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IS YOUR CAT PREGNANT? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Does your little ball of fur have a bun in the oven? If this is your first time to have a cat, a pregnant one, to say the least, here are some helpful things you should be aware of — straight from a fur parent. Cats are affectionate and sophisticated animals that belong to the same family as lions and tigers. That, in itself, should give you enough idea that cats are pretty tenacious, too. 

When female cats, or queens, go on a heat cycle, it could last for several days and will only stop until they mated. It means that if your queen has access to the outdoors or is living with an unneutered male cat, the chances of your queen getting pregnant is very high. The heat or estrus cycle will continue until your queen is mated or fixed (spayed). 

So, before we proceed with the things you should prepare if you live with a pregnant feline friend, we would like to give you this reminder first. If you have not discussed with your veterinarian your plans of letting your cats breed, we highly suggest you have them fixed. Not only does it help them be healthy, but it also prevents unwanted pregnancies. There are already many homeless cats out there. If you want cats so badly, adopt, don’t shop— or get your cats pregnant, especially if you are not mentally, physically, and financially prepared for it. Check this article about neutering and spaying.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are some things you need to know when caring for a pregnant cat.

How long are cats pregnant?

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

On average, cats carry their babies from 58-67 days. That’s nine weeks of pregnancy. Unlike humans, cats only need almost two months to produce offspring. That also means each day matters for the momcat. From week one until week 4, you wouldn’t really see many physical changes and differences in your cat’s behavior. 

You may start to see or “believe” that your cat is already “pinking up”, a term used to describe a pregnant cat’s nipple—a clear indication that your cat is bearing furbabies in her belly. But pinking up usually become evident from week five onwards. 

Week 5 is the most crucial time for

As stated earlier, you are already highly likely sure that your cat is pregnant by this time: The evident or engorged, pink nipples, a noticeable weight gain, belly starting to descend, and some changes with her mood. 

By this time, your cat will start looking for affection, even from those they don’t like pre-pregnancy. Yes, pregnant cats’ temperament changes when they are pregnant. They become weirdly clingy, but who’s complaining? That behavior change is the cat’s way of telling you that they trust you and they expect you to take care of them. While they are known for being efficient in breeding and giving birth, it is still a harrowing and stressful event for them. 

Like humans, they, too, experience mood swings, morning sickness, loss of appetite, or the opposite, and a whole lot more. So, it is crucial to establish to your pregnant cat that you are there for her along the way. They need to feel that they are in a safe space and that they will be surrounded by people they can trust when they feel vulnerable. 

Prepare boxes and hidey-hole for your cat. They will continuously scan the place to mark a possible spot where they could give birth—this is called nesting. Be mindful of the spots, whether it be a cabinet, under a table, or inside your closet, because these are the likely places they will run to when it’s time to push. 

Bring your cat to the vet.

The most important thing you should do when you suspect your cat is pregnant is to bring her to the vet. Now, don’t go rushing to the vet, though. To save you from an unnecessary trip (which is stressful for cats), wait it out until the fifth week from the presumed time your cat mated. 

Cat having ultrasound

As mentioned above, the fifth week is when things start to become pretty clear about the status of your queen. It is also when ultrasound can detect fetal movement. An X-ray can be done by the sixth week to determine the size of the litter. 

If you are uncertain about the status of your cat and do not know when they mated, bring them still to the vet for a general check-up. The vets would likely give you instructions on ensuring your cats get the nutrition they need to stay healthy, pregnant or not. 

Prep for the big day

cat on labor

Once your vet confirms that your cat is pregnant, they could give you an approximate timeline for when the queen is due to give birth. She should be given vitamins, healthy food, iron supplements, and lots of water during this time.

It is also encouraged to let your pregnant cat stay with you or somewhere she can easily see you. Trust me; this will be very crucial during labor because when you have successfully established that trust and connection with your pregnant cat, you will be the first one she will look for. 

Take a deep breath, and focus on your cat in pain

Probably the most important thing you remember is to stay calm. As said earlier, cats are tenacious, efficient breeders. They know what they have to do, and they can do it with very low risks of complications. So, do not panic. Prepare some pet pads, clean rugs, and lots of towels. You will also need light because you have to make sure that for every kitten born, it should be accompanied by a placenta bag, which the momcat will eat afterwards.

Prepare some gauze pads and a scissor to be ready to cut the placenta from the newborn kitten if the momcat couldn’t do it. Though highly unlikely, it is still possible that the momcat would fail to cut it. 

cat eating placenta

Soon as the newborn kittens are out, they should start nursing. If a newborn kitten is not nursing, try to gently pick it up and check the mouth for blockage. If there is, use a blow pump to take it out and try to help the newborn kitten nurse to the momcat until it can do it independently. 

Aftercare is caring

newborn kittens nursing

It would be ideal to call your vet during this time so that they can tell you if there is anything else you’ll need to do. Check out the next article we’ll publish to help you further with your pregnant cat. 

newborn kittens taking heat from artificial light

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