How to Tell If Your Cat is Pregnant
There is nothing cuter than a pregnant cat expecting adorable kittens. If your cat is pregnant, there are a few things you should know that can help them during the process.
When a cat prepares to have her babies, she goes through a process called queening. This is where the mama cat feels especially affectionate and starts creating a birthing space. Since cats do not speak our language, we have to look for clear signs of pregnancy. So, how can you tell if a cat is pregnant?
Cats that are pregnant will often gain weight rapidly, have an increase in appetite, show increased signs of affection, and may even exhibit signs of morning sickness such as vomiting. However, the only way to truly tell if your cat is pregnant is to get a blood test from the veterinarian.
How long are Cats Pregnant?
Cats have relatively short pregnancies. Your cat can give birth in about 2 months, give or take a few weeks. However, these quick pregnancies are not easy and can come with complications. The average litter of kittens is four, but a cat can have up to 12 cats during one pregnancy.
The average pregnancy time frame is 58 – 67 days (about 2 months). Cats can also get pregnant multiple times a year. Your cat can have up to five litters a year, but this is dangerous and not recommended.
Try to keep your cat inside during their heat if you do not want a large litter of kittens. As cute as kittens are, they are also a lot of work and can be expensive to take care of.
Signs That Your Cat is Pregnant
Since cats cannot outright tell us they are pregnant, it is up to us to find out through signs that their bodies are changing.
Weight Gain and Increased Hunger
One common early sign is rapid weight gain. In just the first few weeks of pregnancy, your cat can gain anywhere from 1 to 6 pounds in just a few weeks. They will also start eating a lot more and develop a large diet.
Where your cat carries their weight makes all the difference; it is not enough to simply gain some weight. Some cats gain weight when they eat too much food, stop participating in play or exercise, or have a health condition that prompts weight gain. However, your cat may be pregnant if its lower belly starts to droop and grow.
Another sign that usually starts within a month of the pregnancy is vomiting. As long as your cat is not vomiting blood and staying hydrated, there is no reason to be concerned. The hormones changing in their bodies can cause nausea and an upset stomach, which, mixed with the increased food intake, will cause vomiting in a pregnant cat.
Cats that are close to giving birth will also crave affection and show a sweeter side. If your cat suddenly wants to cuddle and is following you around looking for belly rubs and pets, it could be that they are pregnant and seeking comfort from their favorite humans.
Pregnancy Test with a Veterinarian
Even with these signs, the only way to tell when a cat is pregnant is by taking them to a vet to perform tests. Blood tests can confirm if your cat is pregnant, but it does not tell you how many kittens your cat is carrying.
Instead, if you want to double-check that your cat is safe and the kittens are okay, you should ask your vet for an X-ray. These are standard when pets are pregnant as vets use X-rays to find out if the kittens are safe and in the right position for birthing.
How to Help Your Cat Give Birth
When you know your cat is pregnant, there are a few changes to their lifestyle you need to help them with.
First, as tempting as it is to love and grab your cat during their pregnancy, this can cause mishaps during the pregnancy. You must be very careful with their bellies as you can cause damage to the kittens or a miscarriage if you roughly handle their stomachs.
When it is time for your cat to give birth, they will find a comfortable area. Usually, they make their area by dragging blankets, soft materials, and toys. You can make it in advance by finding a large cardboard box and laying down quilt blankets.
Cats rarely need help as giving birth is instinctual in their nesting environment. However, If you notice that your cat is crying out or struggling during the birthing, do not hesitate to call your local vet.
Sometimes complications can occur, especially if your cat is small and is giving birth to a larger litter. This can cause tearing as well as dehydration, which can turn deadly.
Pregnancy is a very delicate process for your cat. However, cats have survival instincts that allow them to give birth without much help from us humans. Just remember not to intervene with the pregnancy, but stay close by in case your cat cries for help.
About Brown Veterinary Hospital
We are here to serve as your partner in keeping your four-legged family member healthy, ensuring you have all the tools you need to provide them with a lifetime of outstanding care. Our animal hospital in Terre Haute offers a full range of services to nurture and extend your pet’s life, from wellness and preventative care to critical care, exotic pet care, and dermatology.