Do you think that your cat might be pregnant? If so, you are likely wondering how long a cat pregnancy lasts and to expect the arrival of kittens. Today, our Gillette vets shed light on the topic of cat pregnancy, what to expect, and how to prepare for the kittens to be born.
How many kittens could my cat have?
Unless you get your kitten spayed, she could begin having kittens of her own as young as 4 months old. Female cats can have as many as five litters a year. Each litter can have between 1-9 kittens, although the average tends to be between 4-6 kittens. This means that your unspayed female cat could have an astounding 30 kittens each year! That's a lot of kittens to find loving homes for, which is why our veterinarians recommend having your female kitten spayed before she goes into her first heat.
How long are cats pregnant in weeks?
A normal cat pregnancy lasts about 63 to 65 days—approximately 9 weeks or 2 months. The full gestation period is broken into three distinct phases or trimesters just like a human pregnancy:
1 - 21 Days = First Trimester
The first trimester of your kitty's pregnancy is very difficult to detect. At this point in her pregnancy, your cat may begin to show subtle changes but only the most observant pet parents are likely to spot any signs. You may notice that your feline friend's appetite increases slightly or there may be some behavioral changes.
22 - 42 Days = Second Trimester
As your kitty's pregnancy progresses, physical signs will gradually become more apparent. Your cat's tummy may begin to grow, and her nipples may darken and become more prominent. When these signs begin to appear it's a good time to head to the vet to have your cat's pregnancy confirmed. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with valuable guidance on how to care for your cat during her pregnancy and steps you can take to help ensure a successful birthing process.
43 - 63 Days = Third Trimester
During the final weeks of your cat's pregnancy, you will be able to spot a number of more obvious changes. Your kitty's abdomen will become visibly swollen. She may begin exhibiting 'nesting' behaviors in preparation for the arrival of her kittens. You may also notice a large increase in your kitty's appetite.
What should I expect from my cat's labor and delivery?
You should expect your cat to give birth when she reaches day 63 of her pregnancy (although this can be between days 63 and 65). Signs that your kitty is in labor include restlessness, pacing, and vocalization.
Once her labor begins, it should progress fairly quickly, with kittens arriving at intervals over the course of about 4 to 6 hours. There could be as little as 10 minutes between the birth of each kitten or as long as an hour. In some cases, complications may arise, and it's essential to have a veterinarian's contact information readily available as the big day approaches.
If your cat shows any signs of distress contact your vet straight away for immediate guidance, or reach out to your nearest animal emergency hospital.
How should I prepare for my cat to give birth?
To ensure a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery, provide your pregnant cat with a nutritious diet, access to plenty of fresh water, and a quiet, comfortable space to 'nest'. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential. These examinations provide your veterinarian with an opportunity to monitor your cat's overall health and address any concerns that arise.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.