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Whether you’re a cat breeder or owner, if you have a female cat that is not spayed, it’s possible that you may experience cat pregnancy at some point.
There’s much to consider during the gestation period of your cat, here we look at some of the issues surrounding your pet’s pregnancy, and what you can expect.
How Long Are Cats Pregnant: Gestation Period
Typically, cats are pregnant for just over two months — more specifically between 61 and 72 days in total.
However, for many owners, it can be hard to know when their cat is pregnant, especially if it was not intended. During this time the cat is often referred to as a ‘queen’.
Cat Pregnancy Symptoms
You may not realize your cat is pregnant until a few weeks into her term, this is because they don’t often show any physical symptoms in the early days.
About 2-3 weeks in to pregnancy, her nipples may become enlarged and tummy bloated, and she may even suffer from vomiting (similar to our version of morning sickness).
Labor and Birth
In the weeks leading up to the labor, try to be at home to help look after your cat. You may notice nesting behavior or physical signs of labor (panting, drop in temperature, engorged nipples) in the lead up to birth.
To be prepared, have a dedicated area in the house that is quiet and warm for the impending litter. Have absorbent pads in a bespoke delivery box with clean towels for cleaning up. You may also need an extra box for the new delivery coming your way!
Much like us, queens will undergo contractions and will push as part of the process, this includes the kittens and placenta. Kittens are born within their sacs, which the mother should remove. Only intervene if she is unable to do so. Allow for 10-60 minutes between births and up to about six hours for the complete process.
Your cat’s maternal instinct will kick in and she will car and feed them naturally.
Within 24hours of birth, your cat should be examined by your veterinarian.
Queen litters can vary in size, depending on the age and genetic history of the parents. But, generally speaking, a typical litter is between three and five kittens, usually on the smaller side for first-time mothers.
Cats are very able to give birth to three litters a year, over an average lifetime of 15 years, which means that your kitty could be mum to hundreds of little cats in its lifetime!
If you are actively breeding your cat, you will notice that much like us, cats have fertile periods, also known as ‘being on heat’. This typically happens every three weeks and can last a few or several days. Your cat may be more vocal when they are in heat, and so this cycle can be tracked.
Please note though; female cat should reach adult size before becoming pregnant, this tends to be between 18 and 24 months, any earlier and it may stunt her growth.
Getting your cat Spayed
To eliminate the chances of your cat becoming pregnant, or to sterilize her after birth, you can get her spayed. This is a common procedure that can be undertaken from eight weeks old.
In doing so, the ASPCA advise that your cat will live a longer, happier life and will reap a number of benefits; such as not going in to heat, being less likely to stray and not in risk of certain reproductive diseases. For more information, visit the ASPCA website.