Cat pregnancy can happen anytime after your cat becomes sexually mature.
Cats usually enter “puberty” between the ages of five months to over a year old. Our cat Coma was a bit of late bloomer – she did not become mature until she was about one and a half. I was a bit concerned about her slow growth, but our vet checked her out frequently and felt that when she was a year and a half she was mature enough to be spayed. She was so tiny when we got her that it just took her longer to catch up.
When female cats become sexually mature, they begin to have “heat” phases (also called estrus).
There are certain behavior signs to look for in a cat in heat:
Males signal their sexual maturity in a much different way – they begin to spray. When male cats become adults they feel the need to mark their territory to keep other guys from invading their space (house, yard, porch, etc). They do this by spraying urine around the edges of their territory - even if the territory happens to be your living room. They like to spray larger, upstanding objects – so the couch ends and the drapes are common targets.
Urine from un-neutered male cats has a very strong smell due to the extra testosterone. Male cats will back up to their target and spray it with urine, usually twitching their tail as they do so.
To prevent cat pregnancy spaying and neutering your cats is the kindest way. Please read our
preventing cat pregnancy section
for more information.
Cats are “induced ovulators”. This means the females don’t release eggs until after breeding has already happened – and it almost always guarantees the female will become pregnant from the breeding.
If your female has mated with a male cat she will go out of heat quickly, between 12 and 36 hours after.
(See our cat trivia section for an answer to “can a litter have more than one father?”) !
Your vet will be able to feel the kittens in the uterus after about three to four weeks of the pregnancy.
Cat pregnancy can last between 56-65 days (71 days is the outside limit). The average pregnancy is about 63 days.
Your pregnant cat will have very different food requirements from before. As her kittens get larger she will need to eat more often. If you find that she is getting tired easily or losing weight, you can switch her to kitten food for its higher fat and calorie content. She can remain on the kitten food through breastfeeding until her kittens are weaned to solid food.
Keep your cat active with playtime during her pregnancy, as long
as the vet has said her pregnancy is normal. Some light play to keep
her entertained and active is a good thing, as long as she does not
become overtired or is jumping too much. This can continue until her
last week of pregnancy as long as she is healthy.
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