Each kitten can have a different father
Each kitten in a litter can have a different father but all belong to the same mother cat. This is completely natural for animals that have offspring in litters rather than just one or two offspring from each mating. When a mammal is able to conceive offspring that will all belong to one mother but come from different fathers, this is referred to as being superfecund. The word superfecund is composed of the important suffix, fecund, which means the animal is able to produce offspring.
What Is Superfecundation?
Simply put, superfecundation is the fertilization of two or more ova from the same cycle by sperm from more than one act of sexual intercourse. This essentially means that each kitten can have the same mother cat, but each kitten can have a different father.
This can sometimes be easily seen as each kitten from a litter vary vastly from each other. Each kitten can have a completely different physical build and appearance.
For instance, if a mother cat conceives the average sized litter of kittens, about five kittens, each kitten can process a different fur color, coat length, and eye color. Below can be a sample litter as a result of superfecundation.
- Long hair grey kitten with gold eyes
- Short hair seal point with blue eyes
- Short hair orange kitten with green eyes
- Long hair calico with green eyes
- Short hair flame point with blue eyes
However, the only true way to determine if each kitten have different fathers is a genetic test. In some instances one male will dominate a single female and fight males away from her while some circumstances may be completely different.
How Does Each Kitten have a Different Father?
A female cat can only ovulate when a male cat mates with her. Male cats have tiny backwards pointed spines on their penis that activates the ovulation after sex. Because of the backwards pointed spines, female cats will scream in pain when the male pulls out of the female. Following a successful mating, the female cat will then proceed to roll around which is a behavior intended to make the sperm reach its destination.
Because ovulation takes some time after each mating, it is within the realm of possibility for a female to mate many times before she is done with her heat cycle. It is not unusual for a female to mate up to 10 times in one or two days with one or multiple cats. As a side note, each puppy from a dog’s litter can also have just one mother and different fathers for each puppy.