The Life of a cat
Most healthy cats live for 12 to 15 years. But many reached 18 or 19 years of age, and some have lived as long as 30 years.
Reproduction (mate and Newborn)
A female cat can begin mating when it is between 7 and 10 months old. Male cat can begin mating at any time. Female mate only during a period of sexual excitement called oestrus or heat. Oesterus occurs several times a year and usually lasts from 3 to 15 days. If a female is prevented from mating while she on heat, she will probably cme into heat again very soon. In most cases, this cycle recurs until she becomes pregnant.
The pregnancy period among cats lasts about nine weeks. When a female is ready to give birth, she selects a quiet, safe spots as a nest. On average, a queen bears from 3 to 5 kittens at a time. However, litters of more than 10 kittens have been reported. The mother can deliver the kittens herself with no human assistance, unless complications develop.
Most newborn kittens weigh about 100 grams. The mother licks the kittens and so dries them and stimulates their breathing and other body functions. Like other mammals, cats feed their young on milk produced by the mother’s body. Newborn kittens cannot see or hear because their eyes and ears are sealed. They depend completely on their mother to nurse, clean and protect them. The father cat plays no role in caring for the kittens.
Growth and development (Kitten)
Healthy kittens show a steady, daily weight gain. Their eyes open from 10 to 14 days after birth. Soon afterward, their ears open and the first teeth begin to appear. Kittens start to walk and explore their environment at about at about 3 weeks of age. But the mother watches over them and retrieves kittens that stray too far from the nest
By about 4 weeks of age, kittens have their full set of temporary teeth. Some may then start to eat solids, but 5 to 6 weeks is more usual. Weaning may then begin
When kittens are about 4 weeks old, owners should begin to handle them frequently and play with them gently. Kittens that receive such attention tend to become good pets. They learn faster and have fewer behavior problems than kittens that are ignored or overprotected. A kitten that has contact with a variety of people will be less fearful of strangers and new situations as an adult. Kittens can even learn not to fear dogs if they are allowed to play with a friendly dog.
By about 6 weeks of age, kittens have a fully developed brain and nervous system and can be safely separated from their mother for short periods. However, if possible, kittens should remain with their mother and their littermates until they are 9 or 10 weeks of age.
Kittens develop important physical skills by playing with one another. They also learn to get along with other cats in this way. In addition, kittens learn many skills, especially hunting skills, b y watching and imitating their mother. The majority of cats reach their adult body size about 1 year of age.