The life cycle of Sand Cats (Felis margarita) has the following phases:
- Gestation: 59 - 67 days
- Kitten: birth to 4 months
- Litter Size: 2 - 4 kittens (max 8)
- Sub-Adult: 4 months
- Adult: 9 - 14 months (males and females)
- Lifespan: Unknown in the wild - 14 years in captivity
The three main stages of development are kitten, sub-adult or juvenile and adult. In general, young of the smaller wild cats are called 'kittens' and young of the big cats are called 'cubs'; so Lion, Leopard and Cheetah 'cubs' but Sand Cat 'kittens'.
Sand Cat Reproduction
There have been few studies of Sand Cats in the wild and so most information is from captive cats.
Sand Cats are believed to reproduce seasonally with mating during winter and births during spring (Northern Hemisphere).
Gestation (pregnancy) is around two months and on average two to four kittens are born per litter.
Sand Cat kittens become independent from four months.
Sand Cat Adults
Male and female Sand Cat sub-adults reach breeding maturity between nine and fourteen months.
Mortality in the wild is suspected to be mostly by raptors as there are few other mammal predators in their desert habitat. Starvation can occur during extended winters in the central Asian desert when prey numbers remain low.
The lifespan of Sand Cats in the wild is not known, but cats in captivity have survived up to fourteen years.