Owning a cat or cats can be very rewarding. There are stressful moments too—many of which can occur if your cat becomes pregnant. Many cat owners have their pets spayed or neutered to prevent unexpected pregnancy. However, if you are interested in breeding your cat, or for some reason your cat gets into a situation outside your control, you may find yourself needing to learn more about the pregnancy and birth process of cats. Two of the most common questions cat owners have is how to tell if a cat is pregnant, and how long is a cat pregnant. Understanding these answers can help you determine the best way to take care of your cat during this phase of her life.
How Long is a Cat Pregnant?
The normal length of gestation for cats is 58 to 65 days—this is around 9 weeks. Unless you know exactly when the cat is impregnated (such as if you are breeding her), it may be hard to determine the exact date she became pregnant. Many cat owners do not realize the cat is pregnant until well into the gestation period. The cat generally does not begin to bulge until a couple of weeks before delivery date. Because of this, it is important to note some of the signs of a pregnant cat.
5 Ways to Tell if your Cat is Pregnant
If you have suspicions that your cat may be pregnant, watching for these signs can help you better prepare for an impending litter of kittens:
- The cat’s nipples enlarge and become pinker.
- The cat will gain weight, noticeably in the midsection.
- Increased appetite
- Many cats are more affectionate and show signs of nesting.
- The cat may be nauseous—a form of morning sickness.
If you suspect your cat may be pregnant, it is best to prepare for the delivery as best you can. You may want to give your cat a nesting box with soft blankets or rags inside. This gives her a place to deliver and may prevent her from choosing an inconvenient location.
When labor occurs, expect some struggle, but make sure the cat is able to breathe and move around properly. If there is extended struggle, you may wish to call a veterinarian—to protect the health of mother and babies.
When the kittens are born, they will not move around very much. They are blind and nearly deaf. The mom will clean them and should take care of them. You mostly want to encourage her to eat and drink as needed and keep an eye open to make sure she does not reject any of them. Luckily, in most cases, labor goes smoothly and you will soon have the joy of a houseful of baby kittens.