My Cat is Pregnant and Giving Birth to Kittens
By Pug Massachusetts
Baby Cats / Kittens
Female cats can become pregnant as soon as six months. It is important to spay your
female cat in order to prevent unwanted litters. If youwait too late to spay or you come across a pregnant cat, there are several steps you should take to ensure that your cat has a healthy pregnancy.
The gestation time for cats is about nine weeks. If your cat is pregnant longer than ten weeks you will need to consult your vet right away. During that time, a female cat will need to eat a special diet for extra calories and protein. Some veterinarians might recommend a vitamin supplement to give her an extra boost. It is often recommended that pregnant cats eat kitten food because of the added nutritional benefits. You probably will not notice much difference in her eating habits the first two or three weeks. As her pregnancy progresses, your cat will want to eat more, but not all at one time. It will be important to monitor her appetite as she grows. The weight of carrying her kittens might press on her stomach making it hard for her to eat a lot of food at one sitting. She will probably need several smaller meals throughout the day.
During the final days of her pregnancy, a female cat will become restless and begin to search for a place to have her kittens. She will look for a small, out of the way area where she will not feel threatened while giving birth. You can provide her with a lined box or basket, but the chances of her picking that spot are slim. If your indoor cat chooses a bathroom as a birthing place, it might be wise to close the drains to the bathtubs and line it with an old rug or towels.
Birthing is a natural process and most cats have no trouble delivering her kittens. Inexperienced mothers may be taken by surprise, though, and should be closely monitored during the final days of pregnancy. It is not unusual for a new mother to be scared and try to harm a kitten right after it is born. Another way you can help your cat give birth is to be prepared for the unexpected. Have the number to your vet and a number to a 24-hour animal hospital on hand just in case something goes wrong. Also, have a few clean towels ready to use if you have the need to wrap a kitten or the mother up and rush her to the vet. It is also wise to have a suction bulb and blunt scissors ready. Both of these can be used if the mother fails to accept her babies and you need to intervene.
When it is time for your female cat to give birth, she will become very restless and begin pacing the room. This is a sign that she is in labor and is preparing to give birth. Some female cats will stop eating when labor is about to begin. When the first kitten begins to come, she will get in her spot and will have rapid breathing. The first kitten will usually deliver about an hour after labor starts. Other kittens can come up to two hours a part. Most of the time, all kittens should be delivered within 24 hours.
It is important to watch your cat give birth. Most cats have no difficulty in delivering and taking care of her babies. There are rare circumstances where the mother rejects her kittens and will not remove them from the membrane sac. If this happens it will be necessary to hold the kitten in a soft, clean towel and remove the membrane. If this is not done quickly the kitten can suffocate and die. The mother cat will also chew off the umbilical cord. If she fails to do this, tie a piece of dental floss on the cord and clip it off.
After the first kitten is born, the mother cat should nurse her kitten right away. The nursing will stimulate the birthing process and will help deliver the other kittens. It is not unusual to see a little yellow or red discharge while nursing for the first time. If the kittens are having a hard time nursing or are not getting enough milk, you may need to consult your vet for advice.
Most mothers are champs at taking care of their babies and need very little assistance in doing so. A mother cat can be spayed between eight and ten weeks after giving birth. This is a very important step to ensure that she does not give birth to an unwanted litter. It is never a good idea to let your female cat give birth to a litter just for the experience. A female cat can live normally without ever having a litter of kittens.
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