How to Tell if a Cat is Pregnant

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Cats typically have a 9-week gestation period, and a pregnant cat will begin to exhibit telltale physical and behavioral changes shortly after becoming pregnant. If you know how to recognize these changes, you can establish whether or not your cat is pregnant. The only way to be certain is to take your cat to the veterinarian. Unless you’re a professional cat breeder, you should have your cat spayed; cat overpopulation is a major issue that forces many cats to be killed when they can’t find a home.

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Recognizing Signs of Fertility

1. Check to see whether your cat is reproductive. If your cat is fertile and has just been in heat, she might be pregnant.

  • Female domestic cats become sexually active when the days lengthen and the temperature warms, which occurs mostly between spring and autumn.
  • Once the temperature warms up and she has attained around 80% of her mature weight, a female cat may begin her estrus cycle (go into heat). In rare situations, a cat may go into heat as early as four months of age.

2. Look out for mating activities. When a cat is in heat, she exhibits distinct behavioral changes designed to attract a mate that last four to six days. A cat in heat will show indications of restlessness, become more loving, start making low calls, and have an increased hunger. When a cat is in heat, she will begin “calling”—frequently and insistently meowing or mewling—and may lose her appetite.
A cat in heat will become more friendly toward humans, roll about, and raise her hindquarters up in the air while stomping her rear paws and keeping her tail to the side.

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3. Recognize the consequences of a cat in heat. If your cat has gone into heat, the consequences might be far-reaching: your cat may have been pregnant.

  • Pregnancy is a distinct possibility if your cat has recently been in heat.
  • A cat will undergo a “quiet period” after being in heat for roughly 8-10 days, during which her behavior will slow down. Following the tranquil time, your cat will go into heat again and will continue to go into heat between April and September.
  • To prevent your cat from becoming pregnant and/or going into heat, get her spayed as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Looking for Signs of Pregnancy

1. Examine your nipples for enlargement. A queen’s nipples will “pink up,” or turn red and swollen, around 15-18 days into her pregnancy.

  • Her breasts may swell and she may produce milky fluid.
  • Growing nipples are also indicators of being in heat, so keep in mind that they are not always suggestive of pregnancy.

2. Look for a distinctive “burro” form. Pregnant cats typically seem swaybacked from the side, with a somewhat round and protruding belly.

  • Many pregnant female cats take on the burro form.
    • If your cat is just overweight, she will be heavier all over, including her neck and legs, rather than just her tummy.

3. Take note of any nesting activity. Your cat will begin nesting habits a few days before giving birth as she prepares for the arrival of her litter.

  • Your cat may retire to a quiet spot, such as a closet, and begin arranging blankets, towels, or other fabric to provide a space for her babies to be born.
  • If you see nesting behavior in your cat and you hadn’t recognized she was pregnant, take her to the vet as soon as possible for a prenatal examination.

Caring for a Pregnant Cat

1. If you suspect your cat is pregnant, take her to the doctor. The vet can confirm the pregnancy and provide you advice on how to care for the cat. Inquire with your veterinarian about caring for the queen and preparing for the delivery.

  • Examine the queen’s tummy; an expert veterinarian can generally feel the embryos after around 17-25 days.
  • Allow the vet to feel for embryos; your poking might result in a miscarriage.
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2. Request an ultrasound. If the veterinarian is unclear after feeling your cat for embryos, they may use an ultrasound to establish whether or not your cat is pregnant and, if so, how many kittens she is carrying.
An ultrasound will be able to identify fetal heartbeats by 20 days into the pregnancy.

3. Request that the veterinarian take radiographs (X-rays). The bones of the kittens may be seen using an x-ray at around 45 days of gestation, confirming the pregnancy and the number of kittens in the litter.

  • Typically, the doctor will take two x-rays to gain views of the abdomen and count kittens while also searching for any abnormalities.
  • The queen or the kittens will not be harmed by these x-rays.
  • An X-ray is more accurate than an ultrasound in counting fetuses, but it is still not perfect.

4. If your cat is pregnant, avoid giving her immunizations, deworming, or medicines. Vaccines, in particular, may be harmful to the queen or her kittens when she is pregnant.
Consult your veterinarian before administering any treatments, including dewormer, to the queen or the kittens after she gives birth.

5. In the latter weeks of her pregnancy, she should increase her calorie intake. As she comes near to giving birth, you may notice your cat eating more and gaining weight.
Because kittens develop quickly during the third trimester of pregnancy, you should give your cat a growth (kitten) formula diet to supply enough calories.

6. During the final few weeks of pregnancy, keep the queen inside. As your cat comes near to giving birth, keep her indoors so she doesn’t locate a location to give birth to the kittens outdoors.

  • It’s preferable if you set up a nest or whelping box inside the home for her. Line a box with newspaper or an old towel or blanket and set it somewhere warm, dry, and quiet in the home.
  • Place your cat’s food, drink, and litter box nearby, and encourage her to sleep in the box in the days before the birth.
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What are signs of a cat being pregnant?

Fortunately, determining whether or not a cat is pregnant typically boils down to a few simple indicators, such as:
Weight increase will be noticeable in a few weeks (she will gain 2 to 4 pounds in total).
Nipples that are swollen and pink (called “pinking up,” this occurs around week three of pregnancy)
abdomen distended (noticeable around week five)

How can I tell if my cat is pregnant without a vet?

To know whether your cat is pregnant, look for these five tell-tale indications.
Nipples that have darkened. A pregnant cat’s nipples will get darker and larger after around three weeks. …
Morning sickness. Swollen stomach. Nesting.
Ultrasound is positive.

How long does it take to tell if a cat is pregnant?

A cat’s pregnancy lasts between 63 and 67 days, although it may last up to 72 days. Typically, a cat will not show indications of pregnancy until two or three weeks into the period.

How do I know if my cat is pregnant or just fat?

A pregnant cat’s abdomen is swollen somewhat more than halfway from the neck to the tail when seen from above. Pregnant cats will seem swayback from the side, with a somewhat round and protruding stomach. If a cat is just overweight, she will be overweight all over, including her neck and legs.

Is my cat in heat or pregnant?

If a cat has been having heat cycles every 10 days to two weeks and suddenly stops, she is most likely pregnant. Nipples swell and get rosier in color: this is referred to as “pinking-up” by breeders and may be the first visible indicator of a pregnant cat.

Can a human pregnancy test work on a cat?

Can a Human Pregnancy Test Be Used on a Cat? No, your cat will not pee on the stick. A human pregnancy test will not reveal whether or not kittens are on the way. Those tests are calibrated for humans, and your cat need a species-specific test, according to Vahrenwald.

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