What is the name of a pregnant cat

Pregnancy in cats: you need to know that!

Is there anything cuter than little kittens? Probably hardly! But until you can hold the mini fur balls in your hands, there is a really great adventure to be had: pregnancy. We'll tell you everything you should know about pregnancy in cats, from heat to heat and the right food to the litter box. Read more here!

Table of Contents

Gestation in Cats - The Most Important Facts

Before we go into the whole process of pregnancy in detail, let's start by giving you the most important information beforehand. Because the most common questions can actually be answered very quickly.

Gestation period: Cats are about 9 weeks, i.e. 60 to 72 days, pregnant.
Frequency: A cat can get pregnant two to three times a year.
How many kittens: In the first litter there are usually only 2-3 kittens, after that often 3-6 or more.

The starting shot for pregnancy: cats in heat

As with many animals, cats also need a certain amount of time before they even become sexually mature. In domestic cats, this is usually the case for the first time when they are 6 months old. The range is greater for pedigree cats. Some species, such as the Siamese, are often ready from the 4th month, while others (such as the British Shorthair) only reach puberty from the 12th month.

However, what always has to be fulfilled is the right weight. Because only when the cat has reached approx. 80% of its final body weight, sexual maturity is initiated - in the form of heat.

How does a cat in heat behave?

Heated cat rolls on the floor

Long-term cat owners are certainly already familiar with this special behavior on the part of their velvet paws. New owners, on the other hand, might at least be surprised if not worried about it. But heat is an absolutely normal phase in a female cat's cycle, during which more sex hormones (including estrogens) are produced. The time, also called Raunze, expresses itself differently with each animal and not always with the same intensity, but some points can be observed with all kitties:

Rolling and rolling across the floor
Press your chest against the floor, lift your bottom in the air
tail bent to one side
loud meowing, cooing
mark by rubbing the head, scratching or urinating
restless behavior
poor appetite
great urge to go outside

This peculiar behavior is the signal for all tomcats in the vicinity (but also several kilometers away) that this cat is ready to mate. So what irritates us and can even rob us of our night's sleep is actually nothing more than a feline contact ad.

How long is a cat in heat?

In principle, this process is provided by nature about 2 to 4 times a year. These phases then each last about 5-10 days. They are mostly triggered by the length of daylight. If it is about 12 hours light, cats get heaty. This is particularly often the case from March to April and from June to September. Between October and December, heat is actually rather unlikely.

Since heat is a hormonally controlled process depending on the light intensity, indoor cats have a not quite as reliable cycle. The artificial lighting can cause you to get in heat more often. In addition, the heat repeats itself after about 2-3 weeks if there has been no coverage. Unfortunately, these two factors can lead to so-called permanent rolling in indoor cats much more often.

This means that the cat permanently displays this particular hormone level and the behavior associated with it. This is not only exhausting for cat owners, but also for the cat itself, because it is accompanied by a high level of stress and - due to the lower appetite - possibly poor nutrition. Health problems can also be triggered, such as uterine inflammation or tumors on the uterus or ovaries.

How can you help your cat?

If you don't want small cats twice a year, you should consider neutering for better or worse. House tigers in particular simply have a more relaxed life, but outdoor kitties are also protected. However, there are also recommendations from veterinarians that the cat should go through at least one pregnancy beforehand, as this can have a positive effect on its nature and health.

Examination of the cat for castration at the vet

However, this should not happen until the animal is at least 1 year old. Otherwise, on the one hand, the mother and / or the young could be harmed, and on the other, such young animals are often not yet able to cope with the role of mother and may therefore neglect the kittens.

So if you want to help your cat through a heat without pregnancy in the end, there is little you can do. For some animals, this includes warmth. Electric blankets, cozy beds and the like help these cats to relax. Playing more can also help to distract the girls. Catnip or certain pheromones can also be used to help the cat relax.

Detecting pregnancy in cats

If you are wondering whether your cat is really pregnant after the heat, you need to be patient. Because on the one hand it is like this with cats: Even after mating, the kitties may still be in heat for up to 4 days. This is why several male cats can become fathers of the same litter. On the other hand, something can only be noticed after about the 2nd or 3rd week.

Signs of pregnancy

Anyone who has an intimate relationship with their velvet paw will also know their kind inside out. Small changes in behavior, but also in the whole physical condition, are particularly noticeable. The most typical changes are as follows:

The cat's teats turn pink to reddish and appear more prominent. This happens because they are supplied with more blood in preparation for the future breastfeeding. This is usually the case after about 15 to 18 days.
The cat has a greater appetite, but it also tends to vomit. Similar to humans, kitties can also suffer from a kind of morning sickness. Incidentally, pregnancy cravings could also be observed in some queens. A weight gain of 1-2 kg is quite normal.
The cat is sometimes much cuddly and more affectionate and can suddenly withdraw again in the next moment. Such mood swings are not uncommon in the velvet paws anyway, but they become noticeably stronger during pregnancy.
The cat gets a bigger belly. This can be seen very clearly from about the 5th week and is of course due to the small babies.

If, over time, you notice these signs in your cat, you should pay your vet a visit. Because many of these behaviors could also indicate an illness (e.g. a worm infestation). In addition, you should not feel your stomach yourself, as this could lead to injuries to the mother or the kittens. The vet, on the other hand, has enough experience with it. Incidentally, after approx. 40 days a second course is worthwhile, as an ultrasound scan will then show how many kittens can be expected.

An ultrasound at the vet can confirm whether the cat is pregnant.

The birth is imminent

The behavior of your pregnant cat will change significantly shortly before the birth. She starts looking for a suitable place for the birth about two weeks beforehand. That means the animal seems to be nervous about walking. The closer the confinement approaches, the more intense this unrest becomes. In addition, the queen loses her appetite about 24-48 hours before, and 12-24 hours before that, her body temperature drops to about 37.8 ° C.

The cat often meows a lot and begins to clean itself intensively. At the latest when it begins to purr and pant intensely and you can see contractions in the stomach, this is a very clear sign that the kittens are really on the move. If there is also a dark, thick vaginal discharge, it will probably only take a few moments before your velvet paw mom and you become grandparents, so to speak.

Try to leave the cat alone. Because if it is disturbed, it can interrupt the birth for up to 48 hours! However, if the kittens arrive either too quickly or for several hours at all, you should call the vet. Otherwise there is a risk that the little ones will suffocate, for example. Usually cats are very reliable at birth.

How can you help your pregnant cat?

There are three things you can do with your house tiger during pregnancy. In addition to the right food and the preparation of suitable throwing places, your proximity is also very important. Because that's what your cat is guaranteed to look for. So be especially indulgent if the fur nose can't let go of you, so to speak. A lot of cuddling and occasional play (even if not that wild, please!) Are now important for your well-being.

What can you feed a pregnant cat

It's actually not that unexpected, because pregnant cats behave very similarly to us when we are expecting a child. Then we also need certain nutrients and generally just a little more food. Our kitties feel the same way. It is perfectly normal for her to eat 1.5 to 2 times as much food as usual during pregnancy. In order for it to do this, a slightly smaller portion of food should be served several times a day or food should be available all day long, as well as fresh water. Incidentally, this increased amount of food is also recommended after the birth until the cat is no longer suckling.

But not only the quantity but also the quality has to change. The pregnant cat needs a significantly higher proportion of calories and protein. In addition, there are various nutrients such as vitamin A, taurine, copper, iron, arachidonic acid and - very importantly: calcium. This supports the milk production and the bone structure of the kitten. There is now special food for pregnant and nursing cats. But the kitten food is also very suitable for the mom in this phase. In addition, the transition from breast milk to solid food is often easier, as the kittens try what mom eats too.

As with any change in feed, you should proceed step-by-step here. So always mix a small amount of the new feed with the previous one for the first 7-10 days. Then increase the ration more and more until the new food has completely replaced the old food. After the kittens have been set down, you can change the diet to your normal diet in the same way.

Offer the cat small portions to eat several times a day.

What should the whelping box look like?

Even if cats are clingy during pregnancy, they also need rest just as much. Your already impressive need for sleep is now growing again. So make sure you have enough space to retreat to. So-called litter boxes are ideal, especially towards the end, as they also intercept the expectant mother's need to build a nest. If this is properly prepared, the female will not look for a place for the birth on her own (this could also be your wardrobe).

It is best to set up several litter boxes in different places so that the cat can try and choose. You can use boxes, baskets, but also new litter boxes with lids or large trash cans. A raised entrance is ideal here so that the kittens cannot accidentally crawl out later. To make the litter box nice and cozy, you should equip it as follows: After a protective layer of plastic, there is an absorbent material (e.g. newspaper) and then cozy blankets, towels, old clothes or pillows.

Then place the litter box in a quiet, warm place, if possible without drafts and through traffic. So the expectant mom can feel safe and secure, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Food, water and the litter box should be close by so that the cat does not have to stray too far from the babies after the birth. This is how you create perfect conditions for your pregnant velvet paw.

Several places should be made available to the expectant mother. The cat will choose the right place.

Medicine and pregnancy complications in cats

In principle, pregnancies in cats are usually problem-free. Nevertheless, it can always happen that the kitty should be presented to the vet. To conclude, here are the most important information and tips on this topic.
Vaccinate pregnant cats?

Actually, the cat should definitely be vaccinated before pregnancy. In this way, she can calmly build up her immunity and later pass her antibodies on to the kittens via her mother's milk. Vaccination during pregnancy is possible, but always associated with a certain risk. You should really discuss this with your veterinarian, as many vaccines are absolutely unsuitable for pregnant cats!

Medicines for pregnant cats?

As with humans, it is best to avoid medication for pregnant cats. So play it safe and deworm your animal if possible before pregnancy. However, if worming is necessary for a pregnant cat, this is in principle possible and should then be tackled promptly. Otherwise there is a risk that the parasites will be passed on to the children.

However, many preparations are not suitable for pregnant cats. That is why you should not carry out a wormer on your own, but only in cooperation with the veterinarian. The same goes for all medication.
Problems During Pregnancy?

Is the birth still a long way off and your cat is eating very little or nothing at all? Then you should go to the vet urgently! Even if she begins to clean her genitals intensively at this stage or shows very restless behavior overall, this is not normal. The same applies to a discharge from the genitals. What would be perfectly normal just before birth are now warning signs that should better be checked by the veterinarian.