Any tips for figuring out if my cat is pregnant early on?
My female cat got out and now I am afraid she my be pregnant. She is not real young but I would still consider her a kitten. She hasn’t went into her heat stage yet and I am looking to find signs of a possible pregnancy. I have never noticed her nipples before but now if I run my fingers on her belly I can feel them? Do you have any tips for figuring out if she is pregnant early on?
Anonymous (username wild flower)
Hi there. I’ll answer your question asap. Other regular PoCers are better qualified than me to answer your question which is why I published it as an article. You should get some answers within 24 hours.
What you might like to do is tell us in a comment why you did not have her spayed as soon as possible as that would have prevented this happening. If she is pregnant you’ll have to find homes for the litter unless you take care of them yourself.
Thanks and good luck.
I’ll add a bit more info to the previous comments. The information comes from a reputed reference book.
Early signs of cat pregnancy:
There is no early pregnancy detection test.
First few weeks: slight gain in weight as Harvey said.
Day 15: ultrasound can detect pregnancy.
Day 20: Fetal heartbeat detectable and vet can palpate (feel) growing embryos (***this should only be done by a vet***).
3-4 week: a cat can have morning sickness. Apethetic mood. Off food.
Day 35: Nipples pink and obvious. Belly size increasing.
Ultrasound at the 15 days stage can now maybe confirm pregnancy, but the kittens heartbeats can’t usually be heard until day 24. So I’d think waiting until then to confirm the kittens are alive would be worth it. If anything wrong is detected it’s still not too late to spay the cat without too much danger.
Yes a pregnant cat’s nipples become enlarged and rosy pink from around 3 weeks after mating and also most cats become more affectionate than they usually are.
Also a vet can do an ultrasound from around 3 weeks into the pregnancy to confirm it, but there is no way to know for sure before that.
If she was in heat when she got out then it’s most likely she was mated so you could count from that day to see how far along she might be.
I don’t know how you feel about having her spayed whilst pregnant, most vets will do it early in a suspected pregnancy but it’s more dangerous as time goes on. If you think you will have good safe homes for the kittens it might be kinder to let her have them.
Thank you Ruth.
Your description is perfect, Ruth AKA.
I think, even before some of the physical signs appeared, the incredible increase in affection and neediness was a sure sign for me.
Some of the vets here will perform late stage spaying, especially if the cat is a feral.
Late spaying is pretty dangerous as there is a lot more blood, it’s almost like a Caesarean and very distressing to see the kittens dying in the uterus.
I’d be worried about a feral going through it, do your vets return them with dispersable stitches as soon as possible or keep them confined?
They are released at the end of the same day. I took them in at 7AM and picked them up at 5PM. It was rare for me to return them to the colony until the next morning. I usually kept them in their trap (I have some pretty big ones) with food, water, and a mat to sleep on in my bedroom with me. Sometimes, a small litter box which some figured out and some not. The clinic would place the mat for me while they were still sedated. The rest I did at home. Very tricky business.
Sutures were dispersable, yes.
I know it has to be done but my heart ached for the ferals we TNR when we were feral officers for CP, they are so frightened when the trap springs. It must be such a shock for them being handled, yes a very tricky business all round. We’ve spent some hours and shed some tears over the colonies here.
It is especially frightening for some of the last in a colony. They become trap shy after watching and listening. There were a few times that I had to go out with a blanket or comforter, throw it over them, and fight them into a trap. I hated it but it had to be done. Sometimes, it was 3 or 4AM and very cold. I cried a lot but was happy to bring them in out of the cold until they could be taken in. I bear a lot of battle scars, but it’s all worth it.
Yes well worth the battle scars and I wish I was still young and fit enough to do as much physically 🙁
The surest way is steady weight gain. Visual signs of getting fat are difficult in longhaired cats. I had the embarrassing situation after a show in Germany of one of my cats giving birth. I had not noticed anything unusual about her nor had anyone else.
Thanks Harvey for a quick response.