What Should You Feed Her During Pregnancy
During pregnancy your queen should be on a well balanced diet. We recommend a good quality, commercially prepared dry food. It is not necessary, and can be dangerous, to supplement her diet with extra calcium or vitamins, provided that her diet is complete.
As the pregnancy advances the growing kittens will occupy more and more space in the abdomen. Her food consumption may double, however, she will not be able to eat as much in one meal. Therefore, it is best to offer her smaller, more frequent meals.
Do Cats Get Too Old To Have Kittens
While cats can get pregnant throughout their entire lives , they do reach an age where its unhealthy and even dangerous to have kittens.
Most experts recommend stopping the breeding process and having a female cat spayed, around five or six years of age. Yes, older cats can get pregnant and give birth with little to no side effects or health issues. However, the risks increase greatly the older she gets.
Pregnancy can put too heavy of a strain on a senior cat, and birth can be too difficult for her body.
Mammary Glands Will Increase In Size
During the final week of pregnancy, the mammary glands of your cat will increase in size. Her mammary glands are arranged in 2 parallel rows running along the outside body wall that extends from the groin area up to the underside of her chest. Cats usually have 4 pairs of mammary glands. Approximately 2 days before your cat gives birth, shell start to produce milk.
You may notice some cream colored thick secretions coming out of her nipples. Your cat might lick it off or she could just let it dry up and youll notice that her nipples will have small whitish scabs on them. Its commonly believed that each nipple has its very own unique smell, which kittens use to attach themselves repeatedly to the same nipple.
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How Do Cats Act Right Before Giving Birth
Licking, pacing, howling, and chirping You might notice your cat licking her genitalia frequently There is a discharge from the cats vulva a few hours before birth starts. Your cats water will break as well. Now is the time for pacing, restlessness, and howling, meowing, or chirping from your cat.
Keep The Nest Area Warm
Kittens are unable to regulate their own body temperature until they are 3 to 4 weeks old. So for the first four weeks of their lives, you should provide a warm, clean box or bedding for the mother and kittens to share.
Use a heating pad below the nesting box or a heating lamp above it to keep the kittens warm. But make sure there are accessible unheated areas, as kittens will need to be able to move away from the heat source if they become too warm.
The warm area should be about 97°F.
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Why Does My Cat Keep Moving Her Kittens To Under My Bed
2-She knows that you take care of her and understands that you will take care of her offspring just as well, maybe even better. 3-She may need a break because being a momma to 3-6 or more kittens must be exhausting, so leaving them with you while she has some alone time could be just as good of a reason.
Labor And Delivery Breed Differences
While the process of labor and delivery is similar in all cats, there can be some variation in how long it takes for different breeds of cats to have their kittens. Breeds with narrow and tapered heads such as Siamese are usually delivered more quickly while snub-nosed breeds like Persians have wider heads that can lead to a more difficult birth. Some of these breeds may even require a cesarean section if the kittens are too large.
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The Significance Of Congenital Defects
Congenital defects that are obvious at the time of birth, and may be involved in dystocia, include:
- Severe hydrocephalus with marked skull enlargement
- Anasarca or generalised oedema
- Spina bifida or incomplete development of the dorsal body wall
- Hernia or incomplete development of the ventral body wall
- Gross deformity or absence of limbs
Many serious inherited abnormalities are not obvious at birth and abnormalities of the eyes, hearing and heart fall into this category. Suspected abnormalities of joints and limbs should be viewed with caution unless utterly self-evident such as severe shortening of a limb. Joints at birth are very incomplete structures and most apparent double-jointedness or rotation of limbs right themselves by the time the kitten is really becoming mobile. The most difficult decision usually concerns the kitten persistently rejected by its mother, despite its apparent normality. The choice, in this case, lies between hand rearing, fostering or destruction, and in this connection, it should be remembered that the completely hand-reared kitten will be at a disadvantage in its behavioural responses to its own species. The decision can only be made by the breeder after full consideration of the circumstances. An additional consideration is that the rejected kitten may well be a defective kitten in which case hand rearing will not be successful.
What Happens If My Cat Has Trouble Delivering Her Kittens
Although most cats deliver without need for human assistance, problems may arise which require professional veterinary assistance. Seek immediate assistance if any of the following occur:
- Twenty minutes of intense labor occur without delivery of a kitten.
- A fluid-filled bubble becomes visible at the vaginal opening.
- The mother experiences sudden depression or marked lethargy.
- The mother’s rectal temperature exceeds 103ÂºF .
- You see a fresh bloody discharge from the vagina that lasts for more than ten minutes.
Difficulty delivering is called dystocia and may be managed with or without surgery. The condition of the mother, size of the litter, and size of the kittens are factors used in making that decision.
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How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Have Kittens
There are many special occasions in ones life, and being present for the birth of any creature is truly amazing. When an animal gives birth, it is without a doubt one of the most special aspects of being an animal parent .
Cats can get pregnant quite easily as they go into heat every 2-3 weeks on average, and normally, they are very fertile. They also have a very long fertility cycle and can give birth to kittens from only a few months old to well into old age. Being such independent animals, it can be easy to miss the signs, but you can rest your mind with the knowledge that most cat pregnancies are relatively straightforward.
If your feline is about to have kittens, try to set aside some time to prepare yourself and her in order to take care of your new family.
Should I Leave The Newborn Kittens With The Queen While She Continues To Give Birth
It may be helpful to have a smaller box lined with a warm towel for the newborn kittens. A slightly damp towel can be warmed in a microwave oven. After each kitten is stable and dry, it should be placed in the incubator box while the mother is completing delivery of the other kittens. Warmth is essential, so a heating pad or towel-wrapped hot water bottle may be placed in the box, or a heat lamp may be placed nearby. If a heating pad is used, it should be placed on the lowest setting and covered with a towel to prevent overheating. Likewise, caution should be exercised when using a heat lamp, since newborn kittens may be unable to move away from the heat source.
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Abnormalities Of Labour Dystocia
Dystocia can be classified as either maternal or foetal in origin, depending on whether it is caused by problems with the queen or kittens. Dystocia can also be classified according to whether it arises from obstruction of the birth canal or a functional deficiency of the uterine muscle.
Obstructive dystocia is caused by disproportion between the size of the kittens and the maternal birth canal. Factors resulting in an inadequate size of the maternal birth canal may include disorders of the maternal skeleton , the pelvic soft tissues , or the uterus itself . Foetal causes of obstructive dystocia may result from malpresentation, severe foetal malformation , foetal oversize or foetal death.
When Do Kittens Go Into Heat
A heat is part of your kittys estrus cycle a reproductive cycle that shares some similarities to a humans menstrual cycle. If your female cat hasnt been spayed, shell go into heat by six months of age .
Here are some things you should know about your cats estrus cycle:
- A cat can go into heat as often as every 2-3 weeks, year round.
- Pregnancy can occur as early as the first heat.
- Cats dont experience menopause, so they continue to go into heat well into their senior years.
- A cats heat may be identified through tests at your veterinarians office, but most commonly, its identified because of a cats behavior.
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When Is A Cat Too Old To Have Kittens
Around five or six years of age, a cat is too old to have kittens in terms of her health and should stop getting pregnant. Cats can get pregnant and give birth throughout their senior years however, getting pregnant at too old can be detrimental to a felines body and health.
Cats dont get menopause-like humans, so their bodies continue to cycle for their entire lives. However, as a cat ages, her litters often become smaller. According to experts, its best to cut off the breeding cycle at around five years of age and have a feline spayed.
Many breeders elect to spay their queens at around age five the health risks are too great for mama and kittens!
How Many Times Can A Cat Get Pregnant In A Lifetime
An average cat can first get pregnant at around six months the average gestation period for a cat is two months cats can birth up to three litters a year they can continue to get pregnant throughout their entire lives the average lifespan of a cat is about 15 years.
Cats can have kittens as early as six months in age. A cat will have her first estrous cycle . She will continue to have these cycles twice a year, in the spring and the summer.
So, simple math says that a cat can, technically, get pregnant over 40 times in her life.
But, please keep in mind! Just because she can get pregnant many times throughout her life certainly does not mean she should! Just like with humans, pregnancy puts a massive strain on a cats body.
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How To Tell If A Cat Is Pregnant
It can be very difficult to see the signs that a cat is pregnant. The most definitive ways to confirm pregnancy include a blood test, ultrasound, x-rays or abdominal palpation.
When a cat is pregnant, they are typically referred to as a queen. Usually a queens behavior will not greatly change during pregnancy, but some cats may become either more affectionate or aggressive.
Eventually, the cats abdomen may look rounder or her nipples may become more prominent. However, these signs will sometimes not occur until later in the pregnancy.
Cats can also suffer from false pregnancy, or pseudopregnancy. Its believed to be caused by hormonal imbalances that allow non-pregnant queens to show symptoms such as lactation and behavioral changes. These changes usually occur one to two months after her heat is over and can last for up to a month.
Pregnant cats have different nutritional needs. Heres what you need to know about providing the right food for a pregnant cat.
Retention Of Foetal Membranes
Occasionally a cat may fail to pass the final set of foetal membranes after parturition appears to be complete. She will probably show some signs of restlessness and of abdominal discomfort and may be unwilling to settle with her kittens during the 24-72 hours after parturition. Her appetite will probably be poor and a brownish vaginal discharge may be seen. Examination will show a raised temperature and palpation through the abdominal wall will disclose a thickened lumpy area of womb containing the membranes. Broad-spectrum antibiotic cover is necessary and prostaglandin F2-alpha may help to induce expulsion of the retained membranes. If this fails, an emergency ovariohysterectomy may be required.
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Interrupted Labor In Cats
In rare instances, there may be a delay between kittens in which the mother rests and the cat may enter interrupted labor. Generally, you would not know your cat is in interrupted labor unless you took her to the vet and the vet performed an ultrasound. Interrupted labor is fairly uncommon. During interrupted labor, she will groom the kittens, relax and may start eating again before continuing the delivery. This rest period can even last for 24 to 36 hours. However, there is no way to know whether your cat is in interrupted labor or there is an issue, and so an evaluation by a vet is ideal if she hasn’t had a kitten in four hours and you expect more.
What Happens When My Cat Comes Into Heat
Queens come into heat many times a year. Cats in estrus become very affectionate and vocal, demand attention and roll frequently. When stroked they raise their rear quarters and tread the ground with their back legs. These behavioral changes can confuse the inexperienced owner, who may misinterpret them as pain or illness. The pattern of estrus is variable from cat to cat and is usually seasonal.
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Will My Cat Remove These Membranes
The queen will usually remove these membranes and sever the umbilical cord. If she becomes tired, or is inexperienced and fails to do so, you can gently tear the membrane from the kitten’s nose and mouth. Immediately following the removal of the membrane the kitten should start breathing, move around and find a nipple and begin suckling.
How Long Can Cats Have Kittens
Cats can have kittens, essentially, throughout their entire lives! Its one significant difference between feline and human biology .
While women eventually reach a point where they can no longer get pregnant , cats dont experience this.
Around the age of six months, a cat hits her first estrous cycle or goes into heat for the first time and can start getting pregnant. Then, well, the fun just never stops from there.
The oldest cat to ever get pregnant was named Kitty she birthed two kittens at the age of 30!
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Which Kitten Food Is Best For Pregnant Cats
Caring for a pregnant cat through a healthy, safe delivery and then onto a new home begins with a high-calorie diet that will keep her looking and feeling good, while also ensuring her kittens are given the best start in life. Before changing a pregnant cats diet, always consult with the rescue group or shelter first.
With the foster teams approval, gradually transition a cat onto kitten food only, over 7 to 10 days, then continue to feed the same diet three weeks after the litter arrives. Dry kitten food is higher in calories than wet food and provides cat mothers with good quality nutrition that she passes onto her litter during weaning.
What To Do If A Kitten Is Stuck During Birth
Kitten stuck Large or deformed kittens can become stuck in the pelvis. Sometimes they come halfway and sometimes they dont even get that far. If your cat has a kitten stuck inside her, call your vet for advice immediately, do not pull the kitten.
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Do Cats Stay In Heat After Mating
Depending on the breed, size and lifestyle that has led, a cat can be fertile until 10-12 years. Some cats can even fall pregnant up to 17 years. Therefore, we can say that a cat can give birth until its reproductive cycle ends completely. Again, we must be aware of the effects that continued pregnancies can produce in cats. Continuous pregnancy in cats can lead to certain health problems, as well as reduce a cats life expectancy.
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How Often Can A Cat Have Kittens
Your cats pregnancy will last about 9 weeks, with the average length being 63-65 days. And, a cat can get pregnant again very quickly after giving birth! Nursing her kittens wont prevent pregnancy, and your kittys next heat may occur just a few weeks after her kittens are born.
To prevent another pregnancy, ensure your kitty isnt around any male cats, and talk to your vet about spaying your cat.
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Third Stage Of Kittening
The third stage of kittening involves the passage of the membranes and the dark flesh mass of the placenta or afterbirth.
What to expect:
- this usually follows immediately, although occasionally two kittens are born followed by two sets of membranes
- try to count the number of placentae to ensure one is passed for each kitten. If they are not all passed within four to six hours, call your vet for advice. Bear in mind that the queen will usually eat the placenta to hide evidence of the birth and protect her kittens.
- a red-brown vaginal discharge may be seen for up to three weeks after the birth. It is abnormal if it is green or foul-smelling, although there may normally be a small amount of greenish discharge after the kitten or placenta