There are a few clues that you may notice, too. The cat’s belly will get big around 30 days after they mate. Another symptom that appears as the pregnancy continues, 2 to 3 weeks after they conceive, is their nipples enlarge and redden (also called “pinking up”).
A false pregnancy — also known as a phantom pregnancy, pseudocyesis, or pseudopregnancy — occurs when a fully matured female cat displays all of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy without actually being pregnant.
Whilst it’s safe to stroke your pregnant cat, make sure that you avoid her tummy. This area will be very sensitive, and any touching there could cause her discomfort or hurt her unborn kittens. If you do have to pick your cat up, make sure to “scoop” her up from her bottom, rather than touch her stomach.
During the third week of pregnancy, the kittens begin development in earnest, including their organs. Hormones begin to rage during this week and you will notice changes start to happen to your cat’s body. Their nipples will enlarge and turn pink and she will start gaining weight.
Cats can have swollen bellies for a variety of reasons. Potential causes for a cat or kitten swollen belly include organ enlargement, fluid or a mass in their belly, intestinal parasites and weight gain.
So how can cats sense pregnancy before you know? Most likely, their refined sense of smell and their ability to detect the changes in your body temperature and in your movements, habits, and behavior during pregnancy clue them into what’s going on.
X-Rays: X-rays will only show skeletons of kittens about 40 days into the pregnancy. It’s the best way to show the number of kittens. Ultrasound: Ultrasounds can find kittens as early as 21 days of the pregnancy, but it can sometimes be difficult to count the number of kittens.
However, only a pregnant cat will be highly vocal whilst rolling around on the floor. Cats that are in heat tend to walk differently, usually with their backsides pointed up into the air and their tails slightly off to the side.
Most cats would prefer to be left alone, and they definitely don’t want to be pet or touched while they are giving birth. It’s best to give your pregnant cat as much privacy as possible while also leaving yourself the ability to monitor the birthing process for any signs of issues or distress.
Signs of False Pregnancy in Cats
Symptoms you might notice include: Enlarged mammary glands and nipples. Increased appetite and/or weight gain. Behavioral changes such as finding new places to sleep/nest, and changes in attitude such as becoming less affectionate and less active.
These symptoms can last for just a few weeks, for nine months, or even for several years. A very small percentage of patients with false pregnancy will arrive at the doctor’s office or hospital with what feels like labor pains.
False pregnancy (pseudopregnancy) is uncommon in cats but occurs when they have been induced to ovulate but did not conceive. There may be mammary development with milk production. Cats also often exhibit behavior changes (for example, acting as if pregnancy and delivery have occurred).
Licking, pacing, howling, and chirping
You might notice your cat licking her genitalia frequently – There is a discharge from the cat’s vulva a few hours before birth starts. Your cat’s water will break as well. Now is the time for pacing, restlessness, and howling, meowing, or chirping from your cat.
Signs of Impending Labor- Nesting: A day or two before labor, your cat will seek out a quiet and safe place to have her kittens.
Behavioral Changes:1 You may notice your cat will begin restless pacing, panting, excessive grooming (especially in the area of her genitals), and excessive vocalization.
During the last weeks of pregnancy, you could feel kittens moving around within your fluffy friend’s tummy. As the due day approaches, you must prepare a location for the pet to give birth.
Telling the difference Between Male and Female Cats Based on Nipples: Since both male as well as female kittens have nipples, and because gender makes no difference to the number of nipples a cat has, one can not determine a kitten’s sex by a kitten’s nipples. What is this?
The average litter size for cats is 4 to 6 kittens; however, adolescents, seniors, and first-timers typically have smaller-than-average litters. First-time moms usually only have 2 or 3 kittens.
The pressure on her stomach from the kittens makes it harder for her to eat much at a time, but she does need the extra food. Offer her small meals four to six times a day.
If your cat likes a good belly rub, then you know when she’s happy her stomach is soft, palpable and comfortable to your touch. However, if you notice her stomach is starting to look distended, feels firm or she acts painful, these are signs something could be wrong.
Infectious peritonitis causing hard bellies in cats
Feline infectious peritonitis, also known simply as FIP, is one of the most serious diseases which can cause a cat’s belly to swell and harden. It is a viral pathology which causes inflammation in the peritoneum, the membrane which lines the inside of the abdomen.
When held up under their front legs, their underbellies have an avocado or eggplant shape, says Hannah Shaw, founder of the non-profit Orphan Kitten Club. Healthy round bellies are soft and squishy too. However, a potbelly shape indicates a bloated belly. It may feel hard and stick out, similar to a pregnant belly.
Some vet practices can diagnose cat pregnancy using ultrasound, sometimes as early as 15 days into her term. The vet may also be able to give you an indication of how many kittens your cat is expecting by day 40 of her pregnancy.
Your cat’s labour should go smoothly, but it’s useful to have help on hand to keep her calm and in case she runs into any complications. Get hold of your vet’s out-of-hours phone number prior to your cat giving birth, as delivery often happens during the night, or they might need an emergency helping hand.