Having a pregnant cat can be exciting! Soon, you’ll have a new litter of kittens to welcome into this world. As a cat owner, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. For the most part, cats can give birth unassisted. However, a good mark of a responsible cat owner is knowing the answers to common questions about the care of a pregnant cat.
Knowing how to tell when a cat is ready to give birth and knowing how to tell if a cat still has kittens inside is fundamental knowledge that each cat owner should know. Another thing we have to consider is knowing how long it takes for a cat to give birth to kittens. This will allow you to fully see the big picture when it comes to feline care.
Table of Contents
- How to tell when a cat is ready to give birth
- How to tell if a cat still has kittens inside
- Tips for cats after giving birth to kittens
How to tell when a cat is ready to give birth
First things first, the average gestation period for cats is 63 to 65 days. Unless you have a lot of experience or are a breeder yourself, it’s sometimes difficult to notice that your cat is pregnant until the later stages when the abdomen is noticeably large. It is, therefore, important to know the telltale signs to know of impending labor.
Some of the signs of a pregnant cat are nesting, displaying increased affection, vocalization, rapid breathing, noticeable lack of appetite, increased licking, lowered body temperature, and restlessness. Of course, if you’re suspicious that your cat is pregnant, raising this during your visit to the vet can be very crucial. Knowing that your cat is pregnant at an early stage can allow you to prepare more for your cat’s labor. You can be mindful to be more careful and understanding with your cat’s behavior. Nutrition is also important to aid the mother cat and the kittens she’s carrying.
How to tell if a cat still has kittens inside
Since cats tend to give birth unassisted, most cat owners will simply wait for the cat to finish with the labor. This does make us wonder if all kittens of the litter are truly safely out of the mother’s belly. Unlike humans where we can normally give birth to one child with twins and more being unusual cases, cats tend to give birth to a varying number from as little as 4 to over a dozen kittens.
The most easily spotted sign that your cat is deep in labor is heavy breathing. Pumping out those kittens requires a lot of effort and can be very painful. This also means that she’ll be making a lot of noise. The cat is still in active labor if they’re vocalizing a lot. This is how to tell if a cat still has kittens inside. While vocalizing is natural, you must be mindful if your cat is screaming for over an hour without bringing out a kitten. This could be a sign of distress and must be referred immediately to a veterinarian.
Another way to tell when a cat is ready to give birth again to the next one in the litter is when there is obvious straining like she’s trying to go to the bathroom. Kittens being born may be incredibly small but it still takes a lot of force from the mother to push them out. Usually, for the first birth, kittens usually come out every 10 minutes to 1 hour. This is the common answer to how long it takes for a cat to give birth to kittens. During intervals, the mother cat would probably clean and tend to her newborns then push again for the next one in the next 10 minutes.
Mother cats still in labor will show fluid-filled bubbles in the birth canal. This is to lubricate the fetus as it leaves the mother’s body. They would usually continue to lick their genital area when in labor. The licking allows the membrane surrounding the kitten o dissolve. The cat uses their own instincts and senses to determine their continued licking.
Of course, if the cat is still unusually aggressive or protective, this would mean that she’s still not done with labor. Cats usually relax and calm down once the entire process of delivering the little ones is complete. If the mother cat is not yet 100% focused on the new litter, it may mean that there is still another one coming out to join them. And lastly, to be sure, check if the delivered kittens are fewer than expected based on the X-ray or ultrasound imaging. Don’t forget to make a final headcount.
Tips for cats after giving birth to kittens
Now that the delivery is all done, you need to be prepared for what’s next! Here are three important tips to consider immediately after your cat gave birth to kittens.
Make sure the queen has access to a warm, clean and quiet place
Newborn kittens are unable to regulate their body temperature, they are dependent on their mother to keep them warm. Provide them with a clean and quiet place with blankets, a heat lamp, or a heating pad that can ensure that the kittens are always warm. There will be times when the mother would leave to eat or to use the litter box, so during these brief moments, the kittens should not be subjected to too much cold.
Aside from warmth, make sure that the place is clean and quiet. The first few days are crucial that each kitten is relaxed and well-rested. This would aid greatly in their development over time. Unexpected noise and an unsanitary place to stay can be problematic. Make sure that the mother and the kittens are undisturbed and their place is well maintained.
Make sure your cat is clean after giving birth
For the most part, cats would clean themselves after giving birth. Veterinarians advise not to bathe your cat immediately after giving birth as it could be a strenuous activity. There is also a chance that an infection may enter the uterus if the cat is given a bath right away.
Instead, wait at least 2-3 days before properly bathing her. At this time, the cervix should be closed and safe from infection. Rinse her off well and make sure that the cat shampoo is fully gone to ensure the safety of her kittens.
Make sure your cat is getting enough protein and water
You’ll need to provide your cat with the right food and plenty of water after she gives birth. Since she’s nursing her kittens, she will need a rich diet to allow her kittens to develop and grow. Lactation demands a lot from your cat’s body which is why you need to provide high-calorie food and protein in her diet. Plenty of water will also allow for proper hydration especially since mother’s milk is primarily fluids.
In the end, whether knowing how to tell when a cat Is ready to give birth or how to tell if a cat still has kittens inside, it is important to be actively knowledgeable about your cat’s natal care. Knowing how long does it take for a cat to give birth between kittens and other important details can make giving birth to kittens a satisfying and worthwhile endeavor. Make sure to refer to your veterinarian especially if it’s your first time. As a cat owner, the life and well-being of your cat and her litter of kittens should be your utmost responsibility.