It isn’t unusual to find out that your cat is pregnant, and can become surprised. There have been occasions where a cat owner sees their cat gain some weight, only to discover a litter of kittens a few weeks later.

It’s important to know if your cat is potentially pregnant or has just put on a little weight. We will cover the possibilities of your cat being pregnant, along with identifying potential false pregnancies.

Related: How long is a cat in heat for?

How to Tell if Your Cat is Pregnant

Around the third week of pregnancy, a cats nipples will become darker in color, while also becoming enlarged. If you have noticed your cat gaining weight suddenly, and their diet hasn’t been changed, then there’s a high probability that she will be pregnant.
When a cat is pregnant, her demeanor can change. Some cats will become more aggressive, while others will be more affectionate.

Confirming a pregnancy

You can confirm that your cat is pregnant by taking her to your local vet. There are a few ways that a vet can confirm that she is pregnant by doing an ultrasound, abdominal palpation, blood test, or an x-ray.
Some cats can have more noticeable signs of pregnancy later on in their pregnancy with the abdomen area looking more rounder.

False pregnancy

Cats can be known to suffer from pseudopregnancy, more commonly known as having a false pregnancy. False pregnancies are when a female cat “Queen” who isn’t pregnant showing symptoms of lactation, along with having behavioral changes that are normally associated with pregnant cats. These symptoms are believed to be attributed to a cat having hormonal imbalances.
Symptoms of a false pregnancy happen around 1-2 months after being in heat and may last upwards of a month.

Symptoms of a false pregnancy include:

  • Restlessness
  • Activates of nesting & self-nesting
  • Vomiting
  • Enlarged glands
  • Abdominal distention
  • Depression
  • Brown water fluids Loss of appetite

Diagnosing false pregnancy

If you suspect your cat could be having a false pregnancy, then taking your cat to your local vet should be considered for confirmation. Your vet will need a detailed history of your cats health, along with all the symptoms shown by your cat.
Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and evaluate their other all health. They may also carry out blood tests. Your vet will also complete an abdominal x-ray, and ultrasound, ruling out a real pregnancy.

Treating false pregnancy

Treatment is usually unnecessary unless the symptoms become persistent. Your local veterinarian can recommend hormonal supplements, or if the problem becomes common, your vet could recommend the removal of the cats ovaries and uterus.

Managing a false pregnancy

Your vet may recommend using cold/warm packs to reduce mammary gland secretions.
An Elizabethan cone (collar), which is used to prevent licking (self-nursing) behavior, reducing the activity of lactating stimulation.

If you’re a cat owner and not planning on breeding your cat, then getting your cat spayed should be taken into consideration. Getting your cat spayed will put your mind at ease, preventing your cat from having unplanned litters, along with preventing future false pregnancies.