Recently we were made aware by a fellow reader of our blog that there was a cute cat video following the cat's pregnancy timeline with pictures. So, taking a small detour from our normal dog content, we thought we'd share what was recommended to us with you. Enjoy!
Much like us, cats have periods of peak fertility when they can become pregnant – this is known as being in season or in heat. Cats can come into season about once every three weeks, so there are plenty of opportunities for your pet to fall pregnant!
If you’d like to avoid an unexpected litter of kittens, we recommend neutering your cat before her first season, as she can become pregnant very easily after that point. As bringing up a litter can be stressful for your cat, and expensive for you, we recommend leaving breeding to the experts if possible.
Again, this is where the magic happens. Cats are highly fertile and if she has mated, even though you may not be able to tell for a couple of weeks it is highly likely she is pregnant. Once your cat has mated, it takes about 1 to 10 days for the sperm to find the eggs and fertilization to occur.
During week two, your cat's fertilized eggs will be implanted, and your mama's little kittens will begin developing into fetal membranes.
During the third week of pregnancy, the kittens begin development in earnest, including their organs. Hormones begin to rage during this week and you will notice changes start to happen to your cat's body. Their nipples will enlarge and turn pink and she will start gaining weight.
This is a busy week! Just like humans in their first trimester, during week four cats can suffer from a bit of “morning” sickness. It may trigger vomiting in your kitty, as well as appetite loss. Also, just like humans, morning sickness doesn’t always happen in the morning. Your cat can get sick at any time throughout the day.
Though this behavior is normal, if you think that your cat’s morning sickness is unusually severe or seems to be lasting longer than it should, seek veterinary care. In the meantime, your cat’s body weight should continue to increase, too. By the end of the fourth week, you may be able to feel the kittens actually forming in your cat’s belly. Week four also means you should not pick her up from this point on, because you could accidentally hurt the babies. If you do need to take her anywhere, use a small cat carrier.
This is the week where your vet can perform a manual exam and feel the shape of the kittens extremely well. They might even be able to take a head count, so you know what litter size to expect. Two? Three? Maybe ten? Who knows!
Once your cat has reached week six in gestation, her appetite will grow even more as she starts getting ready for the monumental job of nursing her kittens after the birth. She will need all of that extra nutrition to keep herself healthy and feed her babies.
Let her eat as much as she wants and make sure the food she is consuming is healthy and balanced. You may also look for food that contains extra minerals and iron, to ensure both she and the kittens are getting all they need. Also, the fun part… this is the stage you might even be able to see her belly move as the kittens inside wiggle and squirm.
By the 7th week, it will be very apparent that your cat is pregnant. She will have a large, rounded belly and may begin the process of nesting. Nesting is when your cat starts looking for a safe and comfy place to birth her babies. It’s similar to the human nesting instinct. She also may lose her appetite here and there as the kittens take up more space and press against her stomach. If you make sure your furry Queen has a comfy resting place throughout her pregnancy, hopefully she will choose that as her place to give birth.
During this week, those little kittens will be extremely visible beneath the surface and move around a lot. You will be able to feel and see them moving around at this stage of the feline pregnancy. Your cat’s nipples will be very large and swollen as labor looms closer and closer. You will also notice your cat seems to be grooming herself a lot. She may even begin shedding her belly fur. This is a normal behavior and the fur will grow back pretty quickly once the kittens are born.
Again, her appetite may be hit or miss during this time as the kittens are taking up a lot of room and pressing against her stomach, and she may still be looking for that perfect spot to have her babies if she hasn’t already found it or chosen the bed you created for her.
Another thing you may notice is her milk dropping. This could happen during week eight or week nine. When it does, you might even see a little milk being secreted from the nipples.
This is an exciting and apprehensive week. Your cat could have her babies any day now. You might notice that your feline is leaking some vaginal discharge. The discharge might be a little red in color, or you might not even see it at all because she will be constantly licking at it. She may also pace and behave as though she is anxious and seek you out for reassurance, or simply lay around a lot. She could also pant, meow, and show other signs of disturbance. If you notice any of these behaviors, they are clear warnings that the babies are due any time.
Sometimes cats don’t deliver until 10 weeks of gestation or longer. This can be related to breed or be just the way your cat is wired. However, it means you’re stuck waiting and watching, anticipating the big reveal. If your cat has not gone into labor after 10 weeks, you should contact your vet and have her checked to make sure everything is okay and that she is healthy. If something is wrong, better to know right away so that your vet can help the process along and try to prevent any major issues during the birthing process. If nothing is wrong, just sit back and continue to wait for nature to take its course.
There you have it, a week-by-week breakdown of each stage in a cat’s pregnancy. Gestation is a busy time for your sweet feline and the stages progress quickly. Once you reached week ten, your cat should begin labor and barring any complications, you should soon have a litter of tiny, mewling kittens to love on.
You can view the full videos below: