Cat pregnancies last anywhere from 61 days to 72 days although the average seems to be 63 to 68 days. It’s often difficult to figure out how many days a cat has been pregnant. A vet can often assist with this, offering services such as an ultrasound.
Why the Disparity?
Most of the disparity comes from the people who have observed cats mating. What is clear is that several couplings over a period of one to two weeks is necessary for the female cat to release her eggs. Because of this it is hard to discern when the actual conception took place. If you are to count from the first mating, then you’ll get a longer pregnancy. If you start from the first successful mating, then you’ll get a shorter number of days.
With more controlled mating periods of one or two days instead of the usual two weeks, the actual gestation period can be more accurately estimated. In these controlled breeding environments cats usually have a more precise gestation period of 63 to 68 days, hence the average.
Ways to Tell If Your Cat Is Pregnant
Thankfully, most of us aren’t in the business of breeding cats. They have too many litters on their own without human intervention. If you take in an orphaned female cat, you might have a pregnancy on your hands. First, it is hard to tell if a female has been spayed. She might have a scar but it might not be visible to you. The best way to determine if she is pregnant is to take her to the vet who can perform examinations and do an ultrasound. If she is far enough along in her pregnancy, the vet might even be able to estimate how many kittens are in her litter.
Sometimes funds are a concern and having the vet perform every available test just isn’t economically feasible. If you’ve taken in a homeless cat, you’re doing the cat and your community a huge favor. It is certainly advised that you go to a vet for a check-up especially with parasites being rampant in stray animals. The vet might also be able to determine just by palpation whether a cat is pregnant.
With that said, here are some low-cost ways to help you determine your cat’s current state of health. Is she heavy around the middle? A pregnant female will often have swollen nipples. If this is the case, she might very well be halfway into her pregnancy. Although appetite isn’t a useful indicator either, it is necessary to note that a pregnant cat will want to eat more. Don’t deny her food until you can safely decide that she isn’t pregnant.
A skinny cat is a bit more difficult to make a guess on but you can observe her growth. A newly pregnant cat may have morning sickness and a brief loss of appetite. When pregnant she will gradually gain about four pounds during the pregnancy. Behavior is also important in concluding that your cat is indeed pregnant. She might exhibit signs of neediness by coming to you for more attention and affection.
When She Goes into Labor
When your cat is ready to give birth she will understandably be more agitated. She might even try to hide. Give her a warm, comfortable, and well-padded place to lay. This place should be in a secluded area with dim lights. A closet or a corner is a great place for her to hide away. Cats can usually handle their own pregnancies but be nearby to monitor her and get her professional help should you notice any complications.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.