A cat can give birth to 4 babies per litter and can have up to three litters per year. Many people advocate the need to spay/neuter cats to control their population, prevent harmful diseases and body damage. There are thousands of homeless cats living in shelters across the United States. Spaying a kitten at an early age can prevent her from being susceptible to cancer and other diseases.
A cat can go into its first heat cycle as early as 5-6 months. Thus it is beneficial to spay your cat at an early age. Still, you can find a cat pregnant at any point in your petting story. How long are cats pregnant is the most common questions among owners. On average, a cat stays pregnant for 58 to 72 days. It varies individually from cat to cat. (Read about How to take care of your pregnant cat?)
How to tell if your cat is pregnant?
A cat gets morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy. It is a clear indicator among cats that they are pregnant. It is common for cats to eat less during the first two weeks of pregnancy. This happens due to nausea caused by morning sickness.
By the third week of pregnancy, she will start eating again. You can notice a rapid increase in the size of her belly and overall weight. If you touch her belly, you might feel lumps of developing kittens inside. There are various stages of a cat’s pregnancy. (Read about Common household hazards for cats)
Middle stages of cat pregnancy
At this stage in her pregnancy, she will gain weight rapidly. Depending upon the no. of kittens she is carrying, her belly will enlarge to football size.
Pre-Labor, Labor & Delivery
At this period in her pregnancy, a cat will start developing nipples and you can see milk drops on them. She will look for safe and cosy places to give birth generally called a nest. At this point, you can provide her with a safe and warm place where she can give birth to her kittens.
Just before delivery, the cat licks her genitals and makes uncomfortable noises of pain. She will give birth to the first kitten 1 hour later the labour and each kitten will come out once in 15-29 minutes. (Read about How to take care of abandoned kittens?)
A cat eats the placenta to gain the extra nutrition she needs after delivery. It might look gross but is quite natural and you must let the cat do it. The cat licks the kitten and cleans them. It is best to keep the kittens with their mom or 8 to 12 weeks to be weaned.