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Early signs of pregnancy in cats

Updated July 19, 2017

Early signs of pregnancy in cats are generally subtle. Usually a pregnant cat will behave normally in most regards. A feline pregnancy typically lasts about nine weeks and as the pregnancy progresses, the signs and symptoms become more obvious. However, if a pet owner suspects that his cat may be pregnant, he can begin monitoring her closely for subtle signs of pregnancy early on.

Nipple Changes

This is one of the first noticeable signs that occur when a cat is pregnant and happens about three weeks after conception. The nipples generally will turn pinker and brighter in colour, and may look slightly swollen or more prominent. This pregnancy sign is usually more obvious in a cat that will be expecting her first litter than it will be in subsequent litters.

Mood

A pregnant cat may become calmer, sleep more and be less playful. she may be more affectionate to other animals and humans.

Heat Cycles

A pregnant cat will no longer go into heat or be interested in male cats as she had once been. She will be less likely to want to run around in search of a mate and will prefer staying close to home more than she had before.

Appetite Changes

The cat may seem hungrier than normal or, in very early pregnancy, may experience a decreased appetite.

Palpation

Around three to five weeks after conception, a vet can usually palpate the cat's abdomen to confirm pregnancy by feeling for a golf-ball-size swelling. Generally around this time the vet will be able to estimate the number of foetuses the cat is carrying.

Swollen Abdomen

A pregnant cat's abdomen may swell sooner or later depending on her size and the number of foetuses she is carrying. The average age of gestation when a cat's abdomen will look noticeably swollen is around five to six weeks.

Signs of Nesting

As the pregnancy progresses, an expecting mother cat will go through spells where she seem restless and exhibits sudden bursts of energy. She may spend more time in secluded places--such as under beds, in closet corners or behind furniture. Often these places are where she will choose to have her kittens when she goes into labour.

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About the Author

Summer Decker is a childcare provider and an experienced caregiver for disabled individuals, making her areas of expertise health and wellness, specifically focusing on baby and child development. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree at Columbia College in Missouri.