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  #1  
Old 26 August 2007, 07:30 PM
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Hello Kitty How Many Kittens in Seven Years?

http://www.pressconnects.com/apps/pb...08260328/1005/

Quote:
The Internet is home to an urban legend that one female cat and her offspring can generate some 400,000 cats in seven years. The University of Washington’s Math Department, working with data from a study of feral cats in North Carolina, set that legend to rest with this projection:

“Here are the assumptions used for the population projection: One female cat gives birth to six kittens per year. Kitten gender is 50 percent female, and only 25 percent of kittens survive to reproductive age. All surviving female kittens become adults and reproduce with the same birth and kitten mortality rates. If no adult cats ever die, how many cats/kittens would there be at the end of seven years? One female cat and her offspring could produce between 100 and 400 cats by the end of seven years.”
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  #2  
Old 26 August 2007, 09:30 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
 
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But I presume the original assumptions were far more optimistic; probably larger litters, almost certainly more litters per year, 100% survival ansd even possibly all offspring being female.
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  #3  
Old 26 August 2007, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
The Internet is home to an urban legend that one female cat and her offspring can generate some 400,000 cats in seven years.

The defining word here is can. They can generate bla, bla, bla. Like Mycroft said, that's taking in to account that, although in the wild not all kittens live to adulthood, they CAN. And although most litters of kittens are about 5 or 6, they CAN be 10 or more. And so on and so forth. I'd like to see those numbers, just out of curiosity.
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  #4  
Old 27 August 2007, 12:18 AM
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Well, the urban legend assumes that no kittens (or adult cats) die of starvation, disease, predation, accident, etc. before they reach adulthood, which is patently untrue in real life. This also assume that no stillbirths or miscarriages occur, which is also unture. (Yes, Virginia, natural selection takes place even in urban areas.)

Also, since adult cats can die as well and since mortality and reproductive rates vary from generation to generation due to environmental considerations, the real number of surviving offspring after 7 years would probably be somewhat less than the 100-400 quoted in the university study.

- Pseudo "cats are not rabbits" Croat
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  #5  
Old 27 August 2007, 12:31 AM
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That internet urban legend is exactly what they told us when we took the 1/2 day orientation class for volunteers at the humane society.
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  #6  
Old 27 August 2007, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
That internet urban legend is exactly what they told us when we took the 1/2 day orientation class for volunteers at the humane society.
And it's one of the "factoids" that scrolls across the screen at my vet's office. I really need to get them to change it.
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  #7  
Old 27 August 2007, 01:01 AM
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Whalephant

I see, from some quick searching, that a cat reaches sexual maturity in one year. How many litters can a cat bear in a year? There seems to be only one "mating season" for a cat per year, but the gestation period is only 70 days, give or take a few days, so, in absolute abstract theory, under artificial fertilization, the cat could bear five litters per year. We can also presume that the sperm cells chosen are all for female kittens. The only variable left is the size of the litter.

I have constructed a spreadsheet in which the columns represent kittens and cats at six stages of age: newborn, kittens, older kittens, older kittens yet, pre-adolescents, and adults. Each age represents 1/5 of a year; thus, a pre-adolescent cat is 4/5 of a year old. At 5/5 of a year, a cat is an adult, and gives birth to a litter of newborns at each 1/5 of a year henceforth.

With a litter size of 10, this adds up to 159,522,701 at the end of seven years.

Using a model of only one litter per year, with a litter size of 10, one produces only 21,571 cats (5061 adults and 16510 kittens) at the end of seven years.

In the former model (five litters per year) the target of 400,000 is reached if the litter size is 3. In the latter model (one litter per year) 400,000 is reached only if the litter size is 23.

It seems to me that the really key number -- and the regarding which I can find the least information on the internet! -- is how many litters a mama cat can be delivered of in a year.

Silas (full spreadsheet available to anyone who wants it)
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  #8  
Old 27 August 2007, 06:45 AM
Lady Neeva
 
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Cats can go into heat (and become pregnant) as young as 6 months. They can, in theory, have as many as 6 litters in a year. In actual practice, I'd guess it's closer to four per year roughly.

But you really need to take into account that in urban environments in the United States, the average lifespan of a feral cat is around 2-3 years. By feral cat, I mean one who does NOT have an owner, does not receive any veterinary care, and only eats what he/she can catch, garbage, and the occasional bowl of food left out by good Samaritans.
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  #9  
Old 27 August 2007, 06:47 AM
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Ooh! I know the answer to this one! Only one is going to Saint Ives.
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  #10  
Old 27 August 2007, 03:00 PM
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In the immortal words of Bob Barker "please have your pet spayed or neutered".
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  #11  
Old 27 August 2007, 03:09 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Ooh! I know the answer to this one! Only one is going to Saint Ives.
Heh. Slight hijack:



I have a post-apocolyptic short story that's been lodged in my brain for a couple of years based on that little rhyme. It's always creeped me out.

Why on earth would you have seven wives carrying that many cats and kittens in sacks?



I have an answer. I just need to write it down.
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  #12  
Old 28 August 2007, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
Why on earth would you have seven wives carrying that many cats and kittens in sacks?
Well, to be fair, he only had one female when he started the journey. (Also, the poem doesn't say they're his wives. Just that he was "with" them. And their sacks. And cats. And kits.)
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  #13  
Old 30 August 2007, 02:21 PM
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I was under the impression that cats generally have about 2 litters a year (they call it kitten season) and have between 2 - 5 kittens a litter. Personal experience seems to bear this out.
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Old 30 August 2007, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobs View Post
I was under the impression that cats generally have about 2 litters a year (they call it kitten season) and have between 2 - 5 kittens a litter. Personal experience seems to bear this out.
It is possible for them to have more than 2 litters a year. Our two younger cats were born in March and August of 2006 to the same queen.

After MamaCat weaned the March litter, the woman caring for her took her to be spayed and found out she was already pregnant again with the August litter. If she hadn't been spayed after the August litter, she could have had at least one more litter that year.
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  #15  
Old 04 September 2007, 11:08 AM
bobs
 
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http://www.rescueguide.com/kitseas.html kitten season. It has just struck me that although my queen had two litters in the year, in other (warmer countries) it's probably more. I didn't know it was a climate based season. I'm in the north of the UK, and it doesn't warm up until about March/April.
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  #16  
Old 04 September 2007, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
And it's one of the "factoids" that scrolls across the screen at my vet's office. I really need to get them to change it.

I've also seen this in the County Animal Shelter's monthly publication Animail.
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  #17  
Old 05 September 2007, 07:07 PM
Lady Neeva
 
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Presumably (and yes, I know this isn't always the case) a responsible breeder tries to avoid breeding any given queen too often. Obviously "kitten mill" situations are an exception, and feral cats have probably four times as many litters in a year as a purebred from a responsible breeder/owner.

Also, good breeders tend to take the Momma cat in for at least one (but probably more) prenatal vet checks, puts them on kitten food or a higher quality food, possibly there are vitamin supplements involved, etc.

Then once the kittens are born, the kittens probably go in for a "well kitten" checkup either when they're a couple/few days old, or when they're around 4 weeks. Then there are the shots... IIRC the shot schedule for kittens is 6, 12, and 18 weeks with boosters at 1 year and depending on the vet either every year or every third year thereafter. Good breeders usually do the first two kitten shots.

And feeding the little buggers... I swear, until about 5 weeks all kittens are is food processing plants. Food goes in one end, comes out the other, and it's on a more or less continuous basis.

Incidentally, thats also the answer for "Why is this kitten $200, and I can get a mixed breed cat from the guy down the street for free?!" heh. And yeah, I know from the fish you were being sarcastic, but I figured just in case anyone doesn't know the financial outlay for a good breeder even if everything goes perfectly I'd put out the best case scenario. And if everything doesn't go perfectly... you can easily spend over a grand on one litter, and come out of it with nothing to show but a spayed queen... if that. If things go really bad, you don't even have the original female.

Which as an aside is why I seethe every time someone trots out the oh so classic "we wanted the children to witness the miracle of birth!" speech. I get so mad at that... because again, even if everything goes perfectly, are you then going to show them the "miracle" of the kill room at the local shelter after you dump the kittens off because you couldn't find homes for them?
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  #18  
Old 06 September 2007, 12:27 AM
Ezri
 
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Speaking of kittens, are there any snopsters in Ohio or willing to travel here, willing to take a 5 month old cat? She's very sweet, and I just can't afford to have her at the moment, I rescued her five months ago when she was just a baby. She'll eat anything (including french fries) and....who am I kidding no one wants to take a cat from me. *Sigh*
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  #19  
Old 16 September 2007, 09:15 PM
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When I moved to my new house I sent about 20 kittens to the SPCA from one mother cat in a year. The last litter I sent the mother with them. Cat's can get pregnant more than 2 times per year. About every 3 months thy go into heat. One cat I found gave birth to 2 cats and before I could get her fixed 3 months later she was pregnant again. When I brough her into get fixed I was told she was pregnant.

They can give birth up to 4 times a year. There is no such thing as mating season. I've had cats since I was 4 and they have given birth 2-7 kittens per litter. It's possible for each kitten from the same litter to have a different father. They can get pregnant again right after giving birth.

http://www.cat-pregnancy-report.com/...-pregnant.html

A male cat can father as many as 2500 kittens in a single year.

From the http://www.secondchanceforanimals.or..._or_neuter.htm says
An unspayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing two litters per year, with 2.8 surviving kittens per litter can total:
An unspayed female dog, her mate and all of their puppies, if none are every neutered or spayed, can add up to:

One Year: 12
Two Years: 67
Three Years: 376
Four Years: 2,107
Five Years: 11,801
Six Years: 66,088
Seven Years: 370,092
Eight Years: 2,072,514
Nine Years: 11,606,077

www.bestfriends.org takes in all animals. They are in Angel Canyon in Utah. It's the largest sanctuary in the United States for homelss animals.
They have over 1500 animals per day there. All kinds of animals.
http://www.bestfriends.org/atthesanctuary/

Last edited by 4Squeaky; 16 September 2007 at 09:42 PM.
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  #20  
Old 17 September 2007, 01:14 AM
ovalescent ovalescent is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Neeva View Post
Which as an aside is why I seethe every time someone trots out the oh so classic "we wanted the children to witness the miracle of birth!" speech. I get so mad at that... because again, even if everything goes perfectly, are you then going to show them the "miracle" of the kill room at the local shelter after you dump the kittens off because you couldn't find homes for them?
This happens a lot, but what REALLY sucks is when they DO find homes for them. Then you have more unvaccinated, unfixed cats running around, while the ones at the shelter are overlooked since there's so many free ones available around town. The vets at my job do the euthanasias for the Humane Society, and we kill plenty of litters of newborn kittens every year because people dump them, sans mother, and nobody has the time or money to bottle-feed kittens that are likely to die anyway.

I say leave the urban legend alone, let people believe it. There's little enough hyperbole to it that I think it does more good than harm. People need something simple to help get the overpopulation problem drilled into their heads.
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