Cat gestation period

Cat gestation period – Gestation is the biological period that occurs from fertilization to the moment of birth. In the case of cats, the stages of a female cat’s pregnancy are:

  • Fertilization
  • Embryonic development
  • Fetal growth and development


For pregnancy in female cat to happen, copulation between the female and the male is necessary.

The female cat must be receptive to the male, as it is only during estrus or heat that the female allows copulation.

The female’s receptivity can last up to 36 hours and during this period there is a possibility that the female will mate with different males and give birth to a litter with different fathers.


Fertilization in cats

The first stage of gestation is fertilization, which occurs when the sperm and egg unite. Females are considered induced ovulators, which means they ovulate through the stimulus of mating.

Ovulation generally occurs 24 to 36 hours after mating. 

Embryo implantation

In the 5 to 6 days following fertilization, the embryos travel to the uterus where implantation will take place.

The embryo is the initial stage of a living being. It enters the uterus in a morula or blastocyst state (cells in constant division). Implantation takes place 12 or 13 days after mating.

Before implanting in the uterus, the embryos are distributed along both uterine horns, ensuring an even distribution among the fetuses.

Subsequently, the connection is established with the mother through the placenta, which has multiple vital functions for the fetus, such as nutrient absorption, respiration, excretion, and overall metabolism.

Subsequently, the connection with the mother is established through the placenta, which has multiple vital functions for the life of the fetus such as nutrient absorption, respiration, excretion, and general metabolism.

Day 13 to 17

Cell differentiation begins with the development of different organs and systems.

Day 18

The formation of the face begins: the head is already differentiated from the trunk, retinal pigmentation is evident, and the heart begins to beat for the first time.

Day 19

The formation of the eyelids and the auricle begins.

Day 20

The face is more developed, the whisker follicles start to form, the fingers of the hands are noticeable, and the toes begin to separate.

Day 24

The whiskers on the face are visible, and the claws on the fingers begin to form.

Between days 18 and more precisely day 30 of gestation, the first ultrasound can be performed to confirm pregnancy and count the puppies being gestated. A cat can gestate up to 6 kittens, with an average of 3 kittens per litter.

Day 28

The face is already developed, the eyelids are closed, and hair follicles are observed over much of the body.

During the second half of gestation, the development and growth of the fetuses accelerate, hence the importance of providing a proper and balanced diet to the mother. In the absence of a formulated and specific diet for the pregnant female, puppy food is a good option.

Day 34

The eyelids are closed, and hair follicles are developed over the entire body. The arms and legs are already distinguishable, and the claws have retractability.

Mothers begin to develop the mammary gland, the nipple becomes prominent and pink, and an increase in weight and abdominal volume may begin to be noticeable in some cases.

Day 40

The foot pads have already formed.

Day 60

The fetus is full-term, its body is covered with thick, pigmented fur and the paw pads are also developed. The kittens are almost fully developed; their eyes are still sealed and will take about 15 days after birth to open them.

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Before birth, the cat shows signs of restlessness, stops eating, tends to isolate herself, and makes a nest.

Keeping proper gestational control allows for a controlled delivery or scheduled cesarean section. Knowing all there is about cat gestation period will keep you informed and ready to welcome your beautiful kittens. Your pet will love you for this.

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