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Cats (Felines)
Cat Behavior
Cat Breeding and Mating

Can a kitten have a kitten?


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Answered 2012-08-25 19:21:03

For the most part, cats are considered mature at around 1 years of age, with the exception of large breeds which are fully mature around 2 or 3 years old. Anything younger is considered a kitten.

Cats reach sexual maturity much earlier than 1 year; most kittens are able to reproduce at around 6 months old. So technically, a kitten is indeed able to produce a litter of kittens herself.

However, letting a young and not yet mature cat breed comes with increased risk for both mother and litter. A kitten is still developing mentally and physically, and there is a high risk that there are complications with the birth, she may just not be ready to look after the kittens once they are born, or in some extreme cases, the kittens or mother may not survive.

Kitten mothers have a higher tendency to be terrible at being a parent, due to them being not yet mentally mature enough. Some require constant supervision, others require help with bonding, others abandon their kittens due to not knowing what to do, or reject them altogether. There are instances of young mothers killing their kittens because they do not understand what has happened and have panicked.

The likelihood of her needing a vet-assisted delivery is very great. It often costs over $1,000 for an emergency c-section delivery, and if the mother is small or the kittens large, there is a very real chance that the mother may need this. There is also a risk of the kittens being stillborn.

If the mother and kittens survive, there is still the rearing of said kittens. You may need to help feed or partially hand-rear the kittens, which require a lot of time and experience. Sometimes, after all the experience, the mother's personality may actually change and may not be the same kitten before being bred from.

It could be, of course, that a kitten will be fine in rearing her own kittens, but the possible health problems and the costs involved are often not worth the risk. It is cheaper and far safer for a kitten to be spayed before she reaches reproductive age.

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