Welcoming small bundles of furry joy into your home is an exciting time for both you and your cat. But, while a human pregnancy lasts 9 months, the cat gestation period is very different. So, how long are cats pregnant for? And, what do you need to do to ensure that your cat has a happy pregnancy?
In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about cat pregnancy so that you can take all the necessary steps to keep your furry friend as comfortable as possible.
Signs Your Cat May Be Pregnant
Learning how to tell if a cat is pregnant is essential for their health. It’s also important for you to have plenty of time to prepare for the birth of the kittens. The truth is, without an X-ray or ultrasound, you can’t be 100% sure until she’s already well into her pregnancy.
Physical Signs of Pregnancy
Before answering the question “how long are cats pregnant for?”, it’s important you know which signs to look out for to be sure that your cat is pregnant in the first place. Some physical symptoms include:
- A swollen abdomen
- Weight gain
- Sickness in the morning
- Nipple discharge
- Darker nipples
You may notice that your cat is acting a little out of the ordinary. These behavioural changes could be signs that she is pregnant. For example, she may:
- Become hungrier
- Start vomiting infrequently
- Become more affectionate
- Purr louder and more frequently than usual
- Be less tolerant of other animals
When getting closer to her due date, she may also suddenly lose her appetite and start nesting to get ready for the delivery of her kittens.
How Long Are Cats Pregnant For? The 4 Stages of Cat Pregnancy
So, how long are cats pregnant for? Well, unlike the 9 months of pregnancy that humans go through, the cat gestation period takes anywhere between 63 and 65 days. The majority of cats become fertile at the age of six months but some breeds can get pregnant earlier. Cats typically go through 4 stages during pregnancy. These include:
- The Early Stage – During this stage, your cat may experience morning sickness, a loss of appetite, and nausea.
- The Middle Stage – This is the time where your cat will gain a significant amount of weight. You may also be able to feel the kittens developing in her belly. Because one litter of kittens can have more than one father, the peak of her weight and size gain will depend on the number of kittens she’ll be delivering.
- Pre-Labour – During pre-labour, her nipples will become more prominent and she may start lactating a little. She’ll also be nesting, i.e. finding a cosy spot to welcome her babies into the world.
- Labour and Delivery – When your cat goes into labour, she’ll start licking her genitals more often and will make noises due to the discomfort. She will start giving birth within one hour of going into labour and kittens should appear every 15 to 20 minutes.
While you want to help her by staying comfortable, you should let your cat do her thing. You must leave the kittens with her without touching them so that she can clean them after birth. She will also eat the placenta for extra nutrients.
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