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How to Take Care of a Pregnant Cat

Caring for a pregnant cat requires a team effort. To help ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy, your cat will need your support before the kittens arrive.  

You’ll need the expertise of your veterinarian along the way. With you, your cat and your veterinarian working together, the odds of a happy, healthy litter of kittens will significantly increase. Here are some helpful tips on how to care for a pregnant cat.  

Visit Your Veterinarian 

For any cat having kittens, the expertise of a veterinarian is an invaluable resource. When you first suspect your cat is pregnant, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for confirmation.  

They will assess your cat’s overall health during the appointment, and they’ll give you an estimated due date. If any unrelated conditions require treatment—like fleas or ear mites—your veterinarian can help you address those as well.  

Work with your veterinarian to develop a game plan and proceed with any needed medications or vaccinations that can be safely administered during pregnancy. It’s important to note that although vaccines are safe for your cat, they may have a negative effect on the developing kittens. Your veterinarian can advise you on whether to vaccinate now or after the kittens are born. 

How to Feed a Pregnant Cat

If you suspect your cat is pregnant, don’t make any initial changes to their cat food without your veterinarian’s input. Overfeeding or underfeeding your cat can make pregnancy more difficult.  

Consult with your veterinarian during the first visit to create an appropriate feeding plan and adapt your cat’s diet accordingly. Your veterinarian may suggest including some higher-calorie kitten food or mixing wet food with the regular kibble. The additional calories aid in milk production and support the growth of the developing kittens.   

Find the Right Litterbox 

If your cat’s litterbox has high sides or a narrow entrance, consider replacing it. Choose a low, wide pan that’s more accommodating to her ever-expanding belly. Clean the litter at least twice a day and wash the box once a week.  

Monitor Your Cat’s Behavior

Your cat won’t act differently for the first few weeks of pregnancy. Soon, however, they may begin to sleep more. The extra sleep could result in some missed meals.  

You can help encourage them to eat by waking them at feeding time or showing the food and water in her dishes as a reminder. As delivery nears, you may notice they frequently lick their teats—don’t worry, this is normal. When the teats fill with milk, they can become uncomfortable, and licking has a soothing effect that helps ease the pressure.  

How to Prepare for Cat Labor & Delivery

Prepare a place for your cat to give birth. A large cardboard box with low sides placed in a quiet room is an excellent choice.  

When your cat goes into labor, they’ll pant and pace. If not in the box, try gently placing them in there. Allow at least four hours for all the kittens to be born. If more than eight hours pass and your cat is still straining, call your veterinarian.  

After your cat gives birth, let them take care of the kittens and don’t handle them yourself. Allow your cat and the new kittens plenty of alone time in their first few days together. Don’t worry—you’ll get plenty of time with them in the following weeks. 

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