By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 25 May 2014)
Many female cats experience their first heat at around 6 months of age, though anywhere from 5-12 months is normal for most breeds. Male cats can usually sire a litter by 5 months of age as well.
There are a few breeds that mature more slowly, and malnourished cats may take longer to reach sexual maturity as well.
According to the Halifax Regional Municipality Animal Services Division, if an unspayed female cat, an unneutered male cat, and male-female pairs from all of their unfixed offspring had just 2 litters of 2.8 surviving kittens each per year, they would produce 11,606,077 cats in 9 years.
Having pets spayed or neutered before they’re able to reproduce will not alter their personalities (except for reducing fighting and roaming in males) or cause health problems. In fact, getting pets fixed early reduces their risk of suffering health problems later on.
See the Pregnant Cats and Kittens Page for information on caring for pregnant cats, kitten development week by week, kitten training, kitten care, and more. For a full list of cat articles, see the main Cats page.