Through regular heat cycles that start when your cat is as young as 4 months old, nature will tell her when she's ready to perpetuate the species. You'll hear the pitter-patter of tiny kitten feet about two months after she gets friendly with a willing tom.
Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms
Once your cat has conceived, she'll return to her normal lifestyle, with little sign that she's carrying a few buns in the oven. In fact, most of the quintessential pregnancy symptoms don't typically appear until about halfway through her nine-week pregnancy.
The earliest signs that kittens are on the way appear about two or three weeks after her successful hookup, when her nipples begin to become more noticeable and red. As the weeks pass she'll become bigger in the belly and more docile and affectionate.
If you must know whether you're going to have furry “grandbabies” soon, take her for an ultrasound at your vet's office. An experienced tech can confirm pregnancy as soon as two weeks after conception.
Care During Pregnancy
Any pregnant creature requires a little extra care. Although your cat won't be demanding pickles and ice cream runs at 2 a.m., she will need a good diet to ensure that her babies are developing properly, and at least a few vet visits to make sure everything's progressing well.
To avoid possible harm to her developing brood, do not start your expectant kitty -- known as a queen -- on any new medications or supplements without first consulting your vet. When in doubt, talk to the vet to determine what's safe and healthy for your mama-to-be.
Nearing the End
Aside from the growing belly, you might never know your cat is pregnant, based on her actions. She'll typically behave normally, and you won't exactly find her flipping through baby-name books as she decorates the nursery.
As she gets nearer to delivery, she'll act more restless and begin preparing for the arrival of her kittens by nesting. She'll prepare a comfortable spot in a quiet, out-of-the-way location in which to deliver her babies. You can help by giving her a comfortable birthing box layered with newspaper or old towels.
Delivery is imminent when she stops eating and begins pacing near the nest.
Cats and Pregnancy
It's hard to resist the spell that a tiny, adorable kitten can cast, with his fluffy fur and awkward movements. But resist you must, as these little fluffballs can reach sexual maturity within just a few months, thereby creating a whole new batch of adorable kittens within a year.
Don't forget mama – she can get pregnant again, anywhere from two days to two weeks after giving birth. Once all the kittens are born and nursing well, see your vet and discuss the right time to spay and neuter your furry family to prevent further expansion.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.