7 Signs Your Cat Might Be Pregnant That You Should Definitely Pay Attention To
If you have a female cat who isn't spayed and is allowed near male cats, then chances are good that she's going to get pregnant at some point. Cats get pregnant very easily, so if you don't want little kittens running around, you can do two things: either get her spayed, or keep her away from other cats by not allowing her outside. However, accidents happen, and if she ends up slipping out the door one day, it's totally possible that she could come back as a mommy-to-be. So, if you haven't fixed your cat, you'll definitely want to be aware of the signs that your cat might be pregnant — just in case.
Just like humans, cats go through both physical and mental changes when they're expecting, and the changes are extremely similar. Unlike humans, though, cats are only pregnant for about 60-67 days. Because the typical gestation period is so short (about nine weeks), it's totally possible to miss the signs completely, until one day your cat is nursing a bunch of tiny kittens (which, honestly, isn't the worst surprise you could ever come home to). It's easy to assume that your cat just gained some weight, and if the cat is already on the heavier side, you may not even notice that.
While cats can go through a pregnancy and give birth without the help of a doctor, that doesn't mean she shouldn't get the medical attention she deserves. It's important to notice if your cat is pregnant for your sake and her sake — if you think she is, a doctor can asses her health and make sure everything is okay. Aside from that important step, you'll be able to give yourself more time to prepare for a litter of kittens. You'll need to answer some questions, like if you're prepared to keep and raise them all, or if you want to give them up for adoption. Keep in mind that a lot of shelters are already so overwhelmed with strays and kittens that they may not accept another litter.
That's exactly why it's best to be prepared. Here a few signs your cat is pregnant that you should watch out for:
1. Her Heat Cycles Stop
If you have a female cat who isn't fixed, you're probably already well aware of her heat cycles. When a cat is in heat, they typically become extra affectionate, they make noises that almost sound like they're in pain, they roll around on the floor a lot, and they seem to be searching for something. Heat cycles typically happen every 10 days to two weeks, and can last about a week. If you've suddenly noticed that it hasn't happened in a while, it could be because she's pregnant.
2. Their Nipples Look Different
Like human bodies, a cat's body has to also prepare itself for a baby. That means that your cat's nipples will look differently if she's pregnant. They'll probably look more puffy and engorged, and may be a darker color. This is fairly easy to notice if you have a cat with light color fur. If you have a cat with a thick coat of dark hair, it may not be as easy to take note of.
3. They're A Lot More Hungry Than Usual
This is another side effect that could be easy to miss. When cats are pregnant, their appetite will increase... but if your cat already has a big appetite, you're not going to notice this one. Just keep it in mind!
4. They're More Affectionate Than Usual
Cats go through mood changes when they're pregnant as well — but for them, it's less about feeling gloomy, and more about feeling very, very affectionate. When pregnant, cats will crave love and attention. According to Purina, "your pregnant cat may act more maternal, meaning that she purrs more and seeks extra fuss and attention from you." If you notice this, cuddle with her more! She's going through a tough time!
5. They're Vomiting
If your female cat starts vomiting pretty regularly, take note — it's very possible that she's pregnant. Cats experience morning sickness just like humans do. As a side note, you should always notice if your cat is getting physically sick. It could mean something is wrong, and if it's happening regularly, it warrants a trip to the vet.
6. They're Nesting
In the later stages of pregnancy, a cat will begin "nesting," which basically means they'll start preparing for the birth of their kittens by looking for a quiet, safe place to have them. Veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack told Care.com, "She may choose a quiet place and start arranging blankets for a birthing area."
7. Their Belly Looks Bigger
Finally, another side effect is a very obvious one: your cat's belly will become larger and more engorged. If you notice significant abdominal swelling, this could mean your cat has some kittens on the way. This is another thing that you should take them to the vet for to get checked out.