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Old 10-24-2012, 10:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to tell if a cat is pregnant?

I have taken in a foster cat and her 3-4 week old kittens. The kittens are now roughly 8-9 weeks, but smaller than they should be (no one is 2 pounds yet), so I have not taken them off her yet. I am worried because she seems to be gaining weight around her middle but nowhere else. I have wormed her, so it shouldn't be from that.

I am trying to figure out how to tell if she is pregnant. She would have to be at least 5 weeks along, as that's how long I've had her (and there is no way she could have been impregnated here). Most of the signs I find refer to nipples pinking up and swelling, but since she's already nursing, those are useless for me. What other signs are there, or what other things could I watch for?

I can take her to a vet if need be, but I am trying to keep costs to a minimum. If she is not pregnant I plan to get her spayed right away, along with the kittens. If she is pregnant, she is too far along for me to feel comfortable spaying.

Picture taken 5 days ago:

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Old 10-25-2012, 06:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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She looks pregnant to me. Is she ravenous for eating? She should be if she's pregnant. You should be able to feel some movement. Cats can get pregnant right after having a litter....sure she didn't sneak out somewhere? The kitties should be weaned as soon as possible and only let them nurse once a day for a very shot time. It's very hard on her to be nursing and pregnant at the same time.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Something is definitely going on because that is not a normal waistline :-/
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am 100% sure she didn't get pregnant here (all my boys are neutered and she hasn't left the house, not even an accidental escape). However, the kittens were 3-4 weeks old when she came here, so it's entirely possible she was already pregnant when I got her. I took her to the shelter yesterday (the vet tech who works there did me a favor) and she said she couldn't say for sure if she was pregnant when she felt her belly.


She is eating constantly, but so do most of the nursing queens I've fostered, and since she already had the kittens when I got her, I can't say for sure that she's eating more, less, or the same as usual (though judging by how skinny she is I'd say she's getting fed considerably better here than she was at her old home).


My plan was to pull the kittens off her this weekend, but I can do it earlier. I'm trying to balance the needs of the kittens (who are small and need all the nutrients they can get) with the needs of the mother (who is skinny and in need of proper care herself) and with the needs of her potentially unborn kittens (mama didn't start to "show" until about 5-6 days ago, so I haven't been treating her like she was pregnant. I assumed she wasn't, given her poor body condition when I got her and the fact that she's already feeding 6 kittens).

It sounds like the general consensus is that she's pregnant. Poor mama kitty. In that case, the needs of mom and unborn babies outweigh the needs of the older kittens, so I'll pull her off them tonight and get her packed with as much kitten food as she'll eat. If she's not pregnant, no harm done, she'll just be a little healthier than she is now.


Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Poor little girl indeed She doesn't look very big and I'd bet she's not very old... I'm glad she's in your hands now instead of her former owner's and I'll bet she is too!!
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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She's at least 3-4 years old, per her former owners. And the kittens she has now are apparently her fourth litter. It seems she is pregnant with her fifth. As I understand it, the other foster mama I have, Lucy, is one of her daughters from a previous litter. Poor mama Tootsie has had a rough life so far. She's strong though, and a survivor. We'll get her through this and on to better things.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Since the vet tech couldn't feel the kittens which is what I would regard as the most "main-line" way of telling, you'll have to wait and see (they thought my Lottie was pregnant when she was first taken to the shelter but she wasn't) and keep an eye out for the other signs like changes to the nipples (except that would be harder to spot if she is still feeding). Her behaviour should start giving clues as well - in particular the urge to nest.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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She does like to go poking around the house quite a bit, but as she's never been an inside kitty before, I can't tell if she's looking for a spot to give birth or just really curious about what the inside of a house looks like.

She's separated from the current batch of kittens as of last night, so she'll have some time off to build up her strength a little, whether she's pregnant or not. We'll know in the next 2-3 weeks whether or not she's pregnant...she would have to be at least 5 weeks along now (but could be as much as 8 weeks, based on the age of her current kittens) so if nothing happens in the next 2-3 weeks, we'll know she's not pregnant and she can be spayed along with her kittens. If she is pregnant, she should give birth or be within a few days of giving birth at the end of 2-3 weeks and we'll find out that way.


Poor Tootsie. I'm exhausted and I'm not even the one (possibly) having the babies.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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After 3 weeks kittens are easily felt, but your vet may not be too familiar with pregnant cats. Nursing is going to distort the usual nipple signs. Hopefully she isn't pregnant, the poor girl.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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When I feel her, I can feel what seem to be little heads, but I figured if the vet tech couldn't feel anything, then I must be the one who is wrong. I'll get another picture of her today. If she is pregnant, she'd be approaching at least 6 weeks along.
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