Skip to main content

How long are cats pregnant? How their pregnancies differ from humans’

If you suspect that your cat is pregnant, it’s important to learn everything you can about cat pregnancies. Your pregnant cat will undergo many different changes during her pregnancy, and she’ll also have increased nutrition needs. Understanding which symptoms to look for and how you need to support your cat during her pregnancy can help you give your cat the care that she and the kittens will need. Your vet can also provide you with advice that’s specific to your individual cat’s needs. So, how long are cats pregnant, and what should you do if you think your cat might be pregnant? Here’s what you need to know.

Mother cat and her kitten walking in the sun
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to tell if a cat is pregnant

You may notice multiple changes that can indicate that your cat is pregnant. Her heat cycles will stop once she’s pregnant, and she might start to eat more. Her nipples may darken in color and appear larger, though this can be hard to see, especially if you have a long-haired cat. As your cat eats more, she should start to gain weight, and about halfway through her pregnancy, you’ll start to notice that her abdomen looks larger or swollen.

You might also notice several behavior changes in your pregnant cat. Many cats tend to sleep longer when they’re pregnant, and some cats become increasingly friendly and affectionate. If your cat is close to giving birth, she might seek out a quiet area and prepare a nest.

Only a vet will be able to tell you for certain if your cat is pregnant. During your appointment, your vet may palpate your cat’s abdomen to feel the kittens. Your vet may perform an X-ray to determine how many kittens your cat is carrying, but this is effective only if your cat has been pregnant for about a month or more. An ultrasound can help a vet identify kittens once your cat has been pregnant for at least three weeks.

How many months is a cat pregnant?

Cat pregnancies can last between 63 and 65 days or just over two months’ time. Since cats can get pregnant when they’re as young as 4 months old, it’s possible that a 6-month-old cat could give birth to her first litter of kittens. That’s quite different from human pregnancies, to say the least!

This highlights the importance of separating male and female kittens before they’re 4 months old, or of spaying and neutering kittens before they’re able to reproduce.

Kitten sleeping on its sleeping mother
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How can I tell how far pregnant my cat is?

One of the most accurate ways of telling how far along your cat is in her pregnancy is to use the date of conception as a guide. However, that’s not always possible.

If you don’t know when your cat got pregnant, then you’ll need to schedule a vet appointment to confirm the pregnancy. Your vet may use an X-ray or ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy, and depending on the findings, the vet may be able to give you an estimate of how far along your cat is. However, determining how far along a pregnancy is always involves some guesswork, so while your vet may be able to give you a range, it’s impossible to pinpoint the day or even the week your cat will deliver.

Since you won’t know precisely when your cat is due to give birth, it’s important to prepare now for it. You’ll want to put together a birthing kit that includes such essential supplies as rubbing alcohol, disposable gloves, a thermometer, a kitchen scale for weighing the kittens, and plenty of blankets and towels. You’ll also need to be prepared with the contact information of your vet and the nearest emergency clinic.

Always be prepared

If you know that your cat is pregnant, this is the time to do your homework. Prepare a nesting box for your cat so that she can get used to it and will be more likely to use it when she gives birth. This is also the time to familiarize yourself with the birthing process, how to know if something is going wrong, and what to do if your cat needs help. Many cats deliver kittens smoothly and easily on their own, but it’s important to be prepared, just in case your fur baby does need help. Be sure to talk with your vet, since they can guide you through your cat’s pregnancy, the birth, and the growth of the kittens.

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
Can cats see in the dark? We separate fact from fiction
Cats have night vision far superior than our own, but they still need light to see
A cat stares into the camera

When something goes bump in the night, you might wake up in a panic, only to realize it's just the cat. These beasties are well known for being up and about in the wee hours of the morning, ready to play, hunt, and eat. While it's true that cats love nighttime, they aren't actually nocturnal. Instead, they exist in an in-between state as crepuscular, meaning your feline will love dusk and dawn most. So, if they aren't actually night owls, can cats see in the dark? We break down what cat vision really looks like.
Can cats see in the dark?

Almost all of us can see something in the dark, but night vision varies considerably among different animals. Owls have particularly good night vision, while humans less so. Cats see about six times better than people at night, which helps them hunt successfully at twilight, in the wild, or from your backyard. But it's inaccurate to say they can see in pure darkness. Instead, kitties have special eyes that allow them to observe a lot more in low light. These are the three main ways cats see better at night.
Smart design
Cat eyes look totally different from human ones, and they are. Feline orbs have special qualities designed to help them hunt in near darkness, such as a curved cornea and large lens (we'll get into what's up with the pupils next). You may have heard of rods and cones, the parts of the eye that help us see light and color, among other things. Our furry friends have more rods and so see more light, and therefore, need less of it (by contrast, we have more cones and observe more colors). Lastly, cats have something called a tapetum that reflects light to the retina. While you may never have heard this term, you've definitely witnessed it in action — this is why cat eyes glow in the dark.
Pupil dilation
When the lights go off, our pupils get bigger, and it's the same with cats. However, our pet's pupils can go from a small vertical slit to a massive globe. As the eye grows larger, it does lose some clarity, otherwise you might expect to find your animal's eyes constantly at full blast. Generally, during the day, their pupils will show up as a thin line for maximum focus and then dilate as needed in dim-light situations. And the growth is an enormous difference, up to 300 times the size of their eye at its smallest.
Myopia is the fancy word for near-sightedness or the ability to see up close but not far away. Many humans wear glasses to improve their vision, but unfortunately, cats don't ever see as well as we do at a distance. The little buds have a wider frame of vision, but everything would look a bit blurry if you adopted their eyes temporarily. In a competition for who can spot a tiny movement, like prey burrowing in the grass, the cat would win.
How cats see the world around us

Read more
60 creative black and white cat names for your new pet
Classic, fun, and adorable names for your black and white kitty
A black and white cat's face

Bringing home a new cat can be so exciting, but there's a lot to think about while your new friend is getting comfortable. You'll want to start buying furnishings, like a cat bed and scratching post, and you'll need to decide what food to feed them. And where will you put their litter box?
However, one decision looms above all the rest in importance: your cat's name. After all, you'll say their name at least a thousand times over the next several years you'll share together, so it has to be something that both you and your cat can enjoy. It can't be too long, or else your cat may not learn it, but it can't be so close to other words that it starts to become meaningless. What is a new cat owner to do?
You can start by checking out these classic, vintage, and adorable black and white cat names. It may take a while to figure out which name fits your cat the best, but you can't go wrong with any of these.

Classic names for black and white cats
If you find yourself charmed by your monochromatic buddy's beautiful coat, you're certainly not alone. Many cat owners name their cats based on the colors of their fur, which is why we compiled these classic names for black and white cats.

Read more
These are the most expensive cat breeds in the world
Wondering what cats will empty your wallet to bring them home? We crunched the numbers
Close-up of a Persian cat

Generally, we don't consider a friend someone we need to pay for. However, if you're purchasing an animal from a breeder, you will need to fork over some cash. The reasons are sound: You're paying for the time and care that went into breeding and helping to raise the newborn kitten. If that animal is a feline friend, costs can vary, with some of the most expensive cat breeds coming with a four-figure price tag.

Researching the personalities of different breeds is an excellent idea to get a feel for what type of cat might be best for your lifestyle. However, knowing the potential prices can also help you narrow your choices. Prepare to pay top dollar if your heart is set on one of these most expensive cat breeds.
The most expensive cat breeds

Read more