You might have started to notice that your female cat is looking a little plumper than she usually does. It might immediately make you think that you need to start cutting back on her treats, or you could be facing the reality that she might be pregnant. Either way, both situations require you to take action to get her in the best health possible.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure whether your cat is pregnant or not. This article will cover some of the most common signs associated with pregnant cats, along with ways to care for her if she does happen to be pregnant. Either way, you’ll be prepared for the situation and shower her with love and acceptance during this time.
The Physical Signs of Cat Pregnancy
If your cat has been gaining a fair amount of weight over a short period of time, it is possible that she is pregnant rather than just packing on a few extra pounds. Weight tends to creep up slowly for overeaters rather than happen suddenly. Thankfully, there are other ways to tell if your cat is pregnant.
1. End of Heat Cycle
Cats that are not spayed will go into heat every two or three weeks. If your cat is no longer having a heat cycle, then it’s one of the first indications that she has become pregnant.
2. Changes In Her Nipples
Weight gain isn’t the only physical symptom of pregnancy. A pregnant queen’s nipples will start to swell and change from a light pink color to a darker pink. This usually takes place about three weeks into her pregnancy.
3. Appetite Changes
A queen will also have an increased appetite since she is no longer eating for only herself—she’s now got an entire litter to nourish. Even though your cat will likely be hungrier, she could also experience some morning sickness and lose her appetite throughout the day as well.
4. Enlarged Abdomen
Once she is about five weeks into her pregnancy, your cat’s abdomen should swell to a noticeable size. The growth will continue up until it is time for her to give birth. A pregnant cat’s belly is the only thing that grows larger, while a fat cat is plump all over.
Changes in Temperament During Pregnancy
Queens can also behave differently than they used to. A pregnant cat might do one or all of these things:
- Sleep more frequently
- Become more affectionate
- Spend more time hiding and being reclusive
What Do Vets Do for Pregnant Cats
Even if you don’t need confirmation from a vet, it is still a good idea to take your queen in for a checkup. Vets will usually start by feeling your cat’s belly to detect the fetuses. They might also perform a blood test, ultrasound, or x-ray to confirm that she is, in fact, pregnant.
Caring for Pregnant Cats
A typical cat pregnancy lasts anywhere from 58 to 67 days. Do your best to make this time as stress-free and easy as possible. Little things like keeping her litter box clean and showing her lots of physical affection are great ways to keep her calm, but there are more important things to consider as well.
Proper nutrition is vital for the health of your cat and her litter. Make sure she is getting plenty of high-quality food and is not losing any weight. You also have to be careful not to overfeed her. To prevent this, offer several smaller meals frequently throughout the day.
Preparing for the Birth
Queens are going to start nesting once they are close to giving birth. You can set up a birthing box for your cat in a quiet corner of the house a few weeks before she is due to give birth. This gives her plenty of time to adapt to the box and feel comfortable around it. It is possible that she rejects your box and finds a place of her own, but it never hurts to offer a safe and quiet place for her to go.
Pregnant cats tend to stop eating about 24 hours before they give birth. She might also have a slight temperature drop, appear restless, and become more vocal.
Deciphering the difference between a fat cat and a pregnant cat isn’t always simple. Either way, you can always go to the vet to get professional confirmation. After the birth, consider getting your cat spayed. This will save you lots of money in vaccinations and healthcare for future kittens and prevent common health issues like cancer and uterine infections. Hopefully, if your cat is pregnant, the labor process goes smoothly, and you’ll get to watch your fur baby turn into a loving mother.
Featured Image Credit: Boy77, Shutterstock