Breeding Timing in Cats

By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 12, 2009

Breeding Timing to Maximize Fertility in Cats

Breeding timing refers to a technique that may be utilized to ensure conception in cats by the purposeful timing of insemination during the estrus (heat) period. A fertile female cat is referred to as a queen.

Symptoms and Types

In order to maximize the odds of conception with properly timed breeding, it is best to pin-point, as close as possible, the day of ovulation for the queen. Symptoms of estrus in the queen are evident by her rubbing against objects, being vocal (much more than usual), and an interest shown by the male cat. However, timing of breeding is less critical with cats and ultimately depends on the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) released, which is triggered via stimulation of the queen’s vagina and cervix.


Breeding timing and related fertility-maximizing techniques may be utilized for a number of reasons. This may be deemed necessary if there is an apparent failure to achieve conception in the queen.


For cats, the most reliable method of determining the ovulation cycle is by progesterone testing.


In order to maximize odds of conception in cats, the number of matings should be increased by breeding on successive days. The timing is not as important for cats (as opposed to dogs), as simple stimulation of the vagina and cervix increases the amount of LH released. Breeding four times a day at least two to three hours apart on the second and third days of estrus will maximize LH release and improve the odds of conception. Progesterone testing can verify the queen’s ovulation.

Living and Management

After initial fertility-maximizing measures have been taken, a follow up pregnancy examination can be performed to determine the success of the procedure. This can be done by measuring the progesterone levels in your cat. The gestation period for cats lasts from 63 to 66 days.


Age related factors may make conception more difficult for older animals.

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