A female kitty can breed numerous times with different males when she’s in heat. Once the eggs are released from her ovaries, a process triggered during mating, the male’s little swimmers get trapped in the female’s reproductive tract and can fertilize the eggs, resulting in the potential for multiple donors. The female may release several eggs, which can survive for up to 24 hours, thus widening the window for multiple fertilizations from different sperm donors.
If a female cat mates with males of the same breed, it would be impossible to know for certain whether superfecundation occurred because the physical characteristics would be too difficult to distinguish from one litter mate to the other. Only a DNA test could confirm a kitten’s parentage.
The biggest telltale sign that a litter has more than one father? The brood’s characteristics, sizes and colors. They look drastically different from each other.
With that being said, however, it is possible that litter mates can look vastly different from each other and still share the same father. That’s because cats carry dominant and recessive genes, like blue eyes or short hair, which can result in a variety of kittens with different eye colors and fur lengths. So, it still might be a head scratcher if the kittens from the same litter look nothing like each other.
To allude to superfecundation, you’d need to consider the mother cat’s lifestyle. If she’s a stray with easy access to a flurry of tom cats while she’s in heat, it’s more than likely her offspring has a variety of baby daddies. It’s more common than you think.
Here are some other interesting facts related to cats and pregnancy:
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Congratulations on acquiring a new cat! To help you get started, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to new cat ownership.
Adopting a cat can be one of the best choices you ever make. Not only do you gain an entertaining companion who will (probably) be glad to see you at the end of a long day, but you'll be saving a life, too.