Has your cat been looking a bit bigger than usual? And we don’t mean taller or longer… Not to be rude, but a little wider? Or maybe this change is so big that it’s impossible not to notice? But either way, it makes you ask the question: “Is my cat fat or pregnant?”
It’s important to know the difference so you can take action right away. “Do I need to take her to the vet? Or do I just need to put her on a kitty diet?” It can be scary if your feline is pregnant and you’re not sure of it. Especially if you’re not a cat breeder.
Well, you don’t need to worry. We’ll show you all the signs that point to a preggo furball. You should be able to tell with almost 100% certainty, even without a vet visit. Though, consulting a veterinarian is always advised, no matter the issue.
And if you find out that your fuzzball is pregnant, we’ll share some tips on how to take care of her. If it turns out your kitty is just getting chubby, we’ve got you covered with that too. You’ll get some advice on how to help her lose weight.
We know how stressful that can be as well. You’re worried about her health and further complications. But with the right care, she should lose weight in no time. It’s all about persistence, care, and what you’re doing right now! Getting informed!
Is my cat fat or pregnant? The physical signs
If you keep your cat indoors or she’s spayed, it’s almost impossible for her to get pregnant. But maybe she managed to slip through an open door undetected. However, if your cat has free access to the outdoors, getting kittens isn’t as unlikely as you’d think.
That’s why it’s so important to get your cat spayed as soon as possible. Except you’re a breeder, of course. Discovering your cat is pregnant when you have no experience is extremely stressful. Unless you have a good vet, the situation can go south very quickly.
The whole thing probably seems terrifying to an inexperienced owner. You’re afraid of making mistakes which is still better than being overly confident. Just don’t get lost in panic and take it one step at a time.
Thankfully, there are plenty of signs that can point to a soon-to-be momma. The body is an open book if you know where to look. So, here are the most common signs your kitty might be having some kittens very soon.
When trying to figure out if your cat is pregnant or fat, you first need to consider her age. Many cat owners dismiss the possibility of pregnancy due to their pet’s age. “She’s too young to be pregnant!” or “We haven’t spayed her, she’s too young!” are common responses.
Well, you’ll be surprised to learn that cats enter their first heat when they’re only four months old. They generally have 2 to 3 cycles during the breeding season. Usually, February to October. So, while she may still seem like a kitten, that definitely isn’t the case.
Cats are also known to be very persistent during this time. They are seasonally polyestrous, which means that their cycles last a few days. And if they don’t get so lucky with a mate, the process starts again after one to three weeks.
During the season, any cat will try to get outside. But this becomes difficult to detect when a cat has constant access to the outdoors. Even if your feline is allowed only inside your garden, this doesn’t keep her safe. Male cats can slip in and be gone before you even realize it.
But luckily, there is one way to tell if your cat was recently in heat. Felines tend to become overly affectionate during that time. So, if your cat was rubbing on you and following you around more than usual, it could be a sign.
Has your cat been gathering pillows and blankets? Well, building a fort probably has nothing to do with it. Felines have a tendency to look for quiet and safe places to give birth. If they don’t manage to escape the house or apartment, they’ll work with what they’ve got.
So, if you catch your kitty stealing blankets and pillows, she’s probably nesting. She’ll try to find the most private spot in your home and start building there. It’s a pretty big sign, so you should think of getting her to the vet to confirm.
3. Change of eating habits
Just like it is with humans, a cat’s caloric and nutritional requirements change. And if they’re pregnant, they’ll start eating more. But, a bigger calorie intake can also just point to a hungry kitty that’s been getting a bit chubby.
So, how to tell the difference between a chonky and a pregnant cat? Well, the biggest indicator can be the time period. A feline with a big appetite will gradually get bigger. It’ll be so slow that you won’t even realize the difference until you see her old photos.
The weight gain with pregnant cats will be much more rapid. If your furball is pregnant, you’ll need to be careful with how you feed her. A feline pregnancy can last from 58 to 70 days. We recommend consulting a vet in order to determine the right diet and calorie intake.
You’ll need guidance because feeding your cat too much can cause trouble. If she eats too much, it could very easily lead to obesity. And the opposite is dangerous too. Both being overweight and underweight leads to unsuccessful pregnancies.
4. Morning sickness
If you’re asking yourself, is my cat fat or pregnant, this could be a big clue. It’s not very common with most felines, so if it does happen, you shouldn’t ignore it. It happens during the early stages of pregnancy.
One of the symptoms can be vomiting and refusing to eat. It doesn’t normally last very long but if it does, take her to the vet immediately. It could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. That means that the fertilized egg is growing outside of the main cavity of the uterus.
Other symptoms can be urinary problems, lethargy, or even depression. Try to pay as much attention as possible so you can catch any issues in time. That way, your veterinarian will have enough time to act to prevent any further complications.
5. Physical changes
Although weight gain happens with both a fat and a pregnant cat, the shape of her tummy can help you differentiate. This shape is often called a “burro” because it looks like the belly of a donkey. This change may not be so visible in the first few weeks, but it’ll become more prominent later on.
Another thing to take notice of is the weight distribution. A pregnant feline will only have a swollen tummy. If your cat is getting chubby, you’ll be able to see the excess weight around her neck, her legs, and everywhere else.
6. Check the nipples
Enlarged nipples can either be a sign of pregnancy or that your cat is in heat. The best way to check to be sure is to look at the color. They usually turn bright pink at around three weeks into the pregnancy.
With short-haired breeds, there’s one more factor. The bright pink nipples will also start poking through the fur.
Checking your cat’s nipples for any change is a difficult way to be sure of anything. But if you have suspicions of a pregnant kitty, it’s best not to leave any rocks unturned.
Aside from the physical ones, your cat might also experience temperamental changes. These changes can make it easier to determine if your cat’s pregnant because they don’t show up with obesity. They most commonly present themselves as behavioral issues or oddities.
1. Overly affectionate
If your cat isn’t too keen on showing love, this might come as a complete shock. She’ll start rubbing against your legs, following you around, purring in your lap. Anything to get your attention, really. And the cause of this? Pregnancy mood swings.
Yes, cats get them too. It might be out of the ordinary for you but enjoy it while it lasts. You wouldn’t want to get the other end of the stick. They are called mood swings after all, so as long as she’s affectionate? You have it good.
The other side of the mood swing coin is irritability. This often occurs during the late stages of her pregnancy, but it could happen earlier. She’ll become fussy and angry without a good reason at any given time. Hopefully not physical, but anything is possible.
She might snap at you for walking the wrong way or getting too close. It’s important to be patient during this time. Remember that it’s only for a short while. Try to make this exhausting process as comfortable as possible for her.
3. She might become reclusive
This behavioral change isn’t very common with cats. It usually only happens when they’re about to give birth. She’ll look for a peaceful and quiet place to have her kittens. She’ll most likely want to do it in complete privacy so naturally, she’ll avoid you.
However, it is possible for this change to happen in any other stage of her pregnancy. Very rare, but possible. If this happens, try to give her some space while still keeping an eye on her. Her health always comes first.
It’s an already well-known fact that cats love sleeping. Especially during the day. (Although we’d love them to sleep more at night just to avoid the midnight zoomies.) They’ll find whatever ray of sunlight or warmth they can, roll up, and nap.
Pregnancy can only add to this. It’s a very exhausting process. Their body is changing, they’re carrying lives inside them and they’re eating twice as much as they used to. Their sleepiness could also tie in with their reclusiveness.
How to take care of a pregnant kitty
If your vet confirms that your cat is, in fact, pregnant, there are some steps you need to take. First of all, shower her with all the love and attention she wants!
Be careful not to harm her, though, since she’ll become much more sensitive. You’ll need to be extra gentle when handling her. Keep her litter box clean and accommodate it to her new size if necessary. Ask your vet for tips concerning her diet. She’ll need food that’s nutritious and high in calories.
Your vet will give you recommendations for how much and when to feed her. As well as what brand of cat food to use. Generally, cat food made for pregnancies would be best, and you should give her several meals throughout the day.
Is my cat fat or pregnant? 3 definite signs of a chubby kitty
So, you went over all the signs of pregnancy and now you’re certain she’s just chubby. But just to be sure, how about we go over some indicators of feline obesity? Then we’ll show you how to help her lose that extra weight and become healthier.
It’s important to take weight gain seriously. It might not look like too big of a problem, but it can complicate things. That’s why you need to put in your best effort to keep your cat at a regular size. And when she does gain some pounds, help her lose them ASAP.
1. Detecting the weight gain
Cats gain weight so slowly that you won’t notice until it’s too late. And sometimes, even then it’s hard. With long-haired breeds, it’s difficult to detect any weight gain under all that fluff. That’s why you can’t resort to using only your eyes.
The safest method is to use your hands. Feel their body and if you can distinctly tell that there’s a waist, you have a healthy cat. You should also be able to feel her ribs and bones when stroking her. If there’s any sort of a pouch or saggy belly, it might be time to put her on a diet.
2. Fur changes
Just as it is with humans, hair can be a great health indicator. If you noticed some changes in your feline’s fur, it might be pointing to weight gain. Her coat’s appearance depends on the nutrition she receives and how well she can clean herself.
If she gains too much weight, it can result in unhealthy fur. It can look like greasy patches, matted pieces of fur, or even skin problems. But all of these can also point to medical issues so you should definitely consult a vet.
3. Stress eating
Aside from medical issues and lack of exercise, weight gain can also be caused by stress eating. Your cat’s emotions are very closely linked to her eating habits. That’s why you need to pay close attention to her recent behavior.
If you notice your cat is distressed in time, you might be able to stop her from over or undereating. Some of the reasons for her stress could be moving house, getting another cat or animal, not having enough play, etc. Always keep her feelings in mind and try to accommodate her.
How to help your cat lose weight
So, you’ve concluded that your cat has gained a few extra pounds. What are the best ways to help her lose them? More exercise? Heavy dieting? Magic pills? Here are what are considered to be the healthiest and safest ways to do it.
1. Ask your vet for help
You know your feline got chubby but you’re still not sure what caused it. You need to get to the root of the issue. And the only way to do that is to take her to the vet. Before starting her on a weight loss program, you first need to fix the main issue.
Otherwise, she’ll just keep putting on the same weight again and again. If the issue is of medical nature, the extra weight might be the least of your problems. The sooner you get her checked out, the easier it’ll be to solve the issue.
2. Stick to the plan
Once your vet gives you all the details, you need to stick to them. I know it’s hard to resist her pleading eyes when she’s asking for a treat, but that will only do her more harm in the long run. Obesity can lead to heart problems, diabetes, and other issues.
You shouldn’t push your cat to the extreme, but you shouldn’t give in so easily either. Take it slow and steady. Make gradual changes that are easier to accept for your feline. If you make the transition too stressful for her, you might just make the situation worse.
3. Proper nutrition
Don’t forget that your cat needs to eat fewer calories, not less in terms of nutritional value. The food you give her needs to be rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It would also be good to buy food that has a higher protein value.
Protein will help your cat lose weight faster and replace it with muscle mass. Since most cats tend to prefer wet food over solid, try incorporating more of it. She’s more likely to get satisfied with smaller portions of it.
4. Exercise is key
One of the biggest factors of weight gain is lack of exercise. Most felines are housecats with owners that work away from home all day. A lot of them don’t even get an hour of proper exercise. Their well-being is entirely on their owners’ shoulders.
Since your cat can’t go outside to explore, hunt, and burn off calories, you’ll need to take care of it yourself. Keep her entertained and running around after toys. If you don’t have much time, think of getting some interactive toys so she can play without you.
For example, this toy by ORSDA will make your feline chase after the ball and reach for the feathers. It’s definitely going to keep her entertained and will make her move her body.
5. Different conditions
In order to keep your feline healthy at a regular size, you need to understand her nature. In the wild, cats would be exploring and hunting all day. It would be uncertain if they’d catch anything or when their next meal could be.
That’s the reason why cats eat as much as they can. Even past the point of being full. They can’t risk going hungry. But housecats don’t have that problem. They get regular meals every day. Still, they’ll want to consume as much as possible. Instinct is stronger than them.
It’s up to you to portion out their meals so they don’t overeat. You know how difficult it is for you to stop eating when the food is good. It’s the same for them. Don’t expect them to stop when full. Try to keep this in mind even when she loses weight. It’s easy to gain it back.
Is my cat fat or pregnant? I’m still not sure!
Whichever one your cat may be, there is one step they share. Consulting a veterinarian. Nothing can replace a professional and it’s dangerous going into anything without hearing his judgment.
He’ll help you get to the bottom of if your feline is fat or pregnant. As well as what caused their condition, what to do and how to prevent complications. Your cat will forever be grateful to you for being so careful when it comes to her health.
If your furball turned out to be chubby, we hope that it was only due to a lack of exercise. And if you discover any other issues, we wish her a fast recovery. We hope you’ll have fun playing with her more and that she gets in shape in no time.
And if you’re expecting kittens, congratulations! We wish you the best during these tiring and fun times. Soon you’ll have plenty of little fuzzballs following you around.