Cheetahs form no pair bonds and mate freely with members of the opposite sex during any time of the year. The males associate with the females for mating only, and provide no parental care. Cheetahs mate an average of three to five times per day, often with different individuals.

Female cheetahs reach sexual maturity at an age of 21 or 22 months. Females are induced to ovulate by the mating itself, and have no set ovulation schedule. They average 2.4 years old when they produce their first litters. Their gestation period is between 90 and 95 days. The average litter size is about 2.6 cubs.

Cheetah cubs are born blind and helpless. They do not open their eyes until between four and 11 days after birth, and do not walk until 12 or 13 days after birth. Cubs are weaned between three and six months old, but remain with their mothers until they reach between 15 and 17 months old. The cubs are born with a thick gray mane on their heads, shoulders and backs, but this is shed as they mature, disappearing within three months of birth. Raising cubs is a significant burden on the females, as they must kill prey at least twice as often as males or females without cubs.