A pregnant cat is called a queen and dealing with a pregnant queen can be challenging and stressful but this can also be an exciting time and in the end, you will have a few more kittens to play with along with the mama cat.
In this article, we will cover all the important facts about feline pregnancy – how to recognize that your cat is pregnant, how long the pregnancy lasts and what are the stages of pregnancy.
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How Long Are Cats Pregnant?
If you are wondering how long are cats pregnant, the simplest answer is that cat pregnancy lasts anywhere from 58 to 72 days. However, most cats will give birth after 63 to 67 days of becoming pregnant.
In most cases, it is difficult to tell exactly when your cat became pregnant but you can expect a couple of months to pass before your cat gives birth to her litter.
How to Tell if Your Cat Is Pregnant
Cats rarely show any physical symptoms of pregnancy for the first few weeks of the gestation period but after the first 2-3 weeks, you may be able to see first indicators of pregnancy. If you want to be sure as soon as possible, take your cat to the vet for confirmation.
First, you will notice that her nipples are becoming enlarged and red. Your cat may also vomit occasionally, a symptom similar to morning sickness in humans.
After about 30 days, your cat’s stomach will start to swell and you should also become aware of a noticeable weight gain. Most likely, she will gain two to four pounds, depending on the number of kittens.
Pregnant cats also tend to act more maternal than female cats that are not pregnant. For example, she might start nesting, purr more and seek more attention. This usually comes later in the pregnancy, which is also a time when she will have an increased appetite. You will notice the cat’s food disappearing from her food bowl much faster than before.
Stages of Cat Pregnancy
Now that you know how to tell whether your cat is pregnant, let’s take a look at the five stages of feline pregnancy.
Cats start going into heat once they reach sexual maturity. While the exact period when this happens can vary from one cat to another, they usually reach this stage when they are around six months old. If you want to avoid your cat getting pregnant, make sure to spay your cat early.
This stage lasts for 2-3 weeks and it is the stage in which some cats have morning sickness. Some cats may eat less due to nausea but once this stage ends they will start to eat more.
Once your cat starts to eat more, she will eat about 1.5 times more than her regular diet. Your vet will most likely recommend that you give your cat kitten food or food for pregnant and lactating cats during her pregnancy and for the weaning duration.
This stage begins after the first 3 weeks of pregnancy and it is a period when queens become bigger and start gaining weight, so you will certainly notice the rapid growth of your cat’s tummy.
In addition to always having access to food, don’t forget to put fresh water in your cat’s water bowl at all times. At this time, your veterinarian will be able to do an X-ray and tell you how many kittens your cat is carrying.
This stage begins about a week before your cat is ready to give birth when her nipples become quite visible and you may even notice milk drops. She will begin to nest by looking for a safe and warm place for her kittens.
If your cat refuses food, it is a sure indicator of impending labor since cats stop eating 24 hours before giving birth. Her body temperature will drop to about 100 degrees as well.
Labor and Delivery
When your cat goes into labor, it will be quite obvious because she will start to lick her genitals and she may appear nervous or agitated, especially if this is her first litter. Some cats also become unusually vocal right before labor.
Delivery commonly starts with strong abdominal contractions, after which you may notice some discharge from your cat’s vagina. This is the final sign that the cat’s giving birth and kittens should start coming out pretty quickly. Remember to call your veterinarian if the discharge is blood-colored or if it is black and heavy.
In most cases, the first kitten should appear about an hour after the cat goes into labor, with other kittens following every 15-20 minutes. The labor should go smoothly but if you notice problematic discharge or if the cat is straining without kittens falling out, get in touch with your vet.
Once the labor is over, the mother will probably clean the kittens and eat the placentas to get some extra nutrition. Kittens should remain with their mother for 8-12 weeks before they are properly weaned, after which it is time to purchase kitten food and get some ID tags for the kittens.
Cats are usually pregnant for anytime between 58 and 72 days. You will know that your cat is pregnant if she has morning sickness, her tummy starts to grow and she starts to show signs of maternal care. To be sure, take your cat to the veterinarian to confirm it.