Has your female cat been putting on the pounds and acting differently, but you're not sure why? Did she recently get outside or go somewhere she could have been around other cats? Here, our Little Rock vets share how to tell if your cat is pregnant and what to do.
Isn't My Cat Too Young to be Pregnant?
If your female cat isn't spayed and recently got out of your home, there is a good chance they managed to get pregnant. Unspayed female cats experience their first heat cycle at 4 to 7 months of age. The heat cycle means that she is physically mature and able to produce her first litter of kittens. An female cat could have as many as 4 litters of kittens a year, with between 4 to 12 kittens in each litter.
If your adult female cat is not fixed and had access to the outside world, there is a good chance she's expecting kittens!
Is My Cat Pregnant?
Here are some common signs that your cat might be pregnant:
- 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. This is also important to do in order to rule out any underlying health conditions causing these behaviors.
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:
- Your vet is likely to do is to palpate your cat's abdomen. This means that the vet will very gently feel your cat's belly to determine whether they are able to 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 number of kittens.
How Do I Take Care of My Pregnant Cat?
Once your vet has confirmed that your cat is pregnant, they will give you some tips and instructions on how to properly care for them during the process.
In general, the owner of a pregnant cat will be given these guidelines:
- Do not squeeze or press on her belly
- Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while she is pregnant and nursing so provide them with plenty of high-quality food
- Clean her litter box once or twice daily
- Make sure that her litter box is easy for her 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 in a warm and quiet spot 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.