Cats are the furry felines we all know and love... even if they're a little aloof. The term can refer to house cats -- smaller, domesticated mammals -- or wild cats, which include animals like lions, tigers, leopards, ocelots, and lynx. Cats are also some of the original stars of the internet, from Star Wars Cats to Keyboard Cat to thousands of cat-centric memes. In fact, the phrase "cat videos" has become a sort of shorthand for "fun stuff to watch on the internet." Famous internet cats include Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow, Snoopy the Cat, Maru, and Henri the Existential Cat. There are over 70 cat breeds recognized by breed registries around the world, including the U.S. Cat Fancier's Association (CFA), which is the world's largest.
Learning a lot of things about cats interest everybody, from kitten to mature feline friend taking care of them is one of the important tasks we will do for them. One of the interesting thing is that, how do we know that our cats are getting pregnant or is pregnant already?
Preparing For Our Moms-To-Be
Perhaps your unspayed indoor-only cat slipped out for a rendezvous with a local tom. Maybe you've taken in a stray in distress, or are fostering a mom-to-be for a rescue group. Whatever the reason, you're about to host a feline obstetric ward. Pregnant cats often become very vocal, affectionate, and sometimes have morning sickness, just as humans do. She may also begin pulling some fur off her stomach area, exposing her growing nipples. As with any expectant female, the lady-in-waiting requires some extra care during this stressful, exciting time. Along with enough cat food and a soft place for the nursery, you'll need an ample supply of patience and kindness. Prepare other members of your family for this event, so they'll respect the cat's need for space. And never press on a pregnant cat's stomach. Doing so can harm the kittens and cause a miscarriage.
Recognizing Early Signs
The first thing you need to know about cat pregnancy is how to recognize the signs of pregnancy. If you have a pregnant cat at home, you'll need to take extra care to make sure she is getting the attention she needs to safely conceive and rear a litter of kittens. From proper nutrition to a safe environment, you can make sure your expecting feline is ready to carry kittens. You can tell a cat is pregnant once her nipples become darker and enlarged. This usually happens around the third week of pregnancy. You'll also be able to tell by her size and weight, since pregnancy tends to cause a noticeable gain in weight.
A vet exam early in the cat's pregnancy will help pinpoint her due date. The vet can also check her for any conditions he can treat, such as fleas or ear-mites. If the cat is a stray that seems poorly nourished, the vet may suggest dietary supplements or a particular food formula. No vaccinations, medications or antibiotics should be given to a pregnant cat unless your vet approves. He can also reassure you of what to expect during her pregnancy, from weight gain and swollen nipples to lethargy and increasing affection. A pregnant or nursing cat is referred to as a queen, and you might agree that she is becoming more demanding as she progresses through her pregnancy. She may become increasingly vocal, meowing for attention, affection, and comfort, or because of discomfort from the growing weight of her abdomen and false labor contractions. Later in the pregnancy, expect your little queen to be hungry most of the time, and napping the rest of the time. The kittens, by the way, once they are born, are called an “intrigue of kittens”.
The average cat pregnancy lasts 65 to 69 days. This may not seem very long, until you take into account the human-to-cat aging ratio. If a cat's yearly age is determined by multiplying seven (a rough estimate, to be sure), then a cat pregnancy is really 14 months long. If, on the other hand, a pregnant one-year-old cat is considered to be 15 years old in human years (another unproven estimate), the comparative length of pregnancy jumps to 30 months. Definitely nothing to sneer at—or envy.
Knowing just how many kittens to expect can be helpful for preparation. According to the ASPCA, a cat can have an average of four to six kittens per litter, and a fertile cat can produce one to two litters a year on average. Of course, the actual number of kittens and litters will vary from cat to cat. Your vet will be able to determine the exact number using ultrasounds and x-rays.
Your cat will gain weight but she will not really begin to show until the last few weeks. That is also when her appetite will increase the most, and now is not the time for watching her weight (unless she was already overweight). Remember, she is not only eating for one anymore. She may be eating for several! You'll need to make sure your cat is getting proper nutrition for her own health, but also the growing young inside of her.
Feed your queen the same food she has always enjoyed, but start mixing protein into the meals. By the start of the sixth week, you should be offering at least 25% more food. Also, make sure the diet is high in protein and calcium are essential to both the kittens and the mother's ability to lactate. Later in the pregnancy, you may want to switch her to a kitten food that is formulated for growing cats. You can continue that diet while she is nursing and until she has weaned her kittens, supplementing it with a quality canned food or sardines. Because of the space being taken up inside, there will not be much room left for food, so your cat will need to eat smaller and more frequent meals. Make sure that there is always food available for when she is hungry, and, most importantly, that there is always water available to her.
Cats have been known to get morning sickness and cravings, just like people, but if you find your cat eating dirt, or anything else that is not food, check with your vet. She may have a condition called pica, and may need supplements due to a nutritional imbalance or mineral deficiency.
Things Must Be Provided
Provide a large litter box with low sides so that as your cat gains weight, she won't struggle to climb in. It should be kept meticulously clean, scooped or emptied at least twice a day.
Until the later stages of the cat's pregnancy, she'll act much as she always has. She'll stretch, use her scratching post, and nap-- sleeping more as pregnancy progresses. There are some scratching posts that best suits your cats; https://activefelinesolutions.com.au/.
Your main concern is ensuring she eats and drinks enough. As her breasts become swollen, she'll feel uncomfortable, licking them to relieve pressure. You can help by gently squeezing each nipple with a slight downward push, releasing a few milk drops. Never press on a pregnant cat's stomach, because it can cause a miscarriage. Near the end of pregnancy, she'll be very restless. Usually a cat stops eating for a day right before giving birth. If she doesn't eat or drink for more than a day, consult your vet.
Although a healthy cat will rarely have problems introduced by pregnancy, it's important to make sure your cat is healthy enough for the rigors or pregnancy and birthing. Have your cat checked for routine parasites and make sure common vaccinations are up to date.
It is possible that your cat will not make it to her litter box on time due to the increased pressure on her bladder. Now is not the time to scold her. She may also need a little extra help cleaning her bottom, if her belly is not allowing her to reach it. A soft, moist cloth can be used if she will allow it.
If you have been tracking your cat's pregnancy since the beginning, you will have a rough approximation of when the due date is looming. However, if you aren't sure of the timeline, there are other means to recognize that labor may be near. Near the end of pregnancy, she'll be very restless. Just before she goes into labor, your queen will be wandering the house restlessly looking for a nesting space to birth in. In the final weeks of her pregnancy, your cat's nipples will swell and there may be some milk leakage. Usually a cat stops eating for a day right before giving birth. If she doesn't eat or drink for more than a day, consult your vet.
You will want to keep your closets closed, but create a quiet corner with a paper lined box. She may or may not use it; let her choose the place she is most comfortable. It is essential that your cat is comfortable and safe for the birthing process. Even if you do not approve of the spot she has chosen, do not try to move her. This includes bringing them indoors so they aren't exposed to harsh elements, but also creating a safe and cozy nesting spot where they can give birth and nurse their kittens. If your cat has a current favorite bed or blankets it lays on, move them to a quiet and safe area away from busy traffic of the house. If your queen feels stressed or threatened at all, her labor can stop cold, possibly leading to a life-threatening situation for her or her kittens. Keep the house as calm and quiet as possible and do not get involved in the birthing process unless you are absolutely positive that something has gone wrong. Once the kittens have all arrived, and your queen is relaxed, the whole family can be moved to a clean and comfortable area that has been set aside for their bedding.
When your cat is ready for her family, she'll do the work herself, but you should stand by. She'll pant when she's in labor, lying in her birthing box. She may get up to walk around, so gently place her back in the box. Make sure she is secured in a room so she won't go to the back of a closet or under a bed to give birth. Kittens usually arrive within a three-to-four hour span, although a large litter may take longer. If your cat is in labor for more than eight hours without delivering, call your vet immediately for instructions.
Once the kittens come, the cat may be too absorbed in their care to eat. Place fresh water and food where she can easily reach it. Allow mother and kittens privacy and quiet for the first three or four days. Resist the urge to handle delicate newborns. Your cat will let you know when it's okay to stroke her babies by welcoming your touch on her own body, sometimes licking your hand. If you then pet a kitten and she doesn't hiss, you have her approval.
Your cat will now need to care for her kittens. Nursing kittens will require that your cat has access to more food, sometimes as much as double, and continue wth a high protein/calcium diet. Continue to feed your cat a high protein kitten food and always provide access to clean water.The mother should use her body heat to keep the kittens warm. However, you'll also want to make sure her environment makes this as easy as possible. Keep warm blankets near her and the room temperature high.
Your cat still may have problems after the birthing process is done. If you notice vaginal bleeding, or a prolapsed uterus (a uterus pushed out through the vagina), you should consult your vet. Look out for atypical behavior, such as ignoring the kittens. She may reject the kittens, or if she feels in enough danger, she may even kill the litter. Keep an eye out for inflamed mammary glands. Infected glands will become enlarged, hot to the touch, and may even appear a different color. Watch for changes in appetite. If your cat is not getting enough nutrients this can endanger both her and the kittens. If an extended period goes by and your cat is unwilling to eat, take her to a vet.