How Long Are Cats Pregnant and What Are the Stages?

Cats Pregnancy

Cats, our beloved feline companions, often bring joy and warmth into our homes. If you’re a cat owner or plan to welcome a furry friend into your family, it’s important to understand various aspects of cat care, including their reproductive cycle. One crucial aspect of cat pregnancy is knowing how long it lasts and what happens during each stage. In this extensive article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of feline reproduction, shedding light on the stages of cat pregnancy and how long it typically lasts.

How Long Are Cats Pregnant?

First things first: How long does a cat’s pregnancy, also known as gestation, last? On average, a cat’s pregnancy spans approximately 63 to 65 days. However, this duration can vary depending on several factors, including the cat’s age, health, and breed. Let’s explore the stages of cat pregnancy and what you can expect during each one in detail.

The Stages of Cat Pregnancy

The stages of cat pregnancy are:

1. The Initial Stage – Fertilization (Days 1-10):

Cat pregnancy begins with fertilization, which occurs when a male cat (tom) mates with a female cat (queen) in estrus, commonly referred to as being in heat. During this stage, the female’s eggs are fertilized, and the journey towards motherhood begins. It’s important to note that cats can mate with multiple partners during a single heat cycle, resulting in kittens from different fathers in the same litter.

Fertilization and Copulation:

The female cat, or queen, typically goes into heat every two to three weeks. During this time, she emits pheromones that signal her readiness to mate. The male cat, or tom, can detect these pheromones and will attempt to court her. The actual mating process is swift, with the tom biting the queen’s neck to hold her in place. This bite often results in a characteristic yowl from the queen.

Multiple Mating:

It’s not uncommon for a queen to mate with multiple toms during her heat cycle. This can lead to a litter of kittens with different fathers, a phenomenon known as polyandry. Each partner’s sperm will compete to fertilize the queen’s eggs, ensuring genetic diversity within the litter.

2. Embryonic Development (Days 10-20):

As the fertilized eggs travel through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus, they begin to divide and form tiny embryos. Around day 14, you may notice subtle behavioral changes in the pregnant cat. She might become more affectionate or, conversely, a bit irritable. These behavioral shifts are often subtle and can easily be mistaken for other causes.


During this stage, the embryos implant themselves into the queen’s uterine wall. This is a critical step in the pregnancy process, as it ensures that the developing fetuses receive the necessary nutrients and support for growth.

3. Formation of the Fetus (Days 20-30):

By the third week of pregnancy, the embryos develop into recognizable fetuses. During this period, the queen may experience an increase in appetite, and her abdomen might start to show signs of swelling. It’s crucial to provide her with a well-balanced diet to support the growing fetuses.

Signs of Pregnancy:

As the fetuses continue to grow, you may notice physical changes in the queen. Her abdomen will become more rounded and firm, and her nipples will become more prominent and pink. These physical changes are more apparent in some cat breeds than others.

4. Visible Changes (Days 30-40):

As the pregnancy progresses, the queen’s abdomen will become noticeably enlarged. Her nipples will also become more prominent and pink. Around day 35, a veterinarian can confirm the pregnancy through palpation or ultrasound.

Prenatal Care:

It’s essential to provide proper prenatal care for your pregnant cat during this stage. This includes regular vet check-ups to monitor the health of both the queen and her developing kittens. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on nutrition, vaccinations, and any necessary adjustments to the cat’s environment.

5. Preparing for Birth (Days 40-63):

In the final stages of cat pregnancy, the queen will start nesting behaviors. She may search for a quiet, secluded place to give birth. It’s essential to create a comfortable and safe space for her to deliver her kittens. During this period, you should also increase her food intake to provide ample nourishment for both her and her growing litter.

Nesting Behaviors:

Nesting behaviors may include scratching at the chosen birthing spot, seeking solitude, and arranging bedding materials. Some queens become more affectionate and seek comfort from their human companions during this time.

Monitoring the Queen:

It’s crucial to keep a close eye on the pregnant cat as she nears her due date. Ensure that her nesting area is clean and secure, and be prepared for the imminent birth. If you notice any signs of distress or complications, search veterinarian near me and contact immediately.

6. Birth – The Big Day (Day 63 and onwards):

Cat pregnancies typically last around 63 days, but it’s not unusual for them to go a few days longer or shorter. When labor begins, the queen may become restless and seek out her nesting area. She’ll give birth to her kittens over several hours or even days. After the birth, she will clean her kittens and nurse them, providing the essential colostrum that boosts their immune system.

The Birth Process:

The queen will go through a series of contractions, each followed by the delivery of a kitten. The time between each kitten’s birth can vary, but it typically ranges from 15 minutes to an hour. The queen will use her tongue to break the amniotic sac and clean her newborns. Once all the kittens are born, she will nurse them and keep them warm.

Kitten Care:

As a responsible cat owner, it’s essential to provide support and care for the queen and her kittens during the post-birth period. Ensure that the queen has access to plenty of food and fresh water, as nursing can be demanding. Additionally, keep the nesting area clean and free of any potential hazards.


Sum Up

Understanding the stages of cat pregnancy and how long it typically lasts is essential for responsible cat ownership. As a cat owner or someone considering bringing a cat into your home, it’s vital to provide proper care and support for your pregnant queen. If you are in Toronto you can get an emergency cat visit from us ro check your pet.

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