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How long after cats water breaks?

How long after cats water breaks?

September 19, 2023

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When it comes to cat pregnancy and delivery, many owners find themselves in uncharted territory. One of the most common questions they ask is “how long after a cat’s water breaks will she give birth?” Understanding this process is key to providing the best possible care for your pregnant feline and ensuring a safe delivery. This article will delve into this topic, offering insights from experts, scientific research, and practical tips for cat owners.

Understanding Cat Pregnancy

How long after cats water breaks?

Cat pregnancy, also known as gestation, typically lasts between 63 to 67 days. However, it can be as short as 61 days and as long as 72 days. The variance largely depends on the breed of the cat and her health condition. During this period, your cat will undergo several changes both behaviorally and physically.

The Stages of Cat Pregnancy

  • First Stage: During the first three weeks of pregnancy, there won’t be many noticeable changes in your cat.
  • Second Stage: From the third to fourth week, you may notice your cat’s nipples becoming pinker and larger – a sign known as ‘pinking-up’.
  • Third Stage: Around the fifth week, your cat’s belly will start to swell. You may also notice increased appetite.
  • Fourth Stage: By the seventh week, you’ll be able to feel the kittens moving around in your cat’s belly.
  • Fifth Stage: In the final stage of pregnancy, your cat may start seeking a quiet place to give birth.

The Process of Cat Labor

Cat labor is divided into three stages – pre-labor, active labor, and birth. Each stage has its signs, and understanding these can help you know when your cat’s water breaks and how long it might be until she gives birth.


This stage can last from 12 to 24 hours. During this time, your cat may show signs of restlessness, pacing, and frequent grooming of the genital area. She may also lose her appetite and start ‘nesting’ by preparing a safe place to deliver.

Active Labor

Active labor is when contractions begin. This can be difficult to spot in cats as they are very good at hiding their pain. However, some signs include panting, crying out, or even vomiting.

The Water Breaking

Your cat’s water breaking marks the end of active labor and the beginning of birth. This is usually followed by the delivery of the first kitten within an hour. It’s important not to interfere during this process unless there are clear signs of distress or complications.

How Long After a Cat’s Water Breaks Will She Give Birth?

Typically, once a cat’s water breaks, delivery should occur within an hour. However, it could take longer for first-time mothers or older cats. If more than two hours have passed without any kittens being born, it may be time to call a vet as this could indicate a birthing complication.

Caring for Your Cat Post-Birth

After your cat has given birth, she will need plenty of rest and nutrition to recover from the process and nurse her kittens. Make sure she has access to fresh water and high-quality food. Monitor her behavior closely over the next few days to ensure she isn’t showing any signs of illness or distress.

In conclusion, understanding the process of cat pregnancy and labor is vital for any cat owner. While it may be a nerve-wracking experience, knowing what to expect and when to seek veterinary help can ensure a safe delivery for your feline friend. Remember, every cat’s pregnancy and delivery are unique, so patience and attentiveness are key.

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