All hail the queen! The gestating or lactating mother needs more energy. 20-30% more during last 2-3 weeks gestation Up to 100% more during peak lactation Look for this label: "Complete and balanced nutrition for all stages of a cat's life or for reproduction." Contains extra vitamins and minerals Kittens need special care Provide 2-3 days colostrum if queen is not available. Colostrum gives extra nutrition and temporary disease immunity. Feedings start at every 3-4 hours. Eventually feed 3 times daily until 8 months old. Wean at 6-8 weeks. Reproduction Toms - male cats Queens - female cats Puberty reached at 4-12 months Females mature earlier than males. Varies by breed Reproductive behaviors may include: Restlessness, yowling, scent marking Estrous cycle Queens are seasonally polyestrous Heat (estrus) occurs at certain times of the year. Tied to longer daylight/higher temperatures Heat lasts 3-6 days. Estrous cycle lasts 15-21 days. Induced ovulators - egg released after being bred, then heat ends Gestation is 63-67 days. Parturition … hurrah, it's kittens! Queen chooses quiet, remote spot Time between births from 15 minutes to 2 hours. Queen licks newborn kitten to stimulate activity; removes embryonic sac Litter size: averages 4-6 Kittens born helpless, with eyes closed Castration/spaying Castration = removing male testicles Spaying = removing female reproductive organs Why do it? Overpopulation Resolves problem mating behaviors Questions 1. How long is a cat's estrous cycle? 2. A male cat is called a __________ and a female cat is called a __________ . 3. Cats can learn to be vegetarians. TRUE or FALSE? 4. Kittens should receive at least two days of __________ , the queen's first milk. 5. The gestation period of cats is __________ to __________ days.