Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Many Months Are Cats Pregnant? What to Expect From a Pregnant Cat

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

https://www.hepper.com/best-cat-foods-for-pregnant-cats/pregnant cat nipples

Do you have a cat that’s expecting? Do you have no idea what to expect throughout the entire process? Better yet, do you have any idea how many months your cat will be pregnant? Fear not if you’re in this boat because we’re here to help!

In this article, we’ll explore how many months you can expect to have a crabby, pregnant feline on your hands, and we’ll examine how to properly take care of her so that everything goes as smoothly as possible for both her and her kittens.

How Many Months Are Cats Pregnant?

The answer to this million-dollar question is 63 to 67 days. This is a short gestation period compared to humans, and she won’t show symptoms until approximately 2 to 3 weeks into the pregnancy. Given the short gestation period, let’s dive right into some valuable information.

a pregnant cat lying on wooden table
Image Credit: Boy67, Shutterstock

How can you tell how pregnant a cat is?

One easy way to tell is if her belly feels bigger than normal. While this isn’t full proof, it’s a good starting point. Her belly will get more prominent after the 30-day mark from which mating occurred.

Another way to tell is if her nipples are pink and enlarged. The nipple change usually occurs within 2 to 3 weeks after conception.

Expecting cats are not immune to morning sickness. Much like us humans, they suffer the same stages of vomiting, usually in the mornings.  Vomiting is not a symptom that will tell you for sure, so we recommend keeping a close eye on her in case something else is causing it.

An increased appetite is another clue. You know your cat the best, so if it seems she has the munchies more than usual, it could be because she’s with kittens!

Another possible indication is if your cat becomes more clingy and affectionate. On the contrary, some pregnant cats become more reclusive and moody, so knowing your cat’s personality will help you determine if she’s possibly pregnant.

If any of these clues are not definitive, your veterinarian can run some tests to know for sure, such as an ultrasound or x-rays. An ultrasound is effective after day 16 of conception. X-rays are another conclusive determination; however, an X-ray cannot reveal how many kittens your feline will have. Typically, there are around 10 kittens in a litter; however, if this is your cat’s first pregnancy, she’ll probably have only 2 to 3 kittens.

What to expect during labor

When the day arrives for your cat to go into labor, you can expect three stages:

Labor Stage I

To back up just a bit, your cat will probably not eat 24 hours before going into labor. She’ll begin to have contractions, and you’ll know this when she starts panting. She will likely retreat to the area she has chosen to give birth. Monitoring her body temperature will determine that she’s in the first stage, as well. Her normal temp should be around 100°F to 102.5°F. During the first stage of labor, it can dip to 98 to 99 degrees.

a pregnant Donskoy Sphinx cat is sleeping
Image Credit: Azovsky, Shutterstock

Labor Stage II

This stage is when the labor process becomes visible. Your cat will strain, her stomach will tense up, and contractions will become more frequent. To get a better visual of the straining, it is similar to the appearance of your cat having a bowel movement. Once this stage begins, kittens will appear within 1 to 2 hours or as early as 30 minutes.

Labor Stage III

 Stage 3 happens immediately after the second stage. Basically, this stage involves passing the fetal membranes the kittens are born in, or the “afterbirth.”

 

What happens during the queening stage?

The queening stage is when the mother cat cleans the kittens, which involves licking and removing the amniotic sac. She’ll also chew the umbilical cord. If she does not remove the sac or umbilical cord herself, you’ll need to step in and lend a hand.

Tear open the sac and use a dry towel to clean the kitten. You can use a string or dental floss to tie off the cord 1 inch from the belly wall and then cut the cord off from the other side of the tie. Clean the kitten until you hear the newborn cry. You can then place the kitten with its mother on a warm towel.

If your mother cat is showing no interest in her newborn, you’ll need to be prepared to help so that the kittens have a chance of survival. If she does not clean the kittens herself, it’ll be up to you to clean them. However, most cats are excellent mothers and take care of their kittens.

mother cat licking her newborn baby after giving birth
Image Credit: Goldziitfotografie, Shutterstock

How to care for your pregnant feline and her kittens

The mother cat will need the appropriate nutrition for herself and her kittens. The mother cat will need additional calories and protein while she’s nursing. You’ll want to feed high-quality and high-protein kitten food during this critical time.  The mother cat can lose up to 40% of her weight after the birthing process and during lactation. Veterinarians recommend high-calorie and protein-rich kitten food to make up for the loss.

Feeding kitten food for both mother and kittens is essential to keeping mother cat healthy and the kittens off to a healthy start at life. Kitten food is specifically formulated with the necessary components for a healthy start, such as fatty acids like DHA for brain development. The mother cat will need to eat more often than she normally does, so make sure she has access to food at all times.

Conclusion

If you have a pregnant feline, we hope the information in this article eases your mind on what to expect during her pregnancy. Now that you know how many months cats are pregnant, you can plan accordingly leading up to the actual birthing process.

If you have additional questions, it’s wise to consult with your veterinarian, and we wish your pregnant feline and her kittens all the best.


Featured Image Credit: Bill Roque, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database

hepperorangebluebadgebuttonfeb