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Signs your cat is pregnant

Updated on September 20, 2011

Subtle and more obvious signs of pregnancy in cats

If your cat was recently in heat and she had access to the outside world, very likely she has met several candidates willing to begin "courtship practices". A cat in heat after all, is hard to be ignored, she will cry out and release a special urine rich in estrogen that will attract potential soul mates.

If you believe that chances of your cat being pregnant are high, as an owner you may find it frustrating to not know for some time if your cat is expecting kittens or not. While it may take a good amount of time to observe obvious signs of pregnancy, there are some small subtle signs suggesting pregnancy that can be witnessed early by attentive owners that know their cats very well.

Signs Possibly Suggesting Pregnancy in Cats

-One of the best symptoms of feline pregnancy is the fact that your cat has not gone into heat again. Cats may easily go into heat within weeks from a previous heat if not pregnant. In pregnant cats the heat cycle will abruptly cease and there will therefore no longer be visible (and audible!) signs suggesting heat.

-A pregnant cat's nipples may appear rosier in color and a bit swollen. This is usually one of the first signs of pregnancy and it may not be detected by an untrained eye. For this reason a good picture before and after mating may be a good source to refer to to get an idea of the differences.

-Just as people, cats may suffer from bouts of morning sickness. Morning sickness arises because of the hormonal changes that take place along with physical changes such as the uterus stretching out and distending. A cat affected by morning sickness may appear lethargic, nauseous and may vomit. Food may be consequently refused. The signs of morning sickness are more prominent towards the third and fourth week post mating.

-Owners will notice that their cat will be more interested in food as their appetite will increase. The cat is obviously eating for 2,3,4,5,6,7 kittens if not even more. Ask your veterinarian for an appropriate diet to feed your cat upon learning about her pregnancy.

-Around the fifth week, your cat may be showing an enlarged abdomen. This is usually the most prominent and visible sign. The cat's abdomen will continue to enlarge considerable until delivery.

-One week before pregnancy the cat will appear irritable and may groom herself very often paying close attention to her genital area. She may obsessively look around for a good place to give birth. This is called "nesting behavior" and is a cat's way of preparing a safe, comfy place for her kittens.

-Around 24 hours prior to the delivery day, the cat's rectal temperature may drop from the average temperature of 101.5 to under 99.5. For this reason, it is helpful to take a cat's temperature around day 61 of pregnancy.

Since some cats may show very subtle changes during pregnancy, your veterinarian would be the best source for detecting or ruling out pregnancy. An abdominal ultrasound will detect fetuses as early as 15 days into pregnancy. Heart beats can be detected as early as day 20, while x-rays may show skeletons around day 43.

Should you witness your cat mating and you do not want the kittens, you are still in time to have your cat spayed and terminate the pregnancy. As mean as this may sound, terminating a pregnancy at its very first stage may save unwanted kittens from a more dim fate, possibly being abandoned or euthanized at a shelter.

Detecting pregnancy in cats may be challenging especially for first time breeders, to make matters worse, some cats develop false pregnancies exhibiting symptoms similar to pregnancy. For this reason, must you really find out if your cat is pregnant, your veterinarian is the most reliable and trusted source.


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