How can I tell if my cat is pregnant?

Is your female cat gaining weight? Are you suspecting that she might be pregnant? Our veterinary experts at Edgewater have shared some additional signs indicating cat pregnancy. Read on to learn more about what to look for and what actions you can take.

Isn't my cat too young to be pregnant?

If you have a female cat that hasn't been spayed and manages to escape your home, it's likely that she may become pregnant.

Female cats typically experience their first heat cycle between 4-7 months of age, which means they're physically mature and can have their first litter of kittens.  An unspayed female cat can go into heat every 3 weeks until she becomes pregnant or is spayed.

Without spaying, she could have up to four litters of kittens per year, with each litter containing between four and twelve kittens.If your unspayed adult female cat has been outside, there's a good chance she's pregnant, and you should seek veterinary care to protect both the mother and her potential 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 listed above, it's time to take it to the vet for a checkup to confirm pregnancy and/or look for signs of any underlying health issues 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:

  • The first thing your vet will probably do is palpate your cat's abdomen. This means that the vet will gently feel your cat's belly to see if there are any fetuses present. Your vet may be able to confirm pregnancy in this manner if your cat is more than 17 days pregnant.
  • 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 a number of kittens.

How do I take care of my pregnant cat?

Once your veterinarian has confirmed that your cat is pregnant, they will give you specific instructions on how to care for your pregnant cat. In general, it is advised to do the following to assist a cat in having a healthy and safe pregnancy and birth:

  • Do not squeeze or press on her belly.
  • Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while pregnant and nursing, so provide plenty of high-quality food.
  • Clean her litter box once or twice daily.
  • Ensure that her litter box is easy 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 warm and quiet in your home, well away from kids, other human traffic, and other pets.

How can I tell if my cat is about to give birth?

There are a few indicators that your cat is about to give birth. Nesting behavior, in which your cat seeks out secluded and comfortable areas to create a birthing spot, is a common sign. As the due date approaches, you may notice an increase in your cat's body temperature and restlessness.

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.

Do you think that your cat may be pregnant? Contact our Animal General vets today to book an examination for your feline friend.