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How long are cats pregnant?

Is your cat eating more and gaining weight fairly quickly? This might lead you to believe that she is pregnant. In today's blog, our Thornton vets talk about the signs of pregnancy in cats, how the vet will diagnose the pregnancy, and how long you can expect your cat to be pregnant.

How old does a cat need to be to become pregnant?

If your female cat has not been spayed and has ventured outside, she might be pregnant. Female cats typically experience their first heat cycle between the ages of 4 and 7 months, indicating that she is physically mature and ready to have their first litter of kittens.

Depending on where you live, an unspayed female cat might go into heat 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. So, if your unspayed adult female cat roams outdoors, there's a high chance she's expecting kittens.

What are the signs that a cat is pregnant?

Cats are pregnant for around 2 months, so the first question to ask yourself is whether your cat has been outside during that time. If she has, here are some signs of cat pregnancy to keep an eye out for. Remember, not all these signs may show up, and it depends on how far along the pregnancy is.

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

If your kitty is exhibiting the signs above and has not been spayed, it's time to head to the vet for an examination to confirm pregnancy and/or check for signs of any underlying health concerns that could be causing these symptoms.

So, how long are cats pregnant?

A cat's pregnancy lasts between 63 and 67 days but can last up to 72 days. In months, this translates to about two. In weeks, this translates to about eight to ten. Typically, a cat will not show signs of pregnancy until two or three weeks into the term. That gives a pet owner about a month to plan and prepare.

  • How long are cats pregnant in weeks?: Approximately nine weeks.
  • How long are cats pregnant in months?: Around two months.

How will the vet diagnose my cat's pregnancy?

Some of the most common methods of diagnosing pregnancy in cats include:

  • The first thing your vet will do is gently feel your cat's belly. If your cat is more than 17 days pregnant, they might be able to tell if there are kittens.
  • Your vet may recommend a quick and easy ultrasound to look for fetuses. They will only recommend this if they suspect that your cat is 14 days pregnant or more. 
  • If your vet believes your cat is fairly far along in her pregnancy (further than 42 days), they might recommend an X-ray. Digital X-rays are considered very safe and can help determine the kittens' due dates and how many there are.

Caring For a Pregnant Cat

Once diagnosed, your vet will determine a pregnancy care plan for your feline friend. That said, several things are generally recommended to help a cat have a healthy pregnancy:

  • Do not squeeze or press on her belly. 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 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.
  • Prepare a clean, warm, and quiet area for her to give birth and care for her kittens. This spot should be 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.

Do you think that your cat is showing signs of being pregnant? Schedule an appointment today. Our Thornton vets can help.

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Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital is always accepting new patients! Our vets are passionate about providing kind and loving veterinary care to Thornton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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