The year is 2022 and you might have thought that in the 21st-century a home pregnancy test for cats using urine was available, just as there is for humans. For humans you can buy a pregnancy testing kit from pharmacists and even supermarkets. They can give a quick result and you can do the test in private. But my considered research tells me that no such test exists for domestic cats at the date of this post. This might be a bit upsetting to some people because the best book on home veterinary treatment that you can buy in the market, published in 2008 said, under the heading ‘Determining Pregnancy’, that “at present, there is no early pregnancy detection test available for cats the way there is for people”.
So, nothing has changed for 14 years which seems a bit remiss of the scientists beavering away for pet product manufacturers. There must be money it, but I can guess the reason why this test remains unavailable. It is because the veterinarians have convinced the manufacturers to stop developing the product as it would take income away from them. The pet product manufacturers depend on the vets a lot to sell and promote products. They owe the vets and the vets have used that debt to tell the manufacturers to not make a home cat pregnancy test. Cynical? I think not.
There is a pregnancy test kit for dogs and cats on Amazon.com.co.uk. I think it is made in China. They don’t say whether it’s a home testing kit or a kit sold to veterinarians. As it is on Amazon you might have thought that it was made for non-qualified people: cat owners. But it quickly became apparent to me that you have to draw 1-2 mL of venous blood i.e., blood in the veins in order to conduct the test. That, I would argue, is beyond the capability of cat owners and even if a cat owner thought they could do it, I would suggest that they are mistaken, and it is not worth the risk in any case.
And therefore, you must take your cat to a veterinarian who might tell you that during the first few weeks of gestation, there are few detectable signs that a cat is pregnant except for slight weight gain.
An experienced evaluator may be able to detect pregnancy as early as day 15 using abdominal ultrasound. Faecal heartbeats are detectable at day 20 which provide a certain indication that a cat is pregnant.
My book, which was published in 2008 as mentioned, refers to the Witness Pregnancy Detection Kit, which can detect pregnancy in cats 28 days after mating using diluted urine. It was designed to detect the hormone relaxin in dogs. However, a scientific reference to this test kit strongly indicates that it is designed for veterinarians or vet techs or other qualified people because they say, “The authors hope that, with further research, a home pregnancy test for cats may be developed”. They mean a home pregnancy test for cats based upon the Witness Pregnancy Detection Kit which when used by veterinarian can detect pregnancy after about 30 days.
Palpitating the mother’s abdomen to feel for the foetuses can be done but only by an experienced breeder or a veterinarian. It requires that kind of experience and a lot of gentleness. Excessive poking and prodding can damage the faecal-placental unit and cause a miscarriage.
Sometimes cats have morning sickness like humans. This normally happens during the 3rd to 4th week of pregnancy. It is due to hormonal changes and the distension and stretching of the uterus.
By day 35 the nipples become pink and become more obvious. The belly size increases, and the foetuses are floating in capsules of fluid and can therefore no longer be detected by palpation.
The book referred to: Cat Owners Home Veterinary Handbook Third Edition.
Below are some more articles on cat pregnancy.