Caring For Mother And Kittens After Birth
For the most part, cats are able to care for both themselves after birth. You will, however, want to regularly check on your new mother cat to ensure that everything is going well.
For most intents and purposes, healthy mother cats can take care of themselves. The only thing you need to do is check on her daily to make sure she is nursing her kittens, provide a safe, warm area for her to raise the kittens, watch for any signs of disease, and feed her an appropriate diet.
Mother cats expend a lot of energy making milk and recovering from delivery, so free-feed pregnant and nursing cats either a kitten formula cat food, or a cat food that is specifically formulated for pregnant or nursing cats.
Occasionally, mother cats can develop conditions related to pregnancy and nursing. Retained placenta, infection in the uterus, infected mammary gland, or eclampsia resulting from low calcium can all cause severe sickness in mother cats.
Signs that the mother cat needs veterinary attention include:
- poor appetite
- bloody vaginal discharge that doesnt stop
- brown or foul smelling vaginal discharge
- sore abdomen
- muscle tremors or spasms
- inflamed nipple/mammary gland, may be hot, red, and have discharge
In addition to supervising your mother cat, youll want to keep an eye on the kittens to ensure that theyre healthy.
The nesting box should have sides that are tall enough to keep the kittens in for the first few weeks.
The First Steps To Take
Cats giving birth to kittens arewonderful to watch and be a part of. Your feline’s natural instincts will handlemost of the details. However, your female cat may be a littlenervous if this is her first time delivering kittens.
Here are the basic steps you need to take:
You can help your pregnant kitty by treating her normally and not making abig deal of things. Feline pregnancy is a normal and natural part of a cat’s life.
If you’re nervous or anxious, your cat can sense this and it may contribute toher anxiety, especially if it’s her first delivery.
If you need more information about taking care of your cat during pregnancy, please take a look atour Care for a Pregnant Catpage.
For help preparing for the kittenbirth, see Cat Pregnancy and Birth.
What To Expect From Cat Labour
The next stage of the birthing process starts when your cat begins to push. She may deliver standing, laying or squatting and the first kitten will usually take the longest to be delivered. The kittens will be born in their amniotic sacs and the new mum will remove these and stimulate the kittens by roughly washing them, she will sever the umbilical cord and may eat the placenta.
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What Happens During Kitten Birthing
The cause of the induction of the birth process is still unknown, but factors include the size and weight of the uterus, size, and weight of the fetus, and hormonal balances of both the fetus and the queen.
During the birth process, rhythmical uterine contractions gradually increase to push the fetus out of the uterus and into the birth canal. The placentas may be expelled at the same time as the kittens, or within 24 hours after birth.
The kittens are born within their amniotic sacs, which the queen will remove. If she ignores the kitten and it is still in its sac, it will be up to you to carefully cut the sac and stimulate the kittens breathing by rubbing it gently with a rough dry towel. It is a good practice to count the placentas to make sure all are expelled. If a placenta is retained, veterinary intervention is needed.
The mother cat will stimulate the kittens to breathe by washing them with her rough tongue. She will also sever the umbilical cord by chewing on it approximately one inch from the kittens body. At this time, she may eat the placenta. The kittens will immediately gravitate toward a nipple, latch on, and nurse.
About 10 to 60 minutes may pass between births, but longer periods of time are not uncommon. If there is a delay of over two hours and you are sure there are remaining kittens, the queen should be examined by a veterinarian.
Building A Birthing Box
Its important to introduce your cat to her birthing box, or to the designated place where she will be giving birth in your home, in advance of her labor to ensure shes comfortable in the area and feels safe during delivery. Separate your cat from other cats or kittens in the home so that her birthing area is as quiet and squabble-free as possible, Duganne said. Keeping her apart from other cats in the home will also help you to monitor her food and water consumption and keep a close eye on any changes in her health. If you prefer to use a crate rather than a box, Duganne recommends a Pet Gear crate that has three doors to allow you access to the center and sides of the crate before, during, and after the birthing process.
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How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Stray Cat
Finding a stray cat wandering around the yard is one thing finding a stray that is also pregnant presents an entirely different set of concerns. She is going to have those kittens one way or the other, so the only question is whether you are going to participate or not. There are very valid reasons for both helping the cat and simply ignoring it.
Assuming you do decide to take care of the animal, you are going to want to do it right. Handling a pregnant cat incorrectly could result in unanticipated consequences some of which you could end up regretting later on. I encourage you to take some time and do plenty of research before you get started. Remember, you are dealing with both mama AND her babies. Before I get into the article in more depth, here are the main things you need to do to take care of a pregnant stray cat:
Items Needed Immediately After Birth
Youll want to have certain items handy once the first kitten is born and throughout the process of birthing the litter. Keep surgical scissors close and hemostatic forceps close by to cut the kittens’ umbilical cords from the placenta if the mother fails to do so herself. After the cords are severed , help your cat clean her kittens by keeping a baby syringe handy to suck any fluids out of the kittens’ mouths, Duganne said.
fter the birthing process is over, clean the birthing area thoroughly and swap out bloody bed pads for new ones. Keep a heating pad in a box next to the birthing area and place the kittens in it as you clean. And keep your camera handy for plenty of pictures of the newborns and their mother.
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How Long Do Mother Cats Stay With Their Kittens After Birth
Cats are known for their independence, but when it comes to raising kittens theyre the best of mothers. However how long do mother cats stay with their kittens after birth? A new study has shown that most female cats only leave the nest for about 3 hours a day on average!
This is different from what was previously thought. The researchers found that this wasnt because of some maternal instinct, but instead due to the fact that they needed to drink water and eat food in order to provide milk for their babies.
How Many Kittens And Litters Can A Cat Have
Knowing how many kittens are expected helps the preparation. According to ASPCA, a cat can have four to six kittens per litter on average, and a fertile cat can produce one to two litters per year on average. Of course, the actual number of kittens and litters will vary from cat to cat. Your veterinarian will be able to use ultrasound and X-rays to determine the exact number.
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How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Give Birth
A cat’s labor is not governed by fixed rules and, like we humans, we can only speak in approximate terms. Even so, it is possible to offer some general guidelines to caregivers when determining whether the delivery is proceeding in the usual way or there are delays which may imply problems.
The first phase of the delivery is known as dilation. This is where the uterine contractions act to open the cervix to allow the passage of the young. This leads to a second expulsion where the kittens are actually birthed. To know how long is the labor period of a cat giving birth for the first time, we must bear in mind that the dilation period can be prolonged. It is possible that before the birth begins, the cat loses their mucus plug. This is the substance to uterus uses to prevent infection. The mucus plug can fall between 3 and 7 days before the kittens are born. This is not always the case as the cat may lick at the area. If they don’t give birth more than 7 days after they lose their mucus plug, then we should consult a vet. The same goes if a greenish secretion occurs, but is not followed by the birth of the kittens.
Feeding A Pregnant Cat
Irrespective of your position on the TNF strategy, one of the big things youll have to worry about during the cats pregnancy is making sure she gets enough to eat. Under normal conditions, a house cat weighing about 10 pounds needs to consume 200 calories per day to maintain her weight. A pregnant cat is going to need a lot more.
You dont have to worry about feeding the cat on a schedule while she still pregnant. However, it is better to feed her up to six small meals per day rather than two large ones. Like a human mother, the pressure of the kittens in the womb make it impossible for her to eat as much as she normally would. So she needs smaller meals more often. As for water, just fill a bowl and leave it out. She will drink when she needs it.
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How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Give Birth Between Kittens
Another concern you may have when a cat is in labor is how long it should take for a cat to give birth to another kitten after the first is born. Generally, a cat will give birth to their kittens in half hour intervals. However, it is not unusual for especially rapid births to occur every minute or so. It is also possible for the next kitten to be born up to an hour. If it takes longer than this time and you are sure there is another kitten yet to be born, you will need to consult a specialist.
How To Help A Cat Give Birth
Last Updated: April 2, 2020Approved
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 27 testimonials and 96% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,070,910 times.
Whether you are breeding purebred cats for a living or you are responsible for a cat that has become pregnant in your care, it is important to know what to do when the cat goes into labor and begins to give birth to her kittens. The typical gestation period for cats is around 65-67 days, so once you have confirmation that your cat is pregnant, it’s important to begin preparing for the eventual birthing. Here is how to do so.
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How Cats Give Birth
When cats give birth, it is called queening. The queening process looks very similar to birthing in humans.
When a cat gives birth, it is called queening. Most cats give birth to kittens in the same way that humans give birth: they deliver kittens including the placenta and the umbilical cord through the birth canal and out the vagina, and they nurse and care for their kittens after they are born.
Some cats, such as Persians or other flat faced breeds, are unable to deliver kittens naturally, and require a Cesarean section surgery to safely deliver kittens. This surgery is done under general anesthesia by a DVM.
Normal gestation lasts 63-65 days. Mother cats typically know what to do when it is time to deliver, and if you find them building or sleeping in a cozy nest, then know you are in the final week of pregnancy, and it is almost time for the birthing process to begin.
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.
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Helping Your Pregnant Cat Give Birth At Home
If your pregnant cat is expecting a litter, make sure you feel prepared and able to support her in a stress-free birth with our simple guide.
With a litter of kittens on the way, it’s important you feel prepared and confident for when the day arrives. If you choose to have a home birth, then there are a number of simple but essential things you can do to make sure your cat is happy, healthy and able to give birth in a stress-free environment.
Preparing your home for your cat to give birth
Ideally, your pregnant cat should be allowed to have a room or space to herself at the end of her pregnancy. Queens can become aggressive in the final two weeks of their gestation, so isolate her and keep her away from children. The room needs to be quite warmaround 72°Fto help her feel comfortable and reduce the risk of hypothermia, and ideally needs to have 65-70% humidity.
You should put together a nesting box where your queen can give birth. This can be a cardboard box that’s big enough for her to lie down in and with tall enough sides so the kittens won’t fall out. Line it with plastic and then newspaper, which is easily removed if it becomes soiled, and cover it with a blanket.
The nesting box should be warmer than the rest of the room to support the kittens when they are at their most fragile during the first few days of life. An infra-red lamp is a good way to do this as it doesn’t direct heat too harshly in one area, and it should be set to 86°F.
Additional Items Needed For Birth
Before your cat goes into labor, youll want to make sure you have the following items prepared: reusable bed pads, clean towels, gauze pads, a thermometer, and the phone number for your veterinarian or the emergency personnel on staff. Use the bed pads as bedding for your cat and her kittens and line the birthing area with it before, during, and after. Towels can be used to clean off the kittens or help cover messy areas of the bed pads.
Some kittens are born in the breech position, particularly Siamese, so keep gauze pads handy to strengthen your grip on the breech kittens, Duganne said. Your cats temperature will drop slightly during the birth process, so keep the thermometer handy to check her temperature prior to birth. Get in touch with your vet should any problems or complications arise before, during, or after the process.
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Signs Of Labour In Cats
- Increase in size of mammary glands The mammary glands increase in size during the last week of gestation.
- Milk production Approximately two days before the queen gives birth milk can be expressed from the nipples.
- Nesting The queen will spend more time in her nesting box as birth approaches.
- A decrease in temperature Normal temperature in a cat is 100 102.5°F . A day or two before birth, her temperature drops to 99°F .
- Change in behaviour During the last week or so, your queen may become either reclusive , or more affectionate, especially if she is particularly close to one caregiver.
- Loss of appetite.
- Frequent genital licking.
- Clear discharge from the vagina.
The cats uterus has two horns, which come together with a central uterine cavity. The cervix is at the end of the uterine cavity and is closed during pregnancy. Developing kittens lie within the horns and are attached to the mother via the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is attached to the placenta, which joins the mother and kitten together. The role of the placenta is to transport nourishment from the mother and to take waste away from the fetus .