quick reference facts about cats

Kitten Health Facts

Learn how to tell a kitten's gender, their breeding age, lifespan, normal temperature, wet and dry noses and other vital signs in the Q&A section.

Cat Breeding Age

Dear Simba,
I have a purebred cat and was wondering when she should get pregnant for the first time. I would like to give one of her kittens to my mother.

Dear Marcus,
It is usually best to wait until your cat is physically mature before you breed her. While she may experience her first heat as soon as 4-6 months of age, she will not be in best shape to give birth safely until 12-14 months. Consider adopting a kitten for your mom, there are so many little bundles of joy out there just waiting for a home. Simba

Depressed Older Cat

Our senior has become a bit lethargic since the our kitten arrived. She is no doubt depressed. What do I do? - Blue in Boston

Dear Blue in Boston,
While having a new kitten is a lot of fun, make it a point to let your older cat know she is still loved and cared for. Play with her. She probably feels a bit alone being that she is no longer the center of attention. Simba

Misbehaving Cat Jumps on Counter

Dear Simba,
kitten is 2-months-old and i cannot keep her off the kitchen counters. I have tried the spray bottle and that does not work she seems to "like" the water. What can i do?

When she jumps on the counter, remove her from the counter while firmly and audibly saying the word "no". Be consistent and firm in your use of this word. Do not pet her or in any way encourage her behavior while she is on the counter. Be affectionate only when she is not on the counter and do not pet her immediately following her removal (wait a few minutes). You can also try PetSafe Ssscat Cat Spray Control System. Check out the letters in Misbehaving Kitties for more training tips! Simba

Cat Drool

I have noticed that my cat drools. Why is that? K.K

Dear K.K,
Drooling is caused by a variety of things. Gum/teeth problems are amongst the most common of causes. Nausea caused by kidney or intestinal problems can also cause excessive salivation, as can nervousness/stress and reactions to medicine. Your best bet is to have your vet rule out the bad stuff. Keep me posted. Simba

What is Your Kitten's Gender

I have five, 3-week-old kittens; how can I determine their genders at this so young of age. I am trying to find good homes for them and some people want male and others want females. - Confused

Dear Confused,
The female kitten's reproductive organs are very close to the rectum while the male's testes are between the rectum and the male organ, such that the male's organ is much further away from the rectum than the female's. - Simba

Can Kittens Drink 1 Percent Milk?

Can kittens and cats have 1% milk. Does it do a kitten good? - Milk Fan

Dear Milk Fan,
Be aware that most adult cats and some kittens are lactose intolerant, thus their drinking milk may result in loose stools. Cream may make a better choice than milk. It contains less lactose and cats can handle butter fat without problem. Simba

Laser Pointers

Our kitten loves to follow the moving red dot from the laser pointer. Are these safe around cats?

You are right in being concerned. While many folks are unaware, these laser pointers can be dangerous to your cat. Try using a flashlight instead, cats love these in the dark or dim light. Many stores have ones that carry red, blue, green lenses. This way, you can have your colored fun without the laser danger. Simba

Cat Life Span

Hi Simba,
What is the life span for cats? I have two that are brother and sister and they are going on 12 years our age. I do not know what that is in Cat years. Floie

Dear Floie,
The average life span of an indoor cat ranges from 14-20 human years. Using a cat Aging Table, your cats are the equivalent of 64 human years-old. Simba

Cat Memory

hi simba. i wonder how good is kittens memory i have 15-week-old Siamese. YK

Dear YK,
Kittens are notorious for their short memories! Because of that it is often necessary to correct kitties for the same things over and over again. Kittens learn only when certain behavior is rewarded or punished on a consistent basis. At 15 weeks yours is still a very young cat. He knows who you are and sees you as his primary care taker. Just the same he will be a rambunctious little kitten full of life and mischief. Simba

Kitten Noses

Are kittens suppose to have a cold wet nose or a dry warm nose? And does one or the other mean that the kitten could be sick? - Wondering

Dear Wondering
A cold, wet nose is just one sign of good health and is by no means a complete indicator. Even a healthy kitten can have a warm, dry nose occasionally. The thing to note is that regardless of the nose, you need to watch out for symptoms and should visit your vet if you think your kitten may be sick. Simba

Normal Respiration Rate for Kittens

What is the normal respiration rate for a 10-week-old kitten?

A cat breathes an average of 20-30 times per minute. This will vary by the amount of exercise it has just had and its emotional state, amongst other factors. Because cats can be quiet breathers, monitor your kitten’s breathing by placing your hand on your kitten’s chest. Simba

Can Kittens Sleep With Lights On?

I have 2 new 18-week-old kittens. They are outdoor cats so they sleep on my porch. I have a light on the porch. Should they sleep with the light on or off? Kittyz

Dear Kittyz,
The light does not matter. Cats can sleep upwards of 14-18 hours per day. Your kittens will sleep with or without it and without problem. Your Pal, Simba

Cat Body Temperature

What is a cat's normal temperature? - JB

Dear JB,
Cats have a normal temperature of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit. If you believe that your cat or kitten is suffering a fever or has too low a body temperature go to your vet or local animal hospital right away! - Your Pal, Simba

Kitten with Loose Tooth

Dear Simba,
My name is Kanga, I am a 5-month-old gray tabby. I have a loose tooth and I was wondering if I should tell my mommy, 'cause I do not want her to be concerned if it is not a problem. :-)Thanks, - Kanga, the Kitten

Dear Kanga,
Kittens usually lose their baby teeth when they are 6-months-old. The loose tooth is perfectly normal. I would nonetheless encourage you to have mommy to take you to regular dental checkups. Remind her also to brush your teeth when they grow in. - Your Pal, Simba

I had my kitty spayed a week ago and she now has a hard knot about the diameter of a dime where the incision was made. Is this normal? - DecoGirl

Dear Deco Girl,
The Kitten's wound should be clean with the edges together with the skin be normal with a slightly pink or red hue (this may appear like a bruise on pale cats). Call your vet. Talking to him or her is the only way to get peace of mind. - Your Pal, Simba

Healthy Vital Signs

What are a healthy cat's vital signs (pulse, respiration, and temperature)? C

Hi C,
Here are the facts. Normal temperature is 99'F-102'F, a normal pulse is 160-240 beats per minute (avg of 195). Normal respiration is 20-30 per minute. Simba

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