Is My Cat Pregnant or in Heat? Easy Ways to Differentiate

Every cat owner has once wondered if a cat is pregnant can she still be in heat. To be able to answer this question you should find out if your cat pregnant or in heat?

You can differentiate a pregnant cat and one that’s in heat by observing their behavior patterns. Your cat is pregnant if she has morning sickness, increased body weight, increased appetite, more sleep, and swollen nipples. Your cat is in heat if she’s calling more often and is restless.

A pregnant cat and a cat in heat don’t look or behave the same. Read on the rest of this post to learn the differences. 

Is My Cat Pregnant or in Heat? How to Differentiate

Pregnant cat
Pregnant cat

Sometimes, you may not be sure whether your cat is pregnant or is in heat. To answer the question is my cat pregnant or in heat? Here are a few signs to look out for.

Signs of a Pregnant Cat

  • Changes to the body: Changes to the physical appearance of your cat are a key telltale sign of a pregnant cat. These changes can range from weight gain to a bigger abdomen and swollen nipples.
  • Morning sickness: This is one of the most common signs when your cat gets pregnant. Just like human beings, your little feline queen can experience periods of vomiting during the early weeks of pregnancy. 
  • Increased appetite: Food intake for a queen usually increases thanks to the expected kittens developing in her belly. So, you’ll need to take note of the extra treats and other high-protein food for her. Make sure to provide enough so she doesn’t get underfed during this crucial period.
  • Weight gain: Another common indicator of a pregnant cat is increased body weight. Generally, cats will add about 2-4 extra pounds to the normal weight. The increase in weight is due to the developing kitties inside and the extra 50 percent food intake. 
  • Bigger abdomen: Towards the middle weeks of pregnancy, your queen’s abdomen begins to enlarge significantly–an indication of the growing baby kitties. 
  • Nesting: This is an advanced stage of a pregnant cat. Usually, she looks for secret areas around the house. She then makes a nest there in readiness to give birth. Ensure you provide a nesting box during this time.
  • More affection: Cats are affectionate pets due to their strong human-attachment bond. The level of affection can increase drastically, especially when she begins the gestation period. 
  • More Sleep: Sleeping during the day is not a new pattern for cats. However, your cat will sleep more hours than usual when pregnant. 

Find Out: Why Does My Cat Hold My Hand?

What Are Signs of a Cat in Heat?

A female cat experiences a normal estrus or heat cycle. Heat cycles are vital for mating and conception. They determine the cat’s receptivity to a male for successful intercourse and reproduction. 

The following are the main signs of a cat in heat:

  • Extreme calling by meowing a lot.
  • Restlessness; your cat may show unprecedented levels of unrest. 
  • She rubs herself against you, and if you stroke her, she may stand in a position favorable for mating. 
  • Loss of appetite due to mating anxiety.
  • The cat licks her genitals a lot more than usual and general overgrooming.
  • She may disappear from the house in search of a mate.

Knowing when your cat is in heat helps you control any extreme behavior and manage her well. You don’t want her unrest to cause her to stray, looking for male companions. 

How to Be Sure Your Cat Is Pregnant: A Clinical Approach 

Pregnancy is not an easy period for cats. Conventional hints of knowing a pregnant cat are not bad. But sometimes, they just may not be correct. 

Rather than guessing whether your cat is pregnant or in heat, visit your veterinarian for a clinical diagnosis to be sure. Here are some of the tests your vet could perform. 


Palpation of the abdomen involves pressing the cat’s abdomen gently to feel the kitten fetuses inside. The touch is usually light but carries a bit of force to it. 

It can be quite challenging to feel anything at the early stages of pregnancy. So, visit an experienced vet who has done this before. 

For the best results, this procedure is done between days 17-25 of the pregnancy period. Most fetuses have started forming at this time. 

Palpation is safe and doesn’t involve sedatives or other drugs that could harm the developing kittens. Since no special equipment is used, it’s an inexpensive physical examination.

Also Read: Cat Depressed Wearing Cone: 7 Ways to Comfort Them

Abdominal Ultrasound 

An abdominal ultrasound is one of the most reliable methods to determine whether your cat is pregnant. Most likely, your vet would use this technology to tell whether your cat is pregnant and at what stage. 

Using an ultrasound-wave probe, the vet detects reflections coming from the abdomen. This technology can detect fetal kittens at the early stages of gestation, usually three weeks. Around this time, the kitties’ heartbeats can also be felt–an indication that fetuses are present and alive. 

Ultrasound is a very accurate method of detecting pregnancy. It’s also straightforward and can even detect litter size. 

That said, the vet’s ultrasound machine should be in perfect shape to capture all the details of your cat’s pregnancy. 

Radiography of the Abdomen

Abdomen radiography is another common clinical technology involving doing X-rays to check on the skeletons of kittens. Generally, it’s done at 40-45 days of the cat’s gestation

Skeleton formation for kittens usually begins to form around 40-45 days. So, any radiography performed before this time may not reveal anything substantial. 

In fact, you’re likely to get false impressions, especially when your cat exhibits an enlarged uterus. 

X-rays or radiographs are a great way of knowing the age of your fetal kittens. In addition, x-rays can tell fetal number or litter size. With clear images, you can see and count the number of skeletons and skulls in your cat’s uterus. 

Can a Cat Be Pregnant and Still Be In Heat? 

Is my cat pregnant or in heat?
White cat relaxing

Seeing your cat pregnant and at the same time in heat is quite strange, isn’t it? So how does it happen, and is it normal?

Some cats can be pregnant and still be in heat, so it’s not strange. In general, once a female cat gets pregnant, the heat cycle may come again during the early weeks of the pregnancy. 

In the end, the queen may mate with another different male and still get pregnant with him. That’s why you see a cat giving birth to two litters in close succession. 

The process by which different males fertilize two or more eggs during the same estrus cycle is called superfecundation

After confirming your cat’s pregnancy, don’t allow her to leave the house again because that’s what could happen if she finds another male outdoors. Also, be careful not to allow males on your property for the same reason.

There are cases of false pregnancies. You want to be sure that a swollen belly or other signs indicate a real pregnancy. 

Otherwise, chances are that the cat did not conceive and is, therefore, not pregnant. That’s why you may see her showing heat signs once again. 

Caring for a Pregnant Cat

For about 65.6 days, your queen will carry a litter in her belly. Studies reveal an average litter size of 4 kittens per litter in new births. Sometimes, the number of kittens can be many, 12-18 kittens. 

The data above shows that your cat has a long way to go. And, quite a big job to do to feed the baby kitties in her belly. 

Having known this, you need to help your cat through this period. One crucial aspect to consider is a healthy diet during pregnancy. 

Generally, there is a 50% increase in food intake. During this time, your cat will need more protein-packed food. Experts recommend diets with 32% protein and 18% fat

With a proper diet, your queen cat will have fewer problems and ultimately deliver healthy kittens. So pay very close attention to her nutrition. 

Make sure you observe her to see if any health conditions exist. Visit the vet for regular check-ups and advice. 

Give the ultimate care and love. Your queen may forget and pee on the rug–don’t be mad. This is a short period of special attention, and she couldn’t possibly help herself. 

All in all, prepare for the big day when she delivers her babies. You should have arranged for a nice space for the delivery. It should be safe for the kittens. 


do pregnant cats go into heat?

It’s not unusual for some cats to be in heat and pregnant at the same time. Generally speaking, the early weeks of a female cat’s pregnancy are when the heat cycle recurs. 

is my cat pregnant or in heat?

If you are confused about your cat’s behaviour, going to a vet is probably the best idea. The vet can give you a diagnoses and further educate you on hoe to handle your cat for the same.

You can differentiate a pregnant cat and one that’s in heat by observing their behavior patterns. Your cat is pregnant if she has morning sickness, increased body weight, increased appetite, more sleep, and swollen nipples. Your cat is in heat if she’s calling more often and is restless.

can cats go into heat while pregnant?

Some cats can be pregnant and still be in heat, so it’s not strange. In general, once a female cat gets pregnant, the heat cycle may come again during the early weeks of the pregnancy. 

Final Thoughts

Is my cat pregnant or in heat? It’s easy to differentiate between a pregnant cat and a cat experiencing a heat cycle. 

A pregnant cat sleeps more, eats more food, hides to nest, and shows more affection to her owner. She also exhibits physical changes like an extended abdomen, morning sickness, swollen nipples, and weight gain. 

Look for these signs of a cat in heat; restlessness, extreme calling/vocalization, roaming outside, and more. 

From the symptoms above, you can know if your cat is pregnant or in heat. However, it’s still possible for a pregnant cat to display heat signs in the early weeks of the pregnancy. 

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