Wondering if it’s just one of your cat’s temper tantrums or it is time to welcome a litter of kittens?
True to their basic nature, cats are very notorious when it comes to breeding. Cats are known to be highly fertile animals that keep going ‘into heat’ every two to three weeks after they mature.
Going ‘into heat’ refers to a cat’s period of peak fertility, when her chances of an intimate encounter with a male cat turning into a litter of kittens inside her womb are the highest. At four months, a cat is ready to get pregnant. Since their gestation period is about nine weeks or 65 days, a cat can deliver kittens when she’s herself just six months old.
A cat’s pregnancy is not evident, much like ours, in the initial stages. The process is called ‘queening’ and is rightly called so because of the treatment that the cat requires. For your cat’s comfortable queening and delivery, it is important to recognize the symptoms from the beginning and not mistake it for some illness.
This blog post will be your answer to the most common questions and confusions that might plague your mind when you suspect cat pregnancy!
Symptoms to Look Out For…
In this section of the blog, you can find a few easy to detect hints that could help you confirm if your queen is pregnant:
As weird as it sounds, your cat is a lot like you. Morning sickness is commonly observed in pregnant cats in the initial weeks. It is also usually mistaken for some other illness. It is best in this stage to take your cat to a vet who can determine whether kittens are on the way.
Like women, not all cats may experience morning sickness, and the intensity also varies. It may include loss of appetite and vomiting. The changing hormones may also lead to lethargy and weakness.
2. Darkened Nipples
Once the initial sickness phase has passed, your pregnant Queen begins to develop physical symptoms. At around 16-18 days or three weeks after mating, your cat’s nipples get noticeably darkened and enlarged. The phenomenon is rightly called ‘pinking-up’ and is observed in most pregnant cats.
3. Baby Bump
Your cat’s belly will start to show a rounded swell at around 30 days mark of queening. The abdominal swelling may not be as significant, and it’s not a sign that is easy to spot. At this stage, you should avoid touching her abdomen as the unborn kittens are still immature and can be caused harm due to pressure.
The cat starts gaining about two to four pounds or 1-2 kgs of weight depending upon the number of kittens conceived.
4. Maternal Instincts
Towards the last weeks of her pregnancy, your cat will start acting more maternal. She will tend to find a warm and comfortable spot and start preparing it for delivery. This phase is called ‘nesting,’ a stage where her hormones incite maternal instincts in her. She will also become more sensitive, purr more and seek more attention from you.
5. Increased Diet
In the last couple of weeks, you will notice your cat’s diet shooting up. She will start eating about 1.5 times her normal diet. She will require more calories to keep her going, nourish her kittens and be healthy. Make sure she has the required amount of food and balanced nutrients at her disposal.
You can also take suggestions from your vet to supply her with some pregnancy-special food or nutritious cat food.
If you still don’t feel confident, you can find professional techniques that can help you, in the following section of the blog:
Taking Medical Help to Diagnose Pregnancy
Some vet practices prove to be helpful when in doubt about your cat’s pregnancy. Techniques like Ultrasound can help detect pregnancy as early as 15-21 days after mating. Ultrasound can, however, not determine the number of kittens in the womb.
Another technique widely used is X-Ray detection, which relatively gives a clearer picture of the number of kittens. On the downside, X-Ray can only be used after 40-45 days mark.
Like any pregnant mammal, cats will have a lot of hormonal changes throughout queening, which may convert to behavioral changes.
Although their bodies would prepare themselves for labor and most processes will occur naturally, it is always advisable to have your cat and expected kittens checked by professional vets. This will eliminate any chances of complications and keep you psychologically prepared and worry-free for your cat’s delivery.
Still got concerns? Feel free to drop down your queries in the comments section, and we will get back to you at the earliest!