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False pregnancy in a cat

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

We recently discovered that my cat was going through a false pregnancy. We were disappointed because she seemed to be pregnant, and was even gaining weight in her abdomen. When should I expect her to come back into heat? Can she still have kittens?

Jessica Dureno


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. False pregnancy (pseudocyesis) is a term used to describe the behavior and physical signs of pregnancy when they occur in a non-pregnant animal. The signs of false pregnancy usually occur 6 to 12 weeks after the pet's last heat cycle. This condition is common in dogs but rare in cats.

There are other commons for cats to get bigger bellies including abnormal fluid accumulation secondary to a variety of diseases or obesity (getting "fat"). Those should not go away however.

If you cat did have a false pregnancy, then she could come back in heat anytime. It really depends on her.

However, if she is not pregnant, this may be a good time to spay her. So many kittens and cats are unwanted at shelters and put to sleep everyday, that it may be better to have her spayed. Something to think about.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com is Pros and Cons of Spaying and Neutering in Cats.

Best of luck!


Dr. Jon


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