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How long is a cat pregnant?

Has your feline friend started gaining weight, making you think she might be pregnant? Below, our Exeter vets give you a few more clues as to whether your cat is pregnant, how long she'll stay pregnant, and what to do about it.

Is my cat old enough to be pregnant?

If your cat has not been spayed and has managed to escape from your home, she may be pregnant. Your cat will likely experience her first heat cycle between the ages of 4 and 7 months, indicating that she's physically mature and ready to have her first litter of kittens.

Depending on where you live, your unspayed cat may come into heat every three weeks until she becomes pregnant or is spayed. An unspayed cat can have up to four litters of kittens a year, each containing between 4 and 12 kittens. This means that if your cat is an unspayed adult female who has had access to the outside world, there's a good chance she's expecting kittens.

Is my cat pregnant?

Pregnancy in domesticated cats lasts about 2 months, so the first question to ask yourself is whether your cat has been outside over the past 8 weeks. If so, below are some other signs of pregnancy in cats that you may want to look for. Note that your cat may not display all of the signs below, depending on how far along the pregnancy is.

  • Notable weight gain
  • Pink, swollen nipples
  • Distended abdomen
  • Increased appetite
  • Becoming more affectionate
  • Hiding more often
  • May sleep more than usual

If your kitten shows the above signs and has not been spayed or neutered, it's time to go to the vet for an examination to confirm the pregnancy and/or check for signs of an underlying health problem that could be causing these symptoms.

How long are cats pregnant?

A cat's gestation period lasts between 63 and 67 days but can go up to 72 days. In months, this corresponds to around two days. In weeks, it's about eight to ten days. Generally, a cat will not show signs of pregnancy for two to three weeks. The pet owner, therefore, has about a month to plan and prepare.

How will my vet know if my cat is pregnant?

There are a few different tests that vets can do to confirm whether your kitty is pregnant:

  • The first thing your vet will probably do is palpate your cat's abdomen. This means that the vet will gently feel your cat's belly to see if they can detect the presence of fetuses. Your vet may be able to confirm pregnancy in this manner if your cat is more than 17 days pregnant.
  • Your vet may recommend a quick and easy ultrasound test to look for fetuses if your vet suspects that your cat is 14 days pregnant or more. Heartbeats can be spotted using ultrasound sometime after 21 days of pregnancy.
  • If your vet believes your cat is fairly far along in her pregnancy (further than 42 days), they may recommend an X-ray. Digital X-rays or radiographs are considered very safe and can help determine the kittens' due dates and how many there are.

How do I care for my pregnant cat?

Once your vet has confirmed that your feline friend is pregnant, he will give you specific recommendations on caring for your cat. That said, several things are generally recommended to help a cat have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

  • Do not squeeze or press on her belly since this can cause pain and, in some cases, may lead to miscarriage.
  • Clean her litter box once or twice daily, and make sure that her litter box is easy for her to access as her tummy continues to expand and drop.
  • Provide your pregnant kitty with plenty of high-quality food. Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while pregnant and nursing. Ask your vet to recommend the best food for your pregnant cat.
  • Ensure that your cat has a cozy, clean area that she can use to give birth and care for her kittens. This spot should be warm and quiet in your home, away from kids, other human traffic, and pets.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think that your cat may be pregnant? Book an appointment today. Our experienced Exeter vets can help you with your cat's pregnancy.

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