Has your female feline friend been putting on the pounds, leading you to believe she may be pregnant? Below, our Memphis vets share a few more clues that your cat may be expecting a litter, and what to do.
Isn't My Cat Too Young to be Pregnant?
If you have a female cat who hasn't been spayed and managed to escape your home, there is a good chance that she may be pregnant. At around 4 - 7 months of age, female cats experience their first heat cycle. The heat cycle means that she is physically mature and able to produce her first litter of kittens.
Your female cat may go into heat as often as every 3 weeks until she either becomes pregnant or is spayed. An unspayed female cat could have as many as 4 litters of kittens a year, with between 4-12 kittens in each litter.
If your cat is an unspayed adult female that has had access to the outdoor world, there is a good chance that she is expecting kittens.
Is My Cat Pregnant?
Below are some other signs of pregnancy in cats that you may want to look for. Note that your cat may not display all of the signs below, depending on how far along the pregnancy is.
- Becoming more affectionate
- Notable weight gain
- Pink, swollen nipples
- Distended abdomen
- Increased appetite
- Hiding more often
- May sleep more than usual
If your cat is exhibiting the symptoms above, it's time to head to the vet for an examination in order to confirm pregnancy and/or check for signs of any underlying health concerns that could be causing these symptoms.
How Does My Vet Diagnose If My Cat is Pregnant?
There are a few different tests that vets can do to confirm whether your cat is expecting a litter:
- Your vet is likely to do is to palpate your cat's abdomen. This means that the vet will very gently feel your cat's belly to determine whether they are able to detect the presence of fetuses. If your cat is more than 17 days pregnant your vet may be able to confirm pregnancy in this manner.
- Your vet may recommend an ultrasound test to look for fetuses if your vet suspects that your cat is 14 days pregnant or more.
- If your vet believes your cat is further than 42 days into their pregnancy they may recommend an X-ray. Digital X-rays or radiographs are considered very safe and can help to determine a due date and number of kittens.
How Do I Take Care of My Pregnant Cat?
Once your vet has confirmed that your cat is pregnant they will provide you with specific recommendations on how to care for your pregnant cat. In general it recommended in order to help a cat have a healthy and safe pregnancy and birth to do the following:
- Do not squeeze or press on her belly.
- Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while she is pregnant and nursing so provide them with plenty of high-quality food.
- Clean her litter box once or twice daily.
- Make sure that her litter box is easy for her to access as her tummy continues to expand and drop.
- Ensure that your cat has a cozy, clean area that she can use to give birth and care for her kittens. This spot should be in a warm and quiet spot in your home, well away from kids, other human traffic, and other pets.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.