What to Expect When Your Cat is Expecting

Dec_2013_3Is your kitty expecting? As your pregnant cat, or “Queen,” prepares for her little kittens, you should learn what’s ahead. Here are a few facts on what to expect:


  • The average feline pregnancy is 9 weeks or 63 days, but it can range from 57 to 69 days.
  • Weight gain begins after the fourth week. You’ll also see “pinking” or pinker and enlarged nipples after the third week.
  • The litter size can range from 1 to 8 kittens or more. The average is 2 to 5.
  • Nesting behavior is common. Your cat will start exploring closets and secluded places, looking for a place to have her kittens. Help her find a safe room away from children, pets and other activity.    
  • Labor can range from minutes to hours or a full day depending on the size of the litter and whether or not the queen has had kittens before.
  • A few signs of impending labor include bigger mammary glands, a drop in the cat’s temperature, a drop in appetite, restlessness, meowing, panting, licking and vomiting. Not all cats show the same signs.
  • It’s important that kittens nurse soon after being born to increase immunity through their mother’s milk.
  • Kittens usually don’t open their eyes until they’re 10 to 14 days old. They typically nurse for 4 to 6 weeks.
  • A queen should eat anything she wants to restore her energy while nursing kittens.
  • Control fleas on the queen as they can cause anemia if they jump on her kittens.

Most cats have a smooth birthing process, but call your vet if there are any signs of distress before or during labor.