If your female cat has begun to put on weight, you may be wondering if she is pregnant. In this post, our Tucson vets share some signs that you have a pregnant cat on your hands.

When can cats get pregnant?

If you have a female cat who hasn't been spayed and spends periods of time outdoors (whether you want them to or not), there is a definite possibility that she is pregnant. Your female cat is likely to experience her first heat cycle, meaning that she is physically mature and able to produce her first litter of kittens, around four to seven months of age.

Depending on where you live, a cat that hasn't been spayed can go into heat as often as every 3 weeks until she either becomes pregnant or is spayed. An unspayed female cat could have as many as 4 litters of kittens a year, with between 4-12 kittens in each litter.

This means that if your cat is an unspayed adult female who has had access to the outdoors, there is a good chance that she will be expecting kittens in the near future.

Is my cat pregnant?

A domesticated cat will be pregnant for about two months. If you think your cat is pregnant, you won't have a ton of time to prepare if she is, so it helps to know the signs before time sneaks up on you. Below are some signs of pregnancy in cats that you can keep an eye out for.

  • Notable weight gain
  • Pink, swollen nipples
  • Distended abdomen
  • Increased appetite
  • Becoming more affectionate
  • Hiding more often
  • May sleep more than usual

You should note that your cat may not display all of these signs, depending on how far along the pregnancy is.

If your kitty is exhibiting the signs above and has not been spayed, head to the vet for an examination to confirm pregnancy. If it turns out your cat is not pregnant, the vet can check for signs of any underlying health concerns that are resulting in these symptoms.

How Your Vet Can Confirm Your Cat Is Pregnant

If you think your cat is pregnant, there are a few different tests the vet can perform to confirm:

  • The vet will very gently feel your cat's belly to determine whether they can detect the presence of fetuses. If your cat is more than 17 days pregnant, your vet should be able to give you confirmation using this approach.
  • Your vet may recommend a quick and easy ultrasound test to look for fetuses if your vet suspects that your cat is 14 days pregnant or more. Heartbeats can be spotted using ultrasound after about 21 days of pregnancy.
  • If your vet believes your cat is fairly far along in her pregnancy (further than 42 days), they may recommend an X-ray. Digital X-rays or radiographs are considered very safe and can help to determine a due date for the kittens and how many there are.

Caring for a Pregnant Cat

Once your vet has confirmed that your kitty is pregnant, they will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your pregnant kitty. They can provide you with recommendations to help your cat have a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth.

  • Do not squeeze or press on her belly, since this can cause pain and in some cases may lead to miscarriage.
  • Clean her litter box once or twice daily, and make sure that her litter box is easy for her to access as her tummy continues to expand and drop.
  • Provide your pregnant kitty with plenty of high-quality food. Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while she is pregnant and nursing. Ask your vet to recommend the best food for your pregnant cat.
  • Ensure that your cat has a cozy, clean area that she can use to give birth and care for her kittens. This spot should be in a warm and quiet spot in your home, well away from kids, other human traffic, and other pets.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your cat inexplicably gained weight and you're wondering if she is pregnant? Contact our Tucson vets to book an examination for your feline friend.