Is your female cat acting a little lethargic lately? Maybe she’s gaining weight? Well congratulations might be in order if you suspect your girl is pregnant! But how do we tell if a cat is pregnant or how can we be sure? It’s hard enough to care for your cat normally, but how do you care for a pregnant one? We’ve done our research here to help you.
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How To Tell That A Cat Is Pregnant
If you’ve never dealt with a pregnant cat before, you might not know what to look for beyond a general idea. That’s why we’ve composed a helpful list of things to keep an eye on. As always, if you start seeing these signs during the pregnancy of your cat, go to your vet to be sure.
Is She Spayed?
Before your cat even gets pregnant, you need to be vigilant of her behavior. After all, the best way to figure out if she is pregnant later is to recognize the early signs of fertility.
What should you look out for if your cat isn’t even pregnant yet? It sure feels kind of early, but you’ll thank us later. First off, figure out if your cat is fertile. Have you spayed her? If you haven’t, she’ll go into a heat, usually during the summer months when the weather gets warmer. This is a mating process, which generally involves increased affection, restlessness, low calls, and increased appetite every 10 or so days. Your cat can even get pregnant as early as four months old! Anywhere from four to twelve months is most common.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Behaviors That She Is Pregnant:
After experiencing a heat, your cat could definitely have gotten pregnant, especially if you let her around outside during this time. So what are some behaviors you could look for? One of the earliest signs is swollen pink nipples after about 15 days. Believe it or not, there’s a name for this: it’s called “Pinking.”
Other than that, you might notice her:
- sleeping more
- eating more
- becoming increasingly affectionate towards people
- making low meowing calls more often
- gaining weight
- having a low hanging belly
- vomiting – while this is normal, go to the vet if it’s excessive.
Symptoms During Pregnancy
- Look out for enlarged and swollen nipples. This usually happens about 3 weeks from mating. Your cat’s nipples will take on a pinkish or reddish tinge and will very likely become swollen. You might notice her breasts increase in size or even excrete a fluid that resembles milk. Do bear in mind though that swollen nipples can also mean a cat is in heat so there might be a chance here that your cat isn’t pregnant.
- The burro – Observe your cat from its side, specifically its abdomen. Is her abdomen swollen, round and protruding? This is usually known as the burro shape. If you’re wondering if you might have confused this with your cat being overweight, the difference is that obesity usually means weight is gained in more areas than just the abdomen area.
- The urge to nest – Much like human mommies, pregnant cats do exhibit similar nesting urges usually in the days leading up to labor. This nesting behavior can come in the form of hiding away in a quiet, secluded place where she can enjoy some peace and privacy and playing with blankets (this is actually to prepare a place for birth).
How Long Are Cats Pregnant For?
9 is the magic number here. Gestation is typically 9 weeks. Usually it’s about 60 to 67 days, or around two months. Nine weeks for cats is generally the rule. The fourth week is usually when your cat will start gaining weight.
Read: The Dangers of Cat Urine For Your Family
Confirming With Your Vet
Ultimately, the best way to determine if your cat is pregnant is to take her to the vet. From 22 days onward, your vet can confirm it. Your vet can feel the abdomen and give her an ultrasound to give you a definitive answer, and give you proper advice on how to care for her. You can even get x-rays at 45 days if you’d like!
How To Care For My Pregnant Cat
If you’ve confirmed that your cat is pregnant, you might find yourself increasingly concerned that you are unprepared or inexperienced to help your cat deal with this. The entire process of the mother cat getting ready to have kittens is called “queening” so when in doubt, treat her like a queen!
First off, don’t give your cat any vaccinations or deworming or flea medications while pregnant; it might be dangerous. If she’s supposed to have some kind of vaccination, check with your vet first before you have anything done just in case.
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, start increasing the amount of calories your cat ingests to handle the larger kittens growing. She’ll need around 1.5 times of what she normally consumes, and you might even want to think about adding some kitten food to this for the nutrients.
Also, keep your cat inside so she doesn’t find a place to give birth outside. She might try to prepare her own nesting place inside, but you can help her out too. Give her a warm, dry, and quiet place and set down a few blankets with her food, water, and little box nearby. This might not always work, since she’ll end up where she feels most comfortable, but hey, you can try.
Signs That Labor Is Impending
Her nipples might swell up even more and she might start producing milk. 24 hours before the birth, your queen will usually not eat much and her temperature will drop just below 100F. She might even pace around and experience other such signs like vaginal discharge, purring more, panting, vomiting. She might also follow you around. Remember that not all cats will show these pregnant cat labor signs. Just keep an eye on her.
Potential Problems in My Cat’s Pregnancy
Just like pregnancies in humans, cat pregnancies can also experience problems. If you notice some of these, seek emergency animal care to make sure your cat is ok.
Eclampsia is one of these conditions, which can be life threatening. You’ll see restlessness and your cat might start to pant, fumble more (lose her coordination). She might pace around and even experience seizures. There can also be an unfortunate natural abortion. There might be fever, bleeding, and behavior changes here. Resorption will occur after as the dead fetus is absorbed into the mother.
There’s so much to know about having a pregnant cat in your household but now you know how to decipher if your cat is pregnant. Cat pregnancies are just as difficult to handle as human pregnancies, but if you’re wondering how long your cat will be pregnant for, nine weeks is the max. After that, look out for those labor signs and be prepared to welcome some new kittens into your home! It might not be easy caring for a cat, let alone a pregnant one, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Good luck!