Cat pregnancy is a fascinating journey that brings new life into your home.
Welcoming a new life into your home is a joyous occasion, especially when it\’s a litter of tiny, adorable kittens. Cat pregnancy is a fascinating and complex journey, filled with unique behaviors, specific care requirements, and exciting milestones. From the signs of pregnancy and prenatal care to the birthing process and kitten care, we\’ll delve into every aspect of cat pregnancy. In our comprehensive guide, we\’ll try to understand the world of feline maternity, covering everything from the early signs of pregnancy to prenatal care, birthing preparations, and postnatal care for both the queen and her precious offspring.
How Long Are Cats Pregnant?
On average, cat pregnancy lasts about 63 to 65 days. However, some cats can carry the unborn kitties for more or less time. The typical range is between 60 to 70 days. If it is your cat’s first litter, she could be pregnant for a few days longer.
Cats are like humans in that their babies can arrive early as well. Early labor can be triggered by hormonal imbalances, infections, injury or tressors, like a changing environment or disarray in the house
If your cat\’s pregnancy lasts less than 60 days, there is a risk that the litter may not survive. Typically, both younger and older cats tend to have smaller litters, usually consisting of just two or three kittens. In contrast, a cat aged three or four years often gives birth to larger litters, typically containing four to five kittens. It\’s worth noting that a cat can become pregnant and deliver kittens as early as six months of age.
What Are The Stages Of Cat Pregnancy?
According to medicanimal there are 3 stages during the cat pregnancy. These are:
Stage 1 – Pre-implantation (from Days 0 – 12)
This is the stage at which fertilization of the egg occurs within the uterine tube. Subsequently, the fertilized egg embarks on a journey down the oviduct and reaches the uterus, usually around the sixth day of development. Once inside the uterus, it becomes enveloped by specialized cells that attach to the uterine wall. Specific cells congregate at one end of the egg, forming the embryo, which will develop into the new kitten. Meanwhile, the remaining portions contribute to the formation of the placenta, a vital structure that serves as the link between the mother and her soon-to-be-born kitten.
Stage 2 – Embryogenesis (Day 12 – 24)
At this stage, the nervous system, heart, and vertebral column (spine) are established within the developing embryo (kitten). Blood vessels start forming within the embryo and connecting it to the placenta, all occurring in a remarkably short span of two to three days. Subsequently, the liver, digestive tract, respiratory system, limbs, sensory organs, skull, bladder, and other vital structures begin their formation. The size of the kitten measures a mere 1/8th of an inch at 15 days, grows to 3/8ths of an inch by day 21, and reaches 5/8ths of an inch by the 24th day. A trained veterinarian, not an inexperienced person, can detect the presence of kittens through abdominal palpation around the twentieth day after conception. By approximately three weeks, the queen\’s nipples begin to take on a pink hue and slightly enlarge. Additionally, the fur around her belly and nipple area may become sparser.
Stage 3 – Foetal growth (Day 24 to Birth)
During this phase, the organs of the developing kittens take on their correct shapes, nerve networks mature, and hormonal glands start functioning, regulating essential processes. Some of this development even continues after birth. For instance, complete maturation of the eyes occurs around five to six weeks post-birth, and nerve cells in the brain continue to form and develop for several months.
Around the four-week mark since conception, the kittens reach a size of just over an inch. By day 35, they are encased in fluid-filled capsules and cannot be palpated until day 49, when their heads have grown large enough to be felt as distinct structures. It\’s crucial to note that this delicate procedure should only be performed by a veterinarian, as inexperienced handling can lead to harm or even miscarriage.
In the later stages of pregnancy, the queen may display a pear-shaped abdomen, and fetal movements should become noticeable in the final two weeks. Her mammary glands will also enlarge, and a milky discharge may be expressed from the nipples. Additionally, a clear or blood-tinged discharge from the vulva may occur 12 to 24 hours before the queen goes into labor
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Pregnant?
Identifying pregnancy in cats can prove to be quite challenging during the initial two trimesters. The first noticeable indication of feline pregnancy typically arises around days 16 to 20, referred to as \’pinking up.\’ During this stage, a queen\’s nipples undergo a transformation, becoming visibly pinker and more prominent. Interestingly, cats in the early two trimesters often exhibit increased friendliness and are generally more docile than their usual demeanor.
In the last approximately 20 days of pregnancy, the enlargements of the abdomen and mammary glands become more apparent. Queens may engage in heightened grooming of their abdominal area and the region beneath their tail. They\’ll also frequently display a heightened interest in locating suitable spots for nesting in preparation for giving birth
We hope this comprehensive guide on cat pregnancy has been informative and enlightening, offering you a deeper understanding of this incredible process. Now, we\’d love to hear from you. Have you had the joy of witnessing your feline companion go through the beautiful phases of pregnancy? Share your stories, experiences, and any insights you\’ve gained along the way.