Human pregnancy tests are different from those that you might tend to think are available for animals. In humans, the tests basically make an assessment of a hormone present in the potential mother’s urine to then come up with a possible answer of yes or no.
Unfortunately, this is not available for cats right now. You can’t buy a pregnancy test for cats from the drugstore or order it online. You will have to take your cat to the animal hospital for a correct diagnosis of pregnancy instead.
How can a vet tell if a cat is pregnant?
There are several different ways, but what we do have to note is that all of them are particularly effective once two to three weeks following conception have passed.
And the reason for that is that the main ways a vet can diagnose a cat’s pregnancy are through palpating her abdomen, performing an imaging test like an ultrasound, for example, and listening to the future kittens’ little hearts.
In the first stages of the development of a pregnancy, most of these methods are going to be ineffective.
There’s also the option of the veterinarian recommending a test that measures the amount of relaxin in a cat’s urine. However, this test can only be considered relevant once almost a month following conception has passed. To make matters even more difficult, this test is often unreliable and can’t detect the appropriate amount of relaxin in a pet’s urine even when more than a month of the pregnancy has gone by.
So most of the time, it is a combination of the tests that are available and can be used at the practice and the experience that the veterinarian has acquired.
Listening to the heartbeats of the little ones with a stethoscope is more often than not practical, and it’s also the cheapest examination method you have at your disposal. You are not going to pay for a potentially expensive ultrasonographic exam or have your cat take the urine relaxin test. Your vet will be able to do this easily and conveniently.
What signs of cat pregnancy can you notice at home?
Whether this is a pregnancy you have planned because maybe you want your cat to have a litter of kittens before spaying her, or you haven’t planned for it, and she got pregnant after coming in contact with a male outdoors, at one point, you’re going to start noticing some symptoms.
The biggest issue with cat pregnancies is that they tend to be short (they last only for two months or up to 65 days, in any case), and they aren’t very specific at first.
Once the cat crosses into the second half of her term, you will notice significant changes in her behavior. Up to that point, you might not notice anything out of the ordinary other than your pet being more affectionate or her having an increased appetite for food.
If 25 to 30 days following copulation have gone by, you’ll start noticing other signs, such as changes in your cat’s habits and nesting behaviors and her nipples will become slightly larger and more evident.
One thing we would like to note is that not every cat is the same, which is why some might show some signs that they are pregnant, whereas, in others, you might remain completely oblivious until they give birth.
They will usually seek out a safe place about a week before the event takes place, and this could be somewhere warm and covered, such as one of your drawers, your dressing, or under your bed.
Can you use a human pregnancy test for your cat?
The short answer to this question is no. First of all, a pregnancy test for humans will be customized for this species, meaning that it will detect the presence of the HCG hormone only if it surpasses a certain level.
So even if your cat’s body were to secrete HCG, which is impossible, it would remain undetectable simply because the concentration would not even resemble the one that an adult woman has in her urine.
And finally, a good reason why human tests don’t work for cats is the fact that HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, so it is extremely species-specific.
HCG coming from actual pregnant women can be used in veterinary medicine for inducing or hastening ovulation in reproductive mares.
So, your best bet would be to have your cat diagnosed by a veterinarian at the animal hospital. However, if your cat has not been spayed and if she came in contact with a fertile male, it’s safe to assume that she became pregnant – and that’s because cats have instantaneous ovulation, meaning that it occurs right at the moment of copulation. Unless your cat has some sort of fertility health problem, she will become a mother.