Are you looking at a cat right now and wondering if they might be pregnant? What led you there? Are they looking or behaving differently? Sometimes it can be quite obvious. Is the cat spayed? If yes, they are not pregnant. If not, there is always a possibility. With a gestation period of only 9 weeks, the changes to your cat’s appearance and behaviour will come on rapidly if they are indeed pregnant.
What are the Signs?
Pregnant cats often exhibit a number of different signs indicating things are changing in their bodies.
Change in their Heat Cycles. When cats go into heat, they are doing it to attract a mate. While a cat is in heat, they will often groom themselves more, mark their territory, show more affection, and meow loudly and frequently. This usually lasts about two weeks and if the cycle suddenly stops, there is a good chance they are pregnant.
Nesting Behavior. Cats, similar to most other mammals, will seek out or create a quiet, safe place for them to have their babies. There is also a chance your cat will become more defensive of her territory during this period.
Increased Appetite and Weight Gain. With an average litter size of four kittens, your mama cat is likely eating for five now. Most pregnant cats gain between two to four pounds of body weight. It’s always important to keep an eye on your cat’s weight, but if you have an unspayed female cat, it is even more so.
Sleeping More and For Longer. Cats love to sleep, but a pregnant cat will sleep even more. If you notice your cat is sleeping through the day and quite a bit at night, there might be a chance she has some kittens gestating inside her!
Change in Abdomen and Nipple Appearance. Halfway through the gestation period, your cat’s belly will begin to swell. Additionally, her nipples will often increase in size and begin to show through her fur. They may also change to a rosier pink colour.
Morning Sickness. Another parallel to human pregnancy, a pregnant cat may experience morning sickness. Keep an eye on this though. Too much vomiting can be indicative of other issues, and if it persists, check in with your vet.
Increased Affection and Reclusiveness. It may seem odd to include these together, but at the start of your cat’s pregnancy, she may begin to exhibit more affectionate behaviour. This is due to hormonal changes. For some cats, this may persist throughout their entire pregnancy, but for others, partway through the gestation period, they may become more reclusive.
Positive Ultrasound Results: If you aren’t 100% sure whether or not your cat is pregnant, you can always bring her to the vet for an ultrasound. An ultrasound is going to give you a clear picture of exactly what is going on.
Right Before Labour – Restlessness and Vocalization. A day or two before labour, your cat might start to show signs of restlessness – such as pacing, fidgeting, hovering around her nest, or showing signs of discomfort. She may also become more vocal and start to chirp before the time comes!
What to do if Your Cat is Pregnant
Try to make her life as easy as possible! Make sure she has a warm and comfortable place, secluded from the rest of the house. Ensure there is plenty of food and water nearby. Keep a clean litter box for her and be sure to show lots of affection. A pregnancy is no walk in the park and your cat needs your support. She is going to be experiencing a lot of changes and will need someone on her side.
It’s also very important to take her to the vet as soon as you notice the signs of pregnancy. The vet can ensure the pregnancy is healthy and going along according to plan.