How Long Do Cats Stay Pregnant (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 58 – 67 days

The gestation period of a cat is similar to that of a human, and in most cases, it lasts around 63 days. At the same time, most cats tend to give birth in the spring and summer months. If one’s cat is pregnant, there are sure signs that they should look out for.

It is common knowledge that cats are great mothers. They are loyal, devoted, and love their kittens unconditionally. They take good care of them while raising them to be independent. 

However, one might not know that cats are capable of being pregnant as early as 4 months. The gestation period in cats ranges from 58 – 67 days.

How Long Do Cats Stay Pregnant?

BreedDuration
Domestic Cats58-67 Days
Wild Cats60 – 68 days

Every female cat has a gestation period of nine lunar months, equivalent to 58-67 days. This means that the average female cat gives birth 2 months after mating. However, it’s important to note that pregnancy can be longer than four weeks for some cats but shorter than eight weeks. 

Nonetheless, the typical short gestation period is just 8-10 weeks long – meaning one can see the mother cat start her behavior change or more noticeable nesting before long. The signs of pregnancy will not show until two to three weeks in the term.

The gestation period in cats varies, even by breed. The average cat pregnancy can last anywhere between 58 and 67 days.

If the cat is pregnant, it should be around actively all day and night, vocalizing to manage home territory and interact with other cats. She may pant heavily, or her tempo should increase when she’s ready for a bout of sex. 

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Gestation lasts 60-65 days, so take precautions against unplanned litters by spaying the cat as soon as she becomes fertile.

Calico cats are more likely to produce female offspring than other colors. A female’s neonatal coloration matches the color of her mother’s fur at birth. The value is never darker than the maternal coat, and the pattern never clears like what occurs in male kittens. 

If one still has doubts regarding the pregnancy, it is better to take an ultrasound after day 16 though it cannot tell how many kittens one might expect.

Why Would Cats Stay Pregnant For So Long?

Cats stay pregnant for so long because they immediately go into heat again after each litter.

Cats are not implausibly different from other animals regarding the changes that would occur with pregnancy, namely that most bodies become less fertile after giving birth to one litter of kittens; the desire is there, but it’s physiologically impossible at this point. 

It would be plausible for reproductive hormones like progesterone and estrogen to remain high throughout subsequent pregnancies, even if this begins to rule out successful reproduction (which can’t happen due to non-fertility), which is also why they may prolong menstruation. 

Cats stay pregnant for such a long time because the gestation period of cats lasts only about 64 days. This makes it more challenging for veterinarians to know what stage of pregnancy a cat is in during an exam and weigh up the risks and dangers that carrying on with the pregnancy may entail.

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When the cat is pregnant it is common to see their affectionate behavior and longer sleep periods.

Additionally, this process can be pretty costly and risky, so many cats are spayed thanks to subsidized programs that facilitate these procedures at little to no cost through veterinary clinics or humane societies. 

Some people also want their pet cats to carry the kitten’s full-term so they can show them off as one might do with human children. To know the number of kittens in the cat belly, one can take an X-ray and determine. Sometimes, it is necessary to take the cats to the veterinarian if they vomit.

Conclusion

Cats are obligate oviparous mammals; they produce eggs and give birth to live young instead of laying eggs like other animals. The gestation period for domestic cats is around 58 – 67 days, which equates to approximately 8 to 10 weeks. 

However, some cats may give birth earlier or later than this, so it’s best to check with one’s vet to see how long the cat should be pregnant. If a cat owner plans on getting a new kitten, it’s best to wait until the 9th week before giving birth to avoid complications in the delivery process.

References

  1. https://europepmc.org/article/med/8229938 
  2. https://rep.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/rep/52/2/jrf_52_2_019.xml 
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