If you are a cat lover or owner, chances are you have been around a cat that is or was pregnant. As with all births, it is a miraculous experience. In addition, as with all pregnancies, finding out if your cat is pregnant and giving it good prenatal care is important to the health of the litter. But how do you know when a cat is pregnant? Though there are not many clues, there are some signs and tips for prenatal cat care you should know if you suspect a pregnancy amongst your pets.
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Cat Pregnancy Facts
Cat pregnancy has many differences from a human pregnancy. First, a cat's gestation period is only 60 to 67 days long. Another large difference is that cats can have multiple kittens, and they usually do. Finally, a little-known fact is that a litter of kittens can have more than one father, depending on the number of mates the mother cat has had.
"Early" here means three weeks into gestation, which is generally the earliest any signs of pregnancy can be seen in a cat. The most obvious and early sign of pregnancy is when the heat cycles cease. If your cat has been around any adult male cats and her heat cycles stop suddenly, it is a safe bet she may be pregnant. In addition, your cat's nipples may swell and turn more pink than usual around the three-week mark, indicating her pregnancy. Another almost immediate change you may notice is your cat may calm down considerably and want to cuddle and receive more attention than normal. Many cats go through a mood change during their pregnancy.
There are many other signs that will clue you in to the pregnancy of the cat. These generally start at the five-to-six-week mark in the pregnancy. The cat's abdomen and nipples will swell as the baby kittens grow. She may stay home more, refuse to have anything to do with male cats, and spend more time cuddling or searching out quiet areas to give birth (this is called nesting). In addition, of course, your cat will increasingly want more food to sustain her babies.
Prenatal Feline Care
Ideally, there are some tips on helping your cat have a healthy pregnancy. A lot of these may seem familiar, especially if you have ever been pregnant. Prenatal feline care is a lot like human prenatal care. First, try to keep your cat indoors, where she is less likely to catch an infection that would affect the babies. Make sure you are feeding her the right food and do not give her any medications while pregnant. Make sure your new kittens will have homes before they are born, keep other cats away from your mother cat, and make sure you find out as much as you can about the birthing process so you can recognise and deal with any complications.
Having and staying in touch with a good vet is necessary when you have a pregnant cat. Your cat's vet can suggest the proper foods and amounts she should be given while pregnant, help you tell what medications are OK to give her, tell you how many kittens you're likely to expect and perhaps help you become aware of any possible complications before they occur. Having a good vet to call can be extremely beneficial to the health of your pregnant or postpartum cat and her new litter of kittens.
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