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How to Tell if a Cat is Pregnant

How to Tell if a Cat is Pregnant

Learn how pregnant cats behave, how long do cats stay pregnant, and what to feed your pregnant cat.

Are kittens on the way? If you’ve noticed recent changes in your unpaid cat’s behavior or appearance, we’re here to help you find out if your suspicions are correct. Of course, the best way to tell is with a visit to the vet, but there are some telltale clues to watch for. This article “Litter-ally” covers everything you need to know about feline fertility! Plus, we’ll share information on how to treat your queen (pregnant cat) like royalty and care for her during her 64-69 days of pregnancy. Keep reading to find out if you may soon have kittens to love.


[Edit]signs of fertility

  1. Determine whether your cat has matured enough to be fertile. Once a cat reaches about 80% of its adult weight, it can go into heat – as early as 4 months old! If your cat has not been spayed and has recently been in heat, she may be pregnant.[1]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 1 Version 8.jpg
    • Domestic cats usually go into heat as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, usually between spring and fall.
  2. Watch for mating behavior. If your cat is in heat, she will try to attract a mate by “calling” (insistent meowing or purring). She will also seem more affectionate and her appetite may decrease. It lasts for about 4-6 days.[2]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 2 Version 8.jpg
    • Tell if your cat is about to go into heat by watching for signs of restlessness, increased affection and a large appetite. She will also start calling less.
    • A cat in heat will roll around and raise its hind limbs in the air while spreading its back paws and keeping its tail on the side.[3]
  3. Pay attention to your cat’s behavior to determine her reproductive stage. After being in heat, a cat enters a “calm phase” lasting about 8–10 days, and her behavior becomes calmer. After the calving phase, your cat will go into heat again and will continue to go into heat from about April to September.[4]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 3 Version 8.jpg
    • If your cat has recently been in heat and has had the opportunity to interact with male cats, then pregnancy is a definite possibility.[5]
    • The period from the beginning of one heat cycle to the beginning of the next usually falls in the range of 12–22 days.[6]
    • To prevent your cat from becoming pregnant, spay your cat as soon as it is safe to do so. It is best to hold off until at least 2 weeks after mating season, as surgical complications are more common while your cat is going through her heat cycle.[7]

[Edit]Symptoms of Pregnancy

  1. Check for enlarged nipples. At about 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, a pregnant cat’s nipples “pink,” or become red and enlarged.[8]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 4 Version 8.jpg
    • Enlarged nipples are also a sign of being in heat, so keep in mind that enlarged nipples are not exclusively a sign of pregnancy.
    • The mammary glands become enlarged and may produce colostrum (a milky liquid).[9]
  2. See weight gain and “pot belly”. From the side, pregnant cats often look slightly stooped, with a slightly rounded and bulging belly. Meanwhile, his ribs and spine may look bonier.[10]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 5 Version 8.jpg
    • Many female cats take on this “burrow shape” later in pregnancy.
    • If your cat is simply overweight, she will be heavy all over, including her neck and legs, not just in her belly.
  3. Watch for signs of “morning sickness”. Around the third week of pregnancy, some cats experience “morning sickness” just like humans do. Your cat may be vomiting because she has an upset stomach.[11] Keep an eye on his water intake and make sure he stays hydrated.
    Tell if a Cat is Pregnant Step 6 Version 8.jpg
    • Test whether your cat is dehydrated by gently lifting the skin on its withers and seeing if it quickly returns to its original position. If your cat is well hydrated, this will happen almost immediately.[12]
    • Entice your cat to drink more water by adding a splash of low-sodium chicken broth to his water dish.[13]
  4. See if your cat seems more sleepy than usual. Growing kittens takes a lot of energy! If your cat is sleeping longer, she may need extra rest when she is pregnant.[14]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 7 Version 8.jpg
  5. Note any nesting behavior. A few days before giving birth, your cat will begin to display nesting behavior as she prepares for the arrival of her litter. She can find a quiet place like a closet and begin arranging blankets, towels, or other clothing to create a cozy space for her kitten.[15]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 8 Version 8.jpg
    • If you notice nesting behavior and you didn’t previously know your cat was pregnant, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible for a prenatal checkup.

[Edit]caring for your pregnant cat

  1. Take your cat to the vet if pregnancy is suspected. At 17-25 days gestation, an experienced veterinarian can usually feel the embryos. The vet will also give advice on how to care for your queen cat and help your cat during labor.[16]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 9 Version 8.jpg
    • Leave it to the vet to feel for the fetus – your prodding may result in a miscarriage.[17]
  2. Ask for ultrasound. If the vet is unsure after feeling your cat for fetuses, they may use ultrasound to determine whether or not your cat is pregnant and, if so, how many kittens she is having.[18]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 10 Version 8.jpg
    • A veterinarian can detect a fetal heartbeat by day 20 of pregnancy with ultrasound.
  3. Ask the vet to take radiographs (X-rays). At around 45 days gestation, the skeletons of the kittens can be seen with X-rays, which will confirm the pregnancy and the number of kittens in the litter. X-rays will not hurt your cat or her kittens.[19]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 11 Version 8.jpg
    • The vet will usually take 2 X-rays to get a view of the abdomen and count the kittens while looking for potential problems.
    • X-ray is better for counting fetuses than ultrasound, although it is still not 100% accurate.
  4. Avoid feline medications and vaccinations when your cat is pregnant. Vaccines can be especially dangerous to the queen or her kittens during pregnancy. Consult your veterinarian before giving your cat any medications, including anthelmintics.[20]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 12 Version 8.jpg
  5. Increase her caloric intake in the last few weeks of pregnancy. You may notice that your cat is eating more food and gaining weight as she nears giving birth. Because kittens are developing rapidly during the last third of pregnancy, it is best to feed a growth (kitten) formula to provide your pregnant cat with adequate calories.[21]
    Tell If a Cat is Pregnant Step 13 Version 2.jpg
  6. Keep your queen inside during the last few weeks of pregnancy. As your cat approaches labor, keep her indoors so she doesn’t give birth to her kittens outside.[22] Prepare a whelping box for him inside the house. Place a box in a warm, dry, cool place in the house and cover it with newspaper or an old towel or blanket.[23]
    How to Tell if a Cat is Pregnant Step 14.jpg
    • Set up your cat’s litter box, food, and water nearby and encourage her to sleep in the whelping box in the days leading up to the birth.[24]



  • Some veterinarians offer to “spay the pregnancy” or spay a pregnant cat. Many veterinarians will not perform surgery within 2-3 weeks of your cat’s due date.[25]


  • Every year, thousands of unwanted cats and kittens end up in shelters. Many are not adopted and are euthanized. Consider spaying your cat to avoid contributing to this problem.[26]

[Edit]Related wikiHows

  • Build cat jungle gym and playground
  • make cat toys
  • communicate with your cat
  • tell if the cat has been spayed
  • Tell if your cat is in heat

[Edit]expert interview

Thank you for reading our article! If you want to know more about diagnosing pregnancy in cats, check out our in-depth [v161895_b01],


[Edit]quick summary

  1. https://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/cat/health-and-injuries/is-my-cat-pregnant
  2. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/cat-in-heat.html
  3. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/cat-in-heat.html
  4. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1738
  5. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/cat-pregnancy.html
  6. https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/34849/Vet_FIB_1986_Nov.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
  7. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/spaying-cats.html#faq-spay
  8. https://www.cats.org.uk/media/1029/eg18_pregnant_cats-_birth_and_care_of_young_kittens.pdf
  9. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/cat-pregnancy.html
  10. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/cat-pregnancy.html
  11. https://cat-world.com/pregnancy-in-cats/
  12. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hydration
  13. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hydration
  14. https://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/cat/health-and-injuries/is-my-cat-pregnant
  15. https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952101
  16. http://www.cat-world.com.au/pregnancy-in-cats
  17. https://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/cat/health-and-injuries/is-my-cat-pregnant
  18. http://www.cat-world.com.au/pregnancy-in-cats
  19. http://www.cat-world.com.au/pregnancy-in-cats
  20. https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952101
  21. https://co4h.colostate.edu/projects/manuals/Cats-WashingtonState-U3.pdf
  22. http://www.cat-world.com.au/pregnancy-in-cats
  23. [v161895_b01], Thursday, August 19, 2021
  24. http://www.cat-world.com.au/pregnancy-in-cats
  25. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/spaying-cats.html
  26. http://www.pet-informed-veterinary-advice-online.com/spaying-cats.html#pro-spay


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