If you decide that you want to breed your cat, it is important to know the basics about cat pregnancy. Knowing the stages of pregnancy and signs of delivery can make a difference between a successful or unsuccessful litter. Please remember that your cat should be current on all feline vaccinations and should have been tested for feline leukemia, with the result being negative.
How can I tell if my cat is pregnant?
Most cats won’t begin to bulge in the mid section until a couple of weeks before delivery, but there are a few signs to watch for to determine if your cat is pregnant or not.
– Some cats may become more affectionate than usual.
– Your cat’s nipples will become soft, pink and enlarged.
– Eventually weight gain.
The regular gestation for cats is between 58 and 65 days, somewhere around 9 weeks. Cat’s can have somewhere between 1 to 8 kittens in a litter. If you want to know if your cat is pregnant or how many kittens she will be having, you can call our office and schedule an appointment for an ultra sound.
How to care for my pregnant cat?
Having our office perform a prenatal check up on your cat can help to set your mind at ease. Making sure, by using the ultra sound if she is really pregnant and just a general health exam is a good start. Keeping plenty of clean water at all times is important. And around 3 weeks before the kittens are due adding a good quality kitten food to her diet will help. Keeping her on the kitten food even after the kittens are born is also important. Getting a whelping box prepared offers your cat a safe and quite place to deliver her kittens. If you happen to notice any type of parasites such as fleas or ear mites as well as internal parasites such as roundworms, please contact our office first before administering any type of drug or supplement to your cat or kittens.
Labor and Delivery
The following are just a few signs to watch for prior to your cat’s delivery:
– Licking the vaginal area
– Calling as if in heat
– Decreased activity
– Discharge of milk from the nipples
Giving your cat privacy and keeping things quite is the best thing to do for her. Move her liter box close and give her space. When kittens begin to arrive there are also a few signs to look for that would suggest that you need to call the veterinarian.
– Placenta not seen for each birth.
– Mother appears sick or weak.
– Greenish discharge or bright red bleeding.
– Hard labor with no kittens delivered.
– Kitten stuck in the birth canal.
– Delay of 1 hour between kittens.
If you notice one or more of these signs please contact our office immediately. If your cat goes into labor after hours, our doctors are on 24 hour call, please call our office at 505-869-2627 and follow the instructions to contact a doctor. It is important that your cat is seen at this point.
Caring for your new kittens
Your cat and her new kittens should be left alone for the first few days. Kittens will usually begin to open their eyes around 3 days to 2 weeks. Around four weeks of age you can begin to offer soft kitten food to them even though they will still be nursing. And at eight weeks of age, the kittens are usually old enough to start adopting out to good homes. Remember that at 6 weeks of age your kittens are ready to start their vaccinations. Please see our topics of interest page under “feline vaccinations” for a complete schedule.
If you have any further questions or would like to set an appointment for your soon to be or pregnant cat, please contact our office at
505-869-2627 and we will be glad to help you.