By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 25 May 2014)
Feline gestation (the time between conception and birth) typically lasts just over 2 months, with 65 days being the average.
Normal pregnancy may range from 63-69 days for most cats (pregnancy in Siamese cats can last a little longer, up to 71 days).
How to Tell if Kittens Are Premature
Premature kittens are more fragile and vulnerable to chilling and infection. Kittens born more than 2 weeks early don’t usually survive. Those born closer to term have a fighting chance, though they may require veterinary care and tube feeding. Signs of premature birth may include:
- Low birth weight
- Tiny, thin bodies
- Lack of fur or very fine fur
- Wrinkled skin
- Difficulty moving or holding up their heads
Premature kittens are slower to gain weight and reach various developmental milestones, though with luck and good care, they should catch up eventually.
If you are caring for premature kittens, consult a veterinarian and keep the kitten room temperature very warm (95F/35C for the first 2-3 weeks, 85F/30C for the next couple of weeks, and 80F/30C after 4 weeks).
See the Pregnant Cats and Kittens Page for information on caring for pregnant cats, kitten development week by week, kitten training, kitten care, and more. For a full list of cat articles, see the main Cats page.