Caring for pregnant cats takes some effort and a lot of love. As long as you take the time to prepare, there’s no reason why a feline pregnancy can’t go very smoothly.
Your pet may have gotten outside and become pregnant. Or you could be taking in a cat already going through pregnancy. Either way, a few small steps will help ensure safe, successful delivery.
How To Take Care Of Pregnant Cats In Your Home: Know The Early Stages Of Pregnancy
If you didn’t spay your cat, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll eventually wind up dealing with a pregnancy. There are several indications your cat will give you that she’s about to have kittens. One of the most obvious is that she’s not going into heat as she should.
Another sign is the cat’s nipples will change color, becoming a darker shade of red. They will also become swollen. Cats going through pregnancy will usually have more of an appetite. They may even experience a sort of morning sickness. Cats in the early stages of pregnancy will also have a swollen abdomen. It will continue to swell until the kittens arrive.
Pregnant cats may also go through behavioral changes. A pregnant female may become much more affectionate than normal. The opposite could also happen. Your normally loving animal may suddenly become more reclusive. Either way, a shift in behavior is typical.1
Pet Care For Pregnant Cats: Food And Diet, Litter, Solitude, And More
Cats typically handle the birthing process just fine on their own. But there are a few things you can do to make it easier for your cat to go through pregnancy.
As the time for birth gets closer, most cats will start looking for a place to nest. This will be a part of the home that typically doesn’t get a lot of traffic, such as a spare bedroom.
Once your pet chooses her spot to have her kittens, cut the top off a medium-sized box. Make sure the box is short enough that your pregnant cat can easily get into it without having to jump. Put some towels at the bottom. Try to keep your puppy, or any other animal you may have in your home, out of this area. Ideally, only the mama cat will be able to get to it. Also, keep a cat litter box nearby so she doesn’t have to go far to do her “business.” And, of course, make sure she can easily reach her food and water bowls.
She might or might not choose to use this box. Don’t be worried if she doesn’t.
Getting Ready For Kittens To Arrive: How To Prep In The Days Leading Up To Birthing/Delivery
The cat gestation period is typically about 63 — 67 days, or about nine weeks.2 If your pet is near the end of the cat pregnancy timeline, expect a new litter of kittens in your home at any time. Once you see the milky discharge coming from your cat’s nipples, the arrival of a litter of kittens is imminent.3
Again, pregnant cats will typically not have any sort of problem giving birth to kittens. You won’t have to do a whole lot other than making sure your pet is comfortable and eating properly. Getting your cat the right nutrients is very important especially during pregnancy.4 This is one of the most important things you can do for mama cat.
If you’ve taken in a stray going through pregnancy, be on the lookout for signs of problems like toxoplasmosis. This is a condition caused by a parasitic infection that can lead to lethargy, loss of appetite, and other problems.
The Toxoplasma gondii organism can move from cats to humans. A cat can become infected after the ingestion of undercooked meat.5
If you decide to take in a stray pregnant cat, take them to the vet right away.
The Most Important Tip: Bring Your Cat Into The Vet Regularly For Checkups Throughout Pregnancy
In the weeks before pregnancy, it will be important to have your vet perform routine checkups to make sure everything is going fine. He or she may perform gentle palpation to check on the developing kittens or may perform an ultrasound test.
As long as the birthing process appears normal, everything should be fine with the animal. But if you notice anything out of the ordinary, immediate veterinary care may be needed. This could be something such as a stuck kitten or a shrieking sound coming from the mother cat.
Other signs you should get immediate veterinary help:
- Signs of distress
- A large amount of bleeding
- Discharge of a reddish-brown liquid without kittens being delivered 6
How Much Help Do Pregnant Cats Need?
Whether the pregnant cat is your own pet or one you found, it’s best to simply be there for the birthing process. You’ll notice that the cat will not be eating as much, and will spend a great deal of time in her preferred nesting area.
Once the cat starts lying on her side and looking at her bottom, it won’t be long until the kittens arrive. She may talk more than usual and show signs of restlessness.7
Some cats will show signs that they want you to be with them when giving birth. Most of them, however, prefer solitude. It’s best to just let nature take its course and give your cat space if they seem to want it.
What To Expect When The Big Day Arrives
But that doesn’t mean you should do nothing as the kittens arrive. Make sure there is not only a litter box but also food and water near the area where the delivery occurs.
Watch the area near the uterus. Once uterine contractions start, the first kitten should arrive within minutes. After that, it can take as long as two hours between other kittens.
When each kitten arrives, they will come through a shiny sac of the placenta that appears in the birth canal. They will then squeeze out of this sac. The mama cat will then start nursing each kitten. She’ll keep delivering kittens during this time.
It can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for all the kittens to arrive. If the mother is going through stress, she may stop giving birth for a little while before resuming the delivery. It usually takes between four and eight hours for a delivery to occur.8,9
Why Spaying And Neutering Your Pet Is So Important
You probably didn’t plan on one of your indoor cats going through pregnancy. Or you might have come across a neighborhood stray who is pregnant and needs help. Unfortunately, far too many cats have unwanted pregnancies – that, of course, leads to unwanted kittens.
Cats spayed after the age of two months have a much better chance of avoiding dangerous infections and other health problems. They won’t heed the mating call because they won’t go into heat.
While spaying and neutering are important, it’s just as important to take care of pregnant cats. But as you can see, with a little effort and planning, it won’t be that hard. Let nature take its course and everything should be just fine.