As a cat owner, you may or may not have expected the pregnancy of your furry feline, but that doesn’t mean you need to panic. There are a number of things you can do to make this special time easier on your pet. Whether it’s trips to the vet or simply making her comfortable, you can help prepare your cat for pregnancy. Here are a few tips on how to care for a pregnant cat.
Take Her to the Vet
The first thing you want to do when you suspect that your cat is pregnant is take her to the vet. If the cat is a stray, the vet will be able to treat any other conditions she may have, such as fleas or mites. Your vet can also give you information on the due date, what to expect throughout the pregnancy, and any supplements the cat may need if malnourished. During the pregnancy, your cat should not be given any medication, vaccinations, or antibiotics, unless your vet okays their use.
Feed Her Properly
People are often tempted to overfeed their pregnant cat because they think she needs more food to help her care for her babies, but that isn’t necessarily true. During the first four weeks, you’ll want to feed your cat the same amount of food and during the fourth week, you’ll increase her food gradually up by 50%. You’ll also want to slowly switch her to a formula of food that is formulated for kittens to help ensure that the kittens get enough nutrients.
Keep Her Indoors
You never want to let a pregnant cat roam outside. Not only can the outdoors be dangerous for any cat, but it can be especially dangerous for pregnant cats. When the cat is outdoors she is more exposed to diseases that could make her sick and possibly kill her kittens. She may also be attacked by other cats, dogs, or wild animals. Even if the cat is a stray, make a safe place for her in the laundry room or garage.
Make Sure She’s Comfortable
Pregnancy isn’t any easier for cats than it is for humans. This means you need to spend time making your cat as comfortable as possible. You want to make sure you set up an area that is draft-free, away from children, other pets, and household traffic. A large cardboard box with low-sides and a comfortable lining made of towels or an old sweatshirt will make your pregnant kitty feel comfortable enough to have her kittens in that area.
Keep an Eye on Her
Last, but not least, you need to keep an eye on your cat. Chances are she’ll act the same way up until her nipples start to enlarge. During this phase of the pregnancy, the cat will begin to experience a bit of pain due to the swollen nipples and may even lick at her nipples to relieve the pressure. You can gently squeeze the nipples in a downward motion to help release the milk, but should never press on the stomach or you may cause a miscarriage. When it’s time for the babies to arrive, the mother will stop eating for one day. If she goes without food and water for longer than that, you need to consult your vet.
Caring for a pregnant cat requires attention and the ability to make your cat comfortable, after an initial trip to the vet. However, this is a very rewarding experience that you’ll enjoy being a part of.
About the Author: Fidel Hutnak has fostered several cats, a few which were pregnant. He purchases pet supplies from vet depot and takes his cats and their litters to the vet on a regular basis.