There are over 600 million cats around the world and having a cat is wonderful. But if you’re not prepared for an unexpected litter of kittens or be able to care for them, we recommend getting your cat spayed.

Cat pregnancy is a nerve-wracking experience for cat owners and you’re likely to have questions especially if you’ve never looked after a pregnant cat.

This guide covers everything you need to know about cat pregnancy. It will help answer your questions so you can effectively support your cat throughout her pregnancy

What age can a cat get pregnant

Your cat can get pregnant when she’s as young as 4 months of age unless she’s spayed to prevent that.

How to tell if your cat is pregnant

There are several signs that will help tell if your cat is pregnant without going to the vet. It’s important to note that the average length of pregnancy in cats is 65 days (or 9 weeks). But it can vary from 61 to as long as 75 days when you know exactly when your cat was in heat.

[Cats have a special condition called heat, or estrus, which is a period of approximately four to ten days during which they seek a male to mate with.]

But if you have no idea if your cat was in heat, there are a few indicators you can use to help determine if maybe she was in heat.

Signs a cat is pregnant

Here’s a list of cat pregnancy symptoms:

  1. Pink and enlarged nipples – this usually happens between 15 days to 18 days after ovulation and is one of the earliest ways to detect pregnancy in cats. It is easier to recognize for first-time cat mums since prior to pregnancy, they usually have very flat white nipples. But if it is your cat’s second or third pregnancy, it may be harder to tell because after having babies their nipples stay enlarged.
Image: Reddit
  1. Receding hair around the nipples – hair actually recedes away from the nipple so when the kittens are born they can easily find the milk. If your cat is laying down on her side and you notice all of a sudden that the nipples are poking through her fur.
  2. Increase in appetite – when your cat eats more than normal or when she eats like crazy and is always begging for food every single day, then your cat is probably pregnant.
  3. Increase in sleep – a pregnant cat tends to sleep more and you’ll often find them sleeping in places typically they wouldn’t sleep in.
  4. Morning sickness – when cats are pregnant, they can also fall ill in the early stages of the pregnancy and even in the later stages. This usually happens when the stomach enlarges and puts a lot of pressure in their digestive tract so this can cause them to puke and get a little bit nauseous.
  5. Bulging abdomen – you’ll notice your cat’s stomach begins to swell around 35 – 45 days. The kittens are growing as they’re getting a lot of nutrients and you’ll see your cat’s belly sticking out when she’s laying on her side. If you’re skeptical about the bulging and think it’s possibly worms or parasites, we recommend at least going to the vet and getting an ultrasound scan. If the cat is over 40 days pregnant, they’ll be able to detect kittens in the ultrasound scan by the number of skulls they see.

7. Nesting behavior – towards the end of the pregnancy, you might notice that your cat is going in secluded places that they normally wouldn’t have been in such as a dark closet, or a laundry basket. Since cats don’t often show any pregnancy symptoms until a few weeks into their term, make sure to take her to the vet for confirmation once you think she’s pregnant.


Stages of cat pregnancy

Pregnant cats go through many changes within a shorter amount of time than a pregnant woman’s nine-month gestation period. Here’s a cat pregnancy timeline with pictures, which you can refer to anticipate the stages of your cat’s pregnancy and how you can help.

Stage 1 – Implantation and Fertilisation (Week 1 – 2)

Image: Wikimedia Commons

By the second week, the male cat’s sperm will find the female cat’s eggs, fertilise them and make the journey to the uterus where pregnancy will develop.

At this stage, the cat shows no physical signs or symptoms of pregnancy.

Stage 2 – Kittens’ Organ Development (Week 3 – 4)


By week three, the kittens’ bodies slowly develop. This is the best time to take your pregnant cat to a veterinarian to perform an ultrasound scan. In the scan you will see the eyes, limbs and tails are starting to form.

Your cat will then show the following signs and symptoms:

How You Can Help:

Stage 3 – Mid Stage (Week 5 – 7)

Week five shows an almost complete organ development. As the kittens continue to grow, you might see visible movement inside your cat’s tummy by week six. After week seven, the ultrasound will show the kitten’s skeletons and some fur.

The obvious signs at this stage are:

How You Can Help:

Stage 4 – Pre-labor (Week 8 – 9)

Image: Pet Informed

Week eight is when your cat may start looking for a nesting place to have her kittens. By week nine, your cat will gain up to 25% weight and there will be more pressure on her stomach as the kittens continue to grow.

Here are more visible signs at this stage:

How You Can Help:

Stage 5 – Labor and Delivery (Week 9 – 10)

Image: Funny Junk

It’s almost time! And your cat will soon be a mum. When she’s close to delivering her babies, she may show the following:

Some breeds don’t deliver until 10 weeks of gestation. If your cat has not gone into labor after 10 weeks, contact your vet to have her checked.

Caring for a cat in labor

When it’s time for your cat to give birth, give her space and just observe from a safe distance. Most cats need little to no human intervention. But make sure to be on standby in case she is in distress and requires assistance.

How long are cats in labor

There are three stages of cat labor.

Signs of a cat labor

Most obvious sign of an imminent cat labor is often marked by a milky discharge from your cat’s nipples. Also her temperature usually drops to below 38.9 degrees C just before delivery.

When your cat is giving birth

It is important to keep track of the time in between each birth and make sure you know how many kittens to expect.

When should you provide your cat assistance?

When must you call your vet for assistance?

General tips when caring for a pregnant cat

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