First question from me is (please don't be offended), but why are you going to breed your kitties? Are they purebreds with papers? There are millions of unwanted cats in the world already. I really think you should *not* breed your cats, but rather get them fixed by the time they reach 6 months of age. I get to watch kittens and adult cats euthanized two times a week at the shelter I work at. It is very sad to see such wonderful animals die just because there are too many. Do you honestly want to be contributing to this massive cat overpopulation?
For females I would say between 1½ and 2 years of age and for males when they're about one year old. Physically a male and a female can mate earlier but I recommend that you let the cats grow up first and then breed. That way you'll know more about what to expect from the offspring. Not all cats are suited for breeding and unfortunately males often start their breeding career very early and it's often very short. Some diseases/defects (HCM, patella luxation) don't show up in such early age.
A cat meant for breeding should also be tested for many things. First of all, bloodgroup. If a female with bloodgroup B is mated with a male with bloodgroup A gives the kittens can inherit the fathers bloodgroup and since cats with bloodgroup B usually carry high amounts of antibodies against bloodgroup A the kittens (if they inherit the fathers bloodgroup) will have to be removed from the mother the first 16 hours of their life or else they could die or at least become quite ill.
Second, you'll have to test the breeding cats for FIV and FeLV. Cats tested positive for these diseases should not be used for breeding.
Depending on the breed you might have to test against other diseases )abyssinians PRA, Persian PKD etc).
And you have to ask yourself WHY you want to breed. Ask yourself that question first of all. It's a big responsibility.
I don't want to breed constantly by no means, I just have a friend intested in breeding some of mine with hers but didn't want to breed to early if i decide to do it at all. I was looking for more information so I could make a better decision for everyone including most of all the cats. thanks.
Breeding is not something that you do on a whim. It requires tons of research, money, time and energy. Just because your friend wants your two cats to have babies, it that a good reason to bring more cats into the world? Breeding is a labour of love, and is only for people that are serious about improving the breed that they are working with. This is not a 'do it yourself' kind of job.
If your friend is interested in having kittens, why don't they see if they can become foster parents for some cats from the animal shelter? There are lots and lots of kittens that need to be fostered for a few weeks before they can go to new homes.
I just want to reiterate that breeding normal domestic cats (ie: not purebreds) is extremely irresponsible. There is no reason why you should breed more cats and I hope you think this over very seriously before deciding to go through with it.
Do you know your cats genetic history, does your friend know her cats genetic history?
If not then I suggest you dont even think about breeding these cats. You could have a weak gene which causes illnesses, still born litters, deformed kittens.
Are you prepaired for vet bills?
If anything goes wrong your cat would have to be rushed in, maybe for a C-section, which will cost upwards of £100. If you have kittens which are deformed are you preapired to keep them, pay for vets bills that would incur?
Have both cats been checked for the above illnesses? Some of these do not show any signs, and so blood work must be done.
Most importantly are you willing to risk the life of your cat, or your friends cat? What if something goes wrong during birth? Or your cat develops septasemia, which will almost definatly kill her?
Will someone be home for when she gives birth?
Read some stories on here, there are cats who have died giving birth, and one horrid story which a cat got over zealous cleaning the kittens and ended up killing it- (chewed into its stomach)
Have you really thought about the risks? mainly the cats life.
Please don't breed your cat....there are thousands killed in shelters every day....even if you can find homes for your kittens, those kittens will be taking up homes from people who could have saved a shelter life. Being euthanized in a shelter is a horrible death for a cat or kitten...check this thread out:
I got Chaos from Animal Control. He was there because his owners decided to breed their purebred siamese so they could have some more kittens. They wanted two kittens, momma cat had 3. Chaos was dumped at Animal Control at 6 weeks of age, about half the age he should have been when he left his mother. If I knew who his previous owners were i'd give them an earfull. This isn't somthing to trifle with, this is LIFE.
I understand wanting to do what you want to do and doing it no matter what anyone says, but before you decide that, take a look at the thread entitled "Why do my kittens keep dying?" Not only did all of the kittens die, the mother cat died too. To breed properly you should have at least a four generation pedigree on both cats, know that both cats and their parents have been fully tested against hcm, immune disorders etc. You should have a Vet that understands your situation and get regular checkups on the mother as well as the kittens. The mother and father should be Vet checked before they 'go at it' so to speak. The kittens will need all their shots up to 12 weeks when its safe to let them leave their mother. None of this is cheap. One Vet visit alone for me is over $70 per cat. It's more when they need shots, up to $140
As far as your original question is concerned, it's all a matter of perfect timing. See, if a female cat is bred too soon then she won't have even finished developing yet. But if you wait too long she can contract Pyometra, a uterine infection that can be deadly and effects unspayed cats. Even experienced breeders have had problems with Pyometra.
If after all that you are still going to go ahead and breed, well all I can say is good luck to your cat and the kittens.
Here is a link to that thread....when you read the first link, it sounds so fun and exciting....keep reading each of hese links, and see what happened to this cat and her kittens (not to mention what the poor owner had to go through) This happened only a few weeks go: