Expert Author Val Heart

Are you thinking your cat may be pregnant, but you're just not quite sure?

Whether you are a first time cat breeder or have somehow acquired an unspayed female feline, here is some helpful information for finding out whether your cat really is expecting or just getting pudgy!

First, carefully observe and assess your cat's physical and/or personality changes.

Second, notice whether your cat's heat cycle has stopped. Cats usually have heat cycles that occur every ten days to two weeks. If this stops, the likelihood of your cat being pregnant is very high.

Third, another sign is called "pinking" or when your cat's nipples become swollen and change in to a rosy color. Increased appetite, abdominal enlargement and possible vomiting are also signs to be watch out for.

Fourth, your cat may show increased affection and nesting for a period of time, wherein the cat prepares for the arrival of the kittens by seeking a quiet and peaceful habitat which will be a suitable area for giving birth to her kittens.

Five, if you still have your suspicions but aren't sure, the next step is to visit your vet. Your vet will carefully examine your cat by palpating your cat's abdomen. Your vet will be able to feel fetuses during the 17th-20th day of pregnancy.

Your vet can also do an ultrasound of your cat's abdomen. An ultrasound can detect the fetuses as early as 2 weeks from conception. The heartbeats may be heard as early as 3 weeks. Remember that your pregnant cat's nutritional needs will be different. Please consult your vet for any vitamin and/or nutritional supplementation. If your cat IS pregnant, you may wonder how long it will be before the Happy Event. The gestation period for cats is 58 to 65 days, or about 9 weeks.

So do the math and determine how to best meet the changes coming for your household, not just for your feline friend. This is a crucial time to communicate with your cat directly about how they are feeling, what they most need during this important and exciting time, and how you can best support them during their pregnancy.

For instance, talking to your cat about their vet visits will minimize stress on the mom. If she is feeling poorly or is worried, giving her a voice to express herself will help her receive the attention and treatment she needs. Talking with your cat is also a great way to invite her to help you create the perfect place to deliver the kittens.

Does she want a hidey hole? A covered den? Or a special spot in the closet? Will this box do, or would she prefer something else?

When the kittens are born, communicating with them is a wonderful way to get to know their unique and special personalities. And, if the kitten isn't feeling well, they can tell you so you can respond appropriately before it's too late. When it's time for the cute little furrballs to find their own new homes, taking the time to discuss what will happen to them, and giving them a voice and a choice of their new human parents will go a long way toward easing the stress of separation. And talking with them will also help them integrate into their new home easily and quickly.

Communicating these things with your cat ensures that she will be more cooperative and makes you a committed and supportive participant in the process. Giving your cat a voice helps her know that she is being completely taken care of and loved during this important time, and goes a long way toward ensuring that your happy healthy kittens have the best chance of a long happy healthy life.

What's next after that? Be a responsible cat parent. If you don't want to repeat the experience, be sure to get your cat spayed at the earliest opportunity and before she comes into heat again. Remember that for every new kitten you help bring into the world, it's your job to take care of them whether they stay with you in your home or you find them good loving homes yourself. And by the way, communicating with your cat about being spayed before the procedure will go a long way towards your cat's rapid recovery and well-being.



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