Whether you’ve adopted a pregnant stray, or your own cat has become pregnant, you’ll want to provide all the things your pregnant cat needs, both for her health and for the health of the unborn kittens.
It is essential that a pregnant cat be given an examination by your veterinarian to determine her overall health.
Generally, vaccinations are not recommended during pregnancy because of the possible risk of harm to the developing kittens. You should discuss this aspect with your veterinarian and weigh the risks, especially if there are other cats in the household and the pregnant cat is a stray.
If your cat is already on a diet of quality canned cat food, it should be safe to continue feeding her the same brand she is accustomed to for awhile. However, during the last three to four weeks, she should be switched to a nutritious canned kitten food, and continue on that until after the kittens are weaned. The kittens will then be fed the same food as their mother.
Pregnant Cats Need Calcium
Pregnancy and subsequent nursing can cause depletion in the amount of calcium in the bloodstream. This condition can result in Eclampsia, a life-threatening disease. Although it more often occurs during nursing, it can occur during the last stages of pregnancy. A calcium supplement can help prevent this potential problem, particularly when caring for a pregnant stray cat.
In addition to quality food, make sure that fresh, clean water is available at all times. The best way to provide this is with an automatic water fountain.
A pregnant cat needs the same good care you would give any other cat:
- A Comfortable Place to Sleep. This can be anywhere from sharing your bed, to a cardboard box lined with a fluffy towel or blanket, to a comfortable commercial bed designed for cats.
- A Litter Box and Quality Litter. As your pregnant cat’s abdomen begins to enlarge, make sure her litter box is low enough for easier ingress and egress. Keep the box scrupulously clean to avoid possible infections from soiled litter.
- Scratching Post and Cat Toys
Pregnant cats are just like other cats, in that they need the stretching activities they can get from a nice long scratching session, an interactive play session (take care not to tire her), and a nice spot from which to relax and view the world below.
- Keep Your Pregnant Cat Indoors. This should go without saying, but if your cat became pregnant because of unlimited outdoor privileges, you really should train yourself and her to keep her inside. This is extremely important for her safety and your peace of mind.
A few days before delivery, your pregnant cat will show signs of “nesting,” e.g., searching for a quiet, private place to give birth to her kittens. Cats often choose wardrobes for this purpose, and may be found sleeping on piles of clothes. Select a quiet room, or an unused guest bathroom which is easier to clean.
Move an extra litter box, food dish, and water bowl into the area you have chosen. Provide a large cardboard box or laundry basket lined with clean towels and make sure it is low enough for her to enter.
She will usually readily move into the box and sleep there, to mark it with her scent for the expected kittens.
Keep an eye out for potential problems and consult your veterinarian if in any doubt.