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How Long Does a Cat Stay Pregnant?

Updated on March 28, 2014
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Is your female feline expecting a few purring furballs? If she is a queen (meaning--not spayed), and you noticed recently that she was much more vocal and loveable than normal?

Have you been chasing male cats away from your house and cleaning up little red droplets from around your house?

Then chances are your kitty was in heat, and if she got out of the house during this time, she is more likely than not expecting kittens!

Some important questions to ask:

  • Do cats have pregnancy symptoms?

  • How can you tell if a cat is pregnant?

  • How many kittens can a cat have in a litter?

  • Should a pregnant cat see a vet?

  • How long does a cat stay pregnant?

  • What are signs of labor?

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Symptoms

When you think of pregnancy, you think of morning sickness and women eating pickles and ice cream due to intense cravings. But do cats experience symptoms of pregnancy? The answer is, yes! If you are trying to determine if your cat is pregnant, look for the following symptoms:

  • Nipple and breast changes: Much like humans, the nipples of cats undergo changes during pregnancy. Their nipples will turn red and swell up a bit somewhere around 15 days of pregnancy; this is called “pinking up.”

  • Increased appetite: They’re eating for two, three, or eight, after all!

  • Weight gain: They’re growing little kittens, so they should gain some weight from it!

  • Swollen belly: Their belly will appear to bow out once pregnancy progresses, just like a human belly grows large.

  • Vomiting: Cats can get “morning sickness,” too! If the vomiting seems persistent and your queen isn’t drinking plenty of water, make sure you get her to a vet to avoid dehydration!

  • Loveable behavior: Your cat might be more loveable and cuddly than normal, a symptom that starts when they are in heat and stays if they conceive kitties!

If you begin to suspect that your kitty may be expecting, a vet visit is definitely in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy!

The best way to tell if your cat is pregnant is by getting a veterinarian to evaluate your cat. The vet can test for pregnancy hormones, or draw a conclusion by palpating the abdomen; they might even be able to tell you how many kittens to expect by feeling for heads or performing an ultrasound!

How long does a cat stay pregnant?

If you are asking yourself “how long does a cat stay pregnant?” The answer is pretty simple: A cat’s gestation period lasts between 63 and 67 days but can vary by a few days, give or take, like a human pregnancy. Seems like a short time to grow up to eight kittens, doesn’t it?

How many kittens can a cat have in a litter?

The average litter size is 3-5 kittens, but a can can have as many as 8 kittens in a single litter!

Throughout the gestation period, you might see no symptoms other than the nipples changing and the belly growing, or your cat may experience all of the symptoms. Symptoms will vary from cat-to-cat and pregnancy-to-pregnancy.

Should a pregnant cat see a vet?

If you would like to determine approximately where your cat is in her pregnancy, take her to her veterinarian for an assessment. This will give the vet a chance to give your cat a thorough examination.

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Signs of Labor

Before your queen can meet her babies, she needs to go through labor and give birth to them first! Even though you may have an idea on when she is “due,” there really is no telling when they will be born by just going by the days; you need to keep a close watch for the symptoms of labor. These symptoms include:

  • Hiding: Cats instinctually look for a quiet, safe place to have her kittens.

  • Refusing food: Your cat may refuse to eat right before or during labor.

  • Vocalizing: Who doesn’t vocalize when they are in labor? You may hear noises that you’ve never heard your cat make before.

  • Licking: She may be incessantly grooming herself or her genital area.

  • Vaginal discharge: When you see this, the kittens will be coming shortly!

Whether the pregnancy was planned or unplanned, it’s always in your cat’s best interest to see a vet during pregnancy to ensure the safest possible pregnancy. Your vet will be able to give you tips on what to do at home when your cat’s big moment arrives.

Pregnant Kitty Quiz


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Things to Consider

If this pregnancy was unplanned, be sure to get your cat spayed in order to avoid another unplanned experience.

Also, try finding homes for the kittens before they are born to ensure they all go to good homes, and so that none of them end up in an animal shelter, or getting needlessly euthanized.

Too many animals get killed everyday because they were a result of an unplanned pregnancy. Be a part of the solution; getting your cat spayed can save lives!

Feline Labor and Delivery

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    • Meisjunk profile image

      Jennifer Kessner 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great hub! Helpful and definitely needed. There are just too many stray and abandoned kitties.

      Voted up! I'll definitely be remembering the exact facts and numbers for future kitten planning! =)