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.
A hormonal imbalance is thought to play a central role in the development of a false pregnancy, or pseudopregnancy, in which a non-pregnant female cat shows such symptoms as lactation or nursing without producing kittens. The affected female cat shows these symptoms about a month or two after her estrus (heat) is over.
Pregnant cats can gain around 1-2kg, depending on how many kittens they are carrying, which should be noticeable if you look at her body shape from above. You may be tempted to touch her belly to feel for signs of life, but you should avoid doing this too much as you could risk hurting the new mum or her babies.
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.
Prior to pregnancy, cat’s nipples are virtually invisible- they are flat, quite light in colour and almost always hidden by their fur. However, a pregnant cat’s nipples will appear pinker, showing a visible contrast to how they were before.
She will have a large, rounded belly and may begin the process of nesting. Nesting is when your cat starts looking for a safe and comfy place to birth her babies. It’s similar to the human nesting instinct.
Preparing for Your Cat to Give Birth
Make sure that this birthing box is large enough for your cat and her litter to be comfortable in, but also tall enough to prevent any curious kittens from making an escape! Keep the nest in a warm place and line it with soft blankets or towels (that you won’t mind throwing away).
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.
This usually occurs between the 17th and 25th days of pregnancy. 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.
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.
5 Signs To Know Your Cat Is In Labor- Mammary glands will increase in size. During the final week of pregnancy, the mammary glands of your cat will increase in size.
Nesting behavior will begin.
Temperature will fall.
Decrease in appetite.
Licking, pacing, howling, and chirping.
Week 4: The kittens’ movements in the womb can be seen on an ultrasound scan. This is also the best week for the vet to confirm pregnancy by feeling for kittens in the womb.
Your pregnant queen is likely to want to spend more time inside of the house and will sleep more as the pregnancy will reduce her energy levels. Inactivity and rest are perfectly normal during feline gestation.
After your momma cat gives birth, you’ll want to keep the space clean, quiet, and free of any other animals. Weigh the kittens as soon as mom will allow and continue weighing them daily. Do not take the kittens away from mom while weighing. Instead, bring your grams scale right next to the nest and weigh them there.
Keep the mother cat’s litter box, food, and water bowls close by. Make sure you are feeding her a high-quality canned kitten food, supplemented with KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement). These specially formulated foods ensure that a nursing, postpartum mother cat gets the nutrients she needs.
The new mom usually chews through the umbilical cord on her own, but if she doesn’t then you will need to step in and cut it. You should tie it in two areas off around an inch from the kitten’s body and cut between the ties with the sterilised scissors, crushing it as you do to minimize bleeding.
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.
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.
And they do exist—mules, for instance, are the result of a horse and donkey mating. But creating hybrids of animals that are very genetically distinct from each other—such as a dog and a cat—is scientifically impossible, as is one species giving birth to an entirely different one.
While cats usually have an average of four kittens in each litter, this can range from one to 12 kittens. Larger litters are seen more frequently in pedigree breeds such as Oriental, Siamese and Burmese.
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.
Weeks 8 to 9: Giving birth
Gestation in cats usually lasts between 63 and 67 days, but it can be a few days shorter or longer. To get ready for the big day, at the start of week 8, you can prepare a “nest” in a quiet spot where your cat can take refuge when she is ready to deliver her kittens.
Scratching and bed-making may be evident and some cats may begin to pant. “In many cats having their first litter, this first stage of labor can last up to thirty-six hours.” The queen usually stops eating during the last twenty-four hours before labor, and her temperature may drop below 100°F (37.8°C).