The 5 Stages of Cat Pregnancy

Cat pregnancy has 5 stages, and each of these has particular symptoms that can help you know if the labor is near. Pregnant cats should be given extra care and attention, to ensure that the delivery is normal and the cat stays nourished and healthy.

1. Fertilization

Female cats that have not been neutered can get pregnant. A kitten reaches sexual maturity as early as 6 months. Certain cat breeds will only reach maturity at 12 months. After reaching maturity, a female cat will get heat cycles, also known as oestrus, and can get pregnant if fertilized.

The pregnancy may last between 61 to 67 days, but on average vets consider that a cat pregnancy lasts about 9 weeks (63 days).

2. Early Stage

The early stage of pregnancy is considered the first 4 weeks after fertilization. The early stage of feline pregnancy will be signaled by a few subtle symptoms. Your cat may lack appetite due to nausea; cats may experience morning sickness and will lose a bit of weight. Your cat will regain her appetite after the third week of pregnancy, when she will start gaining weight.

In the second week, you may notice that your cat has pink nipples that are swollen and sensitive to touch.

In the third week of pregnancy, you may feel some lumps when palpating the cat’s abdomen. A vet can tell if the lumps are kittens, as lumps could also indicate disease. An ultrasound can be performed starting from week 3, and this may show the presence of kittens.

The cat may also look heavier, having extra fat deposits on her sides.

3. Middle Stage

The middle stage is defined by weight gain. A normal weight gain during pregnancy is between 20 to 30% of the total body weight.

An x-ray test can determine the presence of the kittens and how many kittens your cat is expecting.

4. Pre-Labor

The pre-labor stage is also known as the nesting stage, when the cat will start looking for secluded, warm places where she can deliver her kittens. This stage starts one week prior to the delivery.

As the delivery time gets closer, the cat may also have drops of milk in the nipple area.

When the rectal temperature drops to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, this means that the labor will start in less than 24 hours.

The cat will stop eating one or two days prior to the delivery.

5. Labor

The cat will signal the beginning of the labor stage by licking her genitals and abdomen; this will stimulate the birth. The cat can become very vocal, signaling discomfort.

After the labor starts, the cat should give birth to a kitten within 60 minutes. The following kittens should arrive every 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure a placenta is eliminated with each kitten. Allow the cat to clean the kittens, and if she doesn’t cut the umbilical cords, use some dental floss to cut the cords and tie them.