Just like us humans, there are high phases of fertility in cats, in which they can become pregnant. Cats usually get into heat every three weeks, so the chances of pregnancy are high! To make sure that you are ready for the birth of a cat, you should find out what is coming and how to interpret the first signs of possible complications. We answer all questions about the topic of pregnancy in cats and give you tips so that you can best support your cats.
How to tell if a cat is pregnant?
Often there are no physical signs of pregnancy in a pregnant cat for the first few weeks. If you think your cat is pregnant, have it examined by a veterinarian.
If you want to know for yourself how to tell if a cat is pregnant, there are a few physical signs of pregnancy in cats that you will notice after two to three weeks.
- After about 15 to 18 days after the onset of pregnancy in cats, their teats are swollen and turn pink to reddish in color.
- Similar to morning sickness in humans, your pregnant cat may also feel sick and vomit for a period of time. However, if you find that she vomits regularly or feels unwell, talk to the veterinarian.
- Your cat’s belly is getting bigger, but you shouldn’t touch it. Otherwise you could injure the mother or her unborn baby. However, there are other reasons for a bloated stomach. Therefore, you should monitor your cat for any symptoms of an illness and contact the veterinarian if you are concerned.
- Your cat will gain between 1 and 2 kg in the course of the gestation period (depending on the number of cubs) – this weight gain is a clear indication that she is pregnant.
- Cat ladies have an increased appetite at the end of their gestation period, which also affects their weight. However, an increased appetite can also be an indication of a worm infestation or an illness. Therefore, have your cat examined by the veterinarian.
- Your cat may be cuddled, which means that it purrs more and requires more care and attention from you.
In some veterinary practices, pregnancy can be determined as early as 15 days after mating with the help of an ultrasound examination. In addition, from the 40th day of pregnancy, the veterinarian can also tell you how many cubs your cat is expecting. Be aware, however, that while your cat is pregnant, a bigger cub can hide its smaller siblings in the womb, which could mean you end up facing more kittens than expected!
If you are expecting a litter of fluffy kittens from your cat soon, it can be very exciting, and maybe a little bit scary. But don’t worry, pregnant cats can usually take good care of themselves, But they also need your care and attention during the birth. Since cats often try to steal away at birth to enjoy some privacy, for safety’s sake you should watch them closely within the last few weeks of pregnancy! Our PetCare team has put together a few helpful tips to help you prepare for your pregnant cat.
what to prepare for your pregnant cat?
Ideally, your pregnant cat should have a room or a place for herself at the end of her pregnancy. Cats can become aggressive in the last two weeks of their pregnancy. You should therefore be kept isolated and have no children near you. The room in which it is located must be quite warm (around 22 ° C) so that it feels comfortable and there is no risk of hypothermia. The humidity is ideally 65-70%.
Set up a nesting box where your cat can give birth. This can be a cardboard box big enough for the cat to lie down and it must have enough sides to keep the kittens from falling out. Lay out plastic and then newspaper, which can be easily removed if dirty, and cover the whole thing with a blanket.
The nesting box should be warmer than the rest of the room to support the kittens in the first few days of their life when they are most sensitive. An infrared lamp is well suited for this because it does not conduct the heat too strongly into only one area; it should be set to 30 ° C.
Before the cat is born, ask the veterinarian what number he can be reached outside of office hours, as the kittens are often born at night. It is also possible that he will have to rush to help in an emergency. If your cat has problems giving birth, you may need to take her to the vet, so make sure you have transportation available if the worst comes to the worst.
If you think cat birth is imminent, there are a few things you should prepare, such as a clean bowl of warm water, clean towels and rags, dental floss and disposable gloves, a transport box, and the veterinarian’s contact details. You should have these things at hand in any case!
If you need to separate the young from their cat mum, you need to keep them warm. It is best to use a grain cushion heated in the microwave; a hot water bottle is not so good, because the kittens with their pointed teeth or their claws could cause holes in them.
Pregnancy in cats usually lasts 63 to 67 days, however it is difficult to determine exactly when do cats give birth. What are the signs of cat give birth, what are the signs of labor for pregnant cat? There are some signs of an imminent cat birth to watch out for:
- If your pregnant cat refuses to eat, becomes restless and looks for an undisturbed place, it may well be that the contractions will begin very soon.
- Your cat’s body temperature will drop to around 37.8 ° C within the last 12 to 24 hours before birth.
- Shortly before the birth, the mother-to-be may become a little louder, appear more restless or constantly want to clean up.
- The birth is preceded by strong contractions in the lower abdomen, followed by some vaginal flow. If the discharge is thick and black or bloody, you should contact the veterinarian. Once you notice a reddish discharge, it won’t be long before the first kittens and their placentas appear – usually within an hour.
Contact the veterinarian if you are unsure whether your contractions have started and keep an eye on your cat within the past few weeks and days of pregnancy to know where and when she is giving birth to her.
How do cats give birth?
The birth of a cat can be divided into three phases. If you think the contractions have started, keep an eye on your cat. The birth of cats is usually smooth, don’t intervene them when it is not necessary. Keep the number of viewers small even if the whole family is looking forward to the growth.
The first phase of cat birth is not necessarily visible to the naked eye, here the uterus is preparing for birth. The contractions begin, but are not necessarily recognizable. Your cat becomes very restless and sometimes loud.
Phase 2 includes the birth of the kittens. The birth of the kittens can take between 2 and 24 hours. The kittens are usually born 30 to 45 minutes apart, sometimes even over an hour. Some kittens are born head first, others have legs first, and this is also normal in cats. So don’t worry if that happens.
Phase 3 describes the elimination of the individual placentas, which usually happens after each kitten. Count the placentas your cat excretes, you should find one placenta per kitten. If you find fewer placentas than kittens, the new mother may have eaten them or maybe twins shared a placenta. Don’t bump into it if the cat mother eats some of the placentas, this is normal, but you should take special care of them during the birth of the cat!
How many kittens can cats have?
How many kittens a cat gives birth is always different and depends on many factors such as the cat breed. Usually cats get 3 to 6 boys per litter. The first litter is an exception: the average here is 2 to 3 kittens.
Warning signs of problems during labor
If your heavily pregnant cat goes into labor , she becomes restless before lying down to give birth. Check your cat regularly during the birth. But you don’t have to stay with her all the time. You should only intervene and call the vet in the following cases:
- The cat has had violent labor pains for more than an hour and has not given birth yet. Contractions can be recognized by the fact that the abdominal area hardens.
- Even after three to four hours there are still no kittens.
- Not all kittens are born within 24 hours of the start of the birth process.
- Measured by the number of kittens, there are not enough placentas to be seen, this can be an indication of placentas that have not yet been eliminated.
Even though it may be a sad experience for you, some kittens may not survive the birth. In the event of miscarriage in a later stage of pregnancy in cats, the veterinarian should examine your cat to ensure that no infectious disease was the cause.
After a kitten is born, its mother will help him break the amniotic sac (a thin skin around the kitten) and gently brush it. Usually you do not have to intervene when giving birth to a cat, but sometimes a little help can not hurt either.
If the cat mom does not completely break the amniotic sac, or if she does not brush the kittens, you may need to step in and help her take care of the newborn kittens. Carefully tear open the unopened amniotic sac using a towel (and never with the aid of a sharp object!) So that the kitten can breathe. Gently clean its mouth and nose and then rub the kitten quickly and dry against the grain with a clean rag, towel, or washcloth. A rub with a warm towel keeps the kitten dry and warm and also encourages him to take his first strong breath.
Your cat gave birth to her cubs, and now it’s up to the cat mother to bite through the umbilical cord. If she does not, your help is asked again. Wash your hands or use disposable gloves and tie the umbilical cord with some dental floss about 5 cm from the kitten’s body. Tie the umbilical cord again 2.5 cm away from the body and cut the umbilical cord in between. Be careful not to cut the string too close to the kitten’s body, as this could hurt the kitten.
If you are concerned about helping your cat give birth, you can ask the veterinarian for advice in advance so that you know what to do and you can act confidently.
How to take care the kittens after birth?
If the kittens have not sucked more than an hour after birth, you may need to help them find their mother’s teats, because they are certainly very hungry! If there are more kittens than teats, you may need to swap the kittens yourself until they learn to share.
If it looks like the mother is not trying to take care of the newborn kittens, she is not cleaning or nursing them, contact the veterinarian immediately.
Sometimes you have to raise the kittens by hand after birth, but that rarely happens. If you have any questions or concerns about hand rearing kittens, ask the vet for advice. All you have to do now is celebrate the miracle of birth and the arrival of kittens – congratulations!