Can cats sense pregnancy? A cat guide to human pregnancy...

Have you recently become pregnant and are now noticing that your cat is behaving a little strange? Can your cat sense your pregnancy, does it know? Let's take a look at your cat's strange behavior...

Can cats sense pregnancy early on?
Can cats sense pregnancy early on?  © 123RF / Osobystist

It's not unusual for cats to start behaving a little differently when their humans become pregnant. Perhaps they can sense that a new member of the household is coming, and they feel a little protective, or perhaps they just simply feel happy for their owner?

Actually, the answer is a little more complicated than that. In this cat guide, we take a look at whether cats can sense pregnancy in their human owners. If so, what does it mean for our feline friend relationships, and should we be concerned?

Can cats sense pregnancy in a human woman?

Female at owners may notice that their cat has changed its behavior now that they're pregnant. Perhaps your furry friend is rubbing your legs more, or maybe it always wants to lie down on your belly, or has become rather protective in recent weeks.

There is no evidence to suggest that cats can sense your pregnancy, despite there being a variety of theories in support of the contrary. However, that doesn't mean that they won't notice that something has changed.

Over the years, people have even noticed that cats seem to change their behavior even before anyone else is aware of a pregnancy. There are many "superstitious" explanations for the phenomenon, none of which really have merit. There are a few reasons why cats might notice a change, but the idea that they can predict your pregnancy before even you are aware of it is simply untrue.

How soon can cats sense pregnancy?

Cats will begin to understand that something is changing when a pregnant person starts to smell differently and grow, but they won't necessarily understand that it is pregnancy.

There is no evidence to suggest that a cat can sense that someone is pregnant as early as 3-4 weeks, despite many common-held beliefs. What they may notice, however, is your smell, perhaps a faint heartbeat, or changes in their human's routine.

Why can cats sense pregnancy?

Cats will notice changes in a pregnant woman's behavior and body for a variety of reasons. Most of the theories surrounding cats and human pregnancy lack any sort of scientific evidence or basis, so take these for what they are: theories.

Cats smell pregnancy hormones

Everyone knows that cats have a very intense and strong sense of smell, as they have three times as many olfactory cells than humans. These fine felines know the distinctive smell of their humans and when this odor changes due to pregnancy, they will definitely notice.

Due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, women begin to produce more estrogen, progesterone, gonadotropin, prolactin and relaxin, as well as the pregnancy hormone chorionic gonadotropin. These altered hormone levels cause a change in body odor, which is might be noticeable by your cat.

Cats can sense pregnancy through body temperature changes

Cats will notice how warm their human's belly gets during pregnancy.
Cats will notice how warm their human's belly gets during pregnancy.  © 123RF / Helios8

When a woman becomes pregnant, her blood flow will increase, stimulating her metabolism and ensuring bodily functions. Due to this factor, a woman's body temperature will rise, and this will be noticed by her cat.

Seeing as the average body temperature of a cat is slightly hotter than in humans, they will generally prefer to cuddle up to warm body parts or people. As a result, you might notice that your cat may start cuddling more often when you are pregnant, as you are generally warmer.

Behavioral changes convince cats that you're pregnant

Cats will actually notice changes in their human's behavior.
Cats will actually notice changes in their human's behavior.  © 123RF / akz

Cats are very attentive to your body language and the signals you send them in certain situations. Because of this, they may notice changes in these signals when you are pregnant due to changes in your habits and behaviors, your facial expressions, gestures, and movement. It is said that these changes begin even before a person knows that they are pregnant.

It is common for pregnant women to be exhausted and uncomfortable during pregnancy, causing subliminal responses that may be noticed by their kitty. On top of that, the sudden extra attention given to a pregnant human will be noticed by cats, whom will begin to behave differently in response.

Note: A cat's behavior will always depend on its character, and that goes the same for when its human is pregnant. Some cats show off some extra affection and can be quite protective due to the changes, while others can even become aggressive.

Signs that your cat knows that you're pregnant

Cats may exhibit certain behaviors if they notice that you have changed due to becoming pregnant. While there is no evidence to suggest that they actually understand that you're pregnant, they will notice your physical and behavioral changes. And, as a result, they may act a little weird.

Here are some signs that your cat knows you're pregnant:

  • Increased snuggling up as you are warmer
  • Rubbing against you
  • Sitting on your belly
  • Lying down and putting their paws on you
  • Increased aggression
  • Increased neediness
  • Bad behavior like urinating in the wrong places

Cats may behave differently when you get pregnant, and some of these behaviors may end up being negative. Just continue to show your kitty love and affection, and things will all work out in the end.

Cats will notice the change in a pregnant woman's body odor more than humans.
Cats will notice the change in a pregnant woman's body odor more than humans.  © 123RF / Cerrotalavan

When your cat senses pregnancy, there's nothing to worry about

Yes, cats can indeed sense that you are pregnant. This comes through in a variety of their behaviors and for numerous reasons, but it's truly nothing to worry about. Cats might notice that there's a new family member on the way, but they won't necessarily be upset about it.

In fact, cats can actually help in the pregnancy progress, as cats can provide a lot of comfort and love during what may be a rather uncomfortable time.

Cover photo: 123RF / Osobystist

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