stages of oestrus cycle (season) in the queen are anestrous, proestrus, oestrus and interoestrus. Proestrus lasts for 2-3 days without showing any signs and queen won’t want to mate. Oestrus lasts between 2-10 days and show signs such as vocalisation, rolling and rubbing against inanimate objects and sticking her back end in the air. This means she is “in season” and wants to mate. Interoestrus occurs if queen doesn’t mate and may last for 3-14 days. Anestrous is a period when there is no hormonal activity. Pregnancy length for cats is approximately 64 days and may vary. By end of 3rd week, the pregnant queen will have gained 20% extra weight and at term total weight gain depends on litter size. If delivery proceeds normally (most often), a few contractions will discharge the kitten, who should exit birth canal within 10 minutes of being visible. If mother does not remove sacs or kittens are unable to breathe, contact your  vet immediately. Prior to delivery, a kitten box lined with newspaper should be selected and placed in secluded place.

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