Cat Pregnancy: All You Need To Know

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It’s a joyous occasion. You just discovered that you’re going to have grand-kittens. Now, you want to know everything there is to know about your cat’s pregnancy journey. You probably have questions like:

  • How long do cats stay in heat?
  • How long are cats pregnant?
  • How to tell if a cat is pregnant?
  • How many kittens can a cat have?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. You’re about to discover the answers to everything you’ve been wondering about how kittens are born. 

Signs Your Cat Might Be Pregnant

If your cat isn’t spayed or has access to a male cat who is not neutered, then the chances are good that you have a pregnant cat on your hands. Why? Because cats get pregnant very easily.

Surprisingly, a cat pregnancy isn’t entirely different from a human one. The two species actually have more than a few things in common. So, if you’re wondering how to tell if your cat is pregnant, check out the following clues.

  • Your cat is experiencing morning sickness.  It’s true. Cats can experience morning sickness just like women do. Also, just like women, not all cats have morning sickness. So even if your cat isn’t throwing up, that doesn’t mean she’s in the clear. She might just be one of the lucky ones.
  • Her tummy is swollen. Just as women start to physically show, cats do too. If it’s early on, you can gently feel around the abdomen to see if it feels like it’s protruding.
  • She has darkened nipples. -You probably haven’t looked at your cat’s nipples lately, so it might be difficult to tell if they are darker than usual. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be an expert on your cat’s anatomy to be able to spot the difference. You can also look for enlarged nipples or a reddish color that vets refer to as “pinking up.” 
  • You’re noticing nesting behavior. -A couple of weeks before the new kittens arrive, your cat will begin acting more maternal. She might start gathering blankets or pushing things together. She might purr more or become more affectionate, as well.   

How Far Along Is Your Cat?

How Far Along Is Your Cat in their Pregnancy?

If you have a cat who isn’t spayed, then you’ve likely seen her go through multiple heat cycles. They’re pretty hard to miss. Your cat will make a lot of loud, eerie screeching or whining noises. She’ll probably rub against things a lot, seem like she can’t quite get settled, and need a lot of extra attention. 

The heat cycle lasts about a week and typically occurs every 10-14 days. If you haven’t noticed your cat having a heat cycle in a while, then it’s very likely your cat has a case of the kittens. Only a doctor’s visit and an ultrasound will tell you for sure.

So, you’re probably wondering, “How long do cats stay pregnant?” Well, the gestation period for cats is about ten weeks. It’s 25% the length of a human pregnancy, and a cat can carry up to a dozen kittens all at once. This is why the answer to, “How many nipples do cats have?” is a lot. Usually between six and eight

What to Expect at Each Stage

Now that you know how to tell if a cat is pregnant, it’s time to explore the cat gestation period, which lasts for about two and a half months. 

  • Week One – This is when fertilization occurs. 
  • Week Two – The uterus is now fertilized, and the kittens begin to develop. 
  • Week Three – Implanted embryos start developing their organs, and the mama’s nipples begin to darken. 
  • Week Four – Morning sickness sets in for many cats.
  • Week Five – A vet can actually feel the kittens through the wall of the cat’s tummy. 
  • Week Six – Your cat’s appetite will increase. This isn’t the time to regulate food. Give that mama what she needs. 
  • Week Seven – You should be able to physically see your cat’s pregnant tummy protruding. 
  • Week Eight – Nesting begins to set in, and you should be able to feel the kittens moving around in her belly without any problem.
  • Week Nine – Prepare for cuteness overload. The cats are growing to the point they are nearly ready for the outside world.
  • Week Ten – Time to meet the kittens.

How to Care for Your Pregnant Cat

How to Care for Your Pregnant Cat

  • The cat’s appetite will increase, during the cat gestation period, you’ll want to be sure you are providing a nurturing environment. Don’t limit food as you normally would. Don’t feed her cat food either. She should get kitten food because it has the added nutrients she needs. You’ll also want to get a shelter (like a box) prepared for her, so she has a place to give birth.

Signs of Labor

While the cat pregnancy length is ten weeks, you’ll want to start watching for signs of labor at nine weeks. It’s not uncommon for cats to have their kittens a little early which may require some hands-on action. Here are some tips on what to look for. 

  • 12-24 hours before labor starts, your cat’s temperature will lower to around 37.8°C/100.0°F.
  • l decrease.
  • You might notice your cat bathing itself incessantly to prepare. 
  • Your cat could start meowing a lot.
  • Her mood might become agitated because she’s in pain.
  • She is curled up in that box you set up for shelter.
  • There will be a really heavy vaginal discharge. Once you see that, the kittens are imminent.  


If you’ve been wondering, “How long is a cat pregnant?”, you finally know the answer. Along with a lot of other things you probably didn’t know. Being armed with this information matters when you’re helping a cat bring kittens into the world. It’s also important to know these things if you plan on becoming a vet or just have a curious mind. Whatever your reasons, you now possess a lot of knowledge most people don’t.

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Maria A.

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