How to Care for a Pregnant Cat

Tabby cat with veterinarian standing behind

If your cat is expecting kittens, the best thing you can do for her is to learn how to care for a pregnant cat to ensure she has a healthy and safe pregnancy. Make sure to plan ahead and provide her with support prior to the kittens arriving. Afterwards, get ready to give her plenty of family time. Read on to learn how to care for a pregnant cat and how to help her have an easy pregnancy. 

What to do when your cat is pregnant   

Waiting for a new litter of kittens to arrive can be quite exciting; however, there are a few things you can do to make sure your cat has a healthy pregnancy. Follow our tips below to learn what to do when your cat is pregnant and how to provide her with the care she needs.  

Make an appointment with your veterinarian 

To confirm that your cat is pregnant, make an appointment with your veterinarian. During the appointment, her overall health will be assessed, and if she is pregnant, you will be provided with a due date. If there are any unrelated conditions to treat, like fleas or ear mites, those should be addressed as well. Your vet will give you insight on how to care for a pregnant cat and provide you with any necessary medications or vaccinations that are safe during pregnancy.  

Modify her diet  

Do not make any changes to your cat’s diet without consulting your vet first. Overfeeding or underfeeding your cat can make her pregnancy more difficult. Ask your vet to create an appropriate feeding plan for your cat and adapt her diet accordingly. Your vet may suggest mixing in some higher-calorie kitten food with your cat’s food so that she can produce milk. 

Opt for a lower litter box and keep it clean 

Your cat’s pregnant belly can impact her ability to get in and out of her litter box. If your cat’s litter box has high sides or a narrow entrance, consider switching it out. A lower and wider pan will be more accommodating of her quickly growing belly. To make sure she’s healthy, clean the litter at least twice a day and wash the box once a week. 

Monitor her behaviour 

During the first few weeks of your cat’s pregnancy, you won’t see changes in her behaviour. Later on, she will start to sleep more, so much so that she may start to reject her meals. You can encourage your cat to eat by waking her up during her feeding time or showing her the food and water bowls to remind her to eat and hydrate.  

As your cat’s due date nears, you may notice that she is licking her teats. Don’t worry, this is normal! When the teats start to fill with milk, they can become uncomfortable for your cat. Her licking is soothing and alleviates the pressure she’s feeling.  

How to help your cat give birth 

Before your cat’s delivery date, prepare a place for her to give birth. The best option is to use a cardboard box with low sides and to put it in a quiet room.  

When your cat goes into labour, she’ll start to pant and pace. If she wanders out of her box, try to gently place her back into it. Allow at least four hours for all of the kittens to be born. If you find that your cat is still straining after eight hours, call your veterinarian.  

After the kittens are born, don’t try to handle them yourself and give the mother space to take care of them. Give your cat and her new kittens plenty of alone time in their first week together. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of time with the kittens later on! 

We hope this article gave you some insight on how to care for a pregnant cat. Remember, if you have any concerns about your cat’s diet or behaviour during this time, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.  

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