Is your kitty pregnant? Are you sure?
Queen cat in heat may have multiple mating before it gets conceived. Sometimes there may be more than one male involved in mating, and it is very common in queen cats to have a litter of kittens born to more than one tomcat. It is not mandatory that every mating turns out to be successful. Hence, it is advised to go for pregnancy diagnosis to confirm pregnancy which will not only help to plan proper feeding regimen but also take good care of the queen cat during the course of pregnancy.
How to diagnose pregnancy in cats?
Consult your veterinarian after around 3 to 4 weeks from the last mating for pregnancy diagnosis in cats. Your vet may collect all necessary history regarding queen’s heat period and mating and then go for pregnancy diagnosis. This can be done by,
- Abdominal palpation
- Estimation of a pregnancy hormone
It is usually done around 3 to 4 weeks from the breeding date which requires an experienced veterinarian and a relaxed queen. Your vet will look for the presence of small round shaped compact masses that appear like beads in a chain. These are actually the palpable foetuses within the uterus and confirm the pregnancy.
Pregnancy can also be confirmed by use of an abdominal ultrasound. This can be done anywhere between 20 days to full term. Your vet may look for the presence of gestational sacs in early days and foetuses in later stages. This is a confirmatory diagnosis of pregnancy but a number of foetuses present cannot be determined in this technique. Use of ultrasonography requires an experienced veterinarian and a cooperative queen.
Radiography is another technique wherein the images are captured by an x-ray machine and are ready for the presence of foetal bones. This can be done only after 45 days of pregnancy as the foetal images are better appreciated due to development of bones. Use of radiography carries some hazards and should be used cautiously.
Estimation of pregnancy hormone:
Estimation of pregnancy hormone also helps in determination of pregnancy in cats. But this is not routinely employed as abdominal palpation and ultrasonography serve better options for pregnancy diagnosis in routine practice.
Pregnancy period in cats may range between 57 to 63 days. Confirm the pregnancy as early as possible by a suitable method as advised by your veterinarian and take proper care of your queen cat and manage well for easy delivery of kittens.*I’d add something about the best way to diagnose and manage a pregnancy is with a combination of the above methods.
A healthy pet is a happy pet
Dr. Chandrashekhar Salimath