One of the ways to easily determine whether your female cat is pregnant is by observing their nipples. With that, this article will show you the difference between regular cat nipples vs pregnant cat nipples. Aside from that, we will also talk about their nipple changes throughout different stages of pregnancy and other signs that your cat is pregnant.
Normal Cat Vs Pregnant Cat Nipples
As mentioned, cat nipples are one way to know whether your cat is pregnant or not. It is because your cat’s nipples undergo major changes when they transition to the pregnancy stage. And now, to easily differentiate normal cat vs. pregnant cat nipples, let us look at this table below:
|Description||Normal Cat Nipples||Early and Late Pregnancy||After Pregnancy (Nursing Stage)|
|Color of the Nipple||Skintone||Darker pink or stronger pink shade||Darker pink or stronger pink shade|
|Size of the Nipple||Small||Enlarged||Swollen|
|Area around the Nipple||Their fur almost reaches the nipple||Increasing quantities of skin without hair around the nipple||Enlarged because of the full ducts underneath|
|Nipple Discharge||None||No discharge during early pregnancy and mild milky discharged in late pregnancy.||Milk|
Based on the table, there are huge differences between regular cat nipples vs when they are pregnant. These differences are easily observed in their nipple color, size, discharge, and the area around the nipple. In addition, aside from the difference between normal and pregnant cat nipples, there are also variations during the cat’s different stages of pregnancy.
Nipple Changes in Cats During Pregnancy
After knowing the difference between normal cat nipples vs pregnant cat nipples, let us now take a deeper look at how cat nipples change throughout the different stages of their pregnancy:
One of the earliest indicators of pregnancy in cats is nipple alterations. Around days 10 to 14, when a cat gets pregnant, the eggs implant, and soon after, the nipples start to become ready for feeding.
The mother’s nipples will grow and darken at around two weeks into the pregnancy. They will grow two or three times in size and turn a fleshy pink hue that is darker than the surrounding skin. Additionally, the vicinity of the nipple alters. Nipples of typical cats lack fur, however, there is very little hairless skin covering them.
The nipples are visible early in pregnancy because a patch of hairless skin starts to form there. Nipples often have no discharge at this point in the pregnancy.
Although the major alterations have already occurred, the nipples will continue to grow in size during your cat’s pregnancy. The area of skin around the nipples of your cat keeps expanding as its tummy expands.
About two days before the pregnancy terminates, on days 60 to 65, the next significant change takes place. Small quantities of a clear or milky discharge may now start to ooze from your cat’s nipples. The nipples may bleed on their own or when they are touched or pushed. This discharge is typical and indicates that the mammaries are prepared to start producing milk at full capacity whenever necessary.
However, do not worry if you have not seen any discharge from your cat’s nipples. Some other cats do not produce noticeable discharge until they got into the nursing stage or after pregnancy. According to Malcolm, Llera, and Ward (n.d), cats often produce milk 24 to 48 hours before their labor starts.
After pregnancy is also known to be the nursing stage. When a cat gives birth, the nursing kittens stimulate her nipples to create milk. Unlike the late pregnancy stage, a mother cat’s mammary is currently producing a lot of milk after pregnancy.
The milk ducts are full of milk, which will cause the region surrounding the nipples to expand. As long as the kittens are feeding, the nipples will be larger and darker than usual. If given the opportunity to wean on their own terms, kittens will do so gradually.
Over time, the mother cat will coax them away from milk and toward food, and her nipples will gradually revert to normal. If breastfeeding is abruptly discontinued, the mother may be at risk of getting mastitis, a painful inflammation of the mammary gland that may or may not be bacterially infected.
To prevent this health issue, it is important to wean kittens slowly and not in a sudden way. After breastfeeding has ended entirely, the mother’s nipples will revert to their usual size and color within a few days to a few weeks.
Other Signs That Your Cat Is Pregnant
Aside from the nipples, discuss the other signs that owners should look out for to know whether their cat is pregnant or not.
Like humans, pregnant cats get morning sickness too. This morning sickness is brought on by their expanding abdomen progressively putting more pressure on their digestive system.
So, if you see that your cat has vomited and has nipple changes, there’s a chance that she’s pregnant. Even if it is excessive, it may not be a clear indicator and indicate other conditions, in which case you should take your pet to the veterinarian.
Changes in Eating Habits
Keep an eye out for a sudden change in your cat’s feeding habits like a decrease in appetite. If your cat is pregnant, she may begin to often throw up or stop eating as soon as three or four weeks have passed. Take your cat to the vet right away if she refuses to eat for more than three days. Of fact, not all pregnant cats may experience a decrease in appetite, and some may even eat far more than usual.
Changes in Activity Level
Cats who are pregnant will not be as playful and may even want to sleep more than normal. You will also notice that your cat is more reserved, but you could also have to put up with the odd mood change. In other words, be prepared for them to be less motivated or energetic.
You could see that your cat begins to seek out a quiet location, like a closet or a barn corner, and sets up blankets, towels, or straws to make a comfortable birthing area for her babies. If you do notice this, assist her by setting her in a comfy area by putting blankets or towels inside a cardboard box.
You will need to observe her differently to distinguish between a chubby cat and a pregnant cat. A pregnant cat’s belly enlarges a little more than halfway from the neck to the tail when seen from above. Pregnant cats will seem somewhat swayback from the side with a round, expanding belly. A cat will have fat all everywhere, even on her neck and legs, if she is simply overweight.
Getting Aloof or Clingy
A sudden shift in behavior might be a clue that your cat is pregnant if she isn’t already extremely friendly.
She may allow you to pet her longer, sit on your lap, follow you around the house, and purr louder than normal. She probably just needs additional love if her maternal instincts aren’t acting up.
On the other hand, some cats may suddenly become uncomfortable with forms of love they have previously tolerated, such as being carried. These cats may also seem more hostile toward the other cats in your home and need more alone time.
Changes in Sleeping Routine
Cats are already notoriously known for excessive sleeping, with their average being up to 15 hours a day, but pregnant felines may tend to extend their sleeping schedule.
In addition, you could find that your cat is resting in locations she would not often choose, such as a dark cabinet or the top of a shelf. This is because she feels safer there and, as we said before, growing babies is tiring- she needs the rest.
In conclusion, there’s a big difference between regular cat nipples vs pregnant cat nipples. The difference can be seen in the nipple’s color, size, discharge, and even the area around the nipple. In addition, even though there are many physical signs to know whether your cat is pregnant, we still recommended visiting your veterinarian and getting a scan.