Cat Pregnancy Symptoms

"How can I tell if my
healthy cat is pregnant?"

Cat pregnancy symptoms can be easily spotted by a discerning cat "owner" if you know what to look for, and are familiar with your feline's normal appearance and behavior.

First Sign

The very first sign that your kitty may be expecting kittens is if she doesn't go into heat at about two or three weeks after her last oestrus (this is the technical word to describe when a female cat is in heat).


For the health of the unborn kittens and your healthy cat momma, do not try to feel around for the kittens while they are in her womb.

If you absolutely must confirm that your kitty is expecting, take her to your trusted veterinarian.

Experienced vets can confirm feline pregnancy by feeling the abdomen at about three or four weeks. Of course, they are well-trained and know how to do this without hurting anyone.

Feline Pregnancy Timetable

Cat pregnancy symptoms are first noticeable at about three weeks after conception.

Here's a pregnant cat symptoms calendar you can use to watch for cat pregnancy signs during gestation.

  • Week 3: Your kitty's nipples will start to become enlarged and pinkish in color. This is sometimes called "pinking up." Her belly will not show any signs of swelling at this point.
  • Week 4: Her belly will now start to show a slight swelling, and she will begin to "look" pregnant to the discerning eye. The swelling of her nipples will start to be more evident, and her appetite will start to increase.
pregnant cat lying on sideOne very pregnant kitty!
  • Week 5: Some feline experts recommend that you consult your veterinarian for a "growth formula" for a proper cat pregnancy diet.
  • Week 6: Your kitty's pregnancy will become very obvious at this point and you'll notice behavioral changes. She'll now start to move around with more care. She'll avoid stretching and twisting actions, and if she usually goes outside, she'll probably want to stay inside now. 

    You'll want to make sure she still gets some exercise by playing with her gently (you can use string or catnip mice to get her to move around, but take it easy). You also want to keep small children away and warn them not to pick her up.

    Your expecting queen's appetite continues to increase through the sixth week.
  • Weeks 7-9: The greatest sign of cat pregnancy at this stage is her behavior. You should see a very noticeable change as she starts to show some signs of excitement. This is also called the "quickening" stage of feline pregnancy as the fetuses start to move at about Day 50.

    She'll roll around and stretch her body. She'll also start to search for a spot to give birth (a "nest") at about one week before her kittens are due. This is a good reason to keep your pregnant kitty inside so that she doesn't make a nest outside. If you want to "make some suggestions" to your cat about where to give birth, you'll want to start preparing an area or a "kittening box" for her.
  • Day 61: Labor can start as early as 61 days after conception and as late as 70 days. See Cats Giving Birth to Kittens to read more about the labor stages and the birthing process.

The average feline gestation period is from 63 days to 68 days, but can range from 61 to 70 days. If the kittens are born before 61 days, they will probably require specialized care.

Articles Related to Cat Pregnancy Symptoms

Hopefully, the above cat pregnancy symptoms will help show you how to determine if your healthy feline is going to have kittens. For more information, please take a look at the articles below.

How to Care for a Pregnant Cat – More details about diet, grooming, and exercise to help you and your feline friend during this time.

Cat Pregnancy and Birth – What to do and how to prepare for the kittens' birth, including preparing a kittening box for delivery day.

Cat Pregnancy Overview – A synopsis of cat pregnancy symptoms and how to care for your kitty.

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