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    Cat reproduction is important for research and commercial cat breeding operations, as well as the control of feral cat populations. This review describes studies examining reproductive performance in laboratory cats, privately-owned breeding cats, and feral cats, including sexual maturity, the estrous cycle (timing, behavior, and hormonal changes), seasonal effects, gestation length, parturition (litter size, litter weight, and parity effects), mortality, and stillbirth. Because the studies highlighted in this review vary in the location where they were conducted and the region's management practices, these factors should be considered depending on the goal of the reader when interpreting these data. Furthermore, standard practices were lacking in some earlier studies of cat reproduction, so they should be considered for historical context only and may not reflect the actual reproductive potential of cats as described in the new studies due to advancements in husbandry practices and nutrition. The objective of this manuscript is to review scientific studies examining reproductive performance in laboratory cats, privately-owned breeding cats, and feral cats. The data sources for this manuscript included original research publications and scientific reviews from the veterinary literature. All reviews or studies that augmented the knowledge of the reproduction of domestic cats in laboratories, catteries, and feral colonies were included. Most studies on laboratory cats have been conducted under the conditions of controlled light cycles, temperature, and diet. The environmental effects on reproductive behavior are subtler than those in feral cat studies, but the effects are still distinguishable. Cat breeding studies focus on genetic effects and rely heavily on surveys or questionnaires from cat breeders. However, the reliability of these data can be variable, in part because the methodology of record-keeping and other protocols are generally not reported. In addition, laboratory animal management standards, specific pathogen-free cat colonies, and nutritional requirements for cats were not fully established until the 1970s. Reproductive outcomes of earlier studies may not be a true representation of the modern cat due to more advanced, regulated husbandry practices, including improvements in nutrition, resulting in diets formulated to meet feline requirements for every life stage. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Theros T Ng, Andrea J Fascetti, Jennifer A Larsen. Reproduction of Domestic Cats in Laboratories, Catteries, and Feral Colonies: A Review. Topics in companion animal medicine. 2023 Jul-Aug;55:100780

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    PMID: 37225041

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