The Cat Gestation Period

The cat gestation period is a common question that veterinarians hear. If Muffy has slipped under your radar and become pregnant, it's time for a visit to the vet to check things out.

A typical healthy gestation period for a domestic cat is typically anywhere from 57 to 69 days, but you'll hear different numbers in or around that range, even from veterinarians. The number 65 is often mentioned as the ideal time frame.

You can estimate the expected delivery date by calculating the days from the last heat. If you've adopted a pregnant cat, well, your vet will have to estimate the timeline.

The number of kittens in a litter varies from 1 on up, with the typical number being somewhere between 2 and 8. Again, these numbers vary and you'll get different answers depending upon who you ask.

Due to the increased nutritional needs of the mother cat (queen), your vet may recommend a gradual change in diet to a high potency cat food at some point. Often, 3 to 4 weeks prior to the expected delivery date, your vet may recommend that you feed her kitten food and continue to do so while she is nursing the kittens. Kitten food is very high in nutritional content and calories.

Shortly prior to giving birth, your cat may find a quiet (and possibly well hidden) place to "nest" and prepare for the birth. I have heard many people say that their cats used a closet for a birthing room. Afterward, the mother cat may want to move her kittens several times.

The entire cat gestation period, while not all that long, is very stressful for your cat. Make sure that your vet is fully involved in the pregnancy and that you report anything that may be a possible health issue for your cat during this time.

More Information:

Cat Pregnancy - Advice from veterinarian Mike Richards on cat pregnancy and related issues, including worms.

Feline Pregnancy Issues - Feline pregnancy and gestation.

Cat Pregnancy Report - Site focused on feline pregnancy and gestation.

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