Feline Mating: Pregnancy And The Birth
The Reproductive System
Cats are very efficient at mating, as cats are traditionally lone hunters. When a female cat comes into season (usually towards spring, in the hours of daylight) they leave hormone-laden urine markings in their territory and also ‘call' the male cat by emitting a unique and sonorous tone which is easily heard by nearby males.
Female cats in season will not release their eggs until they have mated with there first male. You would agree this is very efficient and no egg wastage occurs.
Cats will reach sexual puberty between 6 to 9 months.
Female Cat Hormones:
Female cats, like many other mammals go through many seasons each year or my rightly stated the female cat is called ‘polyoestrous', which means she has many ‘oestrous' periods.
The female cat's are seasonally in season during spring and summer, where the daylight hours are longer, while other animals go through their seasonal polyoestrous cycles all year round.
During a female cat's pituitary gland is stimulated and produces a ‘follicle' stimulating hormone (FSH).
It is the FSH hormone that causes her ovaries to produce eggs and the female hormone ‘oestrogen'.
The oestrogen is released in the female's urine, and it is this that attracts the male cats to the female. A female cat's ovaries are at the roof of her abdomen, behind the kidneys.
The female cat is the only mammal that releases her eggs after mating.
The Male Cat's Re-Productive System:
When the male cat reaches puberty, his reproductive system is in a state of constant alert. This is so he is ready should a female cat present herself as willing.
The male cat has a Leutenizing hormone (LH), which is released by the pituitary gland.
It's this hormone that stimulates the ‘testes' to make both sperm and the male hormone ‘testosterone'.
The sperm production begins in ‘coiled tubes' in the ‘testes'. The ‘testes' are contained in the ‘scrotal sac' outside the body, as sperm production works best when the temperature is a little less than the male cat's internal body heat.
The sperm is stored in the ‘epididymis', which is at the base of ‘testes'. When the sperm is required, it will travel through the two ‘spermatic cords' to the prostate and bulbourethral glands and mix with the sugar-rich semen, and then will be ejaculated into the female cat when mating.
The male cat is always sexually ready, and will exhibit sex-related behaviour (roaming, fighting, and spraying). When his ‘vomeronasal' organ captures the female scent, the male cat will put all else aside and seek her out, and will fight over her if other male cat's are present.
When the male cat either hears the female cat's distinctive call or picks up her scent, his brain will process this information and then send a hormonal signal to his reproductive system, which then stimulates him into a state of sexual readiness.
Feline sexual activity is flagrant and noisy. But, is also dignified. The female cat will overcome her natural solitude by vocally advertising her sexual readiness to nearby male cats.
The female cat will frequently urinate so she can leave as many markers as possible for male's that may be nearby.
She will also roll on the ground, stretching out her body, raise her hindquarters, or drag herself on the ground by her forepaws, and utter plaintive noises, in order to attract a male cat.
The female cat won't let a male cat mate with her until she is 100% ready. When she is ready to mate, the male cat is permitted to mount her. The male cat will grasp the skin on her neck and will mate straight away.
The male cat's ‘penis' is covered in hook-like barbs, and as he withdraws these barbs abrade the females cat's ‘vulva'. She will scream and turn to bite him. An experienced male cat will maintain control of her until he fees it is safe to release her and move away.
It may sound horrible but these hook-like barbs are essential in causing the female cat's ‘vulva' to be stimulated so as to release the eggs. One mating often is not enough to cause the ‘vulva' to release the eggs; therefore, in some circumstances 2 or more matings are needed.
Both will mate multiple times during this initial encounter, the male will tire first. The female retains her receptivity; other males are often then permitted to mate with her.
When enough matings have occurred, production of FSH in the female's brain with stimulate the eggs to leave the ovaries (within 24 to 48 hours after mating has finished) and then travel through the fallopian tubes to each ‘horn' of the ‘uterus'.
A female cat's period of calm, where no mating urges are present will last from 2 days to 2 weeks, then another heat cycle begins all over again.
Under the influence of artificial indoor light, non-desexed female cat's can eventually come into season all year round.
It is important to note, the anymore than 3 to 4 ‘callings' per year are not considered good for the female cat.
It is possible for cat female cat to have kittens with different fathers, as the female cat will generally mate with several male cats. This ensures the survival of the species.
This is not to be looked or fround apon, if anything human beings are not that dis-similar with the other mammals.?
Pregnancy And The Birth
Fertilization takes place in the pencil-like ‘uterine horns', and the ‘foetuses' are positioned in rows in each horn of the uterus.
A female cat's pregnancy lasts about 63 days (just over 2 month). During this time ‘progesterone' which is a hormone of pregnancy will bring about behaviour changes and the swelling of the ‘mammary' glands.
The birth is usually uncomplicated, although some kittens may not live. The milk let-down occurs shortly after the birth and is stimulated by the kittens ‘suckling'.
The mother cat will leave the birth area a few days after delivering her kittens, and will carry her kittens to a new home, which is free of the odour's of birth, and usually finds a much safer ‘den'.