Understanding cat pregnancy thoroughly may be difficult for you. Still, as a responsible cat owner, you must know these various stages of cat pregnancy (week by week) to ensure a healthy gestation period for your cat. This knowledge will also help you to avoid or deal with any complications that may occur during pregnancy.
The cat pregnancy usually ranges from 8-10 weeks, depending on different circumstances. This elaborated guide will help you to know the maximum changes occurring during cat pregnancy that are critically important for the health of both cat and kittens in a simple yet elaborated way.
Let’s know these!
Week 1: Mating
This duration is when your cat gets into heat and has mating (however, it may take a few weeks to see if she has mated). After your cat has mated, it will take about one to 10 days to begin the fertilization process (combining sperm and egg). At this stage, the eggs have not yet been placed into the uterus, so technically, your cat is not pregnant. This stage is the point when your feline will behave no differently than usual.
Week 2: Egg Fertilization and Implementation
This is the time when the egg becomes fertilized in its uterine tube. The egg then travels down through the oviduct to enter the uterus on the sixth day. It is covered in special cells, which are embedded in the uterus walls. Some cells from these form the embryo (the kitten), while others will make up the placenta.
You may notice that her nipples become redder and more enlarged as her hormones rise during this period. This is the first sign that your cat is pregnant.
This symptom usually occurs at the end of 2nd week or the beginning of 3rd week (depends on the implantation of eggs).
Week 3: Formation of Embryo
The nervous system, heart, and vertebral column (spine) are then established in the embryo. Meanwhile, blood vessel formation takes place within the embryo (kitten) and between its placenta. This all happens in just 2 to 3 days. After this, the liver, digestive tract, respiratory system, limbs, sense organs, and bladder are formed. At 15 days, the kitten is 1/8th inch in length.
The hormonal levels in the cat rise, and she may gain a little weight. There is not much difference in appearance at this stage too.
Week 4: Development of Embryo
During the development of the embryo, cats can experience a little “morning” sickness. This could cause vomiting in your cat and also lead to appetite loss.
However, at any time of the day, your cat can become sick. This all happens due to the highest rise in hormonal levels of all the time in cats.
If your cat has unusually severe morning sickness, or it seems to last longer than usual, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Also, you should see your cat’s weight increase, and if it is losing, you must contact the vet immediately. The kittens may start to form by the fourth week.
At 21 days, the kittens measure 3/8ths an inch, and at 24 days, this measure 5/8ths an inch. Finally, at twenty days after conception, a vet can feel the kittens’ abdomens using abdominal palpation.
The queen’s nipples start to turn pinker and larger after three weeks. Also, the queen’s belly fur and the area around her nipples could become thinner.
Week four means that you shouldn’t pick her up from this point after this week, as you may accidentally injure the babies. Use a small carrier if you have to transport her.
Week 5: Confirmation of Pregnancy by Ultrasound
During this week, the vet can perform a more accurate examination to determine the shape of kittens. So, it may be possible to know the exact number of litter by having a headcount during vet examination (sometimes, kittens may hide behind one another, so you may not know the exact number).
Regarding kittens, the organs start to become more in their original shape; nerves develop, and hormonal glands start to control and function this process. This process continues even after birth. For example, full development of the eyes takes place five to six weeks after birth, and nerve cells in the brain continue their formation and development for several months).
The kittens measure just over one inch at four weeks after conception.
Week 6: Rapid Growth and Maturation of Kittens
After your cat reaches week six in gestation, she will have a greater appetite and start getting ready to care for her kittens. But, of course, she will need to eat all that extra food to be healthy and provide nutrition for her babies.
You can let her eat whatever she likes. But make sure that the food she eats is balanced and healthy. It is a good idea for both her and the kittens’ health to look for food with extra iron and minerals.
At this stage, the fun part is that you may be able to watch her belly move while the kittens are wiggling and squirming.
Week 7: Kittens drain more energy from Mother
The head of kittens can be felt after day 49. However, because of the possibility of miscarriage or damage, this should only be done by a vet.
Her belly will be large and round, and she may start nesting (when your cat begins to look for a safe place to give birth, this is called nesting).
Your furry queen will be more likely to choose this place for her birth if she feels comfortable resting throughout her pregnancy.
As the kittens crowd her stomach, she may lose some of her appetites.
Week 8: Enlargement of Mammary Glands
Foetal movements and a pear-shaped stomach are signs of pregnancy in the 8th and 9th weeks. As labor gets closer, your cat’s nose will grow larger and more swollen. You may notice that your cat is grooming herself more often. She might even start shedding her belly fur. This is normal, and the fur will quickly grow back once the kittens have been born.
She may lose her appetite during this time, as her kittens take up much of her space and press against her stomach. But, if she hasn’t found the perfect place to have her babies, she might still search for it.
Week 9: Feeling of Anxiousness
The breasts will grow larger, and the nipples may produce milky fluid. Your feline might be leaking vaginal fluid. It might appear a little bit reddish, or you may not observe that at all as she might just be licking at it constantly. You might notice her pacing and act anxiously. She might also seek out your help or just lay a lot. She may also meow or pant and display other signs of distress. These behaviors are clear signs that her babies are due at any moment.
The queen may experience clear or blood-tinged discharge in the vulva between 12 and 24 hours before delivery.
Week 10: Start of Labor
Sometimes, cats don’t give birth until ten weeks or even after that in gestation. This depends on the breed of the cat. It means that you have to watch and wait. However, you should call your vet if your cat hasn’t gone into labor in 10 weeks. They will check to ensure everything is fine and that your cat is healthy. Your vet will be able to help you if there is anything wrong. Let nature take its course if there is nothing wrong.
Is there anything left you want to know about cat pregnancy, or do you want to add your valuable feedback or suggestions for this post? In any case, please tell us in the comments sections below; we’d love to hear!