How can you tell if your cat is pregnant? This is the question that many cat parents usually ask themselves, especially when they notice that their female outdoor cat has been in heat for a couple of days. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve decided to write this article, and it’s filled with heaps of signs you can interpret in this sense, as well as several interesting facts about cat pregnancy, stages, and all the important info you should know.
Being in heat and being pregnant
Many people tend to think that domesticated felines that are in heat or pregnant tend to act the same. It’s true that they do share one type of behavior as they are both more affectionate toward other cats or humans. However, pregnant cats are sometimes more vocal than those in heat and will roll around on the floor more often.
There are many cats that are in heat and that don’t meow a lot, but they do walk differently in the sense that they tend to keep their backsides pointed up. They will also make a big deal out of marking their territory or objects by urinating on them. Obviously, they will also try to escape to the outdoors so that they can mate with males.
Symptoms of pregnancy in your cat
It stands to reason that not all cats are the same and as such, they all react differently. Typically, a cat that is pregnant will show symptoms such as increased appetite, sleeping more, swollen and darkened pink nipples, weight gain, as well as an abdomen size increase. We’ve already mentioned that she will be more affectionate.
Sometimes, pregnant cats can vomit and while this occurrence can be entirely natural what with the uterus expanding and the cat’s intestinal tract being pressed by it, excessive and frequent vomiting is not a good sign, and it calls for a trip to the vet’s office.
Your cat’s eating habits can occasionally be difficult to interpret. Some pets can refuse to eat or can be sick regularly if they are three weeks into the pregnancy. Not all pregnant cats suffer a loss of appetite, and most of them actually consume a lot more food than what they normally would.
If thirty-five days have passed since your cat has become pregnant, you might notice that her nipples start to express milk. Since both the nipples of cats that are in heat and of those that are pregnant become larger and darker, you have no way of telling what exactly has happened unless you notice the milky fluid being expressed.
Stages of cat pregnancy
The symptoms that we have mentioned earlier on show up depending on how far along your cat is. For example, in the early stage, she will get morning sickness, and she’ll eat less, but by the fourth week, she’ll start eating more and gaining weight. In the middle stage, her abdomen starts to get bigger, and she can even end up looking like she swallowed a football.
Around a week before she gives birth, your cat enters the pre-labor stage, which is when her nipples begin expressing milk drops. Usually, around this time, she also starts looking for a safe place where she will give birth. You can offer her nesting boxes and place them in the spots around the house that she seems to be partial to. About two days before she goes into labor, your cat will stop eating altogether.
What to do if your cat gets pregnant?
In some cases, your cat can become pregnant when you’ve decided it, but many times, it happens without you having any control over the situation. This outcome occurs especially if you have an outdoor cat you care for. There’s no practical method that you can use to control your cat’s whereabouts, and keeping her inside while she is in heat can prove to be very challenging, especially with those animals that have lived outdoors for most of their lives.
If your cat gets pregnant on accident, you have two ways of going about things. You can either allow your cat to go to full term and deliver the kittens or you can discuss with a veterinarian to terminate the pregnancy. However, there are some things you have to consider if you decide on the second option. First off, if the pregnancy is very advanced, it might actually make more sense to allow your cat to give birth to the kittens, especially if you can make arrangements for them to be adopted.
On the other hand, a pregnancy can be very difficult if your cat is a senior and if she has several chronic medical conditions for which she gets medication and that could endanger her health status especially if she becomes pregnant.
Spaying a pregnant cat
Both some veterinarians and many pet parents will be wary of spaying pregnant cats. However, there is a huge cat overpopulation problem across the world, and it is caused by the owners’ failure to neuter or spay their pets. There’s also a myth according to which the procedure is dangerous in itself, although this is just that — a myth. However, if a vet does perform an abortion on a pregnant cat, he or she will also spay the animal in most cases. Since all of this can seem a little cruel and inhumane, you have to analyze a series of factors along with your veterinarian to reach the correct conclusion.
First of all, if your cat is in the early stage of a pregnancy, the surgery is practically risk-free. The vet is the one that establishes how far along your cat is. Then, you need to consider that, if you are the pet parent of a cat that’s older than eight years of age, both the pregnancy and the birth could have several negative effects on the mother’s health status.
The cat’s physical condition has to be assessed, as well. The pregnancy, the birth, as well as the nursing can take a toll on the mother.
Finally, there are two things that you have to take into account, and they almost have nothing to do with the cat herself. One of them is whether your living conditions can accommodate the mother and the newborn kittens and the other is whether you consider yourself capable of placing the kittens into good homes.
A pregnant cat needs plenty of care, attention, and affection, and lots of high-quality food, as well. Are you willing to invest time and effort in making sure that everything goes exactly as planned?
If you aren’t looking forward to the idea of your cat getting pregnant and giving birth to kittens, then perhaps you should spay your pet even before she enters her first heat cycle. Many studies suggest that animals that are spayed before they become sexually active have fewer chances of developing cancer, especially genital and mammary tumors.
You might also want to consider that every cat that becomes pregnant can give birth to four to six kittens, and that’s what makes the cat overpopulation problem so severe. While many pet parents are responsible and will do everything in their power to provide the litter with forever homes, there are situations where the kittens will end up being abandoned. Spaying your pet is a responsible course of action, especially in situations where you have no control over whether the cat might become pregnant or not – if she’s not an indoor-only cat.