Feline Pregnancy Timeline

The typical feline pregnancy is 63 to 65 days long. Below are the stages of feline gestation and what the owner can expect during these times.

Breeding Your Cat

A feline goes into heat for approximately four to ten days. During this time, it is natural for her to seek a male cat to mate with. The fertilized egg will attach to the uterine wall after three to five days. Your veterinarian can use various methods to determine if your cat is pregnant. At 18 days, an ultrasound can be given to diagnose pregnancy. As early as 20 days, your vet might be able to feel and even count the kittens. If your cat is further along, an x-ray can be performed on the abdomen at 40 days gestation.

Weeks 0 to 2

During the first two weeks of pregnancy, there are rarely any visible symptoms or signs that your cat is pregnant, as the fertilized egg is attatching to the uterine wall.

Weeks 3 to 4

By the end of week two, the embryo has begun to develop organs, which triggers pregnancy symptoms. The cat's nipples will become very pink, she may sleep a lot and become nauseous and vomit. Food aversion is common and completely normal. At the end of week four, your veterinarian will be able to feel the kittens and possibly tell you how many your cat is expecting. The kittens are very small, but are almost fully developed.

Weeks 6 to 7

By the sixth week, you will be able to feel the kittens and see them move. Your cat's nipples may grow larger and fuller, and by the end of week seven her milk begins to come in. She might also seem anxious and find places to seek comfort. This reaction is called "nesting." It is important to allow your cat to nest in a place she finds safe and comfortable. Nesting can also be a sign that your cat will deliver within 12 to 14 hours.

Your Cat's Delivery

The first sign that delivery is imminent is the loss of the mucus plug. This will look like a heavy discharge which is yellow or red in color. A cat normally delivers anywhere between day 59 and day 70 of pregnancy. One or two kittens will be delivered every 30 to 60 minutes, until delivery is complete. On some occasions, a kitten can be delivered 12 to 24 hours after the rest of the litter.

Caring for the Kittens

It is normal for the mother cat to eat the placenta. First time mothers may eat still-born kittens. To help prevent this, make the birthing area a calm and safe place, as this behavior is most common in highly anxious cats. The mother cat will not leave her kittens for the first 24 to 48 hours. Kittens will eat approximately three times per hour. At this time, the mother will want to continuously groom and feed her litter.