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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Pregnant cats are usually very independent. Nevertheless, you can make the pregnancy time as pleasant as possible for the expectant mother cat. It is an exciting time, which can bring many challenges for humans and animals.

Which food is beneficial for the future mother cat? What should the optimal birthing look like and what must be considered during and after the birth?

When can a cat become pregnant?

A cat can become pregnant as soon as she is ready to mate. This is already the case in the fifth month of life, i.e. when the cat is in heat for the first time.

When and how often the rolliness starts depends on the breed, character, weight and living conditions. This emotionally upsetting phase lasts about 9 days and starts over and over again as long as the female cat has not been covered by a suitable sexual partner. During this time the oestrogen level in the body rises and ovulation is prepared. The lady cat will now begin to call emphatically for a male cat.

When your velvet paw emits a beguiling scent, mews louder than usual, rolls more on the ground and suspiciously stretches her butt upwards, sexy time is the order of the day.

Once your cat has found a partner and performed the act of love, she is most likely pregnant. In the wild, female cats usually get involved with different partners. These can fertilise different eggs. This is the reason why the kittens look so different later on.

Hobby breedingDoes a cat have to have puppies?

Does a cat have to give birth to puppies once in her life?

No! There is no scientific evidence that cats that were once mothers are healthier. On the contrary, not every cat is suitable for being a mother.

The following must be considered, if you should consider to go among the hobby breeders: Yes, puppies are a blessing and there is hardly anything sweeter than watching the cute little cats play and thrive. BUT be aware that pregnancy is insanely exhausting and emotional for humans and animals. You need a lot of time, space, medical know-how and knowledge about genetics and cynology. Breeding guidelines must also be observed. The moreover one litter is not exactly economical, because the puppies must be supplied. It is a full-time job, which does not only have a sunny side.

How to notice that a cat is pregnant?

You can tell whether your cat is pregnant or not by all kinds of signs. Pregnancy and birth are probably the most natural things in the world. Not only women are allowed to have this wonderful experience and are inferior to certain physical and mental changes in pregnancy. our four-legged friends also undergo certain changes. If you should notice one or more signs with your cat, it is recommended to visit a veterinarian. The vet will be able to determine a given pregnancy in your cat or, if necessary, diagnose and treat or rule out diseases that could also be relevant for those symptoms.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased need for rest
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased appetite, from the second half of pregnancy onwards
  • Mammary glands enlarge, teats straighten up and take on a pink to reddish colour due to the increased blood circulation.
  • Loss of coat in the teat area
  • Weight gain, increase of the abdominal girth.
  • Changes of character (listlessness up to depression, nest building, extreme attachment, protective up to irritable behaviour etc.)

How do I find out if my cat is pregnant?

  • 21 up to 28 days after conception, pregnancy can be determined by blood test (Relaxin level increased).
  • Palpation (from the 21-30th day)
  • By ultrasound (21-25th day, from the 28th can be detected heart sounds and so the vitality can be checked)
  • X-ray image (from approx. 45 days the skeletons of the puppies can be recognized)
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Stages of development How do puppies develop in the womb?

Now it still takes a while until the birth of the kittens. But until the kittens are completely developed, they have to go through different stages of development. It takes about 15 days from the migration of the fertilised egg to the implantation in the uterine wall until the connection of the embryos with the blood circulation of the mother cat is completed.

From the 38th day the nerves, sensory organs and muscles of the offspring are formed.

From about the 5th week, you can see a clear belly and feel small movements of the puppies when you put your hand on them.

By the 48th day the kittens already have a fur. Depending on size and race, the pregnancy time amounts to approximately 58 to 67 days altogether. The so-called kittens measure now around the 13 cm.

If there are no contractions until the 70th day of pregnancy, you should consult your vet.

On average, one to five kittens per litter will see the light of day. Sometimes there are even more to come.

What food does a pregnant cat need?

The body of a cat changes massively during the pregnancy time and needs a lot of energy. Therefore it is recommended to feed the pregnant cat about 50 percent more calories daily. You should pay special attention to the quality of the food to supply your treasure with all important minerals and vitamins.

What do I need to prepare for the birth?

  • Prepare a cosy whelping box
  • Treat her to peace and quiet
  • Female cats have special and increased need for food, one day before the birth she usually stops eating
  • Measure temperature 10-6 days before birth, this drops to 37-38°, shortly before birth to 37°
  • If labour starts, the veterinarian number should be ready in case of emergency

When the time has come, the mother cat will look for a suitable and quiet place for the birth. Help your cat to “build a nest” by giving her a cozy basket or carton. This box however should be large enough for mother and kittens to move freely. Ideally, the box should be covered, cosy and warm and located in a secluded place without draughts.

The closer the hour of the birth moves, the larger becomes the need for proximity with some female cats. Just if it concerns the very first time, young cats are often unsettled and need additional affection.

Katze ist trächtig


The pregnancy of cats. A miracle of nature, which can be an enormous psychological and physical burden for the cat. TOBALIE wishes you and your cat all the best for the growth of your family.