Is your cat pregnant? Or you are not sure about that and want information about cat pregnancy? Don't panic. You might be wondering that if female cats instinctively know what to do when they’re pregnant. Well, that is true for wild cats or feral cats but house cats need your support while they’re pregnant and sometimes in delivering kittens. There is a lot of information to digest about cat pregnancy. So, we've made it easy for you by putting together the important things you need to know for helping your kitty cat during her pregnancy.
We discuss the following in this article.
- How to tell if a cat is pregnant
- How to take care of the cat while pregnant
- What to expect when your cat is in labor
The process of cat mom getting prepared to have kittens is called “queening.” Unless a female cat has been sprayed to prevent pregnancy, she can become pregnant as young as 4 months old. Pregnancy can occur when the female cat is ‘in heat,’ which lasts about 2 weeks usually from the spring to the beginning of fall. They are usually ready to mate between early February and August. During this time, she is in the fertile period of reproduction and she’s looking to mate. You can notice that she will howl (a long and drawn-out meow) to attract male cats. She might mate with more than one male during the heat period. Because of that, a female cat may have different kittens in a litter from different fathers.
How to tell if a cat is pregnant?
Change in behavior
If you are not sure if your cat is pregnant, you can look for a change in the behavior in the cat. She will lose appetite. Even though she would ask for food, she won’t eat enough as usual. If she avoids playing with you and sleeps more is one of the symptoms of cat pregnancy. She will want to be alone and rest. If she’s trying to hide and seek a safe place, that could mean that she’s looking for a safe place to have kittens.
Also, her abdomen area will start to swell and she will gain weight about 2-5 pounds (1-2 kilograms) 30 days after she mates. You can notice a distended belly. Avoid touching her abdomen area as it could hurt her and unborn kittens.
Nipples pinking up
Moreover, you will notice her nipples become enlarged and red, which is called “pinking up.” This indicates her body is getting prepared to produce milk. This occurs in 4 weeks after mating. We highly recommend consulting a vet to perform an ultrasound of the pregnant cat. The ultrasound can confirm a pregnancy after 16 days.
If you also do an x-ray, it will tell you how many kittens to expect and if there are any complications. However, the ultrasound or x-ray is not always accurate about the number of kittens.
So, how long are cats pregnant? The gestation of a queen lasts about 63-65 days.
How to take care of the cat while pregnant
It’s very important to focus on supporting your cat during the stages of pregnancy. Same as humans, they also go through lots of changes during pregnancy.
In the earliest stages of cat pregnancy, the queen may have a lack of appetite or vomiting. If this happens often, take your cat to a vet immediately. She may also show the signs of fatigue due to hormone surge and changes to the uterus. This will go away after the first few weeks. Please keep in mind that inactivity, resting, and sleeping than usual are normal during your cat’s gestation.
Do you know how many hours a day does a cat sleep? Cats sleep 12-16 hours a day (15 on average), and some sleep up to 20 hours.
During the pregnancy of your cat;
- Consult with your vet;
- To assess weight and feeding quantity
- If your cat is due for regular vaccination, deworming, flea treatment, or medication to make sure nothing would affect pregnancy
- Feed her small meals and add more calorie-rich cat food as she needs more energy during the pregnancy. It’s extremely important to feed her food with increased nutrition. Your vet may recommend feeding her with cat food specially made for pregnant cats.
You can also find good cat food on Amazon but always ask your vet about food recommendations.
Examine your cat’s health early in her pregnancy. Check for insects such as fleas, ticks, and lice. Take her to the vet and make sure there are no signs of worms or other internal parasites.
Pay close attention to your cat’s appetite and keep her active and fit
Provide her with more food when close to delivery as she will eat about 1.5 times normal diet
Check if she’s getting uncomfortable and give her choices where to rest and sleep. If she seems stressed out or anxious, take her to the vet.
Prepare a comfortable and warm place with cardboard for her to deliver the kittens about 2 weeks before the due date
What to expect when your cat is in labor?
As we mentioned earlier in this article, consult with your veterinarian to perform an ultrasound and x-ray to determine how many kittens can be expected. After getting a clear idea of your cat’s due date, prepare for the big day!
How to tell if a cat is in labor?
When your cat is in labor, she will start looking for a safe place, which is called “nesting behavior.” The queen would show more behavioral changes such as panting, excessive grooming, and restless pacing. Also, the body temperature of your cat will drop about 2 days before the delivery day. That’s completely normal, so do not freak out. The sudden loss of appetite is another sign that your cat is in labor.
When you notice these things, it’s time to prepare your cat for the due date!
Put a nesting box in a quiet and warm place to help her out. Nesting box (also known as cat birthing box or kittening box) is a quiet, warm, and comfortable environment, where your cat will feel safe. You don’t have to buy any special box for this. Simply get a cardboard box, cut a door-type hole as an entrance, and put some newspapers, towels, and blankets to keep her comfortable.
Do not force her to go into the box and make her upset or disrupt. She will choose the safest place for her to be at. That can be anywhere that she feels safe. So, set up the nesting box at the place that she prefers. Make sure the place is draft-free and warm.
Keep a litter tray and water bowl near the birthing box and feed her near the box. It’s better not to feed her inside the box. When she’s in the nesting mode, take her to the vet for final examinations. Your vet will guide you on how to prepare for the delivery with more information based on the queen’s health. Make sure to have the contact number of the veterinarian service in an emergency.
24 hours before the delivery, the cat stops eating, and the body temperature drops below 100°F (37.7°C).
So, the key to having a successful delivery is preparing as much as possible including for emergency situations. If you have any concerns and questions, reach out to your veterinarian because they’re the best resource you have – not Reddit or Google.
So, we hope this article would be helpful to know many things about a cat’s pregnancy. Comment below what you didn’t know about a cat’s pregnancy? Also, don’t forget to share this article with someone who’s looking for information on this topic.
Cat Pregnancy FAQ
What age a cat can get pregnant?
A female cat can become pregnant as young as 4 months old.
When can cats get pregnant?
Usually from the spring to the beginning of fall. The female cats are usually ready to mate between early February and August.
What is queening?
The process of cat mom getting prepared to have kittens is called queening.
How long is cat pregnancy?
Cat pregnancy normally lasts about 63-65 days.
How to tell if a cat is pregnant?
Change in cat's behavior, distended abdomen, and nipples pinking up. The queen will lose appetite and won’t eat enough as usual. She will try to avoid playing with you and sleeps more. Also, she will try to hide and seek a safe place. Your cat's abdomen area will start to swell and you can notice a distended belly.
What to feed a pregnant cat?
Give small meals with more calorie-rich cat food as she needs more energy during the pregnancy. It’s very important to feed her food with increased nutrition.
How to tell if a cat is in labor?
When your cat is in labor, she will start looking for a safe place. She would have some behavioral changes such as panting, excessive grooming, and restless pacing. Also, the body temperature will drop about 2 days before the delivery day. The sudden loss of appetite is another sign that your cat is in labor.