There are many special occasions in one’s life, and being present for the birth of any creature is truly amazing.
Cats can get pregnant quite easily as unspayed females go into heat every 2–3 weeks on average. They also have a very long fertility cycle and can get pregnant from only a few months old, well into old age. Being such independent animals, it can be easy to miss the signs, but you can rest your mind with the knowledge that most cat pregnancies are relatively straightforward.
If your feline is about to have kittens, try to set aside some time to prepare yourself and her in order to take care of your new family.
Signs & Symptoms: What to Look For
Cats are highly protective of their young and may even try to hide being pregnant from you! Usually, during the first few weeks you may not notice anything, but if you spot any of the following symptoms and want to be prepared, then take her to your vet as soon as you can. This is a list of the main symptoms, although, keep in mind that every cat is different and may display some or any mixture of these signs:
How to Know That Today is The Day?
So, how long does it take for a cat to give birth? Mammals have varying pregnancy gestation timelines depending on the specific species. A cat’s gestation period lasts between 64 and 67 days. It is interesting to note that female cats are polyestrous, which means they have multiple reproductive, or estrus cycles every year. The summertime is the common time for cats to get impregnated although technically it can happen all year long!
There are a few ways that you can have a more accurate timeline of your cat’s pregnancy, especially if you want to be certain that she is about to have offspring. Medical imaging using either ultrasound or X-Ray will be able to confirm a pregnancy painlessly. For the early stages, ultrasounds can identify kitten fetuses in your cat’s womb, but it may be difficult to count the number. After about 5 weeks, an X-Ray can image the kitten skeletons and therefore provide the exact amount of kittens to expect. Another technique is known as palpation, and this is when your vet can feel the fetuses by gently pressing on your feline’s tummy.
The cat pregnancy timeline is fascinating and each week the fetuses develop in different ways that coincide with changes to their mother’s behavior or anatomy. There are plenty of online cat pregnancy calculators to check out if you are not that into the old-fashioned methods. Here are some key developments to look out for:
How to Be There for Your Pregnant Cat
During a cat’s pregnancy, they are likely to be emotional, stressed, and worried and this is absolutely normal, just think of us humans and how we are! It is highly important that you spend time soothing your cat, stroking her, and telling her everything will be alright, especially if she is a first-time mom! Also, make sure that you help her build her nest by providing blankets, soft toys, or teddy bears, and a good dose of love. As the big day approaches, have a warm water bottle, clean towels, and a kitten milk replacement on hand so there is no last-minute rushing. Being a good cat midwife is always about tuning in to your cat’s needs and being as present as you can!
Featured Image Credit: TaniaVdB, Pixabay