You may have fostered or taken in a stray cat who turned out to be pregnant. You may also be owning a pregnant cat who was never fixed and she managed to escape the house to have a date with a tom or that simply you just wanted to have new kittens. Whatever the case, pregnant cat care is important to make sure that the cat and her kittens are safe.
It is important to know that spaying/neutering is highly encouraged so as not to add to the growing population of homeless cats. But somehow, it’s hard not to encounter a pregnant cat – especially for people in the rescue line of work. Unless you intend to keep and take care of kittens until adulthood, spaying is a great way of preventing unwanted cat pregnancy.
Before knowing some of the pregnant cat care tips, here are some telltale signs that should help determine if a cat is pregnant.
#1. Darkened nipples
A cat’s pregnancy typically lasts for nine weeks or 64-67 days. At around three weeks into pregnancy, the nipples tend to darken and enlarge. This is referred to as “pinking up” by veterinarians. Cats may not start producing milk until after giving birth but in some cases, they may have a milky discharge.
#2. Morning sickness
Interestingly, cats can go through morning sickness just like humans. Occasionally, a cat may be sick but not all of them go through it – again, just like some pregnant women. If your pregnant cat has morning sickness, experiences frequent vomiting and is generally unwell, take her to the veterinarian for a checkup.
#3. Swollen belly
A pregnant queen starts to have a swollen belly by 30 days, but know that even this obvious sign can be quite difficult to spot — especially for overweight cats.
Pregnant cats start to nest when they only have about two weeks left before popping. She may go around and look for a quiet spot in your home and start arranging blankets to prepare for her birth. Most pregnant cat owners also notice that the cats are much more affectionate than the usual.
#5. Ultrasound results
If spotting the aforementioned telltale signs is difficult, taking your cat for an X-ray or ultrasound is the best way to go. X-ray only show the kittens if they’re already 40-45 days old. An ultrasound, on the other hand, can be done as early as 21 days. However, this method does not show how many kittens your cat will be having.
Pregnant Cat Care Tips
Cats need a nesting spot where she can safely and comfortably give birth and care for her young. Make sure that the area has enough blankets to keep them warm. Warmth is vital to the survival of the kittens.
While cats are capable of taking care of the kittens on her own, it won’t hurt to follow some helpful pregnant cat care tips. This would ensure that the momma cat and her unborn are safe during and after delivery.
Feeding the pregnant queen
One of the most important aspect of pregnant cat care is nutrition as you want your cat to make sure she get all the nutrition she needs for herself and her young.
The cat should eat 25% more food six weeks into her pregnancy. The queen should have high-calcium, high-protein diet to ensure health of the kitten, as well as help the momma with lactation. Vitamins aren’t necessary as long as you know you are giving excellent quality of cat food.
Keeping her indoors
Cats may continue with their heat cycles even after getting pregnant. That means she can still mate and be pregnant with kittens that have different fathers. For this, you need to keep your pregnant cat indoors to prevent more pregnancies, as well as protect her from harsh elements.
Other pregnant cat care routine
Getting your veterinarian involved is very helpful for the overall health of your pregnant cat. Your veterinarian is still the best person to give you advice on what your cat needs to eat. Vets can also recommend a safe flea treatment and wormer for pregnant cats.
Spaying can be done during pregnancy – that is if the pregnancy was accidental or unwanted. Technically, it’s aborting the kittens and while it’s horrible to think about, some vets and owners are willing to go through with it to avoid a much bigger problem. This decision, however, should be thoroughly discussed with your vet.