Domestic cats walk differently when they are pregnant

Obviously, domestic cats continue to walk around the home when they are pregnant but as the pregnancy progresses and their body changes, they adapt their gait accordingly. The mother-to-be may adopt a wider stance, take smaller steps and waddle as you see in the video on this page. It’s always wise to consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pregnant cat’s health and/or their behaviour.

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It is unsurprising that a pregnant cat has to alter their gait, posture and movement. And indeed, their overall behaviour alters when they are pregnant.

As to their posture, as the pregnancy progresses the abdomen enlarges to accommodate the developing offspring. Her center of gravity shifts causing a change in her posture. She may lower her hindquarters slightly and her belly may be closer to the ground.

The waddling gait that you see in the video is due to the increased size and weight of the abdomen. You will see the side-to-side swaying motion as she walks. This way of walking helps to distribute the weight more evenly and it helps her to maintain balance.

The wider stance with her hind legs is employed to support the extra weight. It helps with stability and to maintain balance when walking.

It is unsurprising that pregnant cats tend to move more slowly than normal. The extra weight and the change in her body shape makes it more challenging to move quickly. A pregnant female will not jump as elegantly as before. They may take shorter steps and be more cautious about jumping and moving in general.

As she prepares to give birth, she will demonstrate nesting behaviours in seeking out a quiet and comfortable place in preparation for her upcoming delivery. She may gather materials for the nest such as blankets and soft items.

Each female is different as indeed are all domestic cats in terms of their personality and behaviours and therefore a pregnant female may exhibit different behaviours to other pregnant cats.

Unless you are a registered breeder, it reasonable to state that it is unwise to allow your cat to become pregnant due to a failure to spay her as there are more than cats in the world already many of whom are without homes.

Signs that a female is preparing to give birth

There are several signs and knowing them helps the owner to anticipate the arrival of kittens and therefore provide those kittens and their mother with the care and support they demand.

I’ve mentioned the nesting behaviour of the mother as she seeks out a quiet and secluded area. As labour approaches, she may become restless and start pacing. She may wander around the house unable to settle down.

In the 24-48 hours before giving birth she may lose her appetite and therefore eat a lot less than normal. This is due to hormonal changes.

She may demonstrate increased affection or she may seek solitude.

She may increase her self-grooming behaviours particularly around the genital and abdomen areas. She is keeping herself clean in preparation for birth.

Her mammary glands will become swollen and enlarged leading up to delivery. She is preparing to produce milk for the kittens.

If you hours before birth her body temperature may drop slightly below the normal range of 99-100°F. If you are monitoring your cat, you may measure the temperature as an indication that labour is imminent.

The signs will vary in their timing and intensity depending upon the individual cat. It advisable to consult with a veterinarian for guidance and support when necessary.

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