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Congratulations! You have a pregnant cat!

Cat owners are growing more responsible every day and do their best to keep their cats spayed or neutered. However, if for whatever reason you did not spay your female cat and she happened to find an intact male in one of her outings, well... congratulations! You have a pregnant cat! But, what do you know about cat pregnancy? Do you even know how long are cats pregnant?

Even when you think your cat is purely an indoor cat, females in heat have only one thing in their mind, and that's to find a tom to get them pregnant.

Pregnant CatFirst thing you should know is that a cat pregnancy or gestation period is about 9 weeks, and that there's really nothing you can do. Nature, in all her wisdom, will take over and your cat will become a wonderful mother on her own. But you can still prepare yourself and your home for the new family and give the pregnant cat a little help.

What can you expect if your cat is pregnant?

You will notice that your cat gets a lot more affectionate, she will start eating a lot more,

her nipples will start swelling, her belly will start rowing and a few weeks before the birth, you will start noticing that she's building a nest. When she starts doing this, you can find a nice quiet, dark area and prepare it for her. Choose an area that the kids and the dog cannot get to, where you can keep a close eye in case you're needed but where she and her kittens will have peace and quiet. She needs to feel secure. So, you are going to build a nesting box. Get a large cardboard box. It has to be big enough for the pregnant cat to move comfortably and enter and exit with ease. When the birthing begins, there has to be enough space for the kittens  to stay close while she delivers them all.  The sides of the box have to be tall enough to provide privacy. You can keep one of the flaps on the top as a little roof for the same reason, or put a light blanket on top to keep it covered, but just partially. Cut an opening on the side, large enough for your cat to come in and out, but cut it two or three inches above the floor to prevent the kittens from rolling out or going out to the world too soon. Use an old towel on the bottom and then newspaper. Put a generous amount of sheets on the bottom, and then follow with shredded paper. For the birth itself, put many individual sheets that you can remove after each birth to keep the area clean. Try to bring your cat to it when she starts acting restless and looking like she wants to hide. If she doesn't like the place you chose for her, check to see where she's building her nest, and bring her nesting box to that spot.  Sometimes they will just prepare their own space, but that might be your bed, or a clothes drawer, so it pays to be vigilant. One thing I would strongly recommend, is to not let her out at all during the last four or weeks. If she gets out, she might nest outside and that would really be a problem.

When the time comes, she will start grooming excessively, specially around her vulva. She will cry and purr a lot and she'll be pacing and panting a lot. She'll stop eating and she might even vomit, and discharge a little blood. She will enter her nesting box when she's ready and the labor will begin. Keep calm and observe. You can always help if there's a problem.

Just a last word: if you have the idea that a female cat has to first fulfill her destiny as a mother and want her to get pregnant before spaying her, you are wrong. If you want to have a litter of kittens, keep in mind that shelters are full of litters, and most have to be eutanized because not enough people adopt them. So don't add to the problem. Will you be able to support a large litter? Probably not. So think where all those kittens will end up before you decide not to spay your female cat.

Photo Courtesy of: superna