To kick off our newborn kittens: start to finish, we’ll first go over how to tell when a cat is pregnant.
Whether your cat or the neighborhood stray, helping a pregnant cat is highly recommended if not a requirement as an animal person. As you might have guessed, cats are rather private animals so pregnancies might go unnoticed. Knowing how to spot the symptoms and give proper care to a pregnant cat is very important. This article will help you spot those signs as well as give some tips on prenatal care.
About Feline Pregnancies
Gestation in cats refers to the moment of conceptions until the moment of giving birth – a process usually taking between 61-65 days. When the kittens are born before the 60 day period they might be too small and immature to survive. As for the specific terminology & anatomy of it: “The uterus of a cat has two horns that are connected to the central uterine cavity. The cervix is the outlet to the vaginal birth canal. Developing kittens, encircles by their placentas, lie within the uterine horns”. – pets.webmd
Spotting the Signs of Pregnancy
There is no ‘early detection’ pregnancy kit for cats like there is for humans. Although the Witness Pregnancy Detection Kit is a product that was originally designed for dogs, it can also be used on cats – though it will only be able to pick up on the pregnancy after 30 days. Here are some common signs to look for when determining if your cat is pregnant:
- Weight gain
You won’t be able to spot anything other than weight gain in the first few weeks. The weight gain will vary according to the size of the litter – the more kittens, the more weight.
One of the first visible signs will occur after about two to three weeks of conception. The cat’s nipples will enlarge and become a pink-ish color.
- Morning Sickness
You might find that your cat’s eating patterns are changing. This could range from an increased appetite to no appetite at all. Keep your eyes open for signs of morning sickness such as vomiting or lethargy; they might occur between three and four weeks of pregnancy.
- Maternal Behavior
A change in attitude during this time is also significant. Your cat might seek more attention than usual and her purring might increase. She might also start looking for ‘nesting’ options and acquire quiet spots around the house.
- The Vet’s Confirmation
After about 22 days you can take your cat to the vet for a check-up. An experienced vet can determine if your cat is indeed pregnant or not. You will also know if the cat is experiencing pseudopregnancy (false pregnancy).
How to Care for a Pregnant Cat
- Be patient and kind. Your cat will be a lot more vocal and attention-seeking than usual. Spend enough time with your furry friend.
- Inform the rest of the family and explain the process. The last thing you would want is the kids dragging the cat around when all she wants is some peace and quiet.
- Don’t press on her stomach. The pressure on this area can harm the kittens or even cause a miscarriage.
- Visit the vet. Apart from doing an ultrasound the vet will also be able to help other conditions such as fleas or infection. You want your cat to be in the best shape possible when she is nurturing. Your vet will also help you establish a possible delivery date.
- Only increase the amount of food that you give her during week 4-6. You don’t want to overfeed her; this will lead to fat gain which will make the delivery process more complex.
- Create a perfect nesting space that’s comfortable and away from noise and people. Check that there is no draft or too much change in temperature in this area. Fill the box or basket with a lot of towels, old t-shirts and blankets.
- Most importantly, keep her safely indoors.
These are just a few signs to look out for pregnancy detection in your cat. Whenever you have doubts or questions, be sure to contact your vet or cat specialist for advice. Next article in the newborn kittens: start to finish series – the labor process.