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Help, I think my cat is pregnant - what you can do next!

Discussion in 'Cat Breeding' started by classixuk, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. classixuk

    classixuk PetForums VIP

    Jun 6, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Welcome to the cat breeding section of Pet Forums.

    You've probably arrived here as you think your cat might be pregnant but you're not sure? You want to know what to do next?

    I'm writing this guide as I have found myself in the exact same situation before. Yahoo Answers has lots of information but it all seems too short or contradictory. If you've never had a cat that is pregnant before, this thread should get you started.

    If you planned the breeding already, or you know lots about cats and cat breeds, you will probably find this thread too basic. You might be better off searching the forum for some more detailed threads, or perhaps starting a new thread.

    I'd say that the typical person who can benefit from this thread would be like I was at the time...You got your first kitten/s about a year ago and you love them to bits. For one reason or another, the female wasn't spayed and now you think she might have gotten pregnant when she was out.

    That was me. If it's you, enjoy the thread.


    I'll start by answering some of the questions you might have now, and then end the thread by telling you about how I got through it all with my own cat.

    Is she pregnant?

    The easiest way to tell is to use your eyes and hands. Does she look like she's getting fatter (or more round) around the belly? Call her over and offer to give her a rub on her belly. As you rub, do her nipples feel as if they have gotten larger or longer? Have they turned very pink?

    These are good signs that your cat is already pregnant.

    If you think she is, you should give the vets a call as soon as they are open and book an appointment to take her in for a professional opinion and a health check up.

    Here's a picture of a pregnant cat:
    from here: pregnant-cat listings | pregnant-cat UK

    OK, I think she is pregnant. What next?

    Definitely book her in at the vets for an appointment. You should give them a call now (if they're open) before reading the rest of this thread. If they're not open right now, set yourself an email reminder to call them when they are open.

    You have to now make the choice (depending on what the vet recommends) of terminating the pregnancy or preparing for the alternative.

    This will be a difficult choice as it's really tempting to 'let her have the kittens' and then definitely spay afterwards. I totally understand where you are coming from, but of the 2 cats I've had direct contact with during pregancy...one had a small litter and not all of the kittens survived (mine) and the other (a friend's) lost all of her kittens and then the cat died as well.

    If your vet thinks that you can go ahead with the pregnancy they will tell you that. If they start telling you that your cat is too young (my friend's cat was 9 months old), you really should listen to them. They don't mean that your cat is too immature and needs to 'try a few relationships before she settles down' LOL...what they literally mean is that her body will not be able to physically deliver the kittens. Her pelvis is too small and still needs time to grow (like a pubescent teenager). If you don't terminate the accidental pregnancy you could kill her and the kittens. Listen to your vet for the way forward on this one.

    If your cat is developed enough to be able to carry through the pregnancy, your next thought should be "what will I do with the kittens"? You have 2 choices...keep them all or find good homes.

    The choices for the kittens

    Assuming this is your cat's first pregnancy, she is likely to have a smaller litter than an older cat, but I would still plan for at least 7 kittens to cover all your bases.

    Out of these 7, decide now how many you would like to keep. Let's say you're going to keep 1.

    Your next step (after seeing the vet and taking his advice) is to find 10 friends/family members who love animals and would like to take one of the kittens from your cat. You need to find at least 10 because half of them will drop out when it's actually time to take the kitten (my brother got a new job and had to move away 2 weeks before he was due to take the kitten).

    If you cannot find anywhere near 10 friends/family members who are interested in taking one of the kittens, you will have no choice but to ask the vet to terminate the pregnancy or help you explore other options. I know this means you losing out on 'your' new kitten, but you have to think about the other 6. Homes don't magically appear (especially in a recession).

    If you love the idea of getting a new kitten, you could always look around in rescue centers once your cat is recovered. This would be a better option and much kinder for your cat.

    The vet said yes and so did my friends...what next?

    OK, this is what happened when my cat was pregnant. The vet said "Yes, she can have them", and my friends said "Yes, we will have one".

    There is tons of information on the internet, at Amazon and on this very forum about preparing for a cat's birth. These are the basics.

    Your vet will recommend lots of essential things that you will need to do and prepare for before the kittens are born. Follow their advice to the letter.

    This will include finding and making a safe area for your cat to have her kittens. She will not know that you have made this area especially for her, so make sure you do not leave alternatives such as laundry baskets, open tumble dryers, empty cardboard boxes, open garden sheds etc. Your one area should be the most snug, safe and hidden area in the house. The area also needs to be kitten proofed so make sure there are no wires, holes or other things that a kitten could crawl into or damage itself on.

    Your cat will need more food and one with lots of nutrition. This food is usually very expensive. Prepare for this cost.

    She'll need a few appointments at the vets to check her progress. Again, prepare for the cost.

    Finally, when the vet advises you that the birth is very near, you'll need to advise your boss that you might need some time off at very short notice (incase things go wrong and she needs to be rushed to the vets). Also, keep hold of your vets phone number and the emergency vets phone number so you can call them immediately if things don't look to be going as they should.

    I guess that's about it. Your vet can advise you best from here, and please do let us know what they said. If you search the forum, you'll also find all the essential stuff such as health tests, planning a breeding etc. but I just wanted to get you started with what to do if you suddenly look at your cat one day and think, "Is my cat pregnant?"

    I did say that I'd end this thread with my own story, but I'll also add my friend's story too (seeing as I mentioned them).

    My story - Zara

    I got Zara and her brother, Tigger, from a rescue place in Hull at 8 weeks old. It wasn't planned, but a friend and I went to a cat-show one day and there was an advert on the wall asking for people who could offer homes to rescue cats/kittens.

    I wasn't really a 'cat lover', but my friend talked me into it. I'd had dogs, rats, hamsters, fish, birds etc. as a kid but never a cat.

    Zara and Tigger were the last 2 kittens left from a litter that was found dumped in a black bin bag and left to die on the river bank (see what happens when people don't find at least 10 homes?).

    We applied to rescue both of them and were approved. Shortly afterwards I moved to Liverpool and the cats and the friend came with me.

    We were both out of work and looking for jobs by the time Tigger started to show a "grown up" interest in Zara. Being indoor cats, and without much money, I had the choice of which cat to have 'done' first to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. We had Tigger done at 6 months old.

    Within weeks I met my future partner, and within a few more weeks had more or less moved in. The cats stayed at my old place with my friend.

    She gave me a call one day saying that she couldn't afford to keep both cats (now that I wasn't living there) and so was thinking of giving Zara to a rescue. To be honest, it was emotional blackmail as my friend knew that I would rather give her money than see those 2 cats separated, but what I did instead was go straight down to my old house and pick up both cats to come live with me. In my opinion, if you take on the responsibility of an animal, you do so until the animal dies.

    The cats started going out for the first time, and once they were settled I planned to have Zara spayed so she could continue to go out and enjoy the garden before she came into season. Within a few weeks, I found myself asking my OH, "Is she pregnant?" :(

    I noticed too late to have the pregnancy terminated, and the vet said that she seemed fine to carry. I lined up homes and prepared for the birth.

    On the morning of the birth I called work to let them know I wouldn't be coming in and followed the advice of the vet. I stayed with my cat to oversee everything and was prepared to call the vet if anything went wrong.

    The first kitten was born and it appeared to be moving very slowly. I didn't realise how slowly kittens move until then. It wasn't until the 2nd kitten was born that I realised new born kittens don't move as slowly as the first. The 1st kitten was obviously dieing. The vet talked me through clearing the lungs of fluid and doing CPR as well as mouth to mouth with the kitten. Thinking back, I am glad I had no kids as it would have been VERY upsetting for them to see this...it would look as if I was about to hurl the kitten across the room. Finally, after 15 minutes, we placed the dead kitten back into the bed and then after around 10 minutes we removed it and wrapped it for burial.

    Only 2 more kittens arrived. I was with Zara for hours. She used my forearm to press against with her back legs for the later contractions as she was very tired.

    I had already decided that I would keep a kitten when the vet told me the pregnancy should go ahead. But now I had a dilemma. 2 surviving kittens and 2 adult cats. How could I keep 3 cats and let the other 1 go? In the end I couldn't do it, and decided to keep both kittens. That's how I went from having 2 cats to 4 cats. If you need to make this decision, you should be prepared for the fact that you will fall out with your neighbours (if you have outdoor cats). 13 years later, one of the neighbours still won't speak to me as 4 cats working together can really terrorise one cat and easily destroy a garden.

    Another thing to note about the kitten rearing...Zara's nest was the cupboard underneath the stairs. One day (the kittens were about 3 weeks old) I was horrified to discover that one of the kittens was gone. I searched desperately all over the house and couldn't find the kitten. Later that night, I discovered that the last remaining kitten was also gone. The vet said that she must have moved them and to keep an eye on where she goes.

    I noticed that she went behind the tumble dryer, and when I looked behind it, there were both kittens sleeping soundly.

    I hadn't really thought about it when the meter man knocked the previous day. I simply let him in and let him check the meter...under the stairs. :eek: This has obviously spooked Zara and she felt the nest was no longer safe. I ended up moving the bedding from the nesting area upstairs under the spare bed, and within a couple of days she moved the kittens there. I hand washed my clothes and hung them out to dry while I was waiting for the kittens to be moved.

    Finally, the bills for food and healthcare for 4 adult cats turned out not to be cheap at all. With 4 cats you obviously have a greater chance of one of them getting ill, and once they do, it spreads to the other 3. Also, if just one cat learns that it's fun to catch birds or rodents and bring them into the house, you will find that the other 3 quickly learn from him/her. I cannot tell you how many times I had live birds flapping around my kitchen or field mice running across my living room floor. I would never go back and repeat the same mistakes again. I would spay as soon as possible or terminate the pregnancy.

    My friend's Cat - Smudge

    Smudge was taken in by my uncle and auntie as a young 6/7 month old cat. She had belonged to my cousin who was now finding it difficult with young children and a young cat with claws.
    Smudge was an indoor cat but hadn't been. Smudge also arrived (unbeknownst to them) pregnant!
    The vets bills came to £3,700. Smudge died during labour and the remaining kittens died within the first week.
    Not much else to say there really. She was far too young to be able to carry a litter.

    In conclusion

    I've tried to be honest and fair. This thread and my actions with Zara might
    get some criticism from some of the professional breeders who post here on the forum, but I can take that.

    What I wanted to do was post about what you can do and what might happen next if you've arrived here thinking, "My cat might be pregnant".

    Hopefully, now you've got the basics, you will have called your vet for that first appointment and you can carry on reading the more in-depth threads here about cat pregnancy (both the happy endings and the not so happy endings).

    Thanks for reading. I hope it helps you out a bit.
    #1 classixuk, Apr 30, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  2. Marley boy

    Marley boy PetForums VIP

    Sep 6, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I thought this was a good thread, sorry to hear about the kittens that died and your friends cat, hopefully some people will read this and realise they dont want this for their cat.
  3. colliemerles

    colliemerles PetForums VIP

    Nov 2, 2007
    Likes Received:
    i think this is a good thread, very sad but so true of the things that can and do happen, maybe other members can add to this,:)
  4. Kitty_pig

    Kitty_pig PetForums VIP

    Apr 9, 2011
    Likes Received:
    This was a very interesting read. sorry to hear you went through the torment of resus with a new kitten :( .glad it had a happy yet honest ending though xxx
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