How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Just Pregnant or Just Fat?

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Just Pregnant or Just Fat

Many cat owners are spoiling their cats with anything, from toys to, of course, food. More treats and feeding options are available in the market and many cat parents have a hard time saying no to a cute cat begging for more food. As a result, cats develop weight problems just like people do.

If you have a fat cat, finding out whether it is pregnant can sometimes be tricky. The extra layers of its chubbiness could be hiding a litter of kittens.

How can you tell if your cat is pregnant or just fat?

Aside from the signs given below, consulting a vet is the way to get a definite confirmation whether your cat is pregnant. Getting an ultrasound will determine the status of the pregnancy and the number of heartbeats after 40-45 days of gestation.

If your cat is not showing the signs given below, it’s probably just fat. You can check if your cat is overweight by running your hands along its side as if you’re petting it. If you can feel its ribs using only slight pressure, your cat is likely at an ideal weight. If you have to press firmly in order to feel its ribs, then it may be overweight. If you can’t feel its ribs at all, then your pet may actually be obese.

Signs your cat is pregnant

Cats have periods of peak fertility when they become pregnant. Cats can be in heat about once every three weeks. About two weeks into the pregnancy, a cat will start to show physical symptoms. Here are the most obvious signs that you will notice in a pregnant cat:

1. Physical Changes

There will be changes in the body of your cat when it gets pregnant. You will notice that your cat’s nipples are becoming bloated and pinkish in color fifteen to eighteen days (15-18) into its pregnancy. This change is called pinking up. Its nipples can become more visible and poke through its belly fur depending on the length of hair the cat has. 

However, enlarging nipples may also be indicative of heat and may still not confirm pregnancy.

2. Morning Sickness

Morning Sickness
Image: / sonsam

Just like humans, a pregnant cat may also go through a period of being sick occasionally and vomit. And like humans again, not all cats have morning sickness. The cat’s appetite may be suppressed due to nausea but typically regain its appetites after the third week of pregnancy. If the cat vomits, make sure to keep an eye on it and consult your vet if the vomiting becomes frequent.

3. Swelling of the abdomen

With the kittens growing inside the mother cat, its tummy will start to swell. Avoid touching it so you don’t risk hurting the cat and its unborn kittens. Abdominal swelling can be caused by other conditions also, so it’s encouraged to monitor your cat for any other signs of illness.

4. Rapid weight gain

Pregnant cats have an increased appetite later in their pregnancy which will contribute to their weight gain. This is most noticeable in a cat’s side, where fat deposits typically collect. During its gestation period, it will gain about a pound or two a day. Normal weight gain during a cat’s pregnancy is between 20% and 30% of the cat’s total body weight. If your cat is below or above the threshold, it’s important to visit the vet immediately. There is really nothing to worry about this. Your cat might just be experiencing a loss of appetite, expecting a larger-than-average litter or simply overeating.

5. Signs of being Territorial

Cats that are bearing kittens may show more signs of being territorial. Most mammals are very protective of their young which makes it common to be territorial during pregnancy.