Domestic Cat Pregnancy

A mature female domestic cat that is not spayed may become pregnant and give birth to kittens from early spring to fall. The pregnancy in cats lasts about 9 weeks and you can detect some symptoms of pregnancy as early as 3 weeks after the conception. The delivery of the kittens may be done at home by you or you may be assisted by a vet.

Symptoms of Cat Pregnancy

A pregnant cat may display early symptoms of pregnancy. You may be able to notice some changes in her behavior. She will be quieter than usual and more affectionate. The cat may also start nesting and sleep more than usual.

The nipples will also be modified; a pregnant cat has nipples with a pinkish hue; by the 3rd week of the pregnancy, the nipples become more visible and may also be tender to the touch.

After week 4 or 5 of pregnancy, the kittens will be visible, as the cat’s abdomen will be larger. You may even notice the kittens moving and a vet may even count the kittens.

The pregnancy may last anywhere between 57 and 72 days.

Just before the delivery, the cat will signal this by being more agitated than usual; she will also seek a place for delivery and gather bedding or clothes in this place. The cat will also refuse to eat before the delivery.

The Delivery

The cat will start having contractions and within 1 hour she should start delivering one kitten each 15 to 20 minutes. If you notice that the contractions last more than 1 hour and the cat doesn’t deliver any kittens, you should contact the vet.

You also have to make sure that for each kitten there is a placenta; if a placenta remains inside the cat, this may lead to a severe infection.

Pregnancy Risks and Complications

There are a few risks and complications during the pregnancy, so you should be informed about these if your cat is pregnant. Infections and certain medications may influence the normal development of the kittens. For this reason, the cat must be protected and held indoors and shouldn’t be exposed to pet shelters where there may be high infection risks.

The cat shouldn’t be vaccinated during pregnancy. Ideally, all vaccines should be administered prior to a pregnancy, so that the cat’s milk will contain essential antibodies for the kittens as well.

If you notice bleeding during the pregnancy, you should contact the vet. The cat may abort the kittens.

Diet During Pregnancy

The diet of your cat during pregnancy is important to preserve the cat’s health and to give sufficient nutrients to the kittens as well. You should also ensure that the cat gets enough food during pregnancy; remember that she needs to eat more than usual. 1 to 3 weeks before the delivery, you may switch to wet kitten food, so that the cat will produce milk with ingredients that are recommended for kittens.

Don’t give your cat vitamins or other supplements unless your vet indicates this; the supplements may affect the normal development of the kittens.