How Many Kittens Usually Survive in a Litter?

Generally, most litters consist of between 6 and 10 kittens.

Since many of the world’s most beloved cats come from this litter type, it’s common to see pictures of them withMatured cats often befriend their new housemates.

Most of the kittens in this litter will stay active and adventurous, so there’s almost always someone to take care of them.

So, how many kittens usually survive in a litter? Kittens are adorable, but they’re also delicate and fragile.

They need to be handled with great care because they can easily be injured or sick from rough treatment. That’s why it’s very important to handle the kittens in a litter with caution and care.

Otherwise, they might not make it to adulthood!

How Many Kittens Usually Survive in a Litter?

Kittens’ survival is mostly determined by their mother’s ability to care for them.

The pre-weaning mortality rate of kittens is unfortunately quite high, with a lot of kittens dying in the first few hours after birth.

That implies that one to three kittens will most probably die within 24 hours of being born, while five to ten more will die within the first week.

During their fourth week, around half of the kittens will have died.

As a result, a kitten’s survival rate during the first week is up to 80 percent, which is quite high compared to other animal species.

If a kitten is already frail or has an illness, the mortality rate will likely be even higher.

While it may be upsetting, a kitten’s survival rate during the first week can actually be a good thing.

It’s a normal part and a crucial part of development that sadly can’t be prevented.

How Many Kittens Are Usually in First Litter?

Although kitten death is inevitable, cats can procreate several times per year.

Unlike humans, felines have up to four heat cycles per year and can mate with as many partners as they please and get pregnant in each heat cycle.

In most cases, an average cat will have two to three litters over a span of four years.

Furthermore, they may even get pregnant four times in a year.

The most kittens ever conceived in one litter was 24 kittens.

Many cats may have up to seven or eight litters over a period of 10 years or more and give birth to between 12 and 22 kittens per litter.

A cat’s first litter normally happens when they are around six months old.

The following ones may follow after 12 months, sometimes more.

As cats become older, they are more likely to experience health problems or develop other conditions that can affect their fertility and reduce the number of kittens they can have.

Despite the large number, most kitten litters are much smaller.

What to Do With a Dead Kitten After Birth

It is natural for a kitten to die shortly after birth.

This includes any babies that have died during labor or after birth, whether due to congenital causes or maternal neglect.

As frightening as it may appear, you must deal with a dead kitten in the same manner as you would a newborn kitten that survived birth.

When the mother realizes, after several hours have passed, that the baby has died, she’ll usually become frantic and begin to position herself over the dead kitten and cry inconsolably.

If you want the deceased kitten buried or placed into an urn, you should first ask your veterinarian whether or not the mother will be able to nurse another litter of kittens in the future.

Why Would a Whole Litter of Kittens Die?

Nonetheless, some kittens will pass away shortly after birth without explanation.

With an average of two to five kittens born for each litter of cats or kittens, that translates to a cat losing between one and ten of her babies during birth.

It’s worse terrible when this happens to an entire litter, and the most likely culprit is infection.

Although this is an uncommon occurrence, it can happen if one or more kittens develop an infection and spread to the mother’s uterus.

This does not imply that the mother herself is infected; it’s more that the virus or bacteria is invading the fetuses and killing them before birth.

Although some kittens may be born dead, others may survive briefly and linger while they die.

Others may get deformities or infections and die shortly after birth.

Remember that the childbirth procedure isn’t an easy one for cats and they seldom live through it unscathed, and many kittens will die shortly after birth either from the pain or complications.

It also encompasses the time preceding the childbirth; if a mother is stressed or depressed, this is detrimental to the kittens’ health as well.

Mother cats, on the other hand, have experience and are strong enough to endure the procedure and survive through the painful labor.

Cats, you see, have a much shorter gestation period than humans and they give birth to kittens that are fully developed and able to live by themselves.

They may be overprotective, though, and neglect their kittens that die shortly after birth.

Also Read: Do Maine Coon Cats Use a Litter Box?


Kittens need a lot of care and attention from their parents to survive and thrive.

The kittens in a litter need to be handled carefully and cared for by their parents, otherwise they might not make it to adulthood!

It’s only natural for a healthy kitten to die shortly after birth (sometimes before birth) but death can also be caused by infections.

Fortunately for kittens, they still have a pretty good survival rate of between 80 and 90 percent during their first few weeks of life.

This means that about two or three kittens per litter will usually die during that time period, but it’s no reason to be alarmed.