Can Cats Sense Pregnancy Before You Know?

    Updated 14 February 2022 |
    Published 12 February 2019
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Anna Targonskaya, Obstetrician and gynecologist
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    Animal behavior specialists say yes, cats can tell even before you take a test to confirm your pregnancy. Often, cats that were once solitary and aloof are suddenly purring and rubbing themselves against their owner’s legs.

    How can cats sense pregnancy in humans?

    So how can cats sense pregnancy before you know? Most likely, their refined sense of smell and their ability to detect the changes in your body temperature and in your movements, habits, and behavior during pregnancy clue them into what’s going on. Here’s how this might work. 

    Your body chemistry changes

    Yes, it’s possible that cats can sense pregnancy even before you have early pregnancy signs. This is due to their excellent and refined sense of smell. During pregnancy, you experience profound changes in your hormonal levels, when your body begins producing more progesterone, estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormones. These changes in your hormonal levels can affect your personal scent. Thanks to their keen sense of smell, cats may detect these changes even before a pregnancy test can. 

    Your dog might sense you’re pregnant before you know

    You become warmer

    The blood flow in your body increases when you get pregnant. This increased blood flow boosts the metabolism of your body by around 20%, which increases your body temperature. It’s possible a higher body temperature is one of the ways cats sense pregnancy. The body temperature of cats is generally higher than humans, so these pets especially enjoy cuddling with warm people. Since the temperature of your body may be slightly higher during pregnancy, your cat may like to snuggle up with you more when you’re expecting. Your cat may rub against you, sit on your pregnant belly, or even lie down beside you and put their paw on your belly. 

    Cats see more than meets our eyes 

    In addition to smelling hormonal changes and feeling a warmer body temperature, cats may also detect differences in your behavior, habits, body chemistry, and posture that give them a clue to the extensive changes that your body is going through. These pets are experts at reading your body language, so they can notice even tiny differences in your movements or when your movement becomes awkward.

    Cats can also recognize changes in your habits, behavior, or daily routine. For instance, if you are feeling fatigued and lying on your couch more often, or if your family members or your partner is taking extra care of you, cats become aware of it. 

    Early signs of pregnancy

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    How to help your cat adjust to your pregnancy

    Some cats become more protective and loving of their pregnant owner. Try to keep giving your cat love and attention during your pregnancy. If neglected, their behavior may become aggressive. Sometimes cats act out by urinating in places such as the laundry basket or your bed. Giving your cat lots of love when you’re pregnant can let them know that your relationship hasn’t changed. 

    As you progress with your pregnancy, sticking to the same daily routine with your cat can help avoid any behavioral problems. It’s important to continue to give your cat the same playtime and feeding routine even after your baby arrives.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might consider asking your friends and family members to help maintain a routine for your cat when you don’t have time. If your cat keeps its routine, it’s more likely to be affectionate after you bring your baby home. 

    It’s not uncommon for a cat to act jealous when a new baby is brought into the family. If your cat starts misbehaving seriously during pregnancy, then you may want to seek help from a veterinarian or a professional trainer. Many of them offer individual training classes or “baby readiness” classes to help your pet adjust. 

    Cats may become more protective and loving during pregnancy. According to studies, spending time with a pet animal may improve your mood, lower blood pressure, reduce depression and help you live longer. And for more information about how to improve your health, learn all you need to know about nutrition during pregnancy.

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    Understanding the evidence

    No reliable scientific evidence exists to back up the claim that cats sense pregnancy, but many pet lovers and animal specialists will swear that it’s true. According to research, some dogs can detect certain types of cancers by smell, so it may be possible that pets are able to smell changes produced in your body during pregnancy by your changing hormones. But these are largely anecdotal stories and personal experiences of pet owners.

    Even if your cat doesn’t detect that you’re pregnant before a pregnancy test does, they will certainly figure it out when you bring a baby home, so the important thing is to help your cat prepare for the new addition to your family to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

    You may use our Due Date Calculator to predict the date when you're due based on the first day of your last menstrual period. 

    If you have conceived through IVF, check our IVF and FET Due Date Calculator

    History of updates

    Current version (14 February 2022)

    Medically reviewed by Dr. Anna Targonskaya, Obstetrician and gynecologist

    Published (12 February 2019)

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