As happens with women, cats suffer two types of changes during pregnancy: physical and behavioural.
In this post we are going to give you some clues to find out if your cat is pregnant, although of course the definitive word will be given by your vet, usually through an ultrasound scan.
The basic fact is to know if your cat has had the chance to mate with a male. If your cat has not left the house, there is no chance of pregnancy and any of these symptoms could be due to another pathology.
Physical changes in a pregnant cat
The changes in a pregnant cat’s body are the most obvious, but also the ones that will take the longest to detect.
A cat’s pregnancy lasts between 63 and 67 days on average, but until the first 20 days have passed, there are no physical changes that are evidence of pregnancy. These are the most common changes:
- Slight puffing and change in colour of the nipples, which become slightly red (so that the future kittens can find them more easily when they go to feed).
- Bulging abdomen.. As the pregnancy progresses, the cat’s belly will grow as the foetuses develop inside her.
- Weight gain. Pregnant cats usually gain between 1 and 2 kilos during pregnancy, depending on the number of kittens she is carrying.r.
Behavioural changes in a pregnant cat
These are more difficult to detect than physical changes, but they are also the first to arrive. So if you think your cat may be pregnant, look out for them:
- More sleep. Hormonal changes and the body’s efforts to develop the foetus may mean your cat needs more hours of rest.
- Nausea. Like women, cats may also experience nausea during pregnancy.
- Increased or decreased appetite. If you notice that your cat is less hungry than usual (or more, although increased appetite is more common in late pregnancy), she may be pregnant.
- She is either more affectionate or more surly. If she purrs more and seeks cuddles (more than usual) this may be due to maternal behaviour. She may also be more surly than usual if the pregnancy is causing her discomfort.
- She begins to prepare the nest. It is common in late pregnancy for your cat to need to create a suitable environment for her kittens. She may move her bed to another corner, take a blanket or a cushion…
- Heat. You might think that, if she is pregnant, your cat should not be in heat. But up to 15 days after fertilisation, she can still go into heat even if she is pregnant.
How to care for a pregnant cat?
In addition to a lot of cuddling and keeping an eye out for any signs of discomfort, a pregnant cat needs a lot of care:
- Take her to the vet as often as necessary. The vet will set the basic visits, but if you have any doubts or if you think it is necessary during the pregnancy, ask the vet for everything you need.
- Be careful with her belly. During pregnancy, her belly will be more sensitive and it is better not to touch it. If you have to pick up your cat, do it under her paws, not by her belly, as you could be hurting her and the kittens.
- Feed her properly. During pregnancy, cats need extra calories, protein and energy. Choose a food that gives her all the nutrients she needs for her wellbeing and also for the development of her kittens. There are feeds specifically formulated for pregnant cats, such as Picart Select Kitten Chicken and Rice. This is a kitten food that is ideal for pregnant cats, with a higher protein content and higher calorie content. Available in dry as well as wet.