Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing


How to Tell if My Cat is Pregnant?

Recognizing the signs of feline pregnancy and understanding how to care for your pregnant cat is crucial for ensuring her health and the well-being of her future kittens. This guide will help you identify if your cat is pregnant, what changes to expect, and how to provide the best care during this important time.

How to Tell if My Cat is Pregnant

Below are some other signs of pregnancy in cats that you may want to look for. Note that your cat may not display all of the signs below, depending on how far the pregnancy is.

Physical Changes:

  • One of the earliest signs of pregnancy in cats is the enlargement and pinkening of the nipples, often referred to as "pinking up." This is usually noticeable around the third week of pregnancy.
  • Pregnant cats tend to gain weight gradually as the pregnancy progresses. An increase in appetite often accompanies this weight gain.
  • As the kittens grow, your cat’s abdomen will become noticeably larger, typically around the fifth week of pregnancy.
  • Some cats become more affectionate and seek more attention from their owners.

Behavioral Changes:

  • Nesting behavior: As your cat nears the end of her pregnancy, she may seek quiet, secluded places to give birth. This nesting behavior is a clear sign that birth is approaching.
  • Morning sickness: Similar to humans, some cats may experience a form of morning sickness, which can include vomiting or a decrease in appetite during the early stages of pregnancy.

If your cat is exhibiting the symptoms above, it's time to head to the vet for an examination to confirm pregnancy and/or check for signs of any underlying health concerns that could be causing these symptoms.

Clinical Diagnosis of Pregnancy in Cats

There are a few different tests that vets can do to confirm whether your cat is expecting a litter:

  • The first thing your vet is likely to do is to palpate your cat's abdomen. This means that the vet will gently feel your cat's belly to determine whether they can detect the presence of fetuses. If your cat is more than 17 days pregnant, your vet may be able to confirm pregnancy in this manner.
  • Your vet may recommend an ultrasound test to look for fetuses if your vet suspects that your cat is 14 days pregnant or more.
  • If your vet believes your cat is more than 42 days into its pregnancy, they may recommend an X-ray. Digital X-rays or radiographs are considered very safe and can help determine the due date and the number of kittens.

Isn't my cat too young to be pregnant?

If you have a female cat who hasn't been spayed and manages to escape your home, she may become pregnant.

Female cats typically experience their first heat cycle between four to seven months of age, which means they're physically mature and can have their first litter of kittens.  An unspayed female cat can go into heat every three weeks until she becomes pregnant or is spayed.

Without spaying, she could have up to four litters of kittens a year, with each litter having between 4-12 kittens. Therefore, if your unspayed adult female cat has been outdoors, there's a high chance she is pregnant, and you should seek veterinary care to ensure the health and safety of both the mother and her potential kittens.

How do I take care of my pregnant cat?

Once your vet has confirmed that your cat is pregnant, they will provide you with specific recommendations on how to care for it. In general, it is recommended to help a cat have a healthy and safe pregnancy and birth to do the following:

  • Do not squeeze or press on her belly.
  • Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while pregnant and nursing, so provide plenty of high-quality food.
  • Clean her litter box once or twice daily.
  • Ensure her litter box is easily accessible as her tummy expands and drops.
  • Ensure that your cat has a cozy, clean area to give birth and care for her kittens. This spot should be warm and quiet in your home, away from kids, other human traffic, and pets.

Signs Your Cat Will Give Birth Soon

Knowing when your cat is about to give birth can help you prepare for the arrival of the kittens. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Restlessness: A cat about to give birth may become restless and unable to settle down.
  • Nesting: She will likely spend more time in her chosen nesting spot.
  • Decreased Appetite: It’s typical for a cat’s appetite to decrease shortly before giving birth.
  • Licking: Increased licking of the genital area is a sign that labor is near.

When to Worry

While most cat pregnancies proceed without issues, there are times when you should seek veterinary assistance:

  • Bleeding or discharge: Any bleeding or unusual discharge should be checked by a vet.
  • Excessive vomiting: Some vomiting can be normal, but excessive vomiting is a cause for concern.
  • Prolonged labor: If your cat is in labor for an extended period without delivering a kitten, contact your vet immediately.

By understanding the signs of pregnancy and knowing how to care for your pregnant cat, you can ensure she stays healthy and comfortable throughout her pregnancy. Keep an eye on her behavior, provide a supportive environment, and consult your vet to confirm the pregnancy and monitor her progress. Soon enough, you'll welcome a new litter of kittens into your home!

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.

Do you think that your cat may be pregnant? Contact our Bloom Plaza Animal Hospital vets today to book an examination for your feline friend.

Now Welcoming New Patients

Bloom Plaza Animal Hospital is now welcoming new cat and dog patients! Our professional and talented vets are dedicated to the health of San Jose's companion animals. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your furry friend. 

Contact Us

(408) 972-2000 Contact