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What You Should Know When Your Cat Gives Birth

By Pug Puppy Breeder Massachusetts

24 Hour Veterinary Clinic

The Pregnant Cat and Newborn Kittens
If you have a cat that is expecting, there are several basics you should know.  The birthing process requires more than just attention during the actual birth of the kittens.  In fact, preparations need to be made before the birth and after the birth, as well.

Preparing for the Birth
Before it is time for the cat to give birth to the kittens, it is a good idea to get the vet’s phone number for either his or her office and home, if available.  Also, be sure to know the hours the office is open.  It’s also a good idea to get the contact information for a reliable 24 hour veterinary service as a back up.

It’s also a good idea to select a quiet and private location ahead of time for the cat to give birth.  A birthing box can be created for this purpose.  To create a birthing box, line a box with a soft material.  Also, place newspaper, towels or other forms of absorbent padding or materials nearby.  These materials will be used when the cat delivers the kittens.  Be sure to introduce the pregnant mama cat to the birthing box ahead of time so she can become comfortable with it.

Other materials to aid in the delivery should also be kept nearby.  These items, such as scissors, should also be sterilized with alcohol or betadine.

During the Delivery / Baby Cats
When it gets near to the date of delivery, the pet owner should check the cat’s temperature once or twice per day.  This is because the cat’s temperature will sometimes drop to less than 99 degrees Fahrenheit 24 hours prior to delivery.  When the cat begins undergoing labor, she should receive 1cc of Calphosan.  This helps to replace her calcium as she produces milk for the kittens. 

Before assisting the cat with the actual delivery, the pet owner should sterilize his or her hands with a disinfecting soap, or with hibatane, betadine, or nolvasan.  It might also be necessary to use gauze pads or a face cloth to help grip the kitten when it begins to emerge from the female.  Vaseline can also be helpful in freeing the kitten if it is stuck.

It can become necessary to enter the birthing canal in order to determine the position of the kitten and to help with delivery.  If it becomes necessary to enter the birth canal, sterile gloves is the best option.  These should be prepared ahead of time and placed next to the birthing bed.

After Delivery
After the cat delivers the kittens, it is a good idea to administer .5cc oxytocin.  This helps contract the uterus and it limits the amount of bleeding after the kittens are delivered.  If the placenta does not extract itself naturally, contact the vet to get instructions for its removal.

In order to cut the cord, dental floss or some form of sterile suture material can be used to tie it.  Then, sterile scissors can be used to cut it.  A small hemostat can also be used to seal the cord before cutting it.  Iodine should also be applied on the end around the cut to prevent infection.

Caring for the Kittens
After birth, newborn kittens need to have the fluid cleared from their airways before they suck it into their lungs.  A small syringe or a bulb syringe can be used for this job.  If the kitten appears to have difficulty breathing, a drop of Dopram should be placed beneath its tongue.  This will stimulate respiration.  No more than one drop should be used.

Kittens also have difficulty maintaining their body temperature.  Therefore, they must be kept warm.  If kittens are born while the pet owner is away and are found alive yet cold, they can be warmed by immersing them in warm water or by using a hair dryer.  Care should be taken, however, to not overheat the kitten.  After the kitten has been properly warmed, it can rejoin its mother.

The mother cat’s milk is enough to provide proper nutrients to the newborn kittens.  Some pet owners, however, choose to supplement the mother’s milk immediately with a formula.  This formula is fed to the kitten either by bottle or through tube feeding. 

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