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Is My Cat Pregnant? 9 Vet-Approved Signs to Look For

Written by: Jordin Horn

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

beautiful pregnant cat

Is My Cat Pregnant? 9 Vet-Approved Signs to Look For

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

Have you noticed some unusual behavioral or physical changes in your female cat? You’ve ruled out all potential options, but have you thought about pregnancy? If she is not spayed, she could be pregnant. Female cats go into heat cycles every 14–21 days. There’s a chance she’s pregnant if she’s been in contact with an unneutered male cat- within the right time period.

So, what can you look for when you suspect your cat is pregnant? We’ve compiled the latest research for you, so you no longer have to guess.

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The 9 Signs Your Cat is Pregnant

Physical Pregnancy Signs

1. No Longer in Heat

A cat in heat will display several odd behaviors, like loud, incessant calling (especially at night), a need to escape the house, and excessive grooming. These behaviors are typical in an unspayed cat every 10 days in the spring months and into the fall.

When you’ve noticed she’s been doing this before and suddenly stops for over several weeks, there’s a good chance that she’s pregnant.

chocolate point ragdoll cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: atrix9, Pixabay

2. Weight Gain

Pregnant cats will eat more to give their kittens the nutrition they need. This will result in her gaining weight. Your cat shouldn’t gain more than 4 pounds during her pregnancy.


3. Rounder Belly

Weight gain will increase the size of her belly area, and the growing kittens will take up more space. This doesn’t start happening until after around 5 weeks of pregnancy.

It’s tempting to feel her belly, but be gentle since you do not want to harm her unborn kittens accidentally.

pregnant cat lying_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

4. Morning Sickness

Just like pregnant humans, pregnant cats get morning sickness when they are expecting. Your cat is plagued with morning sickness when she vomits more often or seems tired. Keep an eye on her; if you feel she is getting sick frequently, take her to the vet.


5. “Pinking”

This process happens around 2–3 weeks after conception and may be the first sign you notice when a cat is pregnant. It’s called “pinking,” and it describes changes in your cat’s nipples when she’s affected by pregnancy hormones. When this happens, the nipples get larger and change to more of a reddish color.

cat lying on a bench_yarmrtsnk, Shutterstock
Image By: yarmrtsnk, Shutterstock

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Behavioral Pregnancy Signs

6. Eating More

If your cat is pregnant, she will have an increased appetite (given that her morning sickness isn’t too bad). This is good because she is feeding not only herself but her growing kittens, too.


7. More Affectionate

A pregnant cat might show more affection toward you than she otherwise would. Perhaps she is rubbing up against you more or purring or meowing when you walk by. Feel free to give her more love, but be careful with her belly. It’s best to scoop her up from behind her tail than to carry her by her abdomen.

furry-tabby-cat-lying-on-its-owners-lap_Impact-Photography_shutterstock
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

8. Sleeps more

Raising kittens is challenging work! Your cat might be pregnant if she sleeps a lot more than usual, up to several additional hours daily.


9. Nesting

Towards the end of pregnancy, your cat will gather soft blankets, towels, and scrap paper in a quiet and comfortable area around your home. She’s preparing a place for her kittens to be born in!

Male marble cat lying in cat bed
Image Credit: Iva Vagnerova, Shutterstock

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Veterinary tests

If you have found that your cat displays many of these signs, it’s a good idea to take her to the vet to ensure she is in good health. A veterinary doctor will do a few of the following to confirm her pregnancy.

Closeup veterinarian is making a check up of a adult maine coon cat with stethoscope in vet clinic
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

Feeling test

A veterinarian will be able to feel your cat’s stomach area gently to know if there are any kittens in your cat’s belly.


Ultrasound

The classic way to tell if any mammal is pregnant is through ultrasound. A sonogram machine will be applied to your cat’s abdomen, and the vet will be able to see tiny embryos beginning to grow.


X-ray

For cats, an X-ray is a standard test to see if they’re pregnant. The radiation transferred is minuscule and will not harm your cat or kittens. This is a great way to tell how many kittens are present, and you will be able to count the skulls and spines of the kittens.

What if I Don’t Want Kittens?

Even though the kittens will be well cared for by their mother, you might not have the space in your home or the resources to find the new kittens a new home. This is possible by taking her to a vet and having her spayed, even while she is pregnant. However, the procedure needs to be done as early as possible. Eventually, you won’t have a choice and must prepare to have kittens.

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How to Care for a Pregnant Cat

Congratulations on finding out your cat is pregnant! The adorable creatures will arrive in a few short months. Help your queen (what a pregnant cat is called) get all the comfort and nutrition she needs during this special time.

1. Feed her kitten food

Regular adult cat food might not have enough nutrients for your expecting cat. However, you can buy and feed her food that’s formulated for kittens. Kittens need more protein to grow healthy, and your pregnant cat also needs more.

cat eating at the counter
Image Credit: Isabelle Blanchemain, Pxhere

2. Small, frequent meals

Towards the end of her pregnancy, your feline might not have the same space in her stomach that she used to. She will fill up quickly because of her growing kittens taking up extra stomach space. Keep a little food in her food bowl all the time for her snacky eating habits.


3. Water

Your queen will need plenty of water throughout pregnancy and while she is nursing. When the kittens come, you will need to keep the water out of their reach, as it is a drowning risk for them.


4. Cuddles

As mentioned earlier, your queen may demand extra love from you during this uncomfortable time. She will appreciate more petting sessions, scratches, and holding. Be careful around her abdomen because the area is sensitive.

cat lying on humans lap
Image Credit: Piqsels

5. Vaccines and Deworming Meds

Ensure she is up-to-date on appropriate vaccinations and deworming meds, especially before planned pregnancy. By the time she is pregnant, she might not be able to get vaccines administered because of the health risks to her kittens. Your veterinarian can advise if vaccinations or dewormers are safe and necessary during this time.

Depending on the case, it might be advisable as they get passed on to the kittens in utero, protecting them for the first part of their lives. However, this needs to be pre-approved by a vet as not all products are safe for fetal kittens, and there are specific stages of the pregnancy.
Also, consult your vet about regular medications or treatments your cat takes. The vet might stop or change certain products, such as anti-flea treatments.

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How long does a pregnancy last?

A cat gestates for about 9 weeks, or 61–72 days. If you choose to have your cat checked out by the local vet, they can tell you the expected delivery date. And don’t be caught off guard; know the signs to look for to tell if your cat is going into labor!

Labor and Delivery

For the most part, your queen will take care of herself during the birthing process. It’s all very natural and usually does not need intervention. However, you can do a few things to help her stay comfortable during the process.

How to prepare for the big day

1. Comfy box

The best thing you can do for your expecting cat is to provide a nesting box for her. Gather a medium to large cardboard box and a few soft blankets and towels for her to rest and give birth in. Make sure the area the box is in is quiet and not too bright. She may choose not to give birth there, but at least she has the option!


2. Other Supplies

Some other supplies you might want to gather before delivery include:
  • Disposable absorbent pads. You can find these at any supermarket near the adult incontinence supplies. Place this under your cat before she gives birth for easy cleanup.
  • Heating pad. Keep it on a very low setting under a few layers of towels or blankets to keep the kittens warm.
  • Extra towels and blankets
  • Scissors and dental floss in case she does not cut her own umbilical cords.

3. Labor signs

It’s helpful to know what signs to look for if your cat starts to go into labor so you can be ready and nearby in case she needs help.

  • She will likely stop eating days or even up to a week before giving birth due to a lack of appetite
  • Up to 48 hours before birth, she will be uncomfortable and restless
  • She may meow at you more than usual to let you know something unusual is going on (her labor)
  • If you check her temperature, it will drop well below normal (which is 100–102.5 degrees F)

How many kittens will my pregnant cat have?

In most cases, you can expect your cat to give birth to anywhere between 4 to 6 kittens. If you take your cat to the vet, your vet can tell you how many kittens you have to look out for.

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Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ve been able to rule out whether your cat is becoming a queen or not. You can always take your cat to the vet to be sure or to rule out some other possible problem that could be causing your cat’s strange behavior. If kittens are in your future, we hope you have a smooth birthing process and enjoy those cute little kitties!


Featured Image Credit: Jim Polakis, Shutterstock

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