How To Tell If A Cat Is Pregnant

A vet shares what pregnancy signs look like.

If your cat has always been fairly thin, but you’ve noticed she’s put on a bit of weight in the past few weeks, then you may be wondering if she’s pregnant or if she’s simply just eating more than she should.

We spoke to a veterinarian who explained how to tell if a cat is pregnant, and, luckily, there are more signs that point to pregnancy than just weight gain.

How to tell if a cat is pregnant or overweight

According to Dr. David Shapiro, a veterinarian at Broward County Animal Care, there are a few specific signs you can look for that will tell you if your cat might be pregnant.

Distended abdomen, increase in ‘belly’ weight, [and] swelling or pinkness to nipples,” all point to a potential pregnancy, Dr. Shapiro told The Dodo. However, these signs may not appear until a pregnant cat is about two to five weeks along.

Of course, if your cat has been spayed, which means her ovaries have been removed, then potential pregnancy is off the table. And because weight gain after spaying is actually fairly common, it’s much more likely that your cat is just gaining a bit of weight.

Pregnant cat behavior

Another way to tell if your cat is pregnant is if you notice a change in her behavior. Pregnant cats are much more likely to eat and sleep more and show more affection.

Some pregnant cats may act less affectionate, though, and may hide more, so take note of any behaviors that are out of the norm for your cat’s personality and consult your vet if you have any concerns.

And as she nears the end of her pregnancy, a cat will likely start nesting, which is when she begins to prepare her spot to give birth. So make sure she has plenty of cozy blankets to snuggle up in!

Nesting is also a key sign to look for if you suspect a feral cat may be pregnant. She might seek shelter in your yard, and you can set up a box with blankets undercover to provide her with a safe space to give birth. And contact your local rescue organization to make a potential capture plan.

Cat pregnancy test

To get more concrete confirmation that your cat is, in fact, pregnant, your vet will probably want to do a pregnancy test and/or take an X-ray.

“Vets can perform a blood test to send to a lab for testing,” Dr. Shapiro said. “Cats generally have to be at least three weeks pregnant for test accuracy.”

Sometimes vets can also physically feel how many kittens a cat is pregnant with. But blood tests and X-rays are more accurate.

So, if you have a feeling your cat may be expecting, then schedule a vet appointment ASAP so you can start caring for the mama-to-be!