Pregnancy and birth of the cat: good to know

During her gestation, the cat’s body changes, as does her metabolism. Her needs change at the same time as she plumps up. It is therefore important to take this into account and to modify the food, care and maintenance of the pregnant cat accordingly. Indeed, the gestation and birth of the cat is not always an easy step. There can be complications during birth and sometimes abortion is necessary. All this is good to know to prepare for the future, if you plan to breed your cat.

The course of gestation: duration and observations

If the mating is successful, the cat enters a gestation period. Sometimes she can still be in heat while she is already brooding her future kittens in her belly. To make sure she is pregnant, do an ultrasound at the veterinarian from the 17th day after mating. The fetus begins to be visible from this stage. However, a pregnant cat may show visible signs, such as a swollen belly, the cessation of the male’s call or even enlarged and pink nipples. At the end of the 6th week of gestation, it is finally possible to count the number of kittens that the cat carries, because the bones begin to take shape with their calcification.

But, it will still take about two months before the fetus reaches maturity. Indeed, gestation lasts between 63 and 67 days, but exceptionally, it can extend to 74 days. In each period of gestation, different changes are observed which also lead to a more delicate treatment of the cat.

Feeding a pregnant cat

A pregnant cat has a lot of appetite, her nutritional needs increase as soon as she begins to fertilize. Indeed, she is already stocking up on nutrients to predict the lactation period. Also, during this period, it is advisable to offer your cat a food adapted to the reproductive phase which is full of protein and energy, and whose rationing is well studied to adapt to the evolution of gestation. , since the cat gains weight over time. Rapid growth of the fetus is observed from the 6th week and therefore the nutritional needs of the cat increase more during this period.

Special care for pregnant and lactating cats

The pregnant cat must often drink fresh water so as not to be dehydrated. She must also be dewormed so that her parasites do not pass on to her young through mother’s milk. In addition, the food of pregnant cats must follow a special diet as indicated above. In addition, it should be nutritious, rich in vitamins, protein and fat. In addition, it is necessary to take care of the rest and the well-being of the cat.

The birth of the cat and possible complications

The birth of a cat generally takes place in three stages, namely the contractions, the expulsion of the kitten and the evacuation of the placenta. These three steps are repeated each time a newborn is taken out. The larger the litter, the more time-consuming and tedious work the mother will do. Normally, the first kitten arrives a maximum of two hours after the start of the contraction. If the expulsion exceeds this duration, the kitten may run out of oxygen. When he is born, do not try to break the umbilical cord, the mother will do it instinctively with her teeth. The kittens do not come out at the same time, it takes about a time interval of 30 to 60 minutes for each expulsion. However, complications can sometimes occur if this time is greatly exceeded. Sometimes the expulsion is difficult and the kitten strangles by being stuck. It also happens that the placenta is not rejected naturally. And in the most difficult cases, the cat may have purulent, greenish discharge or even be the victim of a hemorrhage. This is why the assistance of the veterinarian is essential during the birth of the cat.


If the pregnancy of the cat poses risks to her health, the veterinarian can induce the abortion by injecting a liquid which prevents the nesting of the fertilized ovum and which therefore interrupts the pregnancy of the cat. It may also be that the abortion is wanted by the owner of the cat. This case arises when the cat is sterilized and the litter of new kittens was no longer planned or if the cat is on the contraceptive pill.

How to take care of a newborn?

The first thing to do is to make sure that the newborn is able to suck breast milk. It is therefore necessary to test whether the nipples provide milk well and that the newborn can meet his needs. The health of the kittens should also be checked from time to time.