Can a Cat Only Have One Kitten? Yes, But It Depends on Many Factors

My cat only had one kitten; is this normal?

Yes… but it’s a complicated “yes.” It depends on a few factors—for example, is she a first-time mother? How old is your cat? At the end of the day, it’s nothing to worry about; multiple factors can influence this.

So, without further ado, let’s jump in and find out more details about this and what you should do about it when it occurs!

Can a Cat Only Have One Kitten

The average cat pregnancy lasts 63–65 days, but this is not set in stone. Some cats may carry their kittens for a longer or shorter period (58–70 days).

Did you know that a cat can have as many as 12 kittens in a litter? Generally, it’s pretty uncommon for cats to have just one kitten, but it’s nothing to be concerned about if it happens to your cat. We say this because, usually, a cat owner expects more than one litter to come out instead of one. Even though this is considered normal, many things can influence pregnancy and bless you with a singular kitty.

Several biological factors, like mutated genetics, nutrition, distress, fetus development, age, etc., can also determine the number of kittens a cat might produce.

However, to ensure there is no health issue with the cat, you must have her checked out while she is pregnant and after she has delivered. The regular ultrasound procedure and X-ray might give you an idea about the number of kitties to expect.


Why Did My Cat Only Have One Kitten

In this section, we’ll discuss the common factors that cause your cat only to have one kitten. Let’s see what you’re supposed to pay attention to if this ever happens.

1. Cat breed

The number of kittens in a litter sometimes might be different based on the breed—some breeds have up to 10, while others might only have one. For instance, the most common domestic short-haired cats have been known to give birth to up to 10 kittens at once, but Persian cats regularly deliver fewer (3–5).

2. Improper fetus development

The fetus gets formed from the cat’s embryo after it’s fertilized, but some fetuses cannot withstand the first few weeks of pregnancy. That’s why, for a successful fetus to develop, the failed fetus is absorbed by the body. Often, if this is the case, the mother will have only one kitten (or less than expected).

3. Chromosome and genetic makeup

Most of the time, a cat can only deliver one kitten, either because it’s her first pregnancy or because her body is just built that way. Usually, this normalizes in the following pregnancy, as she might give birth to up to four kittens. It may also imply that the male species’ genes were changed during conception.

Cats have 19 chromosomal pairs in terms of their genetic makeup. This contains the X and Y chromosomal pairs and the 18 autosomes. These chromosomes can affect cat cell growth and division and result in issues with fertilization during pregnancy.

4. The cat’s age and experience with giving birth

As previously stated, it is usual for first-time cat moms to have only one kitten in their litter. But every time that occurs again, nature will most likely allow the cat to give birth to a few babies eventually. Older cats will also probably only have one kitten at a time—this usually happens as a body’s way of preventing any health issues.

5. Sudden conception

If your feline friend gave birth to several kittens a month ago and now gets pregnant again, it’s most likely that the result will be only one kitten litter. Cats use 65% and 75% of their food to promote healthy embryonic development.

According to experts, a cat’s health changes drastically after conception, and if she gets pregnant again right after giving birth, her body will not be operating at its full potential.

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What Should You Do After Your Cat Has Given Birth to a Kitten

Everything might be impacted, including her daily activities and dietary habits. However, at this point, you must pay great attention to her and monitor the status of physical health. If you choose to give birth at home, you must eventually take her to a veterinarian to prevent any infections and complications.

She might reject store-bought and canned food after she gives birth. In this scenario, you can switch her to raw “human” foods like fish, meat, or milk. Experiment, watch over her, and learn her favorite foods. Additionally, be careful to nourish her adequately so she can heal from delivery and have the necessities to take care of the kitten.

Frequently Asked Question

Is it normal for a cat to have one kitten?

Yes, this is a normal occurence. It mainly occurs if the cat is giving birth for the first time, while a future higher rate of mating can signify more kittens, in general. If you’re still concerned about the cat’s health, a trip to the vet is always a good idea.

How does genetics affect kitten count in cats?

Genetics may play a role in cases of chronic disabilities in cats. A cat’s genetic makeup also determines how its physiology operates. The genetic makeup of the male species participating in the reproduction process might also play a part.

Key Takeaways

Can a cat only have one kitten? Yes, it can.

This is especially common in cats that give birth for the first time. The cat’s age, breed, and genetic makeup are also symptoms and play a vital role in the pregnancy. Whenever your cat gives birth, it’s important to keep an eye on her because she will be especially fragile. You can also take her to the vet to be sure that there aren’t any serious issues. Most importantly, we recommend that you keep her bed clean at all times and give her “human” foods if she rejects canned cat food.


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