If your cat is pregnant, the good news is, you’re going to be surrounded by adorably fuzzy little furballs before you know it! But, since the cat gestation period is very short, you might be in a hurry to find answers to your most pressing questions, such as, how long are cats pregnant? How can you take care of a pregnant cat? You might even be asking how your cat got pregnant in the first place!
In this article, we’re going to talk about everything that you, your kitty, and your dedicated Cat Sitter can expect when it comes to cat pregnancy. Under your care and the guidance of your vet, your furbaby is on the road to a healthy pregnancy and delivery!
How did I end up with a pregnant cat?
Maybe you’ve never seen another cat in your neighbourhood, and you’re wondering how in the world your cat found a mate. Or, you might have assumed that your cat was too young to get pregnant, or was safe to wander on her own because she doesn’t seem to be in heat.
The truth is, if your cat hasn’t been desexed and is allowed outside, there’s a high probability that she’ll end up pregnant. For one thing, males will often travel great distances to find a mate, so you may never see your cat’s suitor until it’s too late. Cats also reach puberty at a surprisingly young age: about four months! Once a cat has reached sexual maturity, she can enter estrus (commonly called being in heat) every two or three weeks until she becomes pregnant.
Your cat getting pregnant may have taken you by surprise! But, regardless how your cat managed to find a mate, the next step will be to care for your pregnant cat.
How long are cats pregnant?
In general, the cat gestation period lasts only 60 to 70 days, and your furry friend may not show signs of pregnancy until after about 21 to 30 days. That could mean that by the time you realise that your cat is pregnant, she’ll only have about a month left of pregnancy!
During this time, you may notice some of the following changes:
- Morning sickness. Morning sickness isn’t overly common in cats, but it can cause your cat to vomit or become lethargic
- Physical signs of pregnancy. Around the 3 to 4 week mark, your cat’s belly may begin to swell. Her nipples will also darken, which is a pretty clear sign that she’s gearing up for motherhood
- Change in behaviours. In addition to an increase in appetite, you may notice that your cat becomes more affectionate and attention-seeking during her pregnancy. She may also start to engage in nesting behaviours as she looks for a suitable place to give birth. If your cat is suddenly trying to wiggle under the bed and into the back of the closet, it’s a pretty good indication that she’s pregnant
How can I care for my pregnant cat?
Certainly, the first thing you want to do if you suspect that your cat is pregnant is get them to a vet. They’ll be able to do an ultrasound to confirm that your cat is pregnant and run any additional tests to ensure that your cat is in good health. Your vet will also recommend an appropriate meal plan that will give your cat the energy she needs for a healthy pregnancy.
You might be surprised to find out that caring for your pregnant cat doesn’t require too much extra effort and that her demeanor and habits probably won’t change until the last week of her pregnancy. That said, you’ll want to keep her inside so that she doesn’t attempt to nest outside. If she’s typically an outdoor cat, provide her with plenty of mental stimulation, such as enrichment toys, interactive play, and cuddle time so that she doesn’t try to escape. For the times that you have to be away from home, you might consider calling in her favourite Pet Sitter to give her attention and keep an eye on her as her pregnancy progresses.
You’ll know that your cat is nearing the end of her pregnancy when she starts to seek out quiet places to have her kittens. During this time, you can provide her with a birthing box lined with towels and linens that you don’t mind throwing away afterwards. It’s very common for cats to want to nest outside of their designated birthing box, so you’ll want to limit your cat’s access to areas of the house where you don’t want them to give birth.
If you live in a multi-pet household or a home with small children, your pregnant cat will appreciate being alone while she gets ready for her delivery.
How can I help my pregnant cat during delivery?
Cats don’t typically need intervention during the birthing process. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t touch your cat while she’s in labour or clean the newborn kittens – mum will do that! But, you’ll want to be present during the process to look for any of the following signs that she needs medical intervention:
- More than an hour passes between kittens
- You suspect that a kitten is stuck in the birthing canal
- Your cat is showing excessive signs of distress
- There is a problem with one of the kittens
If your cat or any of her kittens are having complications, make sure to call your nearest emergency vet for instructions.
Once your cat has delivered all of her adorable kittens, she’ll appreciate being left alone to care for her litter. Of course, she won’t mind if you check in every once in a while to “ooh” and “aww” over her heart-melting brood.
How can I make sure I’m never wondering “How long are cats pregnant?” in the future?
There’s nothing cuter than a box full of wrinkly little kittens, but that doesn’t mean that you want to go through the whole process of cat pregnancy again in the future. Given the fact that your cat can go into heat again as soon as 8 weeks after giving birth, getting her spayed is a top priority.
Until you’re able to schedule the surgery, keep your cat inside and away from males that haven’t been desexed. If your cat will be staying with a Sitter, make sure that they know to keep a close eye on your flirty female.
If your cat is pregnant, “how long are cats pregnant” isn’t the only question you’ll be asking!
Learning how long cats are pregnant is just the first step in caring for your expecting furry friend. Make sure that you learn everything you can about the birthing process and ask your vet plenty of questions throughout the cat gestation period. Before you know it, your cat’s big day will be here!