If your cat was in heat and had access to a whole male cat, the likelihood that she is pregnant is very strong. A pregnant queen will show both physical and personality changes which will become more evident around three weeks after breeding. The gestation period for cats runs from 60 to 67 days. I like to use 63 days as an average, because it is easier to equate with human gestation (nine weeks vs nine months).
Physical Changes in a Pregnant Cat
Heat Cycles Cease
This will be the first sign you may notice. If a cat has been suffering heat cycles every 10 days to two weeks, and suddenly stops, it is very likely she is pregnant.
Nipples Swell and Become Rosier in ColorBreeders call this "pinking," and it may be the first physical sign you will see.
Cat's Appetite IncreasesA pregnant cat will show an increased interest in food. After all, she is not only eating for herself, but for several foetuses.
Possible VomitingPregnant queens may be subject to a few bouts of "morning sickness," much as human mothers-to-be. This in itself is not cause for alarm, but if it continues or is frequent, veterinarian intervention is needed.
Abdominal EnlargementSometime around the fifth week of pregnancy, a pregnant cat's abdomen will start to swell noticeably, and it will continue to enlarge until time for birthing.
Personality Changes in a Pregnant Cat
Your cat may become more affectionate than normal and frequently seek out your attention. By all means, give it to her!
"Nesting" Activities by a Pregnant CatThis is not an early sign of pregnancy, but as the time for partruition (birth) approaches, your pregnant cat may seek out quiet, private places for birth to take place.
Clinical Diagnosis of Pregnancy in Cats
If your queen has had regular veterinary care, and the previous signs of pregnancy are evident, it may not be necessary to have an "official" diagnosis by a veterinarian, unless you have reason to fear something is wrong.
However (and this is a big consideration), if your intent is to spay her, it is probably better that your veterinarian knows exactly what to expect.
Palpation of the Cat's AbdomenYour veterinarian may be able to feel fetuses by palpating (feel by gently pressing) your queen's abdomen, usually around the 17th-20th day of pregnancy.
Ultrasound of Your Cat's AbdomenAn ultrasound may detect fetuses as early as the second week of pregnancy, and heartbeats may be detected sometime after the third week.
If your resident (or rescued) cat is indeed confirmed pregnant, some serious decision-making time is at hand. See the next article in this series for help with that decision.