A Guide to Pregnant Cat Care

A pregnant cat needs special care and a special diet in order to give birth to healthy kittens. You must be prepared to take care of the cat, and there may be a number of complications related to cat pregnancy.

Pregnant Cat Care

A pregnant cat will display symptoms such as vomiting, extra affection towards people and other animals, weight gain, swollen nipples and an enlarged abdomen. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the cat will look for quiet and more private places.

Offer attention to her and start a nutrient rich diet with wet foods. Towards the end of the pregnancy, give wet kitten food to her, so that the milk she produces will be optimal for the kittens. The vet may also prescribe a few vitamin supplements.

Make sure she's free of parasites, because hookworms may be transmitted to kittens. Ideally, you should deworm your cat in the first two weeks of pregnancy.

Prepare a warm and quiet room for your cat and the new kittens.

Gestation Period

The gestation period in cats is 63 days or 9 weeks on average. However, it can take anywhere between 57 to 69 days.

On average, a cat may have 2 to 5 kittens. If you would like to know how many kittens she will have, a vet can tell you by palpating her abdomen after the fourth week of pregnancy. An ultrasound test can determine a pregnancy and the number of kittens.

Early-Term Spaying

If you've decided to terminate the pregnancy, you may opt for an early-term spaying and abortion. Spaying when the cat is pregnant may lead to complications. The procedure is recommended in the early or mid stage. You can determine how far along your cat is, according to her last heat cycle. A vet can also determine the stage of the pregnancy.

Abortion is recommended in young pregnant cats that are under the age of 1, or in cats older than the age of 8. Such a pregnancy may result in stillborn kittens and may be complicated.

Pregnancy Complications: Eclampsia

Eclampsia is a condition that may occur during pregnancy, typically in first-time mothers. The cat may suffer from seizures. Abortion is recommended if the cat presents signs of eclampsia.

Spontaneous Abortion

A spontaneous abortion means the death of the kitten and results in the resorption or expulsion of the fetus before the end of the pregnancy term. The cat may abort one or more kittens, and still give birth to the rest of the litter.

If the pregnancy is over the maximum gestation period of 69 days, it may be due to a spontaneous abortion. This means that the pregnancy was reabsorbed. The resorption happens early in the pregnancy, when the fetus is still small and can be easily reabsorbed.

False Pregnancy

False pregnancy can occur in cats. She'll display the exact symptoms of pregnancy, but is not actually pregnant. She will have pregnancy symptoms immediately after being in a heat cycle, and the symptoms may persist for a few weeks. You can tell if the pregnancy is real by palpating her abdomen 3 to 4 weeks after the fertilization. The abdomen will be enlarged even if the cat is "falsely" pregnant. However, if she is really pregnant, you will be able to feel some lumps and these get bigger in time.

A cat with a false pregnancy can be treated with tranquilizers and sedatives.