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How to Tell if My Cat is Pregnant?

Is your female cat gaining weight? Are you suspecting that she might be pregnant? Our veterinary experts at Richmond have shared some additional signs indicating cat pregnancy. Read on to learn more about what to look for and what actions you can take.

Isn't My Cat Too Young to be Pregnant?

If you have a female cat that hasn't been spayed and manages to escape your home, it's likely that she may become pregnant.

Female cats typically experience their first heat cycle between 4-7 months of age, which means they're physically mature and can have their first litter of kittens.  An unspayed female cat can go into heat every 3 weeks until she becomes pregnant or is spayed.

Without spaying, she could have up to 4 litters of kittens a year, with each litter having between 4-12 kittens. Therefore, if your unspayed adult female cat has been outdoors, there's a high chance she is pregnant, and you should seek veterinary care to ensure the health and safety of both the mother and her potential kittens.

Is My Cat Pregnant?

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.

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

If your cat is exhibiting the symptoms above, it's time to head to the vet for an examination in order to confirm pregnancy and/or check for signs of any underlying health concerns that could be causing these symptoms.

How Does My Vet Diagnose If My Cat is Pregnant?

There are a few different tests that vets can do to confirm whether your cat is expecting a litter:

  • The first thing your vet is likely to do is to palpate your cat's abdomen. This means that the vet will gently feel your cat's belly to determine whether they can detect the presence of fetuses. If your cat is more than 17 days pregnant, your vet may be able to confirm pregnancy in this manner.
  • Your vet may recommend an ultrasound test to look for fetuses if your vet suspects that your cat is 14 days pregnant or more.
  • If your vet believes your cat is further than 42 days into their pregnancy, they may recommend an X-ray. Digital X-rays or radiographs are considered very safe and can help to determine a due date and a number of kittens.

How Do I Take Care of My Pregnant Cat?

Once your vet has confirmed that your cat is pregnant, they will provide you with specific recommendations on how to care for your pregnant cat. In general, it recommended in order to help a cat have a healthy and safe pregnancy and birth to do the following:

  • Do not squeeze or press on her belly.
  • Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while pregnant and nursing, so provide plenty of high-quality food.
  • Clean her litter box once or twice daily.
  • Ensure that her litter box is easy to access as her tummy continues to expand and drop.
  • 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, well away from kids, other human traffic, and other 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? Contact our Broad Street Veterinary Hospital vets today to book an examination for your feline friend.

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