Gestation Period for Cats

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The gestation period is the length of time during which kittens develop inside of their pregnant mother’s body. Most cats will have anywhere from one to eight kittens growing inside their bellies at one time. They will get huge!

How Do You Know Your Cat is Pregnant?

Female cats that are not spayed go into heat for anywhere between five and fourteen days during mating season. Most cats mate during the warmer months. While a female cat is in heat she will exhibit strange behaviors such as putting her arse in anyone’s face who will look, secreting fluids from her hindparts, and making strange sounds that don’t resemble normal meowing. She is restless because her instinctual needs aren’t being met. This process can occur every two or three weeks if the cat isn’t mated with another cat. Don’t think that this will ever end. The only way to stop this behavior is to spay her, or give her a male companion.

Once a cat in heat is “satisfied” by a male, and becomes pregnant, she will quickly go out of heat, usually within 24 hours. Once pregnant, the heat periods will end until her babies are born.

Signs that your female cat is pregnant won’t appear until approximately two or three weeks after conception. You can look at her nipples and see them becoming engorged, settling into a deep pink color. Soon you will see her abdomen enlarging. She will eat more and demand more food. Some cats even experience morning sickness in the same way that human women do. One big indication is the fact that she isn’t going into heat anymore. Doctors can’t take a blood test as they do with humans to determine pregnancy beyond a shadow of a doubt. They can only make a diagnosis by feeling the cat’s abdomen after about three or four weeks. At approximately six weeks, x-rays can be taken to view the babies developing in their mother’s uterus.

Length of Gestation

The gestation period usually lasts for approximately 65 days. During this time the female grows larger and larger by day. If a cat is still pregnant after 69 days, it may be time to visit a veterinarian for professional advice. The same action should be taken if the cat begins the birthing process too soon.

Personality and Behavior of Your Cat During Gestation

Your cat will mostly likely become nicer than usual during her pregnancy. She is content because she is carrying out her duties as a female cat. She will seek more affection and attention from humans and possibly the other cats in the home. Don’t shun a pregnant cat—give her the attention she desires and try to make her as comfortable as possible.

Your cat will also begin sniffing around the house for a secluded safe place to spend most of her time. She’s doing that because she is trying to prepare to give birth to her children, and she certainly does not want to do that out in the open in a high traffic area of the home. She will also rest more—you’d probably sleep more too if you had eight babies weighing you down!

How Do You Know Your Cat is Ready to Give Birth?

When a pregnant cat has neared the end of her gestation period, she will become very restless and find it hard to find a comfortable position in which to relax. She will usually hide from others regularly. Occasionally you may find a wet spot here or there from the cat not being able to make it to the litter box. Its enlarged uterus is pressing up against the bladder making it harder to hold its urine.

During the cat’s pregnancy, it is advised that you provide a special covered bed or box especially for her to sleep and relax in. This is the box where the cat would ideally have its babies. You know that she is ready to have her babies when she begins howling, and her temperature drops. You will see a milky discharge from her nipples that is a sure indication that she is ready to give birth. Soon thereafter she will begin pushing out babies. If she hasn’t made it to the box, try to make her as comfortable as possible. In some cases she may have found a really good hiding place to give birth, and you didn’t even know it was happening. Don’t be surprised if you open your closet one morning and see five kitties plus mama laying there looking up at you.

Post-Natal Care

After you cat has given birth, you will want to still handle her with kid gloves. It is recommended that you take the mother and her kittens to the vet for a check-up and to get the queen the proper medical care she needs. Once home, always provide her with fresh, clean water and food. During the nursing period she is losing a lot of energy to the several kittens that are sucking the life out of her. Some experts suggest giving the mother food made for kittens (along with her young after they have been weaned) so that she can build up her stamina. Kitten food has increased levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals that she and her young need to get strong. You will also want to give the mother and her kittens some space. Provide them with a safe, quiet environment. Ask your vet for additional advice on how to help the mother cat get comfortable and active again.

The gestation period for cats is relatively short, only about a couple of months. During this time there are many changes your “queen” cat will experience. Personality changes are common, so you shouldn’t be alarmed. Things that can be considered out of the ordinary are excessive discharges, bad vaginal odor, and discharges with a greenish-yellow color. If anything is happening out of the ordinary, visit your veterinary immediately to assure a safe and healthy gestation and birth.

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