If you have a chubby cat, figuring out whether she's pregnant could be tricky. Those extra layers of chubbiness could be hiding a litter of babies. While there are signs you could look for, only a vet can confirm a pregnancy, so take Kitty in if you can.
Check the cat's nipples, or teats. Pregnant cats have enlarged, bright pink teats. As the pregnancy advances, the breasts will also enlarge.
Pay attention to the weight distribution. If Fluff is suddenly walking around with a potbelly, this could be a sign of pregnancy -- especially if she looks somewhat thin in other areas of the body, such as near the ribs or on the neck. Weight that's more evenly distributed -- the kitty is fat everywhere -- is less likely to indicate a pregnancy.
Look at her food bowl. Is your cat suddenly eating more or less than normal? Pregnant cats are often hungrier than normal to accommodate the nutritional needs of the growing babies. The exception? During the third or fourth week of pregnancy, cats sometimes experience morning sickness and as a result might stay away from the food bowl and vomit a few times. This is usually a short-term thing, after which they'll be back to eating large amounts of food.
Be in the lookout for overly loving behavior. Cats get more maternal when they are pregnant, and this sometimes shows as excessive purring, a sudden increase in her affection for you, and nesting -- whereby cats situate themselves in quiet dark places they think would be appropriate for newborns. Sometimes, pregnant cats will appropriate pieces of material such as towels or clothes to help build a nest.
- If you want a definite confirmation of your kitty's pregnancy, head to your vet's office. In advanced pregnancies, abdominal palpation might be enough to confirm the cat is carrying babies, although it might not be possible to determine exactly how many. Need a more exact response? An ultrasound will tell you how many kittens are coming.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.