One of the most exciting times for an owner of a female cat could be when she is expecting kittens. On the other hand, if you weren’t expecting to grow your feline family just yet, you might be starting to hyperventilate at the thought of the responsibility. No matter which side you find yourself on, it is important to determine whether your female cat is truly pregnant or not.
An expectant female cat typically shows symptoms of her condition when she is three weeks along in her pregnancy, which lasts about nine weeks in total. If your cat is not spayed and does not go into heat as scheduled, you will want to start watching for signs that would indicate whether or not your cat is pregnant. Use these cat pregnancy indicators as a guideline for seeking veterinary care and for helping your kitty to feel safe and content at home.
A few weeks after your cat becomes pregnant, you will be able to notice some differences in her bodily appearance and mannerisms. Though you will need to take her to the veterinarian for an abdominal check as confirmation of a pregnancy, these physical factors may tell you beforehand that kittens are on the way:
Changes in the nipples such as enlargement, slight swelling, and a prominent pink color are early signs that a cat is expecting. Her nipples will become even larger and will fill with milk when she is in her sixth week of pregnancy.
Weight gain generally occurs between the fourth and sixth weeks of a cat’s pregnancy. This increase in weight will initially present as a slight bulge in your cat’s belly and will later become more pronounced.
A decrease in strenuous movements such as body twisting, long stretches, and sharp rolls will be evident as your cat refrains from actions that can potentially injure herself or her gestating kittens.
Watching your cat’s behavior is another great way to see the indications your female cat is indeed pregnant. As her body adjusts to pregnancy, an expectant kitty will likely display some changes in her behavior and temperament as well. You may suspect that your cat is carrying kittens if the following developments occur:
Increased appetite typically becomes obvious when a cat is approximately four weeks pregnant. She’ll want and need to consume more food as she nourishes both her body and those of the kittens whom she’s carrying.
The desire to stay close to home is a noticeable symptom in female cats who previously spent a good deal of time outdoors. Once pregnant, your cat will likely prefer to stay inside more often.
Affectionate behavior toward an owner is very common in pregnant cats. Spend time with your cat and enjoy her as she becomes more loving and docile.
Longer periods of sleep are necessary for cats as they prepare for motherhood. As your cat’s pregnancy progresses, she will sleep more often than she did prior to expecting kittens. Many owners keep their cat inside during the lasts several weeks of her pregnancy to ensure her safety and well-being. Whatever you decide, it is a good idea to schedule routine checkups with your veterinarian, who will check your cat’s abdominal area to see how the kittens are growing and monitor your cat’s weight gain and overall health. However, many litters of kittens have been carried and successfully born and raised by a mother cat without ever seeing a vet.
So, if you fail to see the signs early enough, just know a mother cat has all the instincts she needs to get the job done. Keeping your female cat inside will ensure you know just when and where she gives birth to her kittens. This will eliminate the kitten hunt that sometimes ends in the missing of those cute first hours or the loss of the kittens entirely.
Noticing the signs of how to tell if your cat is pregnant early on can help you ensure that her needs as an expectant mother are met as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Always make sure that she is nourished, comfortable, and cared for during the pregnancy and birth process. If you have any questions or concerns about the progression of your cat’s pregnancy, contact your veterinarian for assistance.