Pregnancy in Cats 101: What You Need to Know
Curious about cat pregnancy? Wondering if your cat is pregnant? Look no further. We detail everything you need to know about cats making kittens in this article.
While cat pregnancy can be similar to other animals, there are a few things you need to know to keep the process running smoothly. You need to know what to look for, expect, and how to care for a pregnant feline.
Signs of a Pregnant Cat
First and foremost, you need to know when your cat is pregnant. This means you need to spot the signs of a pregnant cat. Here are a few common ones:
- Spayed or Not: If your cat isn’t spayed, then there is a chance she could be pregnant. Cat owners who don’t want kittens should get their cat spayed once it is safe to do so. Don’t wait!
- If In Heat: If your female cat isn’t spayed, then she will go into heat. This typically happens once the warmer weather comes around. Most cats go into heat between April through September.
- The Mating Cycle: A cat who goes into heat will continue going into heat every one to two weeks during the warmer months. After going into heat, your cat will need to rest for a week or two before she’s back into a mating mood.
- The Mood: When your cat is in heat and looking to mate, she will display changes in behavior. Your cat will become more affectionate around humans. She will start to become restless, as well. You’ll find your furry friend rolling around a lot more and propping her hindquarters up in the air often. She’ll also begin “calling” potential mates with a certain type of meow.
- Her Look: If your cat becomes pregnant, her nipples will become enlarged between 2-3 weeks into the pregnancy. This is a fairly surefire sign she is pregnant if a milky fluid comes out. If there is no fluid, then your cat could just be in heat.
- Big Stomach: A pregnant cat will feature an enlarged abdomen. A cat that’s gotten fatter will look heavier all over. As cats are smaller animals, it can be difficult to determine this sign at first.
- Nesting Behavior: In the late stages of a cat pregnancy, your furball will begin nesting. She’ll start spending a lot of time in quiet, dark places like a closet. She will begin arranging things to create a place where she can give birth.
Many cat owners don’t realize their furry friend is pregnant until the nesting begins. If this is you, then make sure to get your cat to the vet ASAP once nesting begins. A check-up is important before birthing kittens.
How Long Does Cat Pregnancy Last?
Cat pregnancy is a little shorter than the human version. While humans take nine months to give birth, your furry friend only takes 9-10 weeks to pop out some cute kittens.
Stages of Pregnancy in Cats
While many cat owners don’t notice pregnancy in the beginning, it’s important to pay attention to your furry friend if you notice any changes. Catching your cat’s pregnancy in the earlier stages can help avoid a lot of complications.
Here are the three stages of kitten creation:
- First Three Weeks
Between weeks 1-3, it’s unlikely you’ll notice your cat is pregnant. During this stage, your cat’s behavior will not change much at all, and you won’t be able to notice any change in weight.
After two weeks, you may notice your cat’s nipples are enlarged. This is typically the only noticeable sign. During this time, keep feeding your cat a high quality wet cat food like you normally do. No changes are required.
- Second Three Weeks
This is the time when you’ll notice your cat changes. Many furballs will start to see their energy dwindle during this time. The pregnant cat will start to show a swollen belly.
After five weeks, a change in the cat’s diet is recommended. Your furball will require extra nutrition, safe spaces away from other animals, and additional calcium supplements.
- Final Stage
Weeks 7-10 are the final stage of cat pregnancy. Your cat will now be significantly heavier than she used to be. Some felines even become obese during this time. As she’s about to give birth, her stress levels will increase. She’ll start to seek a place to nest and stay away from everyone else.
During the final few days of pregnancy, your furry friend will often become disoriented and restless.
Cat Nutrition During Pregnancy
Cat nutrition during pregnancy isn’t too complex, but it does require a few changes. For the first five weeks of pregnancy, you can continue feeding your cat a similar food as you always do. After five weeks, it’s best to switch things up a bit.
Towards the final stage of cat pregnancy, you’ll want to change your cat’s food to a special food for nursing kitty mothers. Once you make the change, you’ll need to also find a way for your cat to eat at all times. An automatic cat food dispenser often comes in useful during pregnancy.
Your cat needs to eat all the time during the last stage of pregnancy, as she’ll be providing nutrition to growing kittens. Make sure to offer a calcium supplement, as well. This will ensure proper growth for her kittens.
There are two ways to ensure your cat avoids most complications during pregnancy. First, make sure your cat doesn’t get too obese. An extra fat cat can make things difficult during the birthing process. If your cat is obese, the risk of complications greatly increases.
To avoid this fate, try playing with your cat more often while she is pregnant. Some cat owners have had great success with taking their cats on walks during this time.
Next, make sure you take your cat to the vet during pregnancy. When you initially find out, you should make a visit. Then your vet will determine when you should check back in.
Typically, you’ll want your cat to visit the vet 2-3 times throughout her pregnancy. This will limit any major complications, as your vet will be able to determine if anything is going awry.
Here Come the Kittens!
Once the big day is here, your furry friend will start popping the kittens out. Most cats go into labor without any issues. You shouldn’t have much to worry about if you’ve been to the vet. However, if you have concerns as the kittens are about to come, make sure to call your vet.