What to Expect During the Cat Gestation Period

The cat gestation period lasts 9 weeks on average, or about 63 days. A normal pregnancy is between 57 and 69 days. Knowing what to expect and what is normal is helpful to make sure your pet stays healthy during and after the pregnancy.

Early Stages

A pregnant cat doesn't have many requirements. She will need a protein rich food and some supplements.

Early in the pregnancy, the cat will often vomit and lack appetite.

Offer her extra care. during pregnancy, cats tend to be more loving.

Make sure she is parasite free. Fleas may cause anemia in the mother, because they feed on the cat's blood. Fleas can also cause the death of the kittens before birth.

Remember not to give any vaccines to a pregnant cat. The kittens are susceptible of getting infected with the viruses that are injected. When cats receive the feline distemper vaccine during pregnancy, the kittens are likely to be born with brain malformations.

Later Stages

The cat will need more food, and she may double or triple her intake of food. Start feeding her kitten food, so that the milk she produces has the right nutrients.

She will gain weight and have a swollen abdomen. You may even palpate her abdomen and feel the kittens.

When the delivery time is near, your cat will look for a good spot to deliver the kittens. This may be a warm, secluded room. You will notice that your cat is hiding.

Cat Birth

When the cat is restless and starts grooming excessively, nesting, vomiting and crying, this means that the labor has started. Don't try to move the cat once the labor has started.

The cat will then have contractions and within the following hour, the first kitten should arrive. The full delivery should last no more than 6 hours. The cat will deliver a kitten every 30 to 60 minutes. On average, a cat may have 2 to 5 kittens.

If the contractions last for more than an hour and the cat hasn't given birth to any of the kittens, take her to the vet.

The cat will eliminate the placenta and she will probably eat it. Alternatively, you may throw away the placenta. It's not necessary for her to eat it. However, if the placenta is not eliminated, take her to a vet, as this will cause infections.

The cat's temperature may be lower than usual, so you may wrap her in a blanket after the delivery or keep the room warm. The kittens need a warm environment also.

After the Delivery

After the delivery, the cat will start lactating and there will be a vaginal discharge for up to 3 weeks after delivery.

To make sure the mother is healthy and to avoid a condition called eclampsia, make sure the mother has enough food and calcium supplements to be able to produce sufficient milk. Eclampsia is a condition that is caused by poor nutrition and calcium deficiency in lactating cats. Cats suffering from eclampsia will collapse and have seizures.

Feline Pregnancy Complications

The feline pregnancy may present some complications such as spontaneous abortion, resorption or vaginal bleeding.

Spontaneous abortion may be caused by infections or uterine and hormonal problems, or if the fetus has an anomalous development.

The fetus may be reabsorbed and this is a condition called resorption.

If the cat has vaginal bleeding in the weeks prior to the delivery date, you need to visit the vet and find the cause of bleeding and if a cesarean section is recommended.