If you’re expecting little furry bundles of joy together with cat-mama there are certain things that you should be aware of. Educate yourself on stages of cat pregnancy and everything related to safe delivery.
First and the most important thing for you is to be well aware that your cat can get pregnant even with 4 months. But, it pregnancy happens you don’t have to panic and go overboard, just treat your cat the way you usually treat it – like a queen. A queen with a bundle of kittens.
Cat Pregnancy Intro
If your cat is not spayed, you can expect kittens all year long. Even if your cat is just 4 months old. The truth is that cats get pregnant often and easily. Spaying is one of the most important actions when it comes to keeping the population under control and reducing the number of kittens in shelters or even on the streets.
Spaying also prevents a large number of kittens and cats being euthanized.
In addition, cats that are spay are usually healthier and they live longer. However, things do happen. Especially when your cat is young and it’s your first cat. Sometimes, things happen whether you had planned them or not.
Cats, just like humans, have their periods of peak fertility. In those periods they become pregnant – these periods are known as being ‘in season’ or ‘in heat’. Cats can come to this season about once every three weeks, meaning – the number of opportunities for your pet to fall pregnant is numerous!
When your feline friend is conceiving, you may be wondering a set of different questions, like how long your cat will be pregnant, what are the stages of cat pregnancy from week to week and what you can expect in each phase.
How Long Is A Cat Pregnant?
For a long-living pet that can live for even 15 years, pregnancy is quite remarkable. Cat pregnancy and stages of cat pregnancy are rather fascinating, unique and above all, short.
In the end, you can welcome a bundle of kittens. As a cat owner, you will probably be head over hills for the arrival and preparing everything for it. That is the scenario when you know that your feline queen is expecting.
However, you know how good cats are in hiding everything, including illnesses and injuries. Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised if you wake up one day with kittens in your bathroom or in a comfy corner of your closet. That’s why you should be well aware of pregnancy symptoms and ahead of the situation.
Cat pregnancy will last somewhere between nine and ten weeks from fertilization. On the other hand, it can last between 58 and 72 days. This period depends on many factors that include cat’s breed, health, age and quality and availability of nutrients.
Is Your Cat Pregnant?
First thing first, keep the track of your cat’s behavior and any possible sign of showing anything unusual. If you just think in just one second that your cat may be pregnant make an appointment with your vet to be sure.
The veterinarian is the only one who can confirm that kittens are on the way and how many of them exactly. Better safe than sorry, no?
Quick tip: You can check for yourself if your cat is pregnant – feel your cat’s belly to see if it’s swelled and firm.
There are two ways how a veterinarian can check if your cat is pregnant:
- Ultrasound – can confirm a pregnancy after 16 days. However, ultrasound can’t tell how many kittens your cat is carrying.
- X-rays – this is the only way to know for sure the number of kittens. They are usually accurate.
Good to know: Your feline’s belly will get bigger approximately 30 days after she mates. In addition, another common sign of pregnancy are nipples that are reddened and enlarge. This is known as “pinking up”.
How To Know If Your Feline Is Pregnant In a Nutshell
- Enlarged and red nipples
- Morning vomits
- Swelling belly
- Getting bigger, around 2.20-4.40 pounds (1-2kg)
- Increased appetite
- She purrs more and demands more attention from you
Five Stages Of Cat Pregnancy
Long story short, there are roughly saying, five different stages of cats pregnancy. Each stage comes with a specific background, demands, and outcomes.
First stage of pregnancy
Cat goes into heat and she mates. This is the period where the magic happens. In this stage, cats are highly fertile and 99% of intercourses will result in pregnancy.
Once your cat has mated, it takes between 1 to 10 days for the sperm to find the eggs. Fertilization happens in that period. Therefore, you won’t be able to notice pregnancy in a few weeks. With fertilized eggs implanted, little kittens will start their journey of development. They will develop fast.
So fast, that in the first 3 weeks they will start developing their organs.
Once the egg is fertilized, second stage of feline pregnancy starts. First signs of pregnancy are seen in this stage. As kittens develop their mama adjusts to their needs.
You will notice increased appetite, more than usual, as hormones begin to rage. Changes to the cat’s body are easily seen as the nipples will enlarge and turn pink. She will gain weight. noticeably.
At this stage kittens are growing surprisingly quick and your cat will gain even more weight. This is a rather exciting stage!
Just like humans, cats suffer from a bit of ‘morning’ sickness, and occasional appetite loss. In addition, vomiting is not exclusively reserved just for mornings. Your cat can be sick for the entire day. If your cat vomits often and longer, visit a vet. Also, you would want to check if your cat is not eating for any other reason.
In this stage, kittens are seen in your cat’s belly as they form. You should avoid picking up your cat up in this period because you can hurts babies. Use a cat carrier if you need to take her out.
Increased appetite is present in this stage and your cat will grow more as she gets ready for nursing the kittens after birth.
She will need extra nutrition to keep herself healthy. Therefore, let her eat as much as she wants, but make sure to add to her nutrition food that’s rich in iron and extra minerals – that way you will keep cat mama and kittens healthy.
Labor starts in this stage, approximately one week before she is due. This is the stage in which one the world will know that you feline lady is pregnant.
Her belly will be rounded and rather large. She will also start the process of nesting. What is nesting? Nesting is when your cat starts looking for a comfy and bu her standards safe place to give birth.
She will start losing her appetite as the kittens take up more space and press against her belly. Next, kittens are extremely visible in this period and you will be able to see them moving around and feel them. Cat’s nipples will be large and swollen, and your cat will groom herself a lot.
Good to know: If your cat starts shedding her belly fur, during her stages of cat pregnancy, don’t be scared. It’s just a phase, and it will grow back quickly once the kittens are born.
Nesting is crucial in this phase and if you see that your cat just can’t found one, make a special place for her. Also, you may notice milk dropping. It’s nothing to be worried about. If it starts coming in a regular series make sure to contact the vet.
This stage marks the beginning of the labor. This stage is exciting and above anything else apprehensive.
Your cat is about to deliver and to complete her stages of cat pregnancy.
You might even notice that your feline is leaking some discharge from her vaginal area that may be red. She will probably lick it all the time so you can barely notice it. She can just lay around or she may be rather anxious and show signs of disturbance like loud and strong meowing.
Sometimes, it can happen that cats don’t deliver until 10 weeks or even longer. This can be directly connected with the breed or just with the way your cat is wired.
Nevertheless, you have to be there and wait with her. Make sure to be around the labor if possible, because your feline girl will be anxious, pace, and meow and yowl more than on a daily bases.
A new mama will need your support. Such as she needed it during the entire stages of cat pregnancy.
But, if 10 weeks pass by and she still doesn’t deliver contact the vet. Basically, by the time your cat reach week 10 of pregnancy, she should begin labor and you should have very soon a littler of future-furry, super-tiny, mewling kittens to love on in days to come.
Interesting: A cat can have kittens from more than one father. It just depends on how many male cats your feline friend has mated with during her ‘heat’ period. Make sure to keep your cat safe.
Good to know: The first kitten is born, in most cases, an hour after labor begins. Others should arrive in this world on every 15 to 20 minutes. Cleaning the kittens and eating the placentas is the first thing a new mama will do.
Emergency Kit For Cat Labor
Although, everything will just go perfect with your furry lady and her babies you should have labor cat emergency kit, just in case. Nature does it all, but having a plan ‘B’ is taking precautions and being a responsible owner.
‘A must’ in your cat labor should be clean towels and clean sheets. You can have flannel as well, especially for kittens, as the chances are that they won’t get their little purrfect claws tangled.
In a nutshell, for a successful end on stages of cat pregnancy, you should have:
- clean towels
- clean pair of scissors – if you must cut cords
- iodine stock – to swab prevent infection and swab the kitten’s little bellybuttons
- disposable gloves – just in case you have to handle kittens
- sterilized gauze pads
- non-waxed dental floss – can be used to tie off the cords if needed
You have complete freedom to create a kit based on your experience and possible situations. Some people keep a notebook and pen to take notes and track the birth process just in case not to miss on any information.
You can add things like a scale if a vet told you to measure kittens, or milk replacement formula or eyedropper with feeding bottles ready to be used. (Never give cow milk to kittens, as cats shouldn’t drink milk that is not designed for them) Milk replacement and eyedropper should be part of this kit in case one of the kittens has any form of trouble nursing.
Labor Is Over. Now What?
Like expected, you feline lady will be extremely tired after labor, so help her to relax by avoiding distractions around her, now theirs – birthing area.
Her kittens will have their eyes closed so, although exhausted, she will be hyper-alert. However, in these moments she needs to be focused on feeding her kittens and grooming them.
Try to stay away from kittens area if possible, once the stages of cat pregnancy are over. But, if you need to move them, make sure that you wash and dry your hands before and after handling them.
The area around kittens should be kept hot with warm materials, as they can’t regulate their body temperate so young. Furthermore, make sure to keep water and food near your cat, but far enough from kittens, to prevent potential accidents.
Once the labor is over and the area of your cat and kittens is secured, you can end your “pregnancy watch” and enjoy watching kittens grow. Get ready for some extra love with that furry bundle of love!