A feline pregnancy lasts 9 weeks - around 63-65 days. Some cats have even given birth successfully at just 55 days but this is unusual.

This is a short gestation which of course means that things happen very fast compared to the human gestation of 40 weeks!

A Healthy Queen

The female is called a Queen when she is pregnant & breeding. She must be fit & healthy with high quality throughout her life with additional nutrient-rich specialised food introduced ideally before her mating even occurs. She must be vet checked, FIV/FELV tested & her heart scanned & diagnosed as being free of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) . 

A Healthy Mate (Tom)

The male chosen to sire kittens must be chosen with great care. He must not be related to the queen and should also have undergone all the same health screening as the queen whether or not the Tom is resident or an outside stud.

The breeder will be breeding for the betterment of the breed & will consider coat colour & traits in both parents breeding from cats who poses the qualities one would want in a cat such as affection, playfulness, calmness & enjoying being around people, children etc as these traits will be seen in offspring. The breeder must also consider such things as compatibility for the size of the male & likely offspring.

If he is a well built large specimen for the breed & she is small & slight, the kittens of such a coupling are likely to carry his genetic just as much as her own. Large kittens may be a struggle for her to birth leading to the need for veterinary intervention. If he is a proven male the breeder will make consideration of his previous litters to get an idea of likely litter  & kitten size.

Feeding for the healthy pregnancy & beyond.

A queen should always be fed with a high-quality food which should be made available to her at all times so that she can cope with the additional stress placed on her body during pregnancy and kitten rearing. 

High-quality food before mating will help to ensure healthy eggs (& sperm) and in pregnancy will support the developing embryos/kittens giving them the best chance to be born healthy and well-developed at birth.

Transitioning the cat from its normal adult complete food to either a kitten, queen or mother & baby complete food is the best diet at this time since all these foods have been formulated to provide this nutritional support. The queen should remain on this nutrient load long after she has successfully weaned her kittens since her body will need this nutrient-loaded food to help her to recover lost condition.

Weaning kittens will take interest in the food their mother is eating, so a mother & baby food is most appropriate to transition to after kittens are born.

Manage all food transitions as appropriate to life-stage carefully & gradually over several days 

Food Transitions in Pregnancy

Watch your cat closely when making any dietary change. Make sure that she is eating and drinking well & that her stools are normal. If she seems unwell, develops diarrhoea or sickness or there is blood in the stool you can backtrack a few days allowing her digestive system to settle back down & then continue with the change but more slowly in smaller ratios and over a longer period. See the suggestions below:


An abrupt change in food/diet can cause a kitten/cat to become very ill very quickly.
  • Severe diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and onward quickly to very serious complications. 
  • A blockage causing constipation or incorrectly digested food can be fatal
A speedy change over taking 9 days:

Day 1 & 2:   80% usual adult cat food //mixed with\\ 20% of the new food

Day 3 & 4:   60% //\\40% 
Day 5 & 6:   40% //\\60% 
Day 7 & 8:   20% //\\80% 
Day 9:          100% new food

If this change is too fast & proving too harsh for your cat try a slower, more gentle change as follows:  

Day 1:   95//\\5%             Day 11: 45//\\55%
Day 2:   90//\\10%           Day 12: 40//\\60%
Day 3:   85//\\15%           Day 13: 35//\\65%
Day 4:   80//\\20%           Day 14: 30//\\70%
Day 5:   75//\\25%           Day 15: 25//\\75%
Day 6:   70//\\30%           Day 16: 20//\\80%
Day 7:   65//\\35%           Day 17: 15//\\85%
Day 8:   60//\\40%           Day 18: 10//\\90%
Day 9:   55//\\45%           Day 19: 5//\\95%
Day 10: 50//\\50%           Day 20: 100% new food


Clean and fresh water should always be available to your cat.

Pregnancy Health Care:

During pregnancy, your cat should continue to be wormed at the appropriate times. Check the dosage & instructions even if this is a product you have been using for some time. 

A safe & gentle wormer such as Panacur is ideal for both mother & her kittens who will be wormed, along with mum, when they are 2 weeks old.

Pregnancy Diagnosis - Is she or isn't she? 

Once mating has occurred you'll be watching for the first signs that the pregnancy has been successful. You might choose to go to the vet who may be able to feel the pregnancy at around 15 days, or you may decide to have her ultrasound scanned which is best from day 18 - 30 or, well,  you might just sit back & wait 2 - 3 weeks to see the early physical signs.

Pregnancy Scanning

For pregnancy diagnosis scanning your vet may offer this service, or you may choose to have the scan performed at home using the services of a mobile practitioner. There are several such scanners in the UK who offer the same service as the vet but at home & at sensible prices.

The best time for ultrasound scanning for diagnosis & even a possible kitten count is at around 18-30 days. You must, however, keep in mind that the kitten count is not always accurate & this might be for one (or both) of two reasons......

  1. despite being small at this stage, one foetus can hide behind another during scanning & since it is not seen is not counted. 
  2. should a foetus not survive early on in development in the womb it can be reabsorbed into the body therefore once counted, it is gone by the time of the birth.
Find your nearest practitioner suitable for pregnancy diagnosis (cats and dogs) here: Find a Scanner


If you can wait it out then you will need to look out for the physical signs at around 15-21 days. At this stage, the cats' nipples will turn pink in colour. This is known as Pinking or Pinking up.

During the pregnancy the nipples will become elongated in preparation making them the right size for the kittens to be able to latch on and feed. In a furred cat after pinking & over the coming weeks the mother-to-be will groom away the hairs around each nipple to make it easier for the kittens to find them.

A diary of the experience of Noodle's First Pregnancy

Noodle came into heat for the first time on 9th December 2016 just as I was taking her with me to visit my mum. She called again just a fortnight later on the 24th of December - just in time to keep me awake over Christmas & New Year! I noted during both times when there were men around she favoured them greatly & was it seems attempting to seduce them!

Her third calling began on 4th February, then for some reason she left March out altogether. Her fourth heat cycle kicked off on the 17th April, May was quiet & her fifth on 6th June was quickly followed on June 27th with her seventh.  I thought that perhaps the longer days & warmer weather was now triggering a faster estrus cycle but then July went by quietly.

On the 12th August, she flared into heat 
for the eighth time, my cue to take her to visit the stud I'd chosen for her mating.

Human Men

I had noted very early on that when my sons visited or if a man was in the house, that Noodle would show them a great deal of interest, definitely more so that she did to women. Council workers neighbours & estate agents became the prime targets for her affections. She would spend time checking them out sniffing them thoroughly.  Luckily, most of these men have been enamoured with Noodle & didn't mind terribly, but this surely suggests that there is a scent or pheromone given off by a human male that is similar (or the same) as that given off by a male cat?

Underlining this commonality when each time she went into heat that her interest in men became extremely heightened. Rather than the thorough sniffing of them & their faces, now she would exhibit very flirtatious, downright wanton behaviour trilling and cooing, lying down and showing her tummy. trying in her cat ways to look appealing & 'sexy' to them!

During the summer of 2017, I'd watched her closely as I was waiting to take her to stud.  I wanted her to come into heat in July, & as she did twice she did in June I thought it would follow quickly in July but strangely she failed to call for several weeks...... Proving beyond all doubt that there is a commonly shared scent-marker between the species which I believe my son must have in abundance, with no sign that a calling was even on its way, after a visit from said son one Saturday afternoon Noodle was catapulted into heat calling at full pelt.


Deciding to Breed

Before owning a Sphynx cat I had done plenty of research into the breed & talked endlessly with my close friends about the suitability of this breed for my lifestyle. Then, during my search for a cat to have as a pet came the possibility of one that was active registered starting me to think about beginning my own cattery. 

I knew that I wanted a female Sphynx since they are smaller & lighter than a male & I am conscious that lifting is difficult for me. I came across Noodle at just 15 weeks of age being re-sold! Her original purchaser had bought her on the active register as it was her intention to start her own cattery however, her circumstances had suddenly changed forcing her to change her plans, hence this early resale.

Since this kitten was originally intended to establish a cattery & to become its breeding queen I decided that maybe I would keep her whole & breed from her. I did not, however, wish to buy the male she was also selling in the same advert. 

I spent time looking into the policies, rules & regulations set out for breeders learning about breeding practices (& malpractices). And then forged ahead developing cattery policy that reflects my own values, plays by my rules & puts the cats' interests first.

Doing it right for me means first & foremost that my cat comes first, her health & wellness my #1 priority.  She is, after all, my beloved pet & breeding or not it is essential that her nutritional & welfare needs are met fully

Doing it right meant finding & selecting a suitable mate which I did long before she was ever old enough to breed. It meant finding out about him; making sure he has all the right credentials! He must possess a calm, affectionate temperament & I wanted him to be proven so that I could ask about previous litters he has sired making sure that his queens had straightforward & trouble-free births & that they had healthy & robust kittens of a size that Noodle can manage - since I did not want her to face any difficulties giving birth.

It was very, very important to me too that this male is a much loved & cherished family pet & that his duties as a stud are secondary. This meant that he needed to be a house cat, not one who is living caged up, or in a chalet & unsocialised for much of his time which some cats are, sadly, when their lives are led simply to make their owner financial profit.

I am so grateful that I found a cattery who own a beautiful male who is made available to stud and both cattery & cat ticked all the boxes. See Sire(s) & Mating page.

Ready for Mating

When Noodle sprung into heat on August 12th, 2017 as had been arranged I made immediate contact with the stud cat owner checking first was he available to her. Finding that he was we made arrangements for me to travel there with Noodle as soon as possible.

It is always the female who travels to the male because the female is much more concerned (at that time) about her hormonal onslaught & her drive to mate. This need over-rides any stress that she might normally have about going to, or being in, a strange place. 
Noodle & I have frequently travelled together staying over with my mum so I wasn't at all worried about her reaction to the adventure as far as getting there. On Monday morning August 15th, we drove for an hour and forty minutes to drop her off. She then stayed with her mate until Friday 19th August when I collected her again. See information about her mate on our Sire(s) page.

Being Pregnant

Since choosing the best quality life-stage appropriate food is the #1 thing I can do for Noodle, she was transitioned to a kitten formula food making sure that she is well-nourished & that her growing embryos will have all the nutrients needed to develop well. A healthy nutrient-packed diet now will also help to ensure that, once her kittens are born, that she will have an adequate milk supply for them.

Noodle does not seem to feel at all happy about this first pregnancy. She could certainly tell that she felt different, that her hormones seemed confused making her unsettled & needy.

Week 1 & 2 were spent settling her back in at home after she returned from her short stay with her beau (see Sire(s) page). 

In week 3 the first physical signs started to show. Her nipples changed colour from the pale flesh they had been to a blushing pink.

First signs - pinking up!
In week 4 her nipples became darker seeming to glow a deeper pink.

In week 5 I noted a definite change in her shape particularly at her flank which has filled out with this kittens now over half way through their gestation. There has also been an awful lot of complaining. Noodle is frequently meowing in the same way that she does before she makes a visit to her litter tray. It's like she is telling me "I have tummy ache - please do something".  Like us, cats do have a morning sickness equivalent &, although she is not sick I wonder if she might feel nauseous or there is bodily discomfort?

At this stage a haired cat will begin to repeatedly lick their nipples to remove the hairs around them readying them for the kittens to find & latch on. While this is not necessary for Noodle, there does seem to be more attention & time being paid to grooming there showing that the same physical urges are present even when there is no fur.

I've also noticed that Noodle is also suffering more from blackheads & that there is more sebum being produced around her chin area. She is a little prone to having studs in her tail but it's new to have them at the chin so I am guessing this too is a hormonal issue. At one point this week there was a painful, raised bump at the base of the tail indicating a blockage or boil but this went away after a day or two without the need for treatment.

In week 6 Her tummy is really beginning to grow now which is most visible when she lays down. I've noted a red mark on her belly situated around the site of her own belly button where her placenta would originally have been. Her nipples are now elongated as they prepare to fit nicely into the mouths of hungry kittens. Her breast tissue is swollen & enlarged with a definite breast shape where once she was pancake flat. She does seem not quite so 'confused' this week. I wonder if new hormones are coming & if any of this will change her permanently?

Nipples are elongated & pronounced. Breasts have enlarged and tummy is rounded.

Week 7 - Noodle is affectionate & seeking lots of attention, much more demanding of love & cuddles during the daytime hours than is normal for her. I'm guessing that this might be the beginnings of an influx of new hormones in preparation for the kittens, Perhaps these are designed to give her the necessary attachment to her babies that hey will need in order to survive?

I have read previously of a cat who had happily raised several ducklings when they were given to her at the time of her own litter arriving. She accepted these ducklings as her own because just after birth there is a small window of opportunity when the cat's hormones are set her into a "nurture-mode". Had she been near to those ducklings at any other time they would have become a snack rather than gathered up to drink milk from her teats! 

Noodles stools are odd, starting off normal but become soft at the end. This is apparently a common symptom in pregnancy & is caused by a harmless protozoan organism called Guardia that normally lives in small numbers the gut causing no problem at all, but that become 'activated' during pregnancy. 

A few days have passed now & her poop is returning to normal -  thank goodness as she is really ramping up on the amount of food she is eating.

There are now less than 2 weeks to go! I am watching her tummy hoping to see/feel her kittens move inside of her but so far I haven't seen a thing.

Pregnant 7 weeks.

6th October - Noodle has a skin rash all over.  It is not bothering her & she seems fine with no itching etc. In fact, had she been a furred cat I would never even have known there is a problem. I have called the vet anyway to take her for a check over................

What a big fuss was made of Noodle at the vet. As always she behaved impeccably as Phil, our vet, looked her over & weighed her. She has put on over a kilo from her normal approx. 2.79-3kg.

He thinks that the ongoing rash has been caused by overactivity of normal flora and fauna on the skin due to the fact that pregnancy has weakened her immune system.  In a non-pregnant cat he may have given steroids but with kittens in her belly, it is best not to give Noodle any kind of drug treatment now. Instead, Noodle is to have baths every 3 days washing her with Hibiscrub. He added that if it doesn't clear up come weaning time we can give her some steroids then.........

I then queued to pay for the consult. Phil suddently tapped me on the shoulder & asked could I spare another 5 minutes as he would like to scan her, just for a look. YIPPEE! Yes, please!!!

A junior nurse came in since  this was educational. Phil pointed out a heartbeat, placenta and a kitten shape. At this stage of the game he said that the kittens are too big to count how many are in there. To an untrained eye, the screen really isn't clear so it was hard for me to see much, but it was good to see nonetheless, and I came away very glad I'd taken her & feeling reassured that I could call if I needed help over the coming days.

The baths are definitely not something Noodle is happy with having. When she hears me filling up her bath she runs into hiding. I really don't want to stress her or make her mistrust me but we are 2 baths into treatment I think there is a positive difference so it is helping. 

Meanwhile, there are now only about 8-10 days to go and I am feeling more anxious by the day. I'm watching to witness the movement of kittens inside as well her behaviour to see if she is looking for a nest site.

Week 8 - The final week is upon us. Noodle is ultra-purry and affectionate several times a day and during the night - with the occasional harsh bite thrown in at times which comes so suddenly and is so unexpected. I have puncture wounds! This must be hormonal. She knows that this is not a behaviour I like & looks so very shocked at having done it. 

I've wondered throughout this whole pregnancy at what she must be experiencing and how she must feel? She has nothing to compare all this to... no previous experience & no matriarch to have learned from. Maybe once the kittens are born it will all make sense to her so that the next time she is pregnant she will remember & ease into it all? 

She is so intelligent;often calculating in situations, or will watch then try things out for herself. She has for certain been very aware throughout that her body inside feels very different to usual and as she has changed physically, especially during these last weeks. Like a heavily pregnant woman, she too can't get comfortable with her growing tummy and breasts. Sad is that Noodle has been unable to get into her "happy position" suckle herself for comfort as she usually does due. I wonder if she will ever do that again. I've noted that she doesn't leap so far or so high to get to places she would normally have taken in her stride. Trial and error or awareness of her delicate condition? 

I wonder too if the experience of motherhood will mature her in subtle ways and bring about a personality adjustment which will be noticeable after kittens have grown and gone and we are back to normal here? Will we have be back to normal here? Time will tell.

She is more active than usual at night, or maybe I'm more aware of it because she is making so much noise! I've seen no nesting behaviours so am wondering where she will choose to give birth.  I have a shallow plastic storage box ready in which I would like her to give birth, line bottom & sides with vetbed to provide warmth & comfort.  I have more vetbed too  so I can easily change it if it gets messy during the birth.  I have a cardboard box too which is blanketed out placed in another spot. I just hope she chooses one of them & doesn't decide to go behind the TV! 

I have a large dog travel crate, also lined with vet bed in the back half of it in the area I would like her to move to later on.  Instinct tells a cat to  move kittens from the original birthing nest. It's been set up now for a few weeks so that she is not suspicious of it. It is easily large enough with plenty of space for mum & babies plus, when kittens are mobile & I want to shut the door overnight for their safety when I am sleeping, to place inside a litter tray with food & water bowls too.

Week 9 - Well... the last days are upon us - tomorrow will be the 63rd day following her first mating  (15th August to 17th Oct = 63 days).  I should get another bath in for Noodle before the big day... her skin has improved a lot rash-wise but it's not yet gone. I think the vet was right in diagnosing a fungal infection due to her lowered immune system. She has a terrible tummy again though she is eating & drinkin well & doesn't appear under the weather in any way. Hopefully, once kittens are born we can medicate her with something that doesn't cross the milk barrier.

Oh boy - labour started on day 65. - but it didn't progress. No panting or contractions just a slow blood tainted discharge. 

Off to vet where she had a cesarean on 20th October (day 66).