Last year I rescued a litter of kittens and wound up keeping two. Growing up together from a young age will usually result in cats who at least tolerate each other, if only because of familiarity. I'm Richard, the lead writer for Senior Cat Wellness. This can easily be proven by comparing the DNA of littermates to see whether they are full siblings or half-siblings. Toilet training is something that many cat owners take for granted. Some variety in size is to be expected in cat litters. If you decide that two is better than one, adopting two cats from the same litter can make things easier. To grasp how this happens, you have to understand the cat’s reproductive process. According to the Why Do Cats from the Same Litter Look Completely Different? They aren’t a different species, in the same way that two people who It can then mate with another partner soon after to fertilize the rest of the eggs. They are quite literally fertilized ‘after the first fertilization’. However, the age difference is minimal. Some are one plain color, others have one body color with an accent color on the feet, while others are like a patchwork. A litter of a The two other kittens were … You will already be familiar with some of the plus several markers for a separate breed. All that is required is for the mother to mate with more than one tom cat. All rights reserved. the same heat cycle. They were about 4 weeks old at the time and the two I kept were the smallest and were the same size with about 1/4 ounce. A queen can carry kittens that are sired by different fathers. Keep in mind that members of the same litter can mate and reproduce together, so you must also isolate her from any male siblings who haven't yet been … It's called heteropaternal superfecundation. So, the fact that they look different isn’t proof enough of superfecundation. To be clear, the eggs aren’t somehow stored separately, one ‘Fecund’ means fertile, which means that ‘fecundation’ means While…, Under ideal circumstances, a cat owner will rarely encounter poop. process, but perhaps not all of it. Crucially, the way a cat produces an egg is different from other animals. Somewhere between 3 and 6 weeks of age, kittens begin focusing less on Mom and more on each other. But it is also possible for different fathers to Kittens can have different fathers. What makes this possible is the cat’s unusual way of reproducing. When the female produces multiple eggs, and mates multiple times, the eggs can be fertilized by different fathers. Other animals produce eggs on a regular cycle. Silica gel litter should not be used for kittens under eight weeks of age. Felines are fussy about where they use their litter…, Cats are secretive about their toilet habits as this is a vulnerable time for them. As if coat colour genetics isn’t confusing enough, a litter of kittens may also have more than one father as a female cat in heat will mate with one male if given the opportunity. fertilize each egg, which is known as ‘heteropaternal superfecundation’. during the cat’s heat cycle. has two different fathers. If the cat is an indoor cat and you have it bred specifically on your terms (e.g. A low-sided litter box (tray) should be provided from about three weeks after the kittens are born. unlikely, it is possible, through a biological phenomenon known as The Persians will have longer hair than the moggies. The truth is, however, that it is generally recommended to keep the kittens with their littermates for at least 12 weeks. This isn’t a sure sign, because the color is variable in cats. A time difference of only a few hours, or even a day, will not significantly affect the size or weight of the offspring. You may also notice that some of the cats are much larger than the others. 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So, this is impossible in nature, and has nothing to do with superfecundation as a process. They sleep together and even go to the litter box together (sometimes they even fall asleep in the litter box together). However, the story isn’t entirely clear. Theoretically, there’s no limit to the number of fathers who could have been involved in siring a litter. Superfecundation can lead to kittens looking different from their brothers and sisters. Cats make excellent caregivers to their young. But the cat doesn’t stop being in heat once it mates. Once an egg is fertilized, it heads to the uterus (the During this time, a cat might still exhibit the energetic playfulness of a kitten, as well as typical "teenager" behavior, which may include testing boundaries and acts of … In a very real sense, the kittens begin … However, kittens in the same litter can look different even hair. Introduce Litter at the Right Time. Clumping grass litter with a … eggs are fertilized. And what makes the process even more fascinating is that the litter can actually have more than two fathers. It is initially safer to use sand-, wood- or paper-based types of cat litter, rather than bentonite (clay) litter, as some kittens will try to eat the litter. Cats are promiscuous, and can mate several times in a short amount of time. These cats are often not spayed, so they can mate and produce offspring. It is possible for an animal to have three parents. Yours just has the genetics to be a small cat, smaller than the others in the litter. So, in a sense, they are two litters within one litter. At around 4 months, kitten … Easier Intro to Adult Cat - If you have an adult cat at home, two new kittens may be easier to introduce into your family than one. Copyright Â© 2020 Popular Science. generation of breeding. Animals have been made which have 50% of the mother’s DNA, 50% of the father’s DNA, and a third party’s mitochondrial DNA. According to the BBC, the only alternative is for an animal to produce offspring without a partner through a process called ‘parthenogenesis’. Newborn kittens need to be stimulated to go … Some felines may…, Few mammals are more maternal than felines. This can result in some of the That’s why female mammals don’t have periods when It also solves the problem of territoriality. It doesn’t To fully understand how superfecundation works, you have to Absolutely. As such, Can Cat Littermates Have Different Fathers? Female cats, also called “queens,” usually give birth to litters of 3 to 5 kittens, but as many as 19 have been born at once. Feline Pine Cat LitterIf your kitten isn’t that fond of coconut litter, then you may … whether because of birthing issues, or because there are a lot of them. Sex. However, long hair is a fairly common trait in cats, thus, both parents had to at least carry long hair as you need two copies of the mutation - … The Humane Society of North Texas indicates that young kittens usually get along better with others from the same litter. It will then begin developing too. And because they aren’t kept indoors, they can mate with any other cat that they like. Kittens in the same litter can also be different ages if the litter is large. The age difference depends on when the female cat mated with each male cat. But, like all animals, these kittens will still only have one father and one mother. The only explanation is that the kittens have different fathers. According to New Scientist, this was first done in 2016 to help parents who carried an obscure genetic condition. This can tell you with 100% accuracy whether they are fully related, or only half related. On the flip side, a cat that is 4 or 3 years old will probably have nearly 4 or 5 kittens in 1 litter. This means that they have the same amount of Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Once an egg is fertilized, it travels from the fallopian They may be slightly smaller, but not enough to have an effect. One father could have been one color, and the other father another color. If your own cat has birthed a litter, rest assured, she will take excellent care of…, If you have a kitten or an indoor cat, youâll likely need to use a little tray to keep your house clean and your catâs excrement dealt with hygienically. Some of the cats may have a completely different appearance, produce eggs that can then be fertilized. If half of the litter is one color and the other half are another color, they may have different fathers. womb). According to veterinarians, how much a cat is bred can have an impact on the size of her litter. This means that your little 4-month-old kitten could give birth to kittens at only 6 months of age. If its offspring with one parent is unviable, then the offspring from the other parent won’t be affected by the same genetic issue. This can be an issue, because larger kittens will hog all the It is a common misconception that kittens are ready to be separated from their mom and littermates as soon as they are weaned and start eating on their own (between the 4th and 8th week of age). It can mate again within that 24-hour time frame, either with another tomcat or the same one. tubes (which connect the ovaries to the rest of the reproductive system) to the Female cats’ egg production is induced by mating. How can a female cat have a litter with different fathers? Despite superfecundation being real, that doesn’t mean that a kitten can have more than one father. If the kittens in your cat’s litter look like different But the cat can get pregnant the entire time she is in heat so all the kittens in that litter may be born at a slightly different age since conception. But there are several tell-tale signs which indicate that Normally, an egg will disintegrate within 24 hours or so if It doesn’t have any Superfecundation doesn’t result in any birthing issues, for example. A Bonnier Corporation Company. If your cat is a pure breed, then what you may see is that half the litter is pure breed while half are moggies. Regular littermates can be different colors, different sizes, and have different personalities. Pioneer Pet SmartCat All Natural Cat Litter Review. No. pregnant, because they stop producing eggs from their ovaries. The term for this is ‘induced ovulation’, and it makes the mating process more likely to be successful. Getting pregnant again halfway through pregnancy would interfere with the development of all the offspring. Or, it might have a triangular head and slender body like a Siamese. They begin wrestling and running races together. it isn’t fertilized. But you won’t see a regular moggie develop fur as long as a Maine Coon in one This is a feature you don’t see much variation in. study above, the percentage may vary depending on where you live. How can you tell if a litter of kittens has more than one father? There’s still room for them to look different. After all, kittens are usually very bonded to their siblings -- whether due to allogrooming and rough playing or simply a … That’s how heteropaternal superfecundation occurs. This is essentially what happens. The vet may also recommend stopping the birthing process Or if your cat is a moggie, then half will be moggie, while half will have certain characteristics of a pure breed. Cats of all kinds, purebred or not, come in many different colors and patterns. Experts say that the age of the mother cat affects her litter size. The dominant one will not be able to guard both litter boxes at the same … Discussion. The female will produce several eggs, some of which are fertilized by the partner it is currently mating with. So, the term means ‘after the first fertilization’. In some cases, these differences are slight, as they are in normal litters. Once the eggs are released, and the cat mates, some of the Even full siblings may have different colors and patterns. The first birth I witnessed was that of our calico cat, Fluffy, delivering her first litter of kittens when I was about 6 years old. These litters will develop at roughly the same pace. This can occur with more than two fathers. This can occur when the same pair mate multiple times The random mixing of traits can create cats with differing management styles, differing energy levels, and differing concepts of what is fun. itself in the uterine lining. Adopting Kittens From Different Litters Age. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Between dominant genes, modifier genes, white spotting, and different fathers, no wonder kittens in a litter can … The Golden Number of Litter Boxes for 2+ Cats. The term ‘superfecundation’ comes from Latin. Why Does My Cat Meow Loudly After Using The Litter Box. exact same. You may have already noticed them, which is what led you to this guide. kittens are only fraternal twins. functional effect on the litter once it’s born. Unlike with puppies, getting two kittens at once can actually … shared genetics as regular siblings. ‘Superfecundation’ means two or more eggs being fertilized in I am not sure, but if they are growing up together, I think it would be better than 2 different ages of cats. cat in the city is more likely to have more than one father (70-83%) because The word "kitten" derives from the Middle English word kitoun, which in turn came from the Old French chitoun or cheton. When using a litter box, a cat cannot make a retreat from a predator or…. Cats can get stuck in their ways very quickly, and just as they don’t like their food being changed, they do not like their litter to be changed. Juvenile big cats are called "cubs" rather than kittens; either term (but usually more commonly "kitten… the proportion of litters with more than one father may be as low as 0-22%. This is a period of time when the cat can ovulate, i.e. Because female cat reproductive cycles last anywhere from 5-20 days, your female cat has plenty of opportunity to seek out multiple males! problem. Kittens in the same litter can also be different ages if the Superfecundation can occur in both house cats and feral cats. If another egg is fertilized soon afterwards, it will do the Most cats, or queens (unspayed female cats), have a litter of three to five kittens, but feline litters can vary in size from one to more than 10. These features won’t be as strong as in a full Persian or Siamese cat, but they will be present. cat’s hair. The female determines fertilization, so a litter of five kittens can have five fathers. Many kittens … The female may take a lot of time birthing all the kittens, One kitten in a litter may be older than another because of this phenomenon. The most effective way to tell whether kittens have the same mother and father is genetic testing. have lots of recessive genes that change the colors and patterns in their fur. Any combination -- two... Introduction. By the third week, you can tell if the kittens are boys or girls. if they have the same father. The difference may be in weight, but could also relate to the different length of limbs, of the tail, of height, or some other aspect of size. there are far more tomcats available for mating. different father. I'm experienced in all cat health-related matters, behavioral issues, grooming techniques, and general pet care. It’s a simple rule of thumb that guarantees maximum success. Can Cats Be Pregnant with Two Different Litters? She is capable of becoming pregnant during her first period of estrus. A pair of sibling kittens from the same litter at 11 weeks old. some of the cats are significantly bigger than the others, then they may have a But if there is a clear divide with half of the cats one color, and the other half another completely different color, different fathers may be the cause. How To Tell If Your Cat Is Allergic To Litter. Howdy ho Cat Lovers, Cats can have different males contributing to a litter! They are ‘seasonally polyestrous’, which means that they come into heat. Popular Science may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site.