When it comes to furparenting, the worry of caring for your pregnant cat can be a big reality. Although cat owners know that female cats need to be spayed at around 5 months old, some can get pregnant as early as 4 months old. With this in mind, it's always better to be prepared!
Taking care of a pregnant cat is something that all professional cat breeders should be prepared for. If you have a permit to do so, this can quickly become a big part of your and your kitty's life - especially when done responsibly. Although this is a milestone in your own life, your kitty's going through major changes too. Pampering during this time is essential!
This blog post isn't only for the professional cat breeders. In fact, there can be many other good reasons why you are looking after a pregnant cat. Perhaps you just missed the window on spaying your kitty and she became pregnant early, or maybe you have taken in a stray, pregnant cat. Then, there's the possibility you have recently adopted an already pregnant kitty.
Whatever the reason and if you're ready to become a fur-grandparent, you may be wondering how best to carry out pregnant cat care.
Caring for Your Pregnant Cat:
The Early Stages of Cat Pregnancy
Here's the good news: the average cat pregnancy spans over 58 to 67 days. This means that caring for your pregnant cat isn't as intensive as the hooman 9 months! That doesn't mean, however, that it's all smooth sailing. If you suspect your cat is pregnant, check in with your vet first to confirm what stage of her pregnancy she is in.
Despite the time difference, early signs of pregnancy can look the same for cats and hoomans. Some of these signs that your kitty may be expecting are darkened nipples at around 3 weeks, occasional 'morning sickness', and possibly some indications of acting differently. She could be purring or seeking your attention more often too. Let's face it, those first few weeks are the worst in pregnancy - hooman or otherwise!
During this time, our job revolves around being sympathetic to your furry friend. As her body is going through significant hormonal and physical changes, we must show her some extra love. As we've already mentioned, a trip to the vet is very important during this stage to ensure that you're giving her all that she needs.
Pregnant Cat Care Tips for the Long Haul
Finding out that your cat is pregnant can be exciting or overwhelming. This may depend on how prepared you are and how much you know about cat pregnancy. Like in hooman pregnancies, the best care tips are the ones that last throughout the pregnancy. This means healthy eating, getting the right nutrients, and ensuring that your kitty is calm throughout her 67 days.
Once you know your kitty is pregnant, it may be tempting to immediately double her food intake. After all, she's eating for two or more now. The truth is, in her early weeks of pregnancy, becoming overweight isn't healthy for her or the kittens. Instead, gradually replace her regular adult cat food with kitten food. This has the extra nutrients she needs, and you can increase the amount in stages as the pregnancy progresses.
Proper nutrition is essential throughout your cat's pregnancy, and her appetite will gradually increase accordingly. By now, you should switch from adult cat food to kitten food - if you're concerned about this switch, you can always consult your vet.
With more stomachs to feed, it's our job to make sure that your cat's staying healthy. It's best to increase the number of times she eats rather than the serving size. Too much food in one go can make her already swollen tummy uncomfortable. With this in mind, we recommend planning on giving small meals 4 to 6 times a day.
Wondering what to feed her? Wet food is preferable over dry food alone, as this keeps her well hydrated. It's also yummier to her sensitive pregnant palette.
Taking Care of a Pregnant Cat When They're Queening
As your cat nears her due date (known as queening), she will start to show some signs of nesting. No, your kitty won't all of sudden start cleaning and throwing out unwanted clutter. It does mean, however, that she will be seeking a quiet, safe place in which to give birth.
In mammals, it's natural to seek a dark and comfortable space to give birth in. This is often why we see cats giving birth under sinks or in small corners. You can prepare for this queening stage by setting up some areas for the future mama beforehand. A box with blankets can be ideal, but her choice may not be your choice. Give her options and let her decide.
The most important thing is to offer her space in a room that has little to no 'foot traffic' from other family members or pets. She will want an area that can stay closed off during the last few days of her pregnancy. So nosy doggos, beware!
Once she has chosen her safe space, the birth itself will need little intervention, but you will want to make a note of time between each birth in her litter. If there is a gap of more than 30 minutes between one delivery to the next, call your vet immediately. Should you ever feel in doubt about the birthing process, trusting a professional will not only be in the best interest of the kittens but your cat too.
After a few pushes, and when your cat has finished queening, she needs to be alone with her kitties for a while. As tempting as it may be to bask in the kitty cuteness, remember, cats need their space! Even more so, don't separate the kittens or your mama cat. If you see any signs of distress, keep them together and take them all to the vet for a check-up.
If you are expecting to become a fur-grandparent, let us be one of the first to say "congratulations"!. Is there anything more purrrfect than a home full of kitties? Caring for your pregnant cat doesn't have to be daunting. With these cat care tips, you should be fully prepared to take on this new chapter.
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