Facts about the animal kingdom

Can Cats Sense a Woman’s Pregnancy?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: January 30, 2024
Can Cats Sense a Woman’s Pregnancy?

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You may have heard that cats' behavior changes when a woman living in the same household becomes pregnant. Some even claim that cats are able to tell if a woman is pregnant even before she knows it herself. But how can this be? There are few scientific studies on the subject, but everything we know so far about cats' perceptive abilities suggests that cats can detect pregnancy in women.

The following AnimalWised article explains the question of whether cats can sense if a woman is pregnant, how they do it, and what you can expect in terms of their behavior.

You may also be interested in: Can Cats Sense Our Emotions?
  1. How do cats perceive a woman's pregnancy?
  2. How do cats behave around a pregnant woman?
  3. What you can do to help your cat adjust to pregnancy

How do cats perceive a woman's pregnancy?

There is no reliable scientific data confirming that cats sense a woman's pregnancy, but many animal lovers and animal specialists claim that it is true. It is believed that cats are able to sense pregnancy in a woman because they are able to detect some changes in the body such as temperature, habits, movements, and behaviors during pregnancy. Below, we will describe in more detail how cats are believed to be able to sense a woman's pregnancy.

  • Hormonal changes: When a woman becomes pregnant, her body undergoes many chemical changes, especially related to hormones. Among the most common is the increase in progesterone, human chorionic gonadotropin, and estrogen, hormones that alter a woman's own odor. Cats have an excellent and very refined sense of smell and are able to detect these hormonal changes early in pregnancy. For this reason, some people believe that cats can detect a woman's pregnancy in the first weeks of pregnancy, even before she takes a pregnancy test.

  • Temperature: When a woman is pregnant, blood flow increases and metabolism is stimulated by 20%. These changes cause the body temperature to rise slightly. While this change is not noticeable to humans, cats can sense this slight increase in body temperature. This can also affect your cat's behavior, as most cats like to snuggle up in warm places. Pregnant women should not be surprised if their cats start to snuggle up to them.

  • Behavior changes: Not only can cats smell hormonal changes and sense a warmer body temperature, but they can also detect differences in your behavior, habits, body chemistry, and posture. Cats are experts at reading body language, so they can notice even the smallest differences in your movements and behavior.

Many women fear that it is not a good idea to be around cats when they are pregnant. This fear stems from certain zoonotic diseases and parasites, such as toxoplasmosis. Continue reading this article if you want to learn more about whether it is safe for pregnant women to be around cats.

How do cats behave around a pregnant woman?

Cats react in different ways when they notice something unusual in their environment or in their caregivers. Each cat behaves differently in this situation because of its unique personality and experiences. However, there are some behaviors that are quite common in cats living with pregnant women.

Some cats become more affectionate toward pregnant women. They may express this affection by spending more time with their pregnant caregiver, kneading her belly and purring, or sleeping on her. As mentioned earlier, cats have a higher body temperature than we do and like to stay in warm places. Therefore, they may seek physical contact with a pregnant person more often than with a non-pregnant person.

Cats may also become more protective of their pregnant caregiver and defensive if a human or pet approaches the expectant mother.

Other cats may also withdraw and avoid contact with their caregiver. Cats are animals that are very sensitive to change. It is likely that cats who tend to be grumpy or avoidant are more likely to be stressed or frightened when their environment is new or changing. In this case, you need to be patient, never force the animal, and try to make it feel comfortable and secure by trying to keep its routines as stable as possible.

If you suspect your cat may be stressed, continue reading this other article, where we talk about the most common symptoms of stress in cats.

Can Cats Sense a Woman’s Pregnancy? - How do cats behave around a pregnant woman?

What you can do to help your cat adjust to pregnancy

If you have a cat in the family and learn about the arrival of a new member, you should prepare yourself and your pet. If you do not do it in time, your cat might feel displaced, be stressed and change its behavior at home.

Cats can be very attached to their owners. When they notice a change, such as the arrival of a new family member, it can have a negative effect on them. To prepare your cat for the arrival of a new baby, we suggest that you follow these recommendations:

  • Do not neglect the cat: although pregnancy can be a complex process for an expectant mother, it is important that you give your cat attention and as much love as possible. In this way, you may be able to prevent your cat from developing feelings of abandonment and therefore becoming aggressive or misbehaving.

  • Keep the same routine: As mentioned earlier, cats like routines that give them a sense of security. So if you have established a daily playtime or a specific feeding time, do not change it to avoid changes in your pet's behavior. This also applies when the baby is at home. The first few months with a baby can be overwhelming because it is a time of change and adjustment. Ask your friends or family to help you maintain a routine with your cat if you feel you need some extra help.

  • Consult with a professional: Despite your best efforts, your pet may not adjust to the idea of having a new member in the family. In this case, be sure to seek professional help from a veterinarian or trainer who knows how to prepare your pet for the baby's arrival.

Even if your cat does not realize you are pregnant until a pregnancy test confirms it, it will undoubtedly notice when you bring the baby home. So it's important to help your pet prepare for the new family member and make the transition as smooth as possible.

If you want to read similar articles to Can Cats Sense a Woman’s Pregnancy?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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Can Cats Sense a Woman’s Pregnancy?