how long are cats pregnant

Key takeaway

An unspayed female cat may become pregnant when they’re as young as four months old. Signs of a cat pregnancy include weight gain, increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, and more. Palpation, ultrasounds, X-rays and bloodwork can determine whether your cat is pregnant. Typically, this pregnancy will last for just over two months, although the duration can vary slightly.

According to experts, cats are typically pregnant for anywhere from 60 to 65 days. You may be wondering how long are cats pregnant in weeks, or how long are cats pregnant in months? A typical cat pregnancy lasts about nine weeks, which is a little more than two months. However, the exact gestation period may vary from cat to cat, so some pregnancies may be a few days shorter or longer.

 the gestation period for a cat lasts 60 to 65 days

If you have an unspayed female cat, it’s important to understand the basics of cat pregnancies. You should know when your cat can get pregnant, when cats are in heat, signs of pregnancy, how cats are tested for pregnancy, and more. Whether you want your cat to have kittens or you think your cat may be pregnant, there are several important things to know. This is especially true if you’re dealing with cat anxiety or other similar problems.

Whether you’re wondering how long are cats pregnant or how you can tell if your cat is pregnant, Dutch has you covered. While it’s best to talk to a vet before you make any important decisions regarding your cat’s health, here’s a quick breakdown of cat pregnancies and what you need to know about them.

At what age can cats have kittens?

If you want your cat to have kittens, you may be wondering when a cat is able to have kittens. Like most animals, cats must reach a certain age before they’re able to get pregnant and have kittens. An unspayed cat can become pregnant at ages as young as 4 months old, which would make them six months old when the kittens are born. Regardless of your cat’s age, you should talk to your vet if you want your cat to have kittens. If you notice your cat sneezing or your cats eyes watering, you may want to have your vet check them out before a pregnancy.

In order to get pregnant, a cat must be in heat. The good news if you’re trying to get your cat pregnant is that a cat has plenty of opportunities during their heat cycles. Cats typically go into heat between springtime and autumn, but what’s interesting is that an unspayed female cat can go into heat once every two to three weeks. This means you’ve got several heat cycles that provide an opportunity for your cat to get pregnant. This is especially important to know if you’re trying to prevent unwanted cat pregnancies.

If you’ve got an unspayed female cat who has been in contact with an intact male cat recently, you might consider taking them to a vet for a pregnancy test. Your vet can determine whether or not your cat is pregnant with a series of tests. The earlier you find out your cat is pregnant, the more you can do to encourage a healthy pregnancy and a healthy litter of kittens. Your vet can provide more information about nutrition and other important things to know about pregnant cats.

Once your cat is able to get pregnant at about 4 months old, it’s time to start thinking about whether you want to have your cat spayed, or if you want them to have kittens at some point. The earliest most cats can have kittens is about 6 months old, since the gestation period lasts for about two months2. If you want your cat to get pregnant and have kittens, talk to your vet about when your cat will be in heat and what you can do to have kittens.

Signs your cat is pregnant

As a cat owner, it’s important that you know when something isn’t quite normal with your cat. You may notice several signs that could indicate your cat is pregnant, including weight gain. Recognizing the signs of a cat pregnancy will help you take better care of your cat during their pregnancy. Cats have different nutritional needs when they’re pregnant, plus you need to have your vet check on your cat’s health and help determine a fetal count.

Here are some of the signs you might notice if your cat is pregnant:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased appetite
  • Nausea which may present as reduced appetite
  • Swollen, darkened nipples (referred to as “pinking up”)
  • Increased affection
  • Increased sleeping

Keep in mind that pregnancy affects some cats differently. While some cats may experience an increased appetite, some cats may experience a loss of appetite as a result of nausea. If you think your cat might be pregnant, it’s important to take them to a vet for a proper pregnancy test. Your vet can determine whether or not your cat is pregnant, check for cat skin conditions and other medical problems, and give you tips to help make the pregnancy easier.

How Are Cats Tested for Pregnancy?

Taking your cat to the vet for a cat pregnancy test is important. We already talked about the basics of how long cats are pregnant, but you should also know how cat pregnancy tests work. When you take your cat to the vet, your vet may test for a cat pregnancy using one of four techniques: palpation, ultrasound, X-rays, and blood tests.

vet performing ultrasound on pregnant cat

Palpation is a simple technique where your vet uses their fingers to palpate your cat's abdominal area, feeling around to determine if they’re pregnant. While this is a common technique used by vets during pregnancy testing, it’s not the only test your vet will perform.

In addition to palpation, your vet may also use ultrasound imaging to figure out if your cat is pregnant. Ultrasound devices are used to check in on human pregnancies, offering an inside look at what’s going on in the womb. While this is a more involved test, it’s not particularly invasive.

Your vet may also want to test for a cat pregnancy using X-rays. X-rays will show the skeletons of the kittens that are inside the womb, which lets you know if your cat is pregnant or not. The only problem with X-rays is that they don’t work in the early stages of pregnancy.

The most conclusive cat pregnancy test is a blood draw. Drawing blood allows your vet to look for the presence of a hormone called relaxin, which allows your cat’s cervix to relax to allow for delivery of the litter. While these blood tests are effective and conclusive, it’s important to note that relaxin can’t be detected in a pregnant cat’s blood until about 25 days after insemination.

to determine if your cat is pregnant, your vet will check for the presence of a hormone called relaxin

 

Cat Pregnancy Duration: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I confirm my cat is pregnant?

If you think your cat may be pregnant, the only way to confirm the pregnancy is to take them to a vet. You may notice signs that your cat is pregnant at home, but there’s no way of knowing your cat is pregnant if you’re not a professional. Your vet will palpate your cat’s abdomen and perform a series of tests, including a blood draw, to determine if your cat is pregnant or not.

Figuring out if your cat is pregnant early on is important. Health is especially important for pregnant cats, plus they have different nutritional needs that you need to keep up with. The earlier a pregnancy is detected, the better it’s likely to go. If you think your cat may be pregnant, take them to a vet as soon as possible.

How many months is a cat pregnant?

On average, cats are pregnant for anywhere from 60 to 65 days. This gestation period can vary a bit, but a cat is typically pregnant for about nine weeks or a little over two months. Because cats may be able to get pregnant at ages as young as 4 months old, a cat can have its first litter of kittens at just six months old. If you don’t want your cat to have kittens, you should have them spayed before they’re fully grown to prevent pregnancies.

Because cat pregnancies are so brief, it’s important to see a vet if you think your cat may be pregnant. Your vet can give you tips to keep your cat healthy during pregnancy and encourage a healthy litter. The sooner you get started, the better off the kittens will be.

Does a human pregnancy test work on cats?

You might be wondering if you can head down to your local drug store and pick up a pregnancy test for your cat. The truth is, a human pregnancy test won’t work on cats because it’s not calibrated for cat pregnancies. Not only that, but it would also be incredibly difficult to get your cat to pee on a pregnancy test.

Instead of using human pregnancy tests, cat pregnancies are confirmed by visiting a vet for testing. Palpating, ultrasounds, X-rays, and blood tests that can detect relaxin hormone levels can help verify if your cat is definitively pregnant..

Final Notes

Having a litter of newborn kittens around the house can be a great experience, but it also requires a lot of work. Your cat’s pregnancy will typically last for about two months, and you’ll need to spend those two months making sure they’re eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of rest. Your vet can help you take better care of your cat while they’re pregnant.

Fortunately, Dutch makes it easy to get help from experts when it comes to cat pregnancies. Whether your cat is pregnant or suffering from cat dermatitis, Dutch can connect you with vets who can offer advice and prescribe treatment plans. If you need a vet to help take care of your cat, give Dutch a call today.

References

  1. Home Pregnancy Test for Cats?, CABI VetMed Resource, https://www.cabi.org/vetmedresource/news/16352

  2. Management of Reproduction of Cats, Merck Veterinary Manual, Https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/reproductive-disorders-of-cats/management-of-reproduction-of-cats