Everything You Need To Know About Your Pregnant Cat

May 21, 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Your Pregnant Cat

Is your Cat Pregnant?

It can be difficult to tell if your cat is pregnant. Cats have a reputation for being pretty solitary (unless they want your attention right now, of course).

A pregnant cat is no different. She’ll still probably want to spend most of her time by herself, she will display both physical and personality changes which will become more evident around three weeks after breeding especially as she gets closer to having her kittens. As your pregnant cat gets closer to her due date, gestation period for cats runs between 60 to 67 days. You may decide that using 63 days as an average gestation period is memorable and easier to equate with human gestation (nine weeks vs nine months).

Physical Changes in a Pregnant Cat

Heat Cycles Cease

If a cat has been suffering heat cycles every 10 days to two weeks, and suddenly stops, it is very likely she is pregnant. Known as the first sign cat owner may notice.

Nipples Swell and Become Rosier in Color

Breeders call this “pinking,” and it may be the first physical sign you will see in a pregnant cat.

Feline Is Unusually Affectionate

A pregnant cat shows more affection than usual towards its favorite people. The queen will rub its body against your feet, pets or toys such as scratching mat or board (you can visit online like at activefelinesolutions for choices you can have for your queen). Your pet will also ask for more affection. This may also be a sign that your cat is about to be in heat, but associated with another pregnancy symptom this behavior is a good indicator.

Cat’s Appetite Increases. A pregnant cat will show an increased interest in food. After all, a pregnant cat is not only eating for herself, but for several fetuses.
Possible Vomiting. Pregnant queens may be subject to a few bouts of “morning sickness,” much as human mothers-to-be. This in itself is not necessarily cause for alarm, but if the vomiting continues or is frequent, veterinarian intervention is needed.
Abdominal Enlargement. Sometime around the fifth week of pregnancy, a pregnant cat’s abdomen will start to swell noticeably, and it will continue to enlarge until time for birthing. Visit Pregnant Cat Behavior to understand and take care of your pregnant cat properly.

It is important to keep the pregnant cat protected from the routine physical ailments because medication is typically frowned upon during pregnancy. This is why it is important to get your cat to the veterinarian in case of any physical condition, infection or other problem.

It is important to stick to non-clumping litter when dealing with a pregnant cat. There are practical matters that would be a part of pregnant cat care such as the creation of a snug nest bed or comfortable cat sofa that you can check out also at online shops like activefelinesolutions.

Another observable trait is that pregnant cats tend to prefer to remain aloof and often do not even accept the presence of other cats.

Personality Changes in a Pregnant Cat

Increased Affection

Your cat may become more affectionate than normal and frequently seek out your attention. By all means, give it to her!

“Nesting” Activities by a Pregnant Cat

Nesting activities are not an early sign of pregnancy, but as the time for parturition and birth approaches, your pregnant cat may seek out quiet, private places for the birth to take place.

What is the best food for a pregnant cat?

The best way to give your cat all the nutrients she needs during pregnancy is to offer her dry feed for kittens since this type of food contains a high energy content and very important nutrients for development, and is therefore the best diet for a pregnant cat. Obviously, the transition to this type of feed must be gradual to avoid any digestive discomfort.

Dry feed for kittens not only serves the important function of meeting the cat’s nutritional requirements during pregnancy: when the kittens are weaned, they will eat the dry feed instinctively and be easily initiated to the feed that they need. More information can be found also in this book: Complete Kitten Care - (Amazon).

How much food does a pregnant cat need?

A pregnant cat should be fed with the ad libitum method, that is, she should always have available food, and she must be able to eat as much as she wants, without any restriction.

This approach will ensure enough body fat is gained during pregnancy. However, at the end of the gestation you will observe that the cat’s appetite decreases. Don’t worry - this is normal, and it is the result of the growing uterus pressing on the stomach cavity.

If you think your cat might be pregnant, but you aren’t sure, you can bring her in for an examination. Depending on how far along in her pregnancy she is, your veterinarian can take a radiograph (x-ray) to see if she is pregnant and to count how many kittens there are.

See also: Taking Care of Cats and Their Pregnancy

Cat Pregnancy Timeline


The first two weeks are more or less irrelevant because there aren’t any good ways of knowing whether the mating worked.

The fertilized egg is usually still under the process of attaching to the uterine wall in the first two weeks.

In fact, your cat won’t be aware of its pregnancy until week three or four.


If everything goes well during the first two weeks, the embryo will start developing organs after 22-24 days which will then trigger some symptoms.

The first and probably the most obvious one are pink nipples.

If you notice a peculiar color change of the cat’s nipples (they tend to become very pink), it’s a good indicator of pregnancy. You may also notice a change in your pet’s sleeping schedule. However, because cats tend to sleep a lot, it may not be the perfect method.

The thing that makes people panic for a bit is food aversion. Don’t worry; it’s nothing unusual. In fact, food rejection is a perfectly normal behavior for pregnant cats.

Bear in mind; it’s a symptom instead of being a problem.


During week 5, an experienced veterinarian should be able to feel the kittens through the stomach wall.

In some cases, it’s even possible to estimate the number of kittens your pet is about to deliver.


Things will start drastically changing by the sixth week.

The most obvious change you’ll see is the anxiety of your pet. Furthermore, you can expect an increase in appetite because the cat will start stacking food for the upcoming days.

You should be able to feel the kittens by now and even determine the exact number of them.

WEEKS 8-10

Nature’s ways become quite apparent in the last two weeks of pregnancy.

The feline’s nipples will become swollen, hard, and prominent.The thing that makes people worried is the sudden loss of fur. There is no reason to be alarmed about it because it’s often a natural side-effect of feline pregnancy.

The kittens inside are quite large by this point and they usually press against the stomach causing it to shrink. Therefore, a loss of appetite is to be expected. Please visit Cat Prenatal and Postpartum Care for more information.

The Big Day

Cats almost never need any help during labor. You may not notice when your cat first goes into labor. This part, stage 1 labor, is when the contractions of the uterus start and she gets ready to actually have the kittens. Stage 1 labor usually lasts for about one hour. During stage 2 labor, the kittens are delivered.

This usually happens quickly, with all the kittens being delivered within about an hour. Sometimes it does take longer than one hour. As long as your cat does not seem to be in any distress and there is at least one kitten being born every hour, it is best to leave your cat alone and let her have her kittens without any help.

Stage 3 labor is the delivery of the placenta (the sac that each kitten has been living in). In cats, this usually happens at the same time as stage 2 labor.

If your cat seems to be having trouble having her kittens, or if she has not had a kitten in over an hour (and you are sure she has more kittens), you may need to help her. If things don’t seem to be going well, call us (or your regular veterinarian) to explain what is happening and to get advice on how you can help.

Your veterinarian may advise you to leave your cat alone a little longer (most likely), he may give you some suggestions on how you can help, or he may recommend that you bring you cat into the veterinary hospital to have a Cesarean section performed (unlikely).

Getting ready for kittens?

Cats are pregnant for 60-63 days. It is often impossible to predict the exact due date of the kittens, especially since most of the time is is difficult to know when your cat was bred.

You can watch for a few signs to tell you that your pregnant cat is getting ready to have her kittens.

About 3-5 days before she will deliver, the mother cat will start showing some nesting behavior. She will look for a quiet, dark place where she feels comfortable having her kittens.

If your cat is still allowed outside, she will probably look for a place outside. This could be in a garage, under a porch, or any other hard-to-reach, quiet place. If you can, it is best to keep your pregnant cat inside, especially as she gets closer to having her kittens.

Once the kittens are born, be sure to leave them alone for a few hours. This will give the mother cat time to clean them, let the kittens nurse, and let them bond. It is very important for the mother cat and her kittens to have a quiet place where they can rest undisturbed. See: Meowing Kittens

Common Feline Illnesses After Giving Birth

The majority of felines become pregnant and give birth without complications. However, some cat illnesses and complications after giving birth are possible. In some instances, these conditions may be prevented or minimized by carefully monitoring of the cat during delivery and the postpartum period.

Postpartrum Dysgalactia Syndrome

Dysgalactia is a term used to describe an insufficient amount of milk. This may be caused by a diet lacking in necessary nutrients. Large litters can also contribute to the condition.

Postpartum dysgalactia syndrome (PPDS) is a primary cause of neonatal problems (eg, diarrhea, crushing, runting, inanition, poor growth) but is challenging to characterize because of its multiple manifestations and the difficulty in making an etiologic diagnosis

Signs the mother cat may not have sufficient milk:

Milk supply should increase with frequent nursing. The mammary glands are stimulated by the suckling action of the kittens.


Galactostasis occurs when one or more mammary glands are full and swollen.

The abnormal collection of milk in the mammary glands usually caused by weaning.


Mastitis is a term used to describe the presence of a bacterial infection in one or all mammary glands. This condition is often seen in combination with galactostasis.

If left untreated, the kittens are susceptible to malnutrition, possible infection and death. In the mother cat, the infection has the potential to escalate into a more serious condition. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

This is sometimes called “milk fever,” or “puerperal tetany.” The mother cat suffers a serious, rapid loss of calcium (hypocalcemia).


Eclampsia is a sudden onset of potentially life-threatening symptoms resulting from low blood calcium (hypocalcemia). Eclampsia can occur at any time during lactation (nursing), but it is most likely to occur during the first 3 weeks of lactation, which begins within minutes after birth.


If a fetus or placenta is not expelled shortly after delivery, the mother cat may develop a uterine bacterial infection.

This condition must not be left untreated. Your veterinarian will discuss a plan of treatment that includes expulsion of the fetus or placenta and a regimen of antibiotics.

Postpartum Hemorrhage

This condition is characterized by bright, bloody red vaginal discharge, which may be profuse.


Agalactia is a failure to produce milk.

Primary Agalactia is a failure to produce milk, as a result of a defective pituitary gland. This is extremely rare.
Secondary Agalactia is a failure to express milk. This may be a result of premature delivery, stress or disease. It may be resolved by encouraging the kittens to suckle, while providing them with additional formula. In some cases, medication may be needed.

When Should You Visit Your Vet?

If you’re planning on breeding your cat, It is recommen ded that you have her examined by your vet beforehand. Your vet will assess your pet’s health status, booster any vaccines she may need and talk to you about other medical concerns, such as internal parasites and fleas.

It’s also a good idea for you to have your cat examined around the fifth week of pregnancy to make sure that things are progressing well.

Contact your vet immediately if your cat has any vulvar discharge, is excessively or continuously lethargic, has a decreased appetite, or experiences excessive vomiting, diarrhea, urination, or water consumption. She also notes that while it’s not common, cats can deliver their litters prematurely due to a bacterial or viral infection, toxin exposure or other unknown causes. You might also want to have a copy of this book, The Well Cat Book: The Classic Comprehensive Handbook of Cat Care Reissue Edition (Amazon). It is an easy-to-follow guide that answers the questions cat owners ask most often about cat care, as well as breeding and reproduction.

Congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare your cat (and yourself!) for the cute bundles of fur that are coming your way.

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