Cat Pregnancy and Delivery FAQ

Cat pregnancy may occur when a female cat is in heat. It is helpful to know a few cat pregnancy basics, so that you know how to detect the early signs of pregnancy and help with the delivery.

When Can the Cat Get Pregnant?

A female cat can get pregnant after she reaches her sexual maturity, which may happen when she is 6 to 12 months old. An adult cat will have heat cycles and she can get fertilized during this period. Typically, this happens during the warmer seasons, from spring through fall.

What Are the Signs of Pregnancy?

The earliest pregnancy signs may be visible 3 weeks after the fertilization. The nipples of the cat will be pink, swollen, tender and the breasts may be larger.

Some cats may experience nausea and vomiting and they may also eat less than normally. After the third week of pregnancy, the cat should start to eat more and gain weight. In total, a cat should gain approximately 20 to 30% of her normal weight during pregnancy.

By week 5, the stomach will be visibly larger and you may also detect movement in the abdominal cavity.

How Long Does the Pregnancy Last?

On average, a cat pregnancy lasts about 9 weeks or 63 days. However, the delivery may occur any time between 59 and 67 days after the fertilization.

What Are the Pre-Labor Signs?

The cat will signal that the delivery time is near by displaying a hiding behavior and she will also prepare a nest for the kittens. This may start 1 week prior to the delivery date. You may also notice that the cat has milk in the nipple area.

24 to 48 hours before the delivery, the cat will stop eating.

When the cat starts licking her genital area, this is a clear signal that the labor is about to start.

What Should I Do During the Labor?

During labor, you should keep calm, make sure that the room is quiet and warm and try to help the cat deliver her kittens. Typically, cats know what to do during the delivery. After the labor starts, the first kitten should arrive within 60 minutes. If no kittens appear in 60 minutes, you should call the vet.

After the first kitten, the cat will deliver one kitten every 15 to 20 minutes. You should make sure that there is one placenta for each delivered kitten.

Typically, cats will cut the umbilical cord and clean each kitten; if she doesn’t you can use a bit of dental floss to cut the umbilical cords. After cutting, tie the dental floss around the cord.

Are There Any Pregnancy Complications?

The may be pregnancy complications that may result in the abortion of the kittens; the fetuses may be expulsed or be reabsorbed in the cat’s womb. Typically, if the cat is bleeding, this should be an alarming sign.

How Can I Avoid Cat Pregnancies?

Cat pregnancies may be avoided by spaying your cat. Sadly, there are a lot of kittens that end up on the streets or in shelters.