Why does my pregnant cat keep meowing?
Pregnant cats can be quite vocal, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy.
I recently came across a question in the forums from a woman who started feeding a stray cat.
She says, “I have a clearly pregnant cat following me around meowing and trying to get into my house.”
She wanted to know why the cat was crying and what she could do to help.
➔➔ Related: cat pregnancy timeline: Changes and what to expect
This is only one scenario in which a pregnant cat will vocalize, so let’s talk about it for a bit.
Pregnant Cats are Vocal Cats
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Generally speaking, pregnant cats are vocal cats!
As some of you may know, animals CAN vocalize due to pain, but that’s not the only reason.
This is especially true of cats who are never shy about letting you know exactly what they want.
What makes pregnancy special when it comes to turning up the volume on the meows?
Let’s take a look at this strange pregnant cat behavior!
1. A Safe Place
Let’s address a pregnant cat’s need for a safe place first, since it ties directly into the question posed by the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
In her situation, it’s obvious that the crying cat is vocalizing to communicate to the owner that she wants to come inside.
This is a typical pregnant cat behavior before birth. As her delivery day nears, she’ll seek out a safe, sheltered environment in which to have her kittens.
The woman who started feeding the cat has the best possible place for the cat to have her kittens.
The cat knows that the house is a source of food, and she sees that it is a sheltered environment. For a cat, this is a golden birthing area.
It’s also quite likely that this cat has come to view the woman as her family, so she trusts that the house is a safe place.
When you notice a pregnant cat meowing and restless, chances are she’s just feeling uncomfortable.
Much like pregnant women, pregnant cats experience discomfort towards the end of pregnancy. I want to emphasize this – discomfort NOT pain.
Cats have litters of between 2 and 5 kittens. However, I have seen cats who were stuffed full of kittens – I’m talking 7. With all of those little kittens crammed inside her abdomen, a pregnant cat will, of course, experience discomfort.
This discomfort can lead to vocalizing, whether it be a general complaint or a request for some TLC from her owner.
3. Seeking Comfort
Although cats have a reputation for being haughty and generally standoff-ish, it’s been my experience that cats are actually quite loving creatures.
Like any creature who is in discomfort, pregnant cats will vocalize because they’re seeking moral support from their humans. I have seen pregnant cats absolutely howl until their owner scooped them up into their lap.
After that, the cat was nothing but a purr machine.
Of course, a pregnant crying cat may be trying to tell you that she’s in pain.
As with any pregnancy – dog, cat, or human – it’s important to be vigilant throughout the entire process.
Be aware, however, that vocalization is not the only indicator of pain, and in the case of a cat, you will most definitely want to look for other signs to confirm in the cat is in pain.
If you suspect your pregnant cat is vocalizing due to pain, be on the lookout for other signs of pain.
These signs include:
- Retreating to a solitary space
- Uncharacteristically snappy
- An arched back
- Lack of appetite
The unfortunate part of the symptoms that I just listed is that they can be related to pain or just to the fact that your cat’s belly is full of other cats. If you suspect that your pregnant cat is in pain, don’t wait for more confirmation.
Call your vet and get your kitty in as soon as possible.
5. She’s in labor
Cats gestate for about 9 weeks, so if you know when your cat got pregnant and you also know it’s about that time, a pregnant crying cat could indicate labor.
If you notice pregnant cat meowing and pacing around, like she can’t quite settle or get comfortable, there’s a good chance her kittens will be arriving at any time.
I once spent the day with a kitty in labor, and let me tell you, pregnant cat behavior on the big day isn’t much different than human behavior on birthing day.
Vocalization is one of the major pregnant cat signs of impending labor. Let’s take a look at the others!
Pregnant Cat Labor Signs
If you notice your pregnant cat meowing and pacing, there’s a good chance kittens are close to making their appearance. Your cat’s nerves will be on edge starting within a couple of days of delivery.
It’s not really fair to call your pregnant cat’s periods of inactivity laziness, since she’s growing tiny beings and reserving her energy for the process of expelling them from her body.
Still, you will notice your kitty spending more time sleeping and less time on her favorite games, like chasing your feet as you walk down the steps.
Like the woman in the introduction, your cat may begin searching for a safe place to have her babies. If you have an outdoor cat, she may fight to come in.
If she’s already an indoor cat, she may spend more time in the closet, trying to find just the right spot. You can help her out by clearing out a special spot out of the way.
4. Excessive Grooming
During the last 24-48 hours before delivery, you’ll notice your cat licking her genital and tummy area quite a bit. She’s trying to prep the area so that it’s nice and clean for her babies.
5. Loss of appetite
Also, during those last two days, you’ll notice that your pregnant cat really doesn’t have much of an appetite.
You should still offer her food and make sure she has plenty of access to fresh water. If you’re concerned, you may also offer her cat milk (the treat, not the kitten milk replacement).
Now that we know why pregnant cats meow and the sings of impending labor, let’s talk a bit about how we can make cat pregnancy a happy & comfortable time for our kitties!
Cat Pregnancy Essentials: How to Make Your Kitty Comfortable
1. Good Nutrition
Just like in human pregnancy, good nutrition is vital to a healthy cat pregnancy. Vets recommend putting her on a high-quality kitten food diet.
A few great brands include:
- Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken for Kittens
- Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Kitten Wet Cat Food
- Only Natural Pet Kitten Power Dinner Feline PowerFood
2. Healthy Treats
If you’d like to pamper your pregnant kitty, remember: moderation is the key. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your cat’s diet, and they should be as healthy as possible.
Only Natural Pet makes some fabulous options. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Liver Treats
- Tiki Cat Dash Smoked Fish Flakes Food Topper
- Honest Kitchen Bone Broth Liquid Dog & Cat Treats
3. Vitamins and Supplements
Cats that are pregnant can develop certain nutritional deficiencies, so you may want to give her a good vitamin.
Before doing so, it’s important to talk to your vet to make sure she actually needs in. There is such a thing as too many nutrients, and in a tiny cat body, too much of a good thing can be deadly.
That said, a few good supplements to talk to your vet about include:
- Only Natural Pet Ultimate Daily Vitamins Plus Feline
- Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Dog & Cat Supplement
- Vitamins & Supplements at Chewy
4. Comfortable Bed
Keep kitty comfy throughout her entire pregnancy with a plush cat bed and cozy blankets.
You’ll want something low to the ground, so she’s not forced to jump, especially towards the end of her pregnancy.
Just like people, your normally graceful cat could be a little less light on her toes when her belly is full of babies! Check out my top picks:
- SnuggleSafe Microwave Heat Pad
- Big Shrimpy Den Pocket Bed
- Aspen Sculptured Round Bed
- OrganicPedic Organic Cat Beds
If you have a spot picked out for her nest, here’s an idea. Buy an inexpensive cat bed (the Aspen is fairly cheap) and put it in her favorite spot so she uses it.
Towards the end of her pregnancy, slowly move it to her nesting spot. This will help her feel more comfortable in her nest.
A Pregnant Cat Vocalizes for Lots of Reasons
Cats are never shy about making their feelings known, which means a pregnant cat will vocalize for several reasons.
If your pregnant cat is vocalizing, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that something is wrong.
Refer to the possible reasons I listed above, and cross each off of your list as you find what satisfies your cat and what doesn’t.
If nothing seems to make your pregnant crying cat feel better, or if the vocalizing is accompanied by any of the symptoms of possible pain that I listed above, call your vet immediately.
With any pet, it’s better to be safe than sorry.