It is always an exciting moment when your are expecting a new litter of kittens in your home. With many questions creeping through your mind on how you can support your little cat. In this article, we would explore the common pregnancy and labor signs in cats to look out for.
While pregnant cats are capable of taking care of themselves, it is important to pay more attention to them at this critical point by preparing in advance for the kittens as well as looking out for abnormalities or birth difficulties that might require urgent attention from your Veterinary.
- When do Cats get Pregnant?
- How to Tell Your Cat is Pregnant:
- What to do if Your Cat is Pregnant?
- Caring for a Pregnant Cat
- Five Common Labor Signs in Cats:
- 1. Increase in size of the Mammary Gland:
- 2. Fall of Temperature:
- 3. Vaginal Discharge
- 4. Behavioural Changes:
- 5. Nesting:
- 6. Loss of Appetite:
- How to care for your cat when in Labor
- What to do after your cat has given birth.
When do Cats get Pregnant?
Cats usually have kittens when still very young. They become sexually active very early -at the age of four months – and can get pregnant at any moment thereon. A cat’s timeline for pregnancy is very short lasting about 2 months approximately 61 – 65 days. This short gestation period means you have limited time to prepare for the mother cat and the kittens
Identifying the signs of a cat’s pregnancy, stages of labor, and behavioural changes can help to tell when your cat will be ready to give birth; this will help you plan for the arrival of the little kitten and the mother cat.
How to Tell Your Cat is Pregnant:
Cat gets pregnant when very young so it is important to watch out for cat pregnancy first signs that could indicate your female cat is pregnant. Some of the below signs to look for may begin to manifest after a few weeks.
- -Increased appetite to support the new kittens growing inside.
- -Noticeably increased weight gain due to the new kittens
- -noticeable swollen pink nipples
- -stoppage of heat cycle
- -sickness and vomiting
- -fatigued and frequently sleeping
- -less playful and showing more affection, etc.
What to do if Your Cat is Pregnant?
If you think your cat is pregnant or you notice one of the pregnancy signs mentioned earlier. you should visit your vet. The VET will conduct checks on the Cat which may include an ultrasound or X-ray and provide professional advice on how to care for her.
The Vet may also inform you of how many kittens you can expect if your cat is already 45 days and above pregnant as well as other cat’s pregnancy progress. If you need details of Veterinarians in your locality, you can check on this link to book one.
Caring for a Pregnant Cat
You can provide care to your cat during pregnancy by following these steps:
Follow vet Instructions:
You can care for your pregnant cat in many ways but mainly by following your VET instructions or advice. In addition, avoid overfeeding her, especially during the early days of the pregnancy as this could make her overweight which could result in problems for the kittens.
Transition to kitten foods:
Once the Vet has confirmed the pregnancy, gradually transition to kitten feeds as may have been suggested by your Vet. You also need to monitor your cat closely and report any abnormality to your vet.
At six weeks of pregnancy, the kittens’ pressure in your cat’s tummy may make it harder for her to eat large quantities of food at a time; hence, she could be fed more frequently in piece meals.
Prepare your cat environment for Labor:
Aside from the vet care and nutritional foods, your cat will need a quiet and safe place to nest especially when she’s getting close to labor. You can prepare a laundry basket or carton box filled with blankets in a safe, quiet, and warm area within your home to make your cat comfortable. As mostly noticed, your cat may decide to give birth in the least expected area of your home. However, make sure the outdoors is shut at all times as she may sneak out to nest somewhere – that may be difficult to locate.
We suggest you not to force your cat to deliver her kittens within your home. Provide her with the support that she may require.
Five Common Labor Signs in Cats:
Just like every other animal, pregnant cats will begin to show signs of labor when she is about to give birth in the final week of pregnancy. Here’s a list of 5 signs you may notice when your cat is in labour.
1. Increase in size of the Mammary Gland:
During the final days of pregnancy, you will notice an increase in the size of your cat’s mammary gland. Cats have 4 pairs of mammary glands and will start producing milk approximately 48 hours before giving birth to kittens.
2. Fall of Temperature:
One of the signs that a cat is in labor is the drop in temperature. Your cat’s normal body temperature of about 100º to 102.5ºF (37.7º to 39.1ºC) will drop to about 99ºF (37.2ºC) 48 – 24 hours before labour begins. To notice the drop in temperature, you should regularly take your cat’s rectal temperature toward the end of her pregnancy.
3. Vaginal Discharge
During labour, you would notice a small bloody discharge from your cat’s vaginal. Once you note this, it means your pregnant cat is about to give birth to kittens. Kittens could be born head first or back-end first.
4. Behavioural Changes:
It’s important to know that a pregnant cat may begin to exhibit some behavioural changes like hiding in secluded places in your home and becoming affectionate, clingy, and restless.
You will notice nesting behaviour once your cat is close to giving birth. We already suggested how to prepare a laundry basket or carton box filled with blankets in a clean, safe, quiet, warm, and suitable place to give birth within your home. Ensure that the place to give birth is out of reach of any other pets or children.
You can order a cat laundry basket online from Amazon or any other retail outlet.
6. Loss of Appetite:
The weight of the kittens against the Cat’s stomach may result in loss of appetite. Consequently, your cat may not be able to eat large food quantities at a time.
How to care for your cat when in Labor
Pregnant cats need little to no human assistance when about to give birth. You should leave your cat alone and watch from a distance as they undergo normal birth. If you, however, notice your pregnant cat is in distress, you should provide assistance by calling your vet immediately.
Your VET might have informed you of how many number of kittens to expect, so take note of the time between each kitten’s birth. If you notice any of the below labour and delivery problems giving birth, then you need to contact your vet immediately.
- -Obvious contractions of about 30 minutes without producing the first kitten,
- -A kitten remains in the birth canal for more than two minutes without being pushed,
- -Difficulty giving birth
- -Any other forms of birth defects.
What to do after your cat has given birth.
Your cat would need more calories and nutrients while she lactates and feeds the kittens, so ensure you give your cat adequate quantities of food before and after the kitten is born. Do not separate the mother cat and kittens in the first few days. Provide needed care to the newborn kittens, and contact your VET for any professional advice, food recommendations, or If you suspect the mother cat is sick.
Always consult your veterinaries as they are in the best position to offer professional recommendations about your pet.
How long does a cat go into labor?
A pregnant Cat labour could be between 1 to 5 hours. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your cat is having dystocia, or trouble giving birth.
How many kittens can a Cat Have?
Cats have an average of four kittens per birth, this can however range from 1 to 12 kittens depending.
How do you tell if a cat is having contractions?
Just like humans, you can notice contractions in your cat by observing her abdomen either by touching her belly or watching closely. This contraction will help your cat push down the little kitten through the birth canal.
This article provides a general guide on the signs to expect when your cat is pregnant and in labour, as well as caring for your little pet during this period. We strongly suggest you consult your vet.