How to tell if your cat is pregnant
If you have a female cat who isn’t spayed she’ll definitely get pregnant at some point. So, if you haven’t fixed your cat, you’ll definitely want to be aware of the signs that your cat might be pregnant — just in case.
Just like humans, cats go through both physical and mental changes when they’re expecting. Unlike humans, though, cats are only pregnant for about 60-67 days. Because the typical gestation period is so short (about nine weeks), it’s totally possible to miss the signs completely, until one day your cat is nursing a bunch of tiny kittens (which, honestly, isn’t the worst surprise you could ever come home to). It’s easy to assume that your cat just gained some weight, and if the cat is already on the heavier side, you may not even notice that.
Is She Pregnant?
The best way to find out is to make an appointment with your vet. He can confirm that kittens are on the way, and get an idea of how many, in a few ways:
- Feeling your cat’s belly is sometimes useful but not always accurate.
- Ultrasound can confirm a pregnancy after day 16. Ultrasound cannot tell you how many kittens your cat is carrying.
- X-rays can determine the number of kittens to expect, but they are not always accurate.
There are a few clues that you may notice, too.
Her heat cycle stops
If you have a female cat who isn’t fixed, you’re probably already well aware of her heat cycles. When a cat is in heat, they typically become extra affectionate, they make noises that almost sound like they’re in pain, they roll around on the floor a lot, and they seem to be searching for something. Heat cycles typically happen every 10 days to two weeks, and can last about a week. If you’ve suddenly noticed that it hasn’t happened in a while, it could be because she’s pregnant.
Her nipples will look different
Like human bodies, a cat’s body has to also prepare itself for a baby. As the pregnancy continues, 2 to 3 weeks after she conceives, is her nipples enlarge and redden (also called “pinking up”). That means that your cat’s nipples will look differently if she’s pregnant. They’ll probably look more puffy and engorged, and may be a darker color. This is fairly easy to notice if you have a cat with light color fur. If you have a cat with a thick coat of dark hair, it may not be as easy to take note of.
She’ll be a lot more hungry than usual
When cats are pregnant, their appetite will increase… but if your cat already has a big appetite, you’re not going to notice this one. Just keep it in mind!
She’ll be more affectionate
Cats go through mood changes when they’re pregnant as well — but for them, it’s less about feeling gloomy, and more about feeling very, very affectionate. When pregnant, your cat may act more maternal, meaning that she purrs more and seeks extra fuss and attention from you. If you notice this, cuddle with her more! She’s going through a tough time!
Cats experience morning sickness just like humans do. As a side note, you should always notice if your cat is getting physically sick. If your female cat starts vomiting pretty regularly, take note — it’s very possible that she’s pregnant. It could mean something is wrong, and if it’s happening regularly, it warrants a trip to the vet.
In the later stages of pregnancy, a cat will begin “nesting,” which basically means they’ll start preparing for the birth of their kittens by looking for a quiet, safe place to have them.
This is a very obvious one: your cat’s belly will become larger and more engorged. If you notice significant abdominal swelling, this could mean your cat has some kittens on the way. Her belly will get big around 30 days after she mates.