If you have an unspayed female cat, she can become pregnant very easily. Your cat’s estrus cycle shares some similarities to a human’s menstrual cycle. Your unspayed female can go into heat by 6 months of age or even earlier, and pregnancy can occur as early as their first heat.
Maybe you’ve tried mating your cat or you’ve seen her in your yard with a male and are wondering if the mating was successful. Cats are notorious for being good reproducers, and usually, just one mating encounter has a high chance of conception. So, if you suspect your cat is pregnant, you may be right. Here are a few telltale signs to watch for that can indicate if your cat’s mating was a success.
If you see any of these signs, get your female cat to the vet as soon as possible for an official diagnosis. Also, prepare yourself to help your queen take care of a litter of tiny kittens that will rock your world—in a good way, of course!
The 9 Signs a Cat Mating Was Successful
1. Your Cat’s Heat Cycle Has Changed
The average heat in a female cat lasts 7 days. If she doesn’t get pregnant, she can go into heat as often as every 2–3 weeks. If your cat is expecting kittens, she’ll stop having her heat cycle. While this may not be noticeable at first, you’ll notice when she doesn’t go into heat again after a few weeks, so keep track of it and wait and see.
2. She’s More Loving Toward You
If you’ve noticed that your cat is more loving toward you, that may be a sign that she’s pregnant. Many pregnant female cats show more affection toward their owners. Your cat knows she can trust you. She may be showing you more affection because the mating was a success and she’s counting on you to help her get through her pregnancy. Keep in mind that some pregnant cats become aggressive, as hormones modify behavior in different ways.
3. She’s Eating More
If you notice you’re filling your cat’s food bowl more often, it could be a sign of successful mating. A pregnant cat will eat more food because the kittens growing in her belly need nutrients to grow. Plus, a pregnant cat will require a calorie-rich and highly digestible diet based on animal protein and healthy fats.
4. She’s Putting on Weight
As a pregnant cat is eating more during her pregnancy, she’s naturally gaining weight. On top of that, a pregnant cat is usually less active than normal, meaning that calories aren’t being burned at the same rate.
If your cat is pregnant, those little kitties inside her belly weigh something—even though they’re tiny—which only adds more weight to your cat.
While it varies how much weight a cat gains during her pregnancy, most pregnant cats gain around 4 pounds of body weight. The chances are good that your cat’s mating was a success if you’ve noticed your furry friend getting chunkier as time goes by.
5. Her Nipples Have Gotten Pinker and Bigger
An early sign of successful mating in a cat is enlarged pink nipples. You may be able to see these changes as soon as a couple of weeks following mating. This is your cat’s body getting ready to produce milk for the kittens.
As the milk glands start producing food for the kittens, the nipples get larger and they turn pinker as blood rushes to the area to aid in lactation.
6. Her Abdomen Is Swollen
In addition to your cat’s nipples growing larger, her abdomen will also swell during pregnancy as the babies inside her grow. This is simply the body’s response to making more room for those growing kittens.
If your cat is fat or has thick, long hair, her enlarged abdomen may not be so obvious. However, sooner or later, you’ll notice the kitty version of the “baby bump,” so keep your eyes peeled and be ready for it!
If you’re lucky, you may be able to feel those tiny kittens in your cat’s belly at only 20 days into the pregnancy. That is if your cat allows you to touch her abdomen while she’s focused on protecting her unborn kittens. Keep in mind that the kittens are very fragile, so no pressure should be applied. Please be extra gentle and careful.
7. She’s Looking for a Place to Have Kittens
A pregnant cat will show some nesting behavior during the later stages of her pregnancy. During this time, she’ll look for a place to have her kittens, and it could be in the oddest place, like a drawer or the back of a closet.
A soon-to-be-mother cat will want to give birth in a low-traffic area to keep the kittens safe. Don’t be surprised if you see her making a nesting area on top of your freshly folded bath towels in your hallway or bathroom closet!
You could buy a cozy thermal cat mat and place it in a low-traffic area to encourage your cat to have her babies there. Just be sure you cover it with towels and that the mat you buy is washable because, as you might have guessed, giving birth can get messy.
8. She’s More Laid Back and Sleeping More Than Usual
A pregnant female cat will often be more laid back when she’s preparing to have a litter of kittens and will sleep more than usual. If your normally active cat is now more chill and sleeping more than normal, the chances are good that the mating was successful.
This change of behavior is nothing more than an effect of the hormonal changes happening to her body, so don’t be alarmed if your cat lounges around most of the day and seemingly sleeps forever!
9. She’s Moodier Than Normal
Everybody knows that pregnant women can be moody, but not everyone knows that the same thing can happen with pregnant cats. The mating may have been successful if you’ve noticed your cat has some mood swings. For example, she might be your best buddy in the morning and rub up against you to show her affection only to be withdrawn and sullen later in the day. Don’t worry if your cat’s moods seem to be all over the place, as it may simply be those pesky hormones acting up again.
Now that you know what signs to watch for that can indicate that the mating was successful, you’ll have a good idea whether or not your cat is expecting kittens. To confirm your suspicions, take your cat to the vet to see if she is pregnant. If she is pregnant, you can get ready to welcome a litter of newborn kittens into your life and give them all the love you can while caring for their special momma.
Featured Image Credit: Boy77, Shutterstock
- The 9 Signs a Cat Mating Was Successful
- 1. Your Cat’s Heat Cycle Has Changed
- 2. She’s More Loving Toward You
- 3. She’s Eating More
- 4. She’s Putting on Weight
- 5. Her Nipples Have Gotten Pinker and Bigger
- 6. Her Abdomen Is Swollen
- 7. She’s Looking for a Place to Have Kittens
- 8. She’s More Laid Back and Sleeping More Than Usual
- 9. She’s Moodier Than Normal