Are you wondering how long are cats pregnant because you think your cat might be? Well, if you know she has mated, that might as well be the case.
After all, unless cats are neutered or spayed, they’re likely to get pregnant very easily.
A cat’s gestation period is generally 63-67 days, i.e., nine weeks.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, right?
Well, that’s true!
This is why you need to prepare to nurse her and help her through labor.
To get you prepared for this exciting journey, you need to know everything you can about cat pregnancy, from their gestation period and symptoms to health and requirements, etc. And that is exactly what is article is for!
When Can Cats Get Pregnant?
If you do not want to have a pregnant cat and many kittens randomly, we recommend you get your cat neutered after her first season of heat.
After this, if a cat is in heat and mates, her possibility of getting pregnant is exceptionally high.
Cats can get pregnant at an age as early as four months old. However, that is neither safe for the cat nor her kittens.
Cats come into heat every three weeks. Therefore, their chances of mating while in heat and getting pregnant is too frequent to avoid.
How Long Are Cats Pregnant?
The average healthy gestation period of a cat is anything between 63 to 67 days. However, depending on your cat’s medical status, the period can also vary between 61 and 72 days.
Knowing how long are cats pregnant will not help you know when to be ready for labor. This is mostly because cats do not show any pregnancy symptoms up until the second or third week.
Therefore, unless you know exactly when your cat has mated, it is hard for you to know where exactly she is in her pregnancy.
If you suspect your cat to be pregnant, do not engage in guesswork. Instead, contact a vet to get confirmation since recognizing cat pregnancies can be difficult for non-specialists.
How To Know If A Cat Is Pregnant?
Here are some signs you need to be vigilant of after your cat has been in heat, and she might have mated.
Pinking-Up: At about the second week, your cat’s nipples will start to enlarge and redden. This is the first visible symptom of cat pregnancy.
Morning Sickness: Your cat might start vomiting and getting sick every now and then.
Abdomen Swelling: The most obvious sign of cat pregnancy is their abdomen starting to swell. If the other symptoms are also present, avoid touching your cat’s belly to prevent hurting her and her kittens.
Increased Appetite: As a cat progresses in her pregnancy, her appetite will increase. However, you should check with a vet because this could also be because of stomach worms.
Weight: You can expect a weight gain of at least 1-2 kgs after about 5-6 weeks of her mating.
Needs Attention: Pregnancy is a vulnerable time, and your cat will constantly seek your attention and purr much more than general.
How To Care For A Pregnant Cat?
The first thing you should do to comfort your pregnant cat is to ensure she is getting space.
Whenever you see the cat moving towards her birthing area, do not disturb her – she needs her space.
Do not get your cat vaccinated while she is in labor since that might cause complications.
Also, avoid deworming your cat after pinking up since that can harm the babies. However, do make sure that the cat has an anti-flea treatment.
Cater to your cat’s increase in appetite and feed her much more than usual. Make sure that the mama-to-be gets the right supplements and nutrients to aid kitten growth and health.
Ensure having a vet involved and keeping them in the loop during your cat’s pregnancy. After all, you do not want to interfere, but only a vet can tell if your cat needs something special to go through her pregnancy safely.
Cat Pregnancy: A Detailed Breakdown
Let’s have a detailed week-to-week view of what goes on in a cat pregnancy.
This should help you detect pregnancy early on and help your cat through the process in a much easier manner.
Neither is your cat pregnant at this point nor will you know (obviously). This is the time when your cat has been in heat and mated.
However, the sperm will take at least 8-10 days to fertilize the eggs. Needless to say, this week goes completely unnoticed by both you and your cat.
In the middle of the second week, your cat’s eggs will be fertilized. Resultingly, she will experience hormonal boosts that will lead her nipples to enlarge. This is the first sign of cat pregnancy.
Even at this point, your cat will act quite normally, but she knows that she is pregnant. This is the best time to take her to a vet to get a confirmation before she starts showing more symptoms and getting uncomfortable.
Once the pinking-up is done, the little kitties start growing at a rapid pace. At this point, your cat is truly pregnant as the kittens attach to the uterus and start taking nutrition from her body.
Since your cat will have kittens growing in her body, she will be likely to gain weight. However, she will not show any behavioral changes. She might get a bit sensitive about you touching her belly, however.
Even at this point, knowing that your cat is pregnant is an act of experience.
Week 4 is when you will start to see some obvious signs of pregnancy. It is now that the kittens will grow really fast, and your cat’s hormones will be at their highest point.
These sudden changes can be too hard for your feline’s body. That paired with massive hormonal and abdominal shifts, your cat will start getting morning sickness.
Regardless of the name, your cat will not be sick only in the morning. Instead, she can get sick throughout the day.
Her body weight will continue to rise regardless of the sickness, and that is a good sign. Once you realize that your cat is pregnant – which you should do by this week – it’ll be best to stop picking your cat.
Your cat’s morning sickness will continue. The only change you will notice this week will be that as the kittens grow, your cat’s abdomen might start showing swelling.
A vet can probably feel and tell you the number of kittens at this point. However, we suggest against probing since that can be both harmful and inaccurate.
This is when both you and your cat should concentrate on her food. Her appetite is likely to increase naturally.
However, it is your onus to give her kitty food and supplements to help her babies grow better. You can also feed her pregnancy-special formulas to help her bulk up on the calories she needs to feed her kittens after birth.
By the seventh week, your cat will develop a full pregnant stomach. You will see her feeling discomfort while walking, and her belly will be at its maximum stretch. Therefore, make sure that you do not forcibly make your cat be active at this point.
This is also the right time to create a birthing nest for your feline. Let her be alone and get comfortable in her nesting box as she prepares it for labor.
Your cat will also get very moody and attention-seeking by now. She will touch you more often and be more vocal. Make sure you give her all the attention she needs!
Her appetite might also fall a little. It will still be more than usual, but not as much as week 6. You do not need to consider this alarming. It is natural for your cat to not eat a lot a few days before labor.
For most cats, week eight is either milking or delivery month. This is when your cat’s pregnancy is at its full bloom, and you can tell due to the moving kittens. They rolling around in the cat’s belly is visibly evident.
Your cat’s nipples will swell further and might become sore as well. You might also see signs of milking, but that can happen the next week too.
Your cat’s personality will take a massive shift as she switches to being maternal. Her diet will also take a significant drop, and that is perfectly okay.
Week 9 is the delivery week for most cats – if they haven’t been delivered already.
At this point, your cat will be in a lot of physical discomforts, and you should help her by giving her attention. Excessive panting and mewing are normal as the cat tries to cope with the exertion of pregnancy.
Her appetite will take a massive drop and be at an all-time low throughout the pregnancy, which is a major symptom of approaching labor.
Most cat pregnancies do not elongate to the tenth week. However, if your cat does, there’s nothing to worry about as long as she goes into labor by the end of the week.
Most cats with a sizeable litter generally have longer pregnancies for obvious reasons. Therefore, if everything seems normal and your cat looks like she’s about to but hasn’t gone into labor yet, you can be sure to have lots of kittens around!
You should check with your vet if your cat remains pregnant post the tenth week.
Preparing Your Cat’s Labor
This is something you do not need to worry too much about. Cats are perfectly capable of handling their labor on their own. However, having some extra help and care from you might be beneficial.
Around the seventh week of your cat’s pregnancy, you can prepare a birthing area for your cat. This will give her about 1-2 weeks to nest into the area, make it her own, and feel comfortable in it.
The birthing area should be warm, secluded, quiet, and cozy. Make sure that there’s plenty of shredded paper if you do not want your cat to take the efforts of shredding it herself.
You can also have towels and some cleaning tools at hand. However, a cat knows how to deal with her labor, and it is best if you do not disturb her.
How To Know If A Cat Is In Labor?
Here’s how to know if a cat is going into or is actively in labor.
Refusing Food: A cat will not want to eat when she is about to go into labor. She will also get fidgety around food.
Settling In: If you see a cat going into and settling down in a secluded place, she is surely going into labor.
Body Temperature Drop: About 12-14 hours before labor, a cat’s body temperature will drop around 37.8o.
Agitation: Due to the physical discomfort of approaching labor, your cat will start to get more vocal, agitated, and fidgety. You will also see her licking and cleaning herself more frequently.
Discharge: When her active labor starts, a cat will get an abdominal contraction and have a vaginal discharge. Only contact a vet if the discharge is blood-colored or dark and heavy.
There you have it, a detailed breakdown of cat pregnancy and gestation period.
Cat pregnancies are not very different from human pregnancies – apart from the former being much quicker. It is hard not to draw similarities with similar morning sickness, abdominal discomfort, and change in mood and appetite.
While interfering with a cat pregnancy is not ideal, it is best to know so that you can be more sensitive with your cat. So, now that you know how long are cats pregnant, we hope you can be more vigilant!
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