How Long is a Cat Pregnant? Vet-Reviewed Science & Facts

pregnant cat-pixabay2
Image Credit: abubibolabu, Pixabay
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Vet approved

	Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If you have reason to believe that your cat is pregnant, it is worth confirming a pregnancy. Your cat may instinctively know exactly what to do when the time comes, however, there may be complications that occur. It’s common to have quite a few questions, including how long your cat will be pregnant. Normally, pregnancy in cats takes around 9 weeks. Keep reading while we answer all your questions so you and your cat can feel more at ease during this delicate face divider 2

How Long Is A Cat Pregnant?

Your cat will be pregnant for 65 to 69 days, or about 9 weeks. It’s easy to remember when you compare it to the human gestation period of 9 months. Like human women who often begin showing early in their second trimester, your cat won’t start showing signs until she’s in her second trimester.

pregnant cat-pixabay
Credit: fabiansaragoza, Pixabay

How Long After A Cat Starts Showing Will She Give Birth?

Your cat will start to gain weight and look pregnant after about 4-5 weeks into her 9-week pregnancy. So, once you notice something different about your cat, you’ll probably have less than 3 weeks before you’ll see some kittens. During this time, your cat’s appetite will increase, and you should encourage her to eat as much as she can. You should also switch her diet to kitten food because it tends to be higher in protein and other important nutrients that a pregnant or lactating mother needs.3 cat divider

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Pregnant?

Unfortunately, cats are experts at keeping their health issues hidden from their owners. Unless you hear your cat engaging in some mating behavior, their pregnant condition will likely go unnoticed for some time. However, you can watch for a few signs if your female cat likes to go outside and she’s not fixed.

A slight darkening of the nipples will be one of the first noticeable changes in your cat. They may also become enlarged and start leaking a milky discharge as your cat gets closer to giving birth.

Your cat may get ‘morning sickness’ as human females do. Unfortunately, like human females, morning sickness can attack at any time of the day, and since cats frequently get sick from hairballs, you might not notice this as a sign of being pregnant.

fluffy cat pregnant give birth and new born baby kittens_iarecottonstudio_shutterstock
Credit: iarecottonstudio, Shutterstock

Sometime after the 30-day mark, often closer to 6 weeks, you will notice the belly getting larger, which is often the first sign most people notice. Outdoor cats are usually quite slender, so it’s easy to notice when they are putting on weight. She will likely be begging for food, but that won’t explain the sudden weight gain.

When there are only about 1-2 weeks left, you will notice the cat starts to make a nest where she will have her babies. The nest will usually be quiet and dark, often in an out of the way closet. Make sure there are plenty of old blankets that she can use to create her nest and do what you can to minimize traffic around the area, so she feels secure.

You may notice your cat becoming more affectionate than usual toward you and other family members. She may become more vocal as well. However, she may take the opposite stance toward other pets and become more aggressive than usual.

Once you suspect your cat is pregnant, you can take her for an ultrasound or X-ray (for late pregnancies) if your budget allows. These tests will eliminate any doubt about your cat’s pregnancy, and it will also tell you how far along she is and how many kittens she will have. This information will help you be better prepared.

How Many Kittens Are In A Litter?

Most cats have between three and five kittens per litter, but it varies widely, with some having only a single kitten and others having more than 10. Genetics, along with age and health, can affect how large the litter is. The breed can also affect the litter size, with Siamese cats having large litters and Persian cats having smaller litters.
3 cat face divider

How Do You Know If There Is Still A Kitten Inside?

It’s very common to be worried if the mother cat got all of her babies out during labor. If you notice your cat straining to push out a kitten for about 15-30 minutes with no success, you should have her brought to your veterinarian.

Sometimes you can see the babies, and it will look like a lopsided lump wrapped in a “bag” of sorts. Other times, you will not be able to tell, which is one of the best reasons to get an ultrasound or X-ray before the cat gives birth. Doing so will let you know how many to expect and remove the guessing and worry.

What Months Do Cats Go Into Heat?

Cats will usually go into heat 6-9 months after they are born, but it can be as early as 4 months and as late as 12.  Cats like to have between 14 and 16 hours of daylight to mate, and this light can be natural or artificial, so it can happen nearly anytime. In North America, the typical breeding season runs from January to October. Cats only need a few weeks off after giving birth until they are ready to go into heat again and can have multiple litters per year.

cat + line divider


Your cat is likely to be pregnant for about 9 weeks, but unless you’re observant and lucky, you won’t notice until she’s closer to 5-6 weeks. An ultrasound or X-ray is a good idea so you can see how many kittens there will be and get a good grasp of when they will arrive. When your cat starts building her nest and gets overly affectionate, the time is at hand, and the baby kittens can come any day.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and have found it helpful for answering your questions. If you know someone else who has a cat that might have kittens, please share this in-depth look at how long a cat is pregnant on Facebook and Twitter.

See Also:

Featured image credit: abubibolabu, Pixabay

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart