A pregnant cat can show changes in behaviour very soon after the fertilisation; These signs let us know that your cat is pregnant before even visiting the vet. However, a vet visit is the only way to get a certain diagnosis.
If she is not sterilised, your cat can mate as soon as she reaches sexual maturity. These behavioural signs have to jump out at you very quickly so you know what is happening.
Sexual maturity in cats
Cats are fertile from their first periods, which can happen from 4 months old. Although, the average is more likely to be around 6 months. You will easily notice when your cat has started having her first periods thanks to the signs that go with it: meowing, raucous and complaining, agitation, more affectious behaviour than usual, etc.
Cats are usually only sexually active in during the mating season, between spring and autumn. After periods of sometimes 2 weeks, the female will enter a calm phase of a week to 10 days. After which her periods will start again as long as she hasn’t been fertilised. If you know that your cat has been on heat and the next cycle is late to appear, there is a strong chance that she has found a male and has successfully mated. To confirm this fear, many behavioural signs will show that she is pregnant.
Signs of pregnancy in cats
Pregnancy symptoms in cats are fairly easy to detect just by watching their changes in behaviour. As well as changes in her body, she will show some typical attitudes during the 9 weeks of pregnancy that separate her from the birth of her kittens. From the first days of pregnancy, she will be more affectious and want attention and cuddles. However, she will also have a more distant behaviour as she will want to isolate herself. Often, a pregnant cat will have an appetite modification. It could either grow or diminish if she’s suffering from nausea or is throwing up.
Around the middle of the pregnancy, she could show a disliking to her owners and the other cats in the household as she looks for calm and will spend most of her time sleeping. Generally, she will have a more distant attitude. Although she will come to rub herself on your legs and ask for cuddles from time to time. Some cats may get irritable, agitated or worried as the birth gets nearer and she prepares a nest to welcome her kittens into the world.
Nesting in pregnant cats
Nesting is the most obvious sign showing that the birth is happening very soon. The cat will be looking to create a nest in an isolated part of the house like a wardrobe, basement or attic. Away from foot traffic and the eyes of everyone. She will make a protective layer using towels and bed covers that she can find in the surrounding area. If she is disturbed during this pivotal moment of the pregnancy, she might get stressed and want to move the nest to a better hidden area.
This is why it is recommended to anticipate her desire to make a nest by thinking of an appropriate area and preparing it for her with a box and some soft covers and sheets. A duvet placed in the bottom of the box will keep the nest warm and comfortable. It is a good way to ensure she will use it.
By creating a nesting area for her, you will avoid any possible stress to the mum to be. But, she may want to settle down in another place to make her nest. Finally, she may want to change at the last minute. In any case, let her do what she wants and respect her need for calm during the final week of her pregnancy.