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Ways to tell a cat is pregnant

Updated February 21, 2017

If your female cat is not spayed, there is a chance that, if allowed outside or around non-neutered male cats, she will become pregnant. Cats are able to come into heat and conceive kittens as early as four months of age. Recognising your cat's pregnancy will allow you to prepare for the litter of kittens to come and begin finding safe homes for them. There are several signs your cat will exhibit before giving birth.

Observe your cat's behaviour. Pregnant cats often become more affectionate, have an increased appetite and begin exhibiting nesting behaviour. When your cat is nesting, she might try to get into cupboards, closets and other secluded places more than usual.

Look at your cat's appearance. When your cat becomes pregnant, her back will arch lower toward the ground as her body adjusts to carrying a litter. Also, her stomach will round out; this is most noticeable when looking at your cat from above.

Turn your cat gently onto her back and look at the size of her nipples. Approximately 21 days after conception, her nipples will enlarge and turn more pink This is known as pinking.

Run your fingers lightly over your cat's stomach; this is called palpating your cat. You should feel small lumps within her belly, roughly the size of walnuts. Do not press hard near these lumps, as you can damage the kittens prior to birth.

Take your cat to the veterinarian. A vet can use an ultrasound to detect pregnancy around 22 days after conception. She will also be able to tell you if your cat can birth her litter from home or will require a caesarean section.

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