How Long Are Cats Pregnant And What Happens During Pregnancy
Have you ever wondered how long female cats get pregnant for compared to humans? And what really goes on when a cat becomes pregnant?
Well, the short answer is that female cats are pregnant for around nine weeks. During this time period, a cat might also show visible signs of change, including putting on weight, having a swollen abdomen, and even morning sickness.
Heres what you need to know about how long female cats are pregnant for and what exactly happens to a cat during pregnancy.
Stages Of Feline Pregnancy
There are roughly 5 cat stages of pregnancy. The first stage is when a cat goes into feline estrus . This is a cats fertile period. Cats can go into heat and breed as early as 5 to 6 months old. Although a cats breeding season is technically year around, the western hemisphere breeding season is typically regarded as happening between March and September. Interestingly, a cat can have a litter of kittens from more than one father. It just depends on how many male cats your girl has mated with.
Once a cat mates and the egg is fertilized, they enter the 2nd stage of their feline pregnancy. This is where your cat will begin to show signs of being pregnant. Signs a cat is pregnant includes loss of appetite, weight gain, and possibly little lumps you can feel which are the kittens developing in her stomach.
In the 3rd stage of pregnancy, the kittens begin growing quickly and your cat will continue to gain weight and develop a belly.
The 4th stage is where your cat begins labor, roughly about a week before she is due. During this stage, she will begin nesting and about two days before the kittens arrive she may even stop eating.
When Do Kittens Go Into Heat
A heat is part of your kittys estrus cycle a reproductive cycle that shares some similarities to a humans menstrual cycle. If your female cat hasnt been spayed, shell go into heat by six months of age .
Here are some things you should know about your cats estrus cycle:
- A cat can go into heat as often as every 2-3 weeks, year round.
- Pregnancy can occur as early as the first heat.
- Cats dont experience menopause, so they continue to go into heat well into their senior years.
- A cats heat may be identified through tests at your veterinarians office, but most commonly, its identified because of a cats behavior.
Changes In Eating Habits
Another sign of a pregnant is a change in their appetite. This depends on the individual cat. Your queen could suddenly go off her food and refuse to eat, or she may begin to eat everything and anything in sight. Either way, any drastic change to her eating habits could be a sign of pregnancy, so its important to be aware of how much, how often and what food your cat is eating.
Just like a human pregnancy, pregnant cats can get morning sickness and cravings. She may start to be sick on a regular basis as soon as 3-4 weeks into the pregnancy. Dont panic. Sickness is normal for a pregnant cat. However, its a good idea to get her checked out by the vet if:
- She doesnt eat for more than 3 days
- She is being excessively sick
- She is eating anything other than her food in abundance
Keep Pregnant Cats On Safe Flea Preventatives
During pregnancy, its even more important to keep your cat on a safe, vet-approved flea preventative. Always check with your veterinarian to ensure that a specific flea preventative is safe for use in pregnant cats.
Keeping your cat flea-free isnt just for their safety, but for the safety of their kittens. Flea anemia is one of the most common causes of death in young kittens.
What To Expect In The Early Stages Of Feline Pregnancy
In the early stages of pregnancy, Dr. Richardson says a pregnant cat, also known as a “queen”, may experience periods of transient vomiting similar to humans. “Equally, as the pregnancy progresses and their abdomen becomes heavier, they will slow down and need to sleep longer,” she explains. “As ‘morning sickness’ is usually transient, no treatment is required, however, it is important to note that anything that the queen eats or is medicated with can be passed to her developing kittens so we try to avoid medications unless absolutely necessary for the health of the queen.”
Your Cat Is Pregnant And You Need More Information Look Down For Questions And Answers
1.Is it true that cats are in heat in late spring and midsummer only?2.Does a queen bleed when shes in heat, like dogs do?3.How can you tell if a cat is pregnant?4.How long does pregnancy in cats last?5.Can a feline have more than one father per litter?6.How old does a cat have to be before she can get pregnant?7.How soon after giving birth can a cat become pregnant again?8.My pregnant cat has worms. What should I do?9.I have two cats, one male and one female. The female cat is pregnant, but the male is not the father. Will he attack the kittens once theyre born?
How Soon Can A Cat Go Into Heat After Giving Birth
Has your cat just had kittens? This is a busy and exciting time in your home. While mom is busy taking care of her babies, her body will be going through hormonal changes to prepare for her next heat cycle.
You may have heard that female cats cannot get pregnant as long as they are still nursing kittens. Unfortunately, this not true. Most cats will have an estrus cycle about 4 weeks after weaning their kittens if it is still the breeding season. She may still be nursing and in heat at the same time.
Estrus is described as the period of receptivity to mating and is linked with the production of estradiol produced by ovarian follicles. It is not to be confused with menstruation in human females, and you will rarely, if ever, see any signs of blood, although occasional mucous discharge may be evident.
Should You Spay Your Cat To Keep Her From Going Into Heat
If you want to avoid the extra cat pee appearing around your house , the inquisitive male cats looking for a mate, and the expense of an unplanned litter of kittensyes, spaying your cat is a good idea. In addition to the issues that crop up around your house if your cat is not spayed, consider the implications on a larger scale. Overpopulation is already an issue, and the rapid ability at which cats are able to reproduce makes spaying your cat well worth the cost of the procedure.
Vahrenwald points out that unaltered cats can have up to three litters a year. That’s a lot of cats, but it quickly leads to even more. Cats have no qualms about incest, so litters of kittens can result in even more kittens without spaying and neutering. According to the Spay and Neuter Action Project, two “unaltered” cats mating can end up with 400,000 descendants in six yearsand that’s why animal advocates point to TNR programs as a way to help reduce feral cat populations.
Cats who are not spayed “Really can create a population explosion,” Vahrenwald says. Talk to your vet for more information about how and why spaying and neutering can help your cats live happier, healthier lives.
Potential Cat Pregnancy Problems
Not every pregnancy in a cat goes as planned, and there are some risks involved that you should be prepared to address with a trip to the nearest animal emergency facility.
- Eclampsia is a life-threatening condition with symptoms such as restlessness, pacing, panting, drooling, loss of coordination, muscle spasms or seizure-like movements.
- Secondly, the fetuses can abort naturally. Signs that this may have happened may include fever, bleeding, behavioral changes or other changes.
- Lastly, resorption occurs when the mothers body absorbs the dead fetus.
Any of these situations are serious and need to be addressed by a vet immediately.
New To Having A Pet Or Just Need More Knowledge
About heat cycles in cats:fourth or fifth month of a kitten’sYou can see then, how a female cat may almost always seem to be in heat.
- Heat, oestrus, and estrus all refer to heat cycles in cats.
- The breeding season in cats lasts almost year-round.
- Heat cycles can start as early as four or five months in a female kitten.
- Heat cycles in cats last from several days to two weeks or more
- Heat cycles in cats repeat every two to three weeks until the cat is spayed or becomes pregnant.
- Heat cycles may cause pain or discomfort in cats.
How Long Are Cats Pregnant
The average cat pregnancy lasts 65 to 69 days. This may not seem very long, until you take into account the human-to-cat aging ratio. If a cat’s yearly age is determined by multiplying seven , then a cat pregnancy is really 14 months long. If, on the other hand, a pregnant one-year-old cat is considered to be 15 years old in human years , the comparative length of pregnancy jumps to 30 months. Definitely nothing to sneer ator envy.
What Should You Feed Pregnant Cats
Your cat will require a high-protein diet to keep her feeling her best during this time.
Increasing your cats food intake during the latter part of pregnancy will ensure shes getting the nutrients and caloric intake needed to produce quality milk.
Like babies, kittens begin to learn about flavors from their mothers diet in utero and during nursing. They learn to prefer those familiar flavors over unfamiliar flavors, and this preference persists even after kittens are weaned on to solid foods.
Giving your queen a complete and balanced and varied diet throughout pregnancy, nursing and weaning can help her kittens be more adventurous eaters as adult cats.
Youll want to make sure she has plenty of water throughout her pregnancy as well.
When your cat gets close to giving birth, she may start to refuse food or may require small, frequent meals. Its best to consult with a veterinarian to make sure youre not overfeeding or underfeeding your cat, making her pregnancy more challenging than needed.
Kitten Development Stage: Week 4
- The kittens will start working on balance and will walk more. The head is usually large compared to body size, so your kittens may be wobbly while moving around.
- They will begin to explore their surroundings, and you may find yourself on the hunt. Kittens usually stay close to the mother, though.
- Evaluate any harmful items, chemicals, plants or small openings to minimize risk to the kittens. They will still be nursing at this time, and you can start introducing them to the litter box. Dont be afraid if the kitten tries to eat the litter this is normal. Accidents are expected.
How To Help A Cat Give Birth
Just before she goes into labor, your queen will be wandering the house restlessly looking for a nesting space to birth in. You will want to keep your closets closed, but create a quiet corner with a paper lined box. She may or may not use it; let her choose the place she is most comfortable. Even if you do not approve of the spot she has chosen, do not try to move her. If your queen feels stressed or threatened at all, her labor can stop cold, possibly leading to a life-threatening situation for her or her kittens. Keep the house as calm and quiet as possible and do not get involved in the birthing process unless you are absolutely positive that something has gone wrong. Once the kittens have all arrived, and your queen is relaxed, the whole family can be moved to a clean and comfortable area that has been set aside for their bedding.
Congratulations, you are now the proud “parent” of several new kittens that will soon be scurrying around. Keep in mind that their immune systems and bones are very fragile; they should not be picked up by every cooing person that comes along — not to mention the “queen mum” may become violently protective if anyone does try to do this too soon.
Part 3 Of 3:caring For A Pregnant Cat
What About Dog Heat Cycles
- Proestrus: vaginal discharge, males attracted to females, females unwilling to mate. Length: 4-20 days.Estrus: swollen vulva, yellowish vaginal discharge, mating occurs during this phase. Length: 5-13 days.Metestrus : period after estrus or mating. Length: 60-90 days. If pregnant, pregnancy lasts between 60-64 days in the dog.Anestrus: period of inactivity between estrus phases. Length: 2-3 months.
So you could be facing up to 123 days of a TOTAL heat cycle, which breaks down to about 17.5 weeks!Some general “rules of thumb” for canine estrus:
- The first estrus cycle usually occurs by age 6-12 months; for some small breeds, as early as 5 months, and for some large and giant breeds, the first cycle may not occur until 14 months of age or older.
- On average, dogs have two cycles a year.
- The estrus cycle lasts on average 12-21 days, but maybe be as short as a few days to four weeks. The estrus period length varies widely between breeds and individual dogs.
- The length of a cycle varies widely, even for dogs of the same breed. If in doubt, assume the longer end of the range for the cycle length.
- Bleeding occurs prior to a female being receptive to a male , but male dogs will be very attracted to the female in the proestrus stage.
- Dogs can get pregnant during their first heat cycle, but this is not advisable as a 6-month old dog is not yet fully grown/mature, and complications for the mother and the puppies are more likely.
What Happens During A Normal Labor And Delivery
The signs of impending labor generally include nervousness, overgrooming, and panting; sometimes the queen will stop eating during the final day of pregnancy. In most cases, a drop in rectal temperature, to less than 100Â°F , occurs in the last 24 hours and signals impending labor. Milk will often appear in the mammary glands 24-48 hours before labor begins. Many cats will prefer to be secluded during the birthing process.
Once labor starts, most cats experience delivery without complications; however, if this is your cat’s first litter, you should closely monitor her until at least one or two kittens are born. If these first kittens are born quickly and without complication, further attendance may not be necessary, although it is ideal to be available if an emergency should arise. However, if you leave the room, it is possible that she will try to follow you, leaving her kittens and potentially interrupting the labor.
“If the delivery proceeds normally, the kitten will emerge after a few contractions.”
How To Know If Your Cat Is Pregnant For Certain
Your trusted, local vet will be able to tell you for certain if your cat is pregnant by using one of these strategies:
- Palpation: An experienced veterinarian can gently press on the cats abdomen and feel the cats fetuses as early as the 20th day of pregnancy.
- X-Rays: X-rays will only show skeletons of kittens about 40 days into the pregnancy. Its the best way to show the number of kittens.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasounds can find kittens as early as 21 days of the pregnancy, but it can sometimes be difficult to count the number of kittens.
My Cat Is Pregnant Now What
Once youve confirmed the pregnancy, youll need to decide what to do based on how far along the cat is in her pregnancy:
- For an unplanned pregnancy in your cat, one option is to terminate the pregnancy. Discuss this with your vet.
- The other option is to allow your cat to go to full term and deliver the kittens.
If you decide to allow the pregnancy to go to term, make arrangements for the kittens care in your home or contact local shelters or rescues to make arrangements.
Assuming youve had the vet checkup and have discussed vaccinations and medical concerns, youll next need to look at dietary needs.
Your pregnant cat needs a nutrient-rich diet during her pregnancy and fresh, clean water at all times.