How many kittens can one female cat produce?
There are a variety of memes, common knowledge estimates, and even educated guesses about how many cats can one unaltered female produce. These estimates can range from a few hundred all the way up to 420,000!!! The calculator below will enable you to calculate a population estimates that just one pair of unaltered cats can produce. You can change the outcome of the predictions based on certain variables. Things like average lifespan, percentage of female kittens, the percentage of kittens that survive to reproduce, how many litters per year, how many kittens per litter and even the percentage of fertile females can all be changed.
There are several estimates and averages regarding feral cat reproduction online. Studies on free-roaming cat’s reproductive capacity are actually very, very limited. In fact, the estimate that 75% of kittens born outside die is actually a result of one study of just three colonies in North Carolina! That study used all kittens found deceased or those that just disappeared up until they were 6 months old to determine that number. The estimate that female cats produce an average of 1.4 litters each year was from that very same study. That study also came up with an average litter size of 3. To be honest, we don’t know how many kittens die before sexual maturity in ‘the wild’. We don’t know how many litters are average or how many kittens per litter is born. One study of only 3 colonies, which was also part of a larger study on Trap-Neuter-Return as the other seven colonies were sterilized, is not enough information. Cats have more litters in warmer climates. If you live in the Southern United States, chances are those female cats ARE having 3 litters a year. If you live in Alaska, they may only have one litter a year. Cats can have anywhere between 1 kitten up to 9 kittens, though the average is 4. According to the ASPCA, feral cats on their own live an average of 2 years. If they’re lucky enough to have a caretaker, this number is MUCH higher as they can live to be 10 years old. I have cats in my colony who are 8 and 12 years old. The calculator below will enable you to calculate population estimates that just one pair of unaltered cats can produce. So play with the numbers!
The Population Size table of below will be updated automatically whenever you change an assumption or when you click the Update button below.
The population is calculated as follows:
The cat population calculator is courtesy of The Cat House On The Kings, a no-cage, no-kill feral cat sanctuary and kitty rescue in California.