Can My Cat Sense My Pregnancy?

An illustration with a cat laying on a person with a positive pregnancy test nearby

Illustration by Mira Norian for Verywell Family

Before becoming parents to a tiny human, many people start with a pet—and bringing home a new two-legged little love doesn’t make the existing four-legged one any less special or important.

But while many soon-to-be parents start thinking about how their new baby will bond with their pet a few weeks before bringing baby home, pets may be thinking about it much sooner. In fact, cats may be able to sense when you’re pregnant—possibly before you do.

“Cats do seem to sense when their humans are pregnant, even in early stages,” says Chyrle Bonk, DVM, a veterinary consultant with Discover how exactly your feline does this, how you can tell, and how to make sure introductions go smoothly when you finally bring your baby home.

Will My Cat Know I'm Pregnant Before I Do?

Cats can sense pregnancy very early on because of their strong sense of smell. “Cats have a super-refined sense of smell. With up to 200 million scent receptor cells, it is far better than our human sense of smell,” explains Paola Cuevas, MVZ, a veterinarian and behaviorist with This comes in handy for sensing the earliest hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.

“Estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) all increase when people first become pregnant,” says Kim Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN. These are drastic changes, with levels of hCG, in particular, doubling every two to three days for the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Since changes in hormone levels cause changes in body odor, your cat can detect these changes even before you take a home pregnancy test.

In addition to hormonal changes, your body temperature also increases very slightly during the early stages of pregnancy. Dr. Bonk says that even though the change is too small to be noticeable to humans, your cat may notice and be drawn to it.

That said, it is just something different that your cat is noticing, at least during your first pregnancy. “Cats don't specifically know that someone is pregnant. What they know is that there has been a change in the person’s smell,” explains Dr. Cuevas. “Since cats have the ability to learn, if the same person is pregnant more than once, chances are that cats can put two and two together and associate that a baby is born after that particular change of smell.” 

Can Cats Hear My Baby's Heartbeat?

A cat’s hearing is up to three times as strong as a human’s, says Dr. Bonk. So while we need to use tools like a stethoscope, fetal doppler, or fetal heart monitor to listen to a fetus’ heartbeat, cats may be able to hear it on their own. “A cat’s external ears rotate up to 180 degrees to locate the origin and identify even the faintest of squeaks, or other of their prey’s noises,” Dr. Cuevas says. “Their ears can work as satellites that can move to locate the direction of noises while at the same time magnifying their perception. So it is definitely possible that a cat can detect an unborn baby’s heartbeat.”

Just as with changes in the smell and temperature of a pregnant person, the cat may not equate the sound they are hearing with the presence of a baby. But they will recognize that there is something new going on that they will want to be aware of.

Do Cats Act Differently Around Pregnant People?

In short, it depends on the cat and how they typically react to changes in their environment. “How they act will depend on their individual personality,” Dr. Bonk explains. “Some become overly affectionate and more drawn to the pregnant person. Others become more curious and alert around the person. Some may even become anxious or upset because they sense a change in their routine coming on.”

If you don’t want your cat to act differently around you or you are worried about them expressing their anxiety on the legs of the unsuspecting new crib, try to stick to your existing routines as much as possible. “Cats are more likely to have a change of behavior when changes take place in the people who feed them or cuddle them,” Dr. Cuevas explains. Continuing to do those things just as you always have will show your feline friend that the changes they are noticing with you are not going to alter their routines.

How to Introduce Your Cat Once Baby Arrives

It is important to take steps during your pregnancy to prepare your cat for your baby’s arrival. Surprising them with such a huge change to their environment and daily routines will only distress them, which may lead to negative behaviors.

“The best way to prepare your cat for a new baby is to plan well in advance. Have all of the new furniture, clothes, etc. out so that your cat can look it over and get used to its new placement,” Dr. Bonk suggests. “Slowly start to change their schedule, if needed, well before the baby comes so that they won’t associate these changes with the arrival of a new human.”

Once your baby is born, have someone bring home a blanket or an item of clothing for the cat to smell before the baby comes home from the hospital, says Dr. Langdon. This way, your little one won’t seem like a total stranger to your cat when you finally walk through the door.

Finally, during those first few weeks and months home with your newborn, don’t forget about your four-legged friend. “Carve out one-on-one time for your cat every day so that they don’t feel neglected or forgotten,” advises Dr. Bonk. “And always supervise your cat’s interactions with baby and reward them when they handle it calmly.”

A Word From Verywell

Thanks to their strong senses of smell and hearing, your cat will likely detect some of the bodily changes associated with pregnancy, possibly before you do. This may lead to a change in their behavior, though this will vary greatly from cat to cat and family to family. As you are preparing to bring home your baby, it is also important to prepare your cat for your baby’s arrival so they do not feel surprised, displaced, or neglected. If you have questions about your cat in particular, contact your vet or an animal behaviorist. If you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy, never hesitate to reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider.

6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Alyssa Sybertz
Alyssa has been writing about health and wellness since 2013. Her work has appeared in print in publications like FIRST for Women, Woman's World, and Closer Weekly and online at places like,, and She is the author of The OMAD Diet and has served as editor-in-chief for two magazines about intermittent fasting.