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Cat Pregnancy Stages: Week-by-Week Cat Pregnancy Timeline (With Pictures)

The information contained in this article is for educational purpose and should not be taken as a substitute for your vet’s opinion, as much depends on circumstances and history peculiar to each pet.

Cats are seasonally polyestrous—they experience multiple cat heat cycles during the breeding season. For indoor cats and cats living in more tropical regions closer to the equator, where they have longer daylight hours, the breeding season goes all year round. On the other hand, for cats living in the Northern Hemisphere, the breeding season is from late January or early February to the late fall.

(Image Credits: really pregnant cat, Rick Kimpel, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cat Pregnancy Stages

While for most cats, pregnancy lasts for around 2 months—60 to 67 days—averaging 63 to 65 days. That said, for some cats gestation period may extend beyond 67 days, and cats suffering from bacterial infections or other health issues may go into labor too early. During this pregnancy period, pregnant Queens go through overwhelming developmental, hormonal, and behavioral changes.

To better understand what is happening at each cat pregnancy stage and how can you provide the best possible care to your pregnant cat, let’s break down cat pregnancy week-by-week.

Fertilization

To get pregnant, a cat has to be fertile—she must be on heat. Cats—unspayed female cats—go into heat every two to three weeks for around six days on average. During the cat heat cycle (also known as the estrus cycle), your Queen is ready to mate, and if kept indoors, she may try to escape in search of a Tom.

If you are not planning on breeding your cat, you should get her spayed before she reaches sexual maturity and becomes able to get pregnant. Usually, cats are able to get pregnant at 4 months of age.

1 Week Pregnant Cat

The first week in cat gestation is of conception. After mating, the sperm may take around 10 days to fertilize the egg. After fertilization, eggs are moved to the uterus through the fallopian tube, which may take from 12 to 14 days. 

2 Week Pregnant Cat

During the second week after the implantation of fertilized eggs in the uterus, the placenta starts to form. During this period, embryo development is also initiated, and the Queen also experiences some hormonal changes. However, there are no behavioral changes in your feline friend at this stage.

Cats are Induced Ovulators!

Cats only release eggs for fertilization when their ovaries are stimulated during mating. Usually, a Queen needs to mate around 3 to 4 times within 24 hours to ovulate. A Queen may give birth to kittens of different fathers!As a cat needs to mate multiple times to ovulate, she may end up having coitus with more than one Toms; thus, there could be kittens of different males in your cat’s litter.

Embryo Development

During this period of cat pregnancy, the embryo is developed, and organs start to develop in the embryo. Moreover, the placenta formation contributes towards the exchange of waste and nutrients between the embryo and the Queen.

3 Week Pregnant Cat

During the third week of the cat gestation period, the embryo development continues, and internal organs also start to develop. During this week, hormonal levels rise, and cat nipples start to enlarge and darken. This is the first visual sign that your cat is expecting.

4 Week Pregnant Cat

During the fourth week of cat pregnancy, hormones are soaring to an all-time high, and your cat starts to experience morning sickness. Four weeks into pregnancy, your cat may also experience vomiting. During this period, the pregnant cat’s weight continues to increase. If your cat’s weight is decreasing or the vomiting is frequent and seems uncontrollable, you should contact your vet.

You should also stop picking up your cat as this can hurt the soon-to-be kittens developing inside your cat belly and lead to miscarriage.

Fetus Development

By the end of the fourth week, the embryo has developed into a fetus. As fetuses are growing into kittens, your cat’s appetite will be increasing—she might be eating around 1.5 to 2 times her normal caloric intake.

5 Week Pregnant Cat

During this week, fetuses are growing rapidly into kittens—organ development is near completion, hormonal glands become functional, and nerves are developed. Your cat’s caloric intake would increase rapidly as it has provided nutrition to the growing fetuses as well.

6 Week Pregnant Cat

As kittens are growing big in size, requiring more nutrition, your Queen’s appetite will be exploding. You must switch to AAFCO-approved kitten food, which will meet the nutritional requirements of both the litter and mother cat as well. It is best that you switch to kitten food as soon as cat pregnancy is diagnosed.


While a vet can do an x-ray of your cat by the day 42 into pregnancy to confirm pregnancy and tell the number of kittens you should expect, it is advised that no x-ray is done before 55 days of gestation period.

7 Week Pregnant Cat

By the 7th week, your cat will have a bulging and round belly. As kittens have grown, they are now pressing against cats’ internal organs, including the stomach, so there is little room for food in your cat’s stomach. This leads to an apparent decrease in her appetite.

Keep in mind that the mother cat still has to provide for the kitten growing inside of her and thus still needs more nutritional intake. However, due to decreasing capacity of her stomach, she is eating less. In this situation, you should provide smaller but more frequent meals to your cat.

8 Week Pregnant Cat

Kittens are fully developed, and you will be able to notice their movement in your cat’s belly. At this stage of the cat gestation period, her belly will further fall out. This is to make nursing kittens easier after birth. Due to the hormonal changes, your cat will be grooming extensively and will also start losing hair around the nipples.

If your cat has had a litter previously, she will start producing milk during week 8 of pregnancy. Otherwise, you will see milk dripping from her nipples in the 9th week.

9 Week Pregnant Cat

As the average cat gestation period is 63 to 65 days, your cat may deliver during this week, especially if she has been nesting in the past week. As labor in cat is closing, your cat will be anxious and jumpy. She will have little to no appetite as kittens have greatly reduced the stomach room and as kittens are on their way. During this stage, your cat will start producing milk, and if she has had a litter before, she may even drip a few drops.

10 Week Pregnant Cat

While most pregnant cats will have given birth by week 9 of pregnancy, it is totally fine for cats to carry the litter into the 10th week. This may either be related to the number of kittens in the litter or perhaps to the cat breed. 

However, if by the end of week 10 of pregnancy, your cat has not gone into labor, you must contact your vet. Though chances are you might have miscalculated the dates, still you should ask your vet if something is wrong.

Pregnancy WeekWhat’s happening
Week 0Cat in heat
Week 1Ovulation is stimulated by mating
Egg fertilization may take around 10 days
Week 2The fertilized egg is placed in the uterus
Some hormonal changes
No behavioral changes
Week 3The embryo starts to develop
Pinking of nipples
Hormonal and behavioral changes
Internal organs start to develop
Detection of heartbeat with ultrasound will confirm the pregnancy  
Week 4Hormones reach an all-time high
Morning sickness
Weight gain
Stop picking your cat
A vet can confirm pregnancy with a feeling test
Should switch to kitten food
Week 5Organ development is near completion
Appetite exploding
Week 6Increasing appetite
Increased self-grooming
Further enlargement of nipples
Visible movement of kittens  
Week 7Pregnant belly—round and bulging
Declining appetite due to decreasing stomach room
Offer smaller but frequent meals
Provide nesting space
Week 8Loss of hair around nipples
Increased grooming
Cat begin nesting
Diminishing appetite
The belly will fall out due to hormones
Start producing milk, if she has already had a litter or more
Week 9Some cats give birth
Little to no eating as the cat is close to labor
Week 10Cat pregnancy may go into week 10
Cat going into labor
If the cat does not show signs of labor, take her to vet
Week-by-Week Cat Pregnancy Timeline

If your Queen is nearing the end of her gestation period, you should make sure that you are prepared for the big day. And as your cat enters week 9 of pregnancy, you should start looking for signs of labor in cats.

You should also know that the journey does not end as the kittens have come into this world. But that’s is when things get crazy—the rollercoaster ride begins. Providing care for a mother cat and newborn kitten can be an overwhelming task. But taking quick looks at the kitten feeding chart, kitten growth chart, and knowing stuff like “how long do kittens nurse?” can streamline the journey a bit.

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