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NancyH
NancyH, Cat Health, Behavior, Care Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience:  30+ years cat owner, rescue, breeding, study of behavior & health care
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cats: litter, 3. the average number of females in a litter, 4

Customer Question

What would be the total number of offspring produced by a pair(male & female) of fernal cats in five years?

Please list your assumptions for the following:
1. age at first reproduction for a young male and female
2. the average number in a litter,
3. the average number of females in a litter,
4. the average number of years a pair will reproduce
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  NancyH replied 9 years ago.
Produced or actual surviving?
What state would you be asking this for?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: I am interested in the number surviving.
I live in NC
Expert:  NancyH replied 9 years ago.
There are a lot of really big numbers out there claiming that a pair of feral cats could be responsible for producing 420,000 offspring.
and this site has a chart showing production over 10 years
http://www.spay.org/guilty.html
figuring 2 kittens per litter and a 10 year breeding life.
But feral cats don't usually really live 10 years, few feral kittens survive unless there is a lot of food and safe housing and territory resources available. Here in the northern US feral cats have lots shorter lives than in a warmer climate. Cars as well as weather account for feral cat death plus we have predators where I live that are happy to add cat to their diet.
If they are being fed they last longer than if they are relying on local resources.
Some consolidated info here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_cat_colony
But as uncontrolled breeding goes on in many areas and we are not hip deep in cats I'd say the projection numbers are way higher than the reality.
In general there will only be as many cats as the available food and resource supply will allow the same as with any other population.
Lets say you have an area that can support 60 feral cats. They live and reproduce on their own. When you come back to the area there will likely still be 60 feral cats but not the same ones as only the strongest, smartest, healthiest will have survived to continue breeding.
If someone comes in and feeds them the population may go up.
If someone traps alters and releases them then the altered cats have a better chance of surviving than those cats that waste resources on breeding. So you can set up a stable feral population using trap neuter and release. Newcomers will be pushed out by those already using the resources.
If the population goes up a disease is apt to go through the colony dropping the population again or fewer kittens will survive as there won't be enough food for them and stronger cats may kill them.
Say its two kittens per litter one male and one female - then check that chart I listed if you want the theory rather than the reality.
Hope this helps you!
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I do not find your answer satisfactory. You have stated a number of generalizations affecting the cat population which is general information to anyone. Your assumption of two kittens per litter is rather remote. Nor did you list the age at which a young pair would produce their first offspring. And no survial rate is given -- which you must know or assume in order to compute your answer. Nor did you list "the chart" you referred to.

I find your response unacceptable and therefore
request a refund of my $15.00 deposit.
Expert:  NancyH replied 9 years ago.
This site I gave you above has the chart on it
http://www.spay.org/guilty.html
you simply have to click on the link and read the page. It goes through the calculations you asked for you just have to scroll down to see the chart.
Cats hit puberty between 5-8 months of age and can produce kittens in their first year.
Cats normally have about 4-8 kittens in a litter survival rate is considered as two.
But overall that website is all just a fantasy calculation as no more cats can survive than there are resources for, as they need food in the form of prey, or food from human waste leftovers, or from people feeding them.
If there are resources for 60 cats in a given area then if the populaton goes over that cats starve until its back within limits or a disease will go through the weakened animals and drop the numbers way back to build up again. Its no different than with the wild animals such as skunks and raccoons which go through ups and downs in populations.
If the population is under the resources available then more can survive until the resources are tapped out, if its over then no kittens at all may survive.
If you want a guess using unlimited resources and no deaths then the number I gave you or the chart on the website I gave you would be reasonable guesses.
In my area very few feral cats survive at all. Coyote, fox, fisher, lynx, bobcat all contribute to the death as predators of cats and several diseases including rabies eliminates the feral population.
Given NC milder climate there is probably more food resources and more shelter resources allowing for a higher survival rate than near me.
If you want a refund you need to [email protected] as customer service handles that.