There are some special considerations you need to be aware of when taking care of a pregnant cat. Most importantly, she needs to be kept in the best health as possible to ensure the delivery of healthy kittens. If you are breeding, there are some steps to take before mating.
However, the majority of us with our domestic cats are usually confronted with the fact that she is pregnant, so I suggest following these tips as soon as you can.
It is very important that she is free of worms as these can be passed to the kittens in while still in the womb via the bloodstream or through the mother’s milk after birth. Worming can be undertaken between the second and sixth week of the pregnancy and I suggest contacting your vet about this.
He will be able to assess your cat and give the best treatment necessary. Kittens that are born with a worm load can become stunted in their growth and are generally less healthy. After you have had your pregnant cat wormed, I would advise making sure she cannot be reinfected, either from contact with other cats or through feeding. It is also important to maintain strict hygiene with regard to the litter tray.
You will notice your pregnant cat’s behavioural changes. She will become quieter and more affectionate. She may become more aggressive with any tom cats in the house. She may also rest more often. Be aware that cats can have morning sickness so if your cat starts vomiting, make sure there is plenty of dry biscuits and fresh water available.
It will be easier for your pregnant cat if you start giving it smaller and more frequent meals. Just like with humans, the kittens are taking up a fair amount of room so your cat won’t want to eat large meals. I suggest increasing the overall quantity of food by around a third to maintain your cat’s good health and the best growing environment for the kittens. Try to feed her the most nutritious food you can afford. This extra expense will pay off in keeping your cat and her kittens healthy.
Exercise is important for the pregnant cat. Allow her to play or run around as normal. She will slow down in the final weeks of the pregnancy as the kittens grow. Exercise will help keep her muscles toned which will help during the birth, just as it does for us. Keep your cat inside during the pregnancy as she is at risk of picking up parasites or infections if allowed to roam with other cats.
You will be able to have the pregnancy confirmed by a vet at around 4 weeks. This will be done by feeling the cat’s abdomen. You will also notice the increased girth. By the end of the seventh week, you will be able to see the kittens moving. Look for rippling or sliding movements in the abdomen when she is resting.
Long Haired Cats
With long haired cats, it can be a good idea to trim away the fur around the nipples so to make feeding easier for the kittens. This will have the added benefit of preventing the fur becoming mattered around the nipples.
About a week before the kittens are due, your cat will start to look for a nesting place. You can prepare a cardboard box with scrunched up plain paper in it. Paper has the advantage of being able to be thrown out after the birth. Don’t use old newspapers for this as the ink can smudge and run when wet and this can be harmful to the kittens and mother.
Place the box in a warm and draft free place that will not be too noisy. Make sure food and fresh water are close by. If your cat doesn’t use this box, keep an eye on where she goes as it could be in a wardrobe or drawer somewhere.
Taking care of a pregnant cat is not hard. Give her the best food you can afford, make sure she is healthy and stays that way, and give her plenty of love and attention. You will be rewarded with a litter of beautiful and healthy kittens.