Congratulations, your cat is pregnant, and you are going to be a pet grandparent soon! The moment you find out about the good news, you must be excited yet confused about what’s next at the same time. You’re not alone as your cat surely feels the same! But you both buddies will make this pregnancy journey amazing together.
This is the stage where your feline friend needs adequate nutrition (and you!) the most. It’s essential to provide your cat with the necessary nutritional support during this period. The diet plan you choose will ensure that your cat is strong and healthy enough to carry and nurse her litter without compromising her own health. Although your cat’s usual adult food is excellent for her everyday diet, it may not be enough to meet her increased nutritional needs during pregnancy. Thus, you may go for high-quality kitten food which packs essential nutrition with the extra calories and proteins she needs.
Understand the Pregnancy
Generally, a cat’s gestation period can last for 63 to 65 days, but it’s also normal to range from 58 to 70 days. During this period, you will observe your feline buddy putting on weight in steady progress and this is absolutely a healthy sign of the queen being well-nourished! Her body will focus on gaining fat in the first and second trimesters of her pregnancy, and in the final trimester, the queen will gain a considerable amount of weight that comes directly from the growth of her litter and provides your cat with energy throughout the lactation phase.
During this crucial period when your pregnant cat needs a substantial amount of nutrition, it’s important to feed her right. Feeding her cat food that is both highly digestible and of high quality is surely the way to go, with an emphasis on a formula that promotes growth and development. The ideal cat food options are those that have been tested for gestation, lactation, or for all life stages. Additionally, do practise SFMs (small, frequent meals) by offering your cat smaller meals but more often throughout the day. It can be beneficial in ensuring that she receives sufficient calories and nutrients, especially in the last trimester.
Maintain Her Healthy Weight
As your cat progresses through her first two trimesters of pregnancy, she will be gaining weight and will require plenty of nourishment. However, it’s important to avoid overfeeding her, as she should not exceed a 40% increase from her ideal weight. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can result in various pregnancy complications, increased risk during delivery, reduced milk production, and future health issues for your cat. Thus, providing your pregnant cat with the appropriate nutrition and feeding her properly are crucial for safeguarding her well-being and that of her kittens.
If your pregnant cat is underfed, it can lead to a malnourished mother cat, miscarriage, irregular foetal growth, stillbirth, fewer kittens in the litter, and underweight newborns that struggle to survive. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the queen maintains her weight and condition throughout this period by monitoring her weight and increasing her food intake as and when necessary. Weighing the cat weekly during pregnancy is also beneficial as it not only tracks her weight but also assesses the development of the kittens.
How to Feed Your Pregnant Cat
During the early stages of pregnancy, it’s essential to provide your pregnant cat with a fat-rich diet to support her weight gain and nourishment for the upcoming birth and nursing of her kittens. Once again, do monitor her weight carefully to avoid excessive weight gain or loss. When transitioning her diet, gradually introduce the new food by mixing it with her existing food. You may start with 25% new and 75% existing food, then increase the portion of new food over five to seven days to prevent digestive issues. As your cat’s pregnancy progresses, her energy requirements will increase by approximately 10% per week, and she will consume up to 70% more energy by the final stages of gestation. It’s best to choose an energy-dense food that can provide the necessary nutrients without adding unnecessary bulk to her diet. Not forgetting to provide her with plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated, especially if she prefers dry food. Wet food is a preferable choice during pregnancy as it is easier to digest, has better nutritional content, and helps with hydration. Look for a food made with real tuna whole loin and contain no fillers like the Tuna Katsuobushi Mousse by Delizios. Rich in nutrition, high in moisture, strong in flavour, and crafted with premium-grade sustainably sourced tuna that grants optimum nutrient absorption and effective rehydration – perfect for your pregnant feline friend!
Not only are we experts in caring for your pregnant feline mother, we are also dedicated to preserving the natural world. Our Delizios Mousse series is crafted using sustainably sourced, premium-grade fish that are 100% certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). We carefully select only those fisheries that undergo strict assessment and monitoring by marine experts and scientists to ensure that they meet stringent standards for sustainable fishing practices. By adhering to these standards, we are able to protect the world’s oceans while also safeguarding the pure freshness, exquisite taste, and nutritional value of our fish.
Wondering if you should feed supplements to your pregnant cat? This is a huge no-no. However, an exception is granted for supplements that are recommended by your veterinarian. Please do not add unnecessary vitamin or mineral supplements to your pregnant cat’s diet as this can potentially cause pregnancy complications.
Feeding After Giving Birth
After giving birth to the kittens, the mama cat will lose approximately 40% of the weight gained throughout the pregnancy period, and more will be lost during lactation (psst…did you know that the queen can produce up to a quarter of a litre of milk each day?), and the cat mum will be her kittens’ sole food provider for the first eight weeks. Hence, the workload placed on the queen’s body is significant.
During the first 3 to 4 weeks of lactation, the cat mom should be fed without restrictions to support healthy milk production, weight, and body condition as she’ll need to eat significantly more than usual, even as much as four times her pre-pregnancy diet! However, if she only has one or two kittens, a no-restriction diet may cause her to produce more milk than she needs, which can lead to mastitis (inflammation of the milk glands).
Cat food that is high in quality and energy, and formulated with the right nutrients and fatty acids are best for lactating cat mums. As your queen enters 3 to 4 weeks of lactation, that’s the peak period for milk production, but she needs energy the most at 6 to 7 weeks after parturition as the kittens will also be eating their mum’s food when they enter the weaning phase.
To wean the kittens, reduce the mother’s food on day one as restricting food can help reduce her milk production to make her feel more at ease, and let the kittens eat their food away from her. On day two, separate the kittens and feed the mother 25% of her pre-breeding portion. Increase it gradually over four to five days until she resumes her regular feeding schedule. Ensure that the kittens don’t nurse during this time to avoid prolonging milk production.
It is essential to take your cat for regular check-ups to ensure that she and her kittens are growing healthily. Consult your vet if you are uncertain about the best way to feed your pregnant cat or her kittens, your vet will be sure to provide helpful advice and recommendations.