Female cats can get pregnant even when their owners are not prepared. In this article, our Pleasant Hill vets explain the duration and stages of cat pregnancies.
How Many Kittens Can A Pregnant Cat Have?
Female cats can have as many as five litters of kittens a year. Each litter can have between one to nine kittens, although the average tends to be between four to six kittens. This means your unspayed female cat could have an astounding 30 kittens yearly! That's a lot of kittens to find loving homes for, which is why our veterinarians recommend having your female kitten spayed before she goes into her first heat. If a female cat is not spayed, they could begin having kittens of her own as young as 4 months old.
How Long Are Cats Pregnant In Weeks?
The full length of a healthy cat's pregnancy is about approximately nine weeks or 63 to 65 days.
How Long Are Cats Pregnant In Months?
Since a cat's pregnancy is roughly nine weeks long, this length of time equals two months.
Stages of Cat Pregnancy
The full gestation period of a cat is broken into three distinct phases or trimesters, much like a human pregnancy.
Stage 1—First Trimester (1 - 21 Days)
It is very difficult to detect the first trimester of your cat's pregnancy. Your cat may begin to show subtle changes but only the most observant pet parents will likely spot any signs. You may notice that your feline friend's appetite increases slightly or there may be some behavioral changes.
Stage 2—Second Trimester (21 - 42 Days)
As your kitty's pregnancy progresses, physical signs will gradually become more apparent. Your cat's tummy may grow and stick out more. When more signs begin to appear it's a good time to head to the vet to have your cat's pregnancy confirmed. Your veterinarian can provide valuable guidance on how to care for your cat during her pregnancy. They will also share the steps you can take to help ensure your cat has a successful birthing process.
Stage 3—Third Trimester (42 - 63 Days)
During the final weeks of your cat's pregnancy, you will be able to spot several more obvious changes to your pet. The most obvious sign is that your kitty's abdomen will become visibly swollen. She may begin exhibiting 'nesting' behaviors in preparation for the arrival of her kittens. You may also notice a large increase in your kitty's appetite.
What To Expect From A Cat's Labor & Delivery
Cats will most likely give birth when they reach day 63 of their pregnancy. It is also normal for them to give birth between days 63 and 65. Signs that your kitty is in labor include restlessness, pacing, and vocalization.
Once a cat's labor begins, it should progress fairly quickly. Kittens tend to arrive at intervals throughout four to six hours. There could be as little as ten minutes between the birth of each kitten or as long as an hour. In some cases, complications may arise, and it's essential to have a veterinarian's contact information readily available as the big day approaches.
If your cat shows any signs of distress contact your vet straight away for immediate guidance, or reach out to your nearest animal emergency hospital.
How To Prepare For A Cat to Give Birth
To ensure a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery, provide your pregnant cat with a nutritious diet, access to plenty of fresh water, and a quiet, comfortable space to rest. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential. These examinations allow your veterinarian to monitor your cat's overall health and address any concerns that arise.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.