How do cats act when their owner is pregnant?

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Do cats’ get clingy when you are pregnant?

Dealing with cats when your are pregnant is a real bummer especially as you know another being coming into this world is only months away.  At this stage your cat gets very clingy as it follows you everywhere you go from the kitchen, sitting room, bedroom, milking a cow, and to the playing field. 

Your cat will really give a very loud meowing if it fails to follow you, which can be a disturbing situation since you need a lot of rest and minimal noise during this period. 

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Cats can also scratch around the living room if they miss an opportunity to follow you around, even to the bathroom! And when you are taking some rest they constantly rub against your whole body especially your stomach which can be quite weird!

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Cats can sit on any object you are using in any room and this can be irritating when you are pregnant because sometimes you need space as you take care of your unborn child.  Sometimes cats can behave humanlike by refusing to eat, play or drink milk unless they are in your presence.

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Cats demonstrate this clinginess also as a sign of protection to their owner, more bonding, and a greater show of affection as they can now sense another extra being is on the way so they don’t want to be left behind.

When you are out of the house they will sit at the front door patiently waiting for your arrival while constantly meowing and this is a sign of clinginess.

Since, during pregnancy, there are a lot of physical, emotional, and social changes going on in your body, cats do want to become familiar with these new changes so they can handle you well and for good communication, they, therefore, become clingy in order to closely observe you. 

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How do cats act when their owner is pregnant?

How do cats act when you are pregnant?

Cats can literally bond with their owners’ unborn child and can show this by their behavior. They often snuggle up with you. They rub against you even while you are sleeping in your bed. They can sit on your pregnant belly and step on it as though they are greeting your unborn child. They sit beside you always. They also put their paws on your belly. Oftentimes, because of the body changes of a woman during pregnancy such as increased body temperature, cats will behave in such a manner. 

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Though their behavior can change, some cats can actually become more loving and a few become very aggressive depending on the prevailing conditions such as socialization with your cat. Some cats can act up by hiding from you when you arrive home or when they lose sight of you when you are at home. Others can move next door for a while in order to stay away from you and some can become very otherwise, by being grumpy or scratchy.

When you are pregnant they can massage your stomach in order to feel the baby inside of you. This experience is unbelievable because it can affect your physical reaction either positively or negatively. In this scenario, you will have to trim your cat’s claws to avoid it scratching you and injuring the unborn baby, or causing any type of infection.

Cats can also behave badly when you are pregnant by urinating on your bed or leaving a ‘’poop’’ under your bed which is an irritating thing to deal with.  In this case, the solution is just to use your gloves while collecting the poop into the litter box and to frequently observe a high level of hygiene.

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Cats also get so clingy with you when pregnant and demonstrate this by following you everywhere.

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Do cats get jealous when their owner is pregnant?

Obviously yes, this is so frequent and normal during pregnancy. Though this is normal for cats to get jealous because they sense another unborn child coming and is taking away the attention which they believe is rightfully theirs, they always take this jealousy to a human level. They often show their ‘’eagle eye monster” by exhibiting various behaviours which include:

  • Refusing to take your food; cats can be so jealous to an extent that they refuse to take food when given, even though they are hungry; primarily because of intuitive knowledge of stiff competition that is around the corner. They are aware that a child is coming and is getting attention which was previously exclusively theirs as the pregnant woman focuses more on the nutrition of the baby as well as her own and often neglects the cat.
  • Staying away from you; cats actually stay away from you physically which is a real sense of jealous primarily to the unborn child and not the pregnant woman. Cats usually sleep even on the beds of pregnant women and you sense this jealousy when the cat starts to sleep somewhere else in the room.
  • Cats don’t allow you to touch them as usual and when you try to touch them they can be aggressive not because of being hateful to you but primarily because of jealousy. 
  • When a cat is also eating its food it actually protects its food from you stealing it or looking at it and if you try to touch its food it can scratch you or make protective weird “meow” sounds with its fur standing on end.
  • The cat can also change its emotional moods as a sign of jealousy because it sees new changes brought about by pregnancy.

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Do cats know when a baby is coming? 

Obviously, cats can sense that they have a new person coming in just around the corner. Cats usually know this precisely because of the changes in their surrounding environment. When the owner is pregnant their hormones change in their body and since cats have a great sense of smell they know someone new is on the way. 

When the cat feels an increased body temperature in their owner due to an increased metabolism they also know intuitively that they’ve got someone new to deal with very soon.

Cats also sense the behavioral changes in their owners’ physical activity as well as emotional changes. Some pregnant women can be so verbally abusive and irritating while they are pregnant and cats can sense this and they, therefore, know that a baby is coming. 

Cats also know the change in body chemistry of the owner like an increase in stomach size and are able to intuit an additional family member is about to invade their home. 

Also, the cat knows the normal posture position of its owner, and since during pregnancy the posture changes, the cat then will be able to intuit that the baby is coming. They are so observant of your movements.

The cat knows the normal daily routine program in the homestead and since this is affected during pregnancy then they will know for sure that a baby is on the way.    

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When the owner adds another partner to the homestead to help with home chores they automatically know a baby is coming as the owner is too weak to handle heavy chores.

The cat usually has some playtime with its owner and this is affected tremendously during pregnancy and therefore by these new changes, they will know that a baby is coming.

The feeding routine dramatically changes during the pregnancy period and a cat will also understand that their owner is expecting a baby. 

Why does my cat lay on my stomach when I’m pregnant?

There could be a number of reasons why cats lay on your stomach when you are pregnant. An obvious reason is that they see the change in their owners’ anatomy, the stomach is increasing in size. Another reason is that the owner’s body temperature is so warm and cats like warm temperatures to lay and rest. 

During the pregnancy period, the blood circulation in your body increases; consequently it boosts your body’s metabolism. Also, during this period the owner’s physical activity reduces and more time is spent taking rest or sleeping and cats love that because they spend a lot of time resting. In this situation, you are the real target of a snuggling cat. 

Cats have greater senses than humans and therefore can understand the changes taking place inside you. Cats also lay on your stomach during pregnancy in order to feel the vibrations just like when a doctor does to a pregnant client in the antenatal clinic but cats do this in their own ways.

Since there are changes to the owners’ smell, cats try to adapt to the new smell and do this by laying on the stomach in order to familiarize themselves with the new changes.

When a cat lays on your stomach the prime reason could be that they already know a new person is coming and so they try to make some bond in advance with the baby. But in reality, they just lay on your protruding stomach to give you a sign that they are affectionate.

Cats also do have a great sense of hearing and any slightest motion they can easily detect. When the baby develops a heartbeat, they can literally hear before even a stethoscope is used by a doctor or a nurse.

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Can cats sense pregnancy labor?

Yes, cats do sense pregnancy labor. Cats have greater sense organs in their nose than humans and during the pregnancy period especially in labor, they do sense the labor and demonstrate this by their unusual behavior. 

During the pregnancy period, a woman’s hormonal changes occur like an increase in the production of estrogen and progesterone which dramatically changes her normal smell, and since cats know their owners’ smell these changes indicate to a cat that the owner is in labor.

They can also act weird when they sense the pregnancy labor by being aggressive and even avoid you because at this time a woman starts to secrete colostrum in their breasts when they are approaching labor. 

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Also, a woman releases vaginal discharge at this time, and since cats have got a great power of smell they show it in their behavior by either staying away from you or coming close to you even before you notice that you are in labor. It is really a good thing when the cat senses labor so that you can organize for an emergency delivery. Alternatively, you can glean from their weird behavior of staying away from you or “meowing” and right away know that you are in labor. 

When you are in labor, cats, thankfully because of their good vision, can see the regular contractions in your stomach and give you a sign that someone is coming. Also because labor can be painful they can notice the emotional change in the pregnant woman and know that she is in labor.

During labor, the uterus can break early and release water which the cat easily detects with its powerful sense of smell. And if you are alone the cat can move around the house to signal to others the new changes. 

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Cats protecting pregnant owners

Yes, cats do protect their owners in a number of ways, thereby simply taking up the maternal role. Since the cat knows the pregnant owner is expecting then it tries all means to protect the owner from any physical injury, spiritual attack, and from any physical interference in the room.

First, the cat tries to avoid scratching the owner by being extra careful as it can cause physical injury and probably infection. The cat gets close to the owner frequently to offer physical protection in the room and it does not try to be so clingy but to actually offer protection.

The cat also offers spiritual protection to its owner by chasing away any evil spirits that are trying to come and attack the owner while sleeping at night. Cats and evil spirits are not friends and this is a good thing to the owner as she can sleep. Secondly a cat protects the unborn child also. Cats can see the evil spirits and their eyes are “mesh” actually.

Though it is secondary, it is also a protection to the owner when a cat kills rats that are present in the room. Rats can ‘’poop” on the uncovered food and a pregnant woman can accidentally eat it, so, consequently, the absence of rats is a good thing.

Cats do kill wild animals that are often poisonous and live on the homestead such as snakes. Cats kill snakes with relative ease, therefore, offering protection. Cats do also eat lizards that are always present in the walls of the homestead.

A cat offers emotional protection to the owner through playing. The owner can have playtime where she can play with her cat. This is a good thing because during the pregnancy state you need some exercise.

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Myths about cats and pregnancy

  • Some pregnant women can’t live with cats. Yes, cats can sometimes be infected with a parasite called toxoplasmosis which can be shaded in your cat’s feces and if picked up these parasites can cause birth defects or miscarriage. 
  • Cats think their owner is their mother; this is not really true in a sense because they see you as a source of food and comfort and cleanliness and a safe place to live.
  • Cats love milk; as the cats get older they get lactose intolerant meaning their bodies can’t even digest milk. When they are kittens they have an enzyme called lactase which helps their bodes break down milk because at this stage they are supposed to be drinking their mother’s milk but as they get older this enzyme goes away.
  • Cats are nocturnal; They are actually crepuscular animals meaning they are active during dusk and dawn and at this time they usually hunt for prey.
  • Cats can see in complete darkness: Cats can’t see in complete darkness. They still need a little bit of light in their eyes to bounce back and forth within the eye off the tapetum, so they cannot seen in complete darkness.
  • Human food is bad for cats; Cats are obligate carnivores and this means they need to eat meat, so your diet is not appropriate for cats.
  • Cats and dogs don’t get along; many dogs and cats dwell together and are perfect. In actuality, this is more about the personality of your dog and your cat.
  • When cats purr it means they are happy; purring is often times associated with pleasure in cats; or for other reasons such as they’re very nervous or it is a warning, or they are hungry.

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Can stray cats sense pregnancy?

Absolutely yes, there’s not much difference between a stray cat and a pet cat in their sense of smell and personality. Though stray cats once lived with humans, a stray cat still remembers their owner. Usually, a male pet cat wanders away from home more often than a female cat.

Stray cats have a higher sense of smell in their nose even much higher because of their exposure to hunting for the rest of their lives. Because of the hormonal changes in their owner’s pregnancy state they actually sense it and when their former owner encounters them they can be friendly to the owner by rubbing around them. In this scenario, it is advisable to check the paw pads of the stray cat to avoid any scratches which can cause a needless injury and consequently infection. Some, however, can be very aggressive and show this by their “meow” sounds and their body language.

Also, the stray cat can see the changes in the body’s chemistry and can automatically sense the pregnancy. Because the owner’s feeding routine has changed there is less food thrown away and the stray cat can sense some selfishness with this since the extra careful attention has been given to the incoming baby.

During the pregnancy period, more visiting people enter the homestead, or another partner is added to assist the owner and with this, they will sense that the owner is pregnant. 

Stray cats can also see the changes in the physical environment like  an increase in daily cleanliness of clothes around the home or an increase in laundry work and by this, they can sense the woman is pregnant.

Also, like the pet cat, they can sense by the unusual behavioral patterns of the owner; like less physical activity, fatigue, and the pregnant woman frequently taking more rest. 

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Why do cats attack pregnant women?

Though it’s very rare, cats attack pregnant owners simply because of their pregnancy state. Pregnant women often start to spend more time on themselves looking after their health, visiting the antenatal clinics and they start changing their feeding routine and playtime routine with their cat. 

When a pregnant woman feeds herself and her unborn child and neglects the little being inside the room she should expect a long day with the cat. 

Another reason could be changes in their playtime. Since cats get accustomed to their normal playtime with the pregnant mother, the cat would be aggressive and provoke an attack. When this happens it’s advisable to contact your vet.

When pregnant women don’t socialise with the cat it probably will cause an attack because the cat is not used to having no socialization or no bonding.

When the cat is nervous and fearful it is in a dangerous situation to cause an attack on a pregnant woman and it is always on the alert to physical moves.

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If a pregnant woman touches the tail end of the cat then it is 100% certain that the cat will retaliate by attacking back. Also, cats have their own boundaries which they mark like all other animals do and though this is a secondary reason, cats can attack because they are protecting their own boundaries.

When cats feel they are not comfortable with the presence of a pregnant woman, and usually they show this behavior by meowing in an unusual way, hissing, and  fur standing on end – Yes, cats can be uncomfortable because they sense new changes that have taken place like a new person coming or more visiting people to the home and the cat may not like this pattern.

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Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.