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What Should I Know About Caring for a Pregnant Cat?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Caring for a pregnant cat shouldn’t require too many adjustments. If your cat is pregnant, you may not always know this at first, but during the second month of pregnancy you may notice the cat’s belly is distended slightly, and the cat may seem more tired. If your cat is allowed to roam with unaltered male cats, indoors or out, you can pretty much plan on a cat pregnancy. To avoid this, have your cat spayed before she reaches sexual maturity.

The first thing you should do if you have a pregnant cat is to plan to take her to the vet. Most pregnancies in cats last about two and half months, and you should schedule a vet visit during the first month. In general, in this first month you don’t have to do much about changing diet, and the cat will continue to be active. Play with her gently, but don’t let her go “kitty crazy” if you can avoid it.

In the second month, you’ll want to start supplementing the cat’s food with kitten food, so that the last few weeks of the pregnancy, she is eating only kitten food. A pregnant cat does have great nutritional requirements as she reaches the end of her pregnancy. Vets may also recommend that your cat take a calcium supplement through the pregnancy.

As the cat reaches the end of her pregnancy, she’ll start to get a little ungainly. Help her by providing her with a low litter box that she can get in and out of easily. You should also not let your pregnant cat have outdoor privileges, especially toward the end of her pregnancy. She may choose to have her kittens under the house, in an attic, or elsewhere and you will be unable to offer her support or care. Also, kittens born outdoors are in danger from animal predators, and this also puts your cat in danger.

The last few weeks of the pregnancy, you cat may start to nest. You may be able to encourage your pregnant cat to have her kittens in a location you choose. Find a couple good locations and provide easy to clean bedding that might appeal to your pregnant cat. She may choose a darker place to have kittens, so you may want to find several private spots she might choose. Minimize access to places you wouldn’t want her to have kittens, like in closets. When she seems to have chosen a location, place her food and her litter box near it so she can get to these without leaving nursing kittens.

Watch your pregnant cat as she approaches the end of her pregnancy. She may not eat very much, but she still should continue to eat. If she doesn’t eat for more than a day or two, take her to the vet. Also look for any signs of distress that might indicate the pregnancy is in trouble or the cat is. Many cats don’t need significant veterinary care and will have kittens without help. If your cat appears to be laboring for hours with no appearance of kittens, call a vet who can make a house call.

Unless you are a licensed breeder of cats, make sure you avoid this issue in the future. Once the pregnancy is ended, have your cat spayed to help prevent kitten overpopulation. The length of time between heat and end of pregnancy can be very short. Make the cat remains indoors with no unaltered male cats, and after weaning, get her to the vet's to prevent unplanned pregnancies in the future. Many kittens are also altered right after weaning, and you can help prevent overpopulation by choosing to alter the kittens before you send them off to new homes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jan 26, 2014

My sweet kitty was pregnant when she showed up at the house. She lost those kittens, but got pregnant again right away. This was many years ago. She insisted on having her kittens in the storage room. We brought them in and one survived.

She was a rescue and our vet said he thought she was a purebred who got away from someone. He said sometimes purebreds have more problems with pregnancies than "alley" cats. We had her spayed after that little and she was a much happier kitty. Plus, we didn't have every tom in the neighborhood hanging around.

Mostly, we just made sure she had plenty to eat and drink and she took care of the rest.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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