How to care for a pregnant cat

How to care for a pregnant cat

How to care for a pregnant cat
The anticipation of a new litter of kittens is often a thrilling experience! Cat pregnancy, also known as gestation, is a unique journey that spans several weeks, bringing about physical and behavioral changes in the expectant mother. In this guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of cat pregnancy, its duration, and the essential aspects of caring for a pregnant cat.

Understanding the duration of cat pregnancy
The average duration of cat pregnancy is around 63 to 65 days, or 9 weeks. Similar to humans, cats may give birth a little early or a little late so it’s best to be prepared! This period can fluctuate based on factors such as breed, age, and the number of kittens the cat is carrying. 
Being aware of this timeline is crucial for preparing adequately for the impending arrival of the feline additions to your family. More on this below!


Ensuring the proper nutrition for a pregnant cat is paramount to the health of both the mother and her developing kittens. During this period, it is important to transition the cat to a specialized diet designed for pregnant or nursing cats. These diets are formulated to meet the increased energy and nutrient requirements during this crucial period. Look for high-quality cat food rich in protein, as well as essential nutrients such as folic acid and calcium. Adequate calcium is especially vital for skeletal development in the growing kittens, and folic acid which supports healthy fetal development. Additionally, EPA and DHA (i.e. Omega3 fatty acids) are essential for developing the nervous system, particularly for the eyes and vision of fetuses. 

To help manage her weight, it's crucial to adjust her food rationing as the weeks progress.
Below is an ideal breakdown of the feeding plan:
  • Weeks 1 to 5, maintain a consistent feeding routine without variation in quantity or feeding method. 
  • Weeks 5 to 7, increase rationing and offer fractionated meals. 
  • Later weeks, allow her to eat "ad libitum," always keeping food available to allow her to regulate her intake.
Opt for a high-energy density foods like N&D Prime (Kitten and Adult formulas), N&D Pumpkin, or N&D Ocean.
Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable diet based on the cat's specific needs and health status and connect with a Farmina Nutrition Consultant to adjust your cat’s nutrition plan.

Regular veterinary check-ups
Regular veterinary check-ups play a crucial role in monitoring the progress of the pregnancy and addressing any potential complications. Early detection of issues can significantly improve the outcome for both the mother and the kittens. During these visits, the veterinarian can confirm the pregnancy, estimate the number of kittens (which influences the nutritional requirements during gestation and lactation periods), and assess the overall health of the cat. Diagnostic tests, such as ultrasounds, may be employed to gather more detailed information about the pregnancy. Additionally, the veterinarian can provide guidance on managing the cat's changing nutritional needs and offer advice on preparing for the upcoming labor and delivery.

Comfort and nesting
During pregnancy, a cat's behavior may change; some may become more affectionate, while others may exhibit increased aggressive or protective instincts.
In this period, it is strongly recommended to keep your pet indoors, especially if it is used to staying outdoors.
As the pregnancy progresses, a pregnant cat may exhibit nesting behaviors, seeking out quiet and secluded spaces to prepare for labor. Providing a comfortable and secure environment is essential for the well-being of the mother and the successful delivery of the kittens. 
During the last week, the cat may look for a "nest" suitable for the kittens. Help your pet by creating a designated area with a cozy bed lined with soft materials. Ensure that the space is quiet, away from heavy foot traffic, and offers the cat a sense of security. Cats may prefer warm, dimly lit areas, so consider placing the nesting box in a calm and secluded location where the cat can relax and focus on the impending birth. To ensure that the cat and kittens are kept warm enough, we suggest installing an infrared lamp.

Adequate hydration is crucial for the health of the pregnant cat and the development of the kittens. Ensure that the cat has constant access to fresh, clean water. Pregnant and nursing cats have increased water requirements, and dehydration can lead to various complications. Encourage water intake by placing water bowls in easily accessible locations and monitoring water levels regularly. Proper hydration can be further promoted by increasing the amount of wet food in her nutrition plan. 
If you notice any signs of dehydration, such as lethargy or sunken eyes, consult with your veterinarian promptly. Proper hydration supports the cat's overall well-being and is particularly important during labor and nursing.

Monitoring and preparing for labor
As the pregnancy reaches its final stages, it's essential to closely monitor the cat for signs of impending labor. Behavioral changes, such as increased restlessness, nesting, and vocalization, may indicate that labor is imminent. Create a birthing area equipped with clean towels, a heating pad set on low, an infrared lamp set at the proper height and a suitable box lined with soft bedding. The box should be large enough for the cat to move comfortably and provide a sense of security. Familiarize yourself with the signs of labor, such as the cat assuming a birthing position and the appearance of a discharge. Be prepared to offer support and contact your veterinarian if you observe any concerning signs or if labor extends beyond the expected timeframe.

Knowledge and preparation are the key
Caring for a pregnant cat is a rewarding responsibility that involves meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother and her soon-to-arrive kittens. By understanding the duration of cat pregnancy, and implementing proper care practices, cat parents can contribute to a smooth and joyous journey into feline parenthood. Regular veterinary check-ups, a nutritious diet, and a supportive environment are paramount in fostering a positive and healthy pregnancy experience for your beloved feline companion.