First Stage Of Labor: Contractions And Restlessness
The first stage;is defined as cervix relaxation and;the start of intermittent contractions. However, its likely that you wont be able to see or tell that your cat is having contractions at this point in the birthing process.
During this stage, you can expect your cat to:
Sometimes even vomit
Her body temperature will also decrease to 99°F or less when she is 12-36 hours from the start of full;contractions.;;
How Islam Conquered My Mothers Fear Of Cats
Shed always found them evil and scary, but when I wanted a cat in lockdown I appealed to my mums faith
Cats are perfect to most people, but not to my 42-year-old mother. She is just like any of my 17-year-old friends parents she is spirited, sparky, generous and can be feisty when she needs to be. She cooks arguably the best chicken parmesan in the world, and also has impeccable taste in Bollywood music. But there is one annoying trait that makes her different from the other mothers she unequivocally loathes all animals, unless they are in a palatable format, like her chicken parmesan.
In Britain, a hatred for pets is unheard of, any bitterness towards animals is considered completely unacceptable. After all, we are considered a zoophilist nation. Throughout lockdown, pet ownership has surged. According to statistics from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, there are now 34m pets in the UK including 12m cats and 12m dogs, along with 3.2m small mammals, such as guinea pigs and hamsters, 3m birds and 1.5m reptiles.
Like many teenagers in lockdown, I really wanted a cat
In complete contrast, I am an ailurophile. I love cats with a passion. I love their intelligence, inquisitiveness and how unassailable they seem. Like many teenagers in lockdown, sweating through hours of home learning while struggling to remain positive, I really wanted a cat. I am not alone; a total of 3.2m UK households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic.
How Many Kittens Make A Litter
The number of kittens per litter;varies.;One two or up to five kittens enter the world at once, sometimes even six! This depends on the breed as well as on the mating ritual:When did the female mate and with how many partners?
If the cat decides to mate again during the first three weeks of the gestation period, further fertilisation is well possible.
For that reason, kittens of the same litter often vary a lot from different fur and eye colour through to individual stages of development at birth.
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Kitten Development Stage: Week 1
- Kittens are born with their eyes and ear canals closed. They do not have any sight or hearing and will most likely stay close to the mother.
- The umbilical cord will dry up and fall off within a few days.
- Their main activities will include eating, sleeping and passing waste.
- The mother cleans the kitten regularly, and this also helps stimulate the newborn.
How To Best Prepare For Labor
Truthfully, when it comes to your feline giving birth, there isnt much you can do. This will largely rest on your cats shoulders. However, you will need to prepare a birthing area for your cat. This should be done around week 7 to give your cat lots of time to nest in the box and prepare it to her liking.
The box should be in a warm, quiet room where the cat is unlikely to be disturbed. It shouldnt be near other animals or in a high-traffic area. Otherwise, your cat probably wont use it. The box should be packed with newspaper or shredded paper. If you dont shred the paper, the mother cat will likely shred it slightly as she feels the need.
You should have towels and blankets on hand during the birth, but you should interfere as little as possible. The cat will likely know what to do, and you dont want to distract her.
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Keep The Nest Area Warm
Kittens are;unable to regulate their own body temperature until they are;3 to 4;weeks old. So for the first;four;weeks of their lives, you should provide a warm, clean box or bedding for the mother and kittens to share.;
Use;a;heating pad;below the nesting box or a heating lamp above;it to;keep the kittens warm.;But make sure;there are accessible unheated areas, as kittens will;need to;be able to;move away from the heat source if they become too warm.;
The warm area should be about 97°F.;;
Potential Cat Pregnancy Problems
Not every pregnancy in a cat goes as planned, and there are some risks involved that you should be prepared to address with a trip to the nearest animal emergency facility.
- Eclampsia is a life-threatening condition with symptoms such as restlessness, pacing, panting, drooling, loss of coordination, muscle spasms or seizure-like movements.
- Secondly, the fetuses can abort naturally. Signs that this may have happened may include fever, bleeding, behavioral changes or other changes.
- Lastly, resorption occurs when the mothers body absorbs the dead fetus.
Any of these situations are serious and need to be addressed by a vet immediately.
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Cat Labor Emergency Kit
If your cat is pregnant, its always a good idea to prepare an emergency kit ahead of time with items you may need. In many cases you dont have to do a thing, nature takes care of it. But its good to have one on hand, just in case. Note that you should never try to help your cat unless you know there is a real problem. Cats are quite good at having babies without any human intervention.
In your kit, make sure you have plenty of clean sheets and towels. Flannel is great, especially for after the kittens are born because they are less likely to get their little claws tangled up in this material. ;
Make sure you have a clean pair of scissors on hand or a suture kit to cut any of the cords if necessary, and stock iodine to swab the kittens little bellybuttons and prevent infection. You should stock your emergency kit with disposable gloves too, in case you have to handle the kittens at all, as well as sterilized gauze pads and non-waxed dental floss. The dental floss will be used to tie off the cords if your mother cat doesnt do it on her own.
Another good idea to keep in your emergency kit is a notebook and pen so you can take notes on the birthing process and note any other important information like the time and date. You can also make sure your vet information is written in there in case you need to call them for help.
Cat Breeding at This Time of Year Vet Westm Accessed May. 2019.
Monitor Nursing And Lactation
Colostrum is the first milk that the mother cat produces for her kittens. It is imperative that the kittens receive an adequate amount of colostrum because it contains vital nutrients and immunoglobulins that are necessary for proper immune system maturation.
Newborn kittens should be nursing every one to two hours, so your cat will likely be with them constantly;for the first week or two.;If you think that your cat may not be producing milk, or isnt letting the kittens nurse, contact your veterinarian right away.;
Use caution when approaching the kittens, as some mothers may show aggression to humans;or other household pets if;they;perceive a threat.;
Avoid giving medications and vaccines while your cat is nursing.
If your cat becomes ill, call your veterinarian immediately and make sure to let them know that she is nursing so that they can prescribe safe medications if needed. Contact your vet if you your cat does any of the following:
Becomes very lethargic
Has redness and swelling in any of her mammary glands
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Discuss Medical Care With Your Veterinarian
You should also contact your veterinarian to ask when the kittens should first be examined.;
They may want to see them right away to evaluate for cleft palates, umbilical hernias, and other health concerns, or they may advise you to wait until they are a bit older.;
Many veterinarians recommend deworming at regular intervals, starting at;2 to 4;weeks of age, and vaccinating at;6;weeks of age.;;
How Do You Take Care Of A Pregnant Cat
Youve confirmed your precious pussycat is pregnant congratulations! As the excitement subsides, you might be wondering just what extra care and preparations your little kitty might need to ensure she has a safe, happy and comfortable pregnancy.;
Feeding and nutrition
A cat will need a lot more protein and energy to keep her strong throughout her pregnancy. Whilst normal adult cat food has kept her healthy until now, it wont have the added nutrients she will need to grow her kittens. It may actually be more beneficial to switch her back to kitten food throughout her pregnancy and until the newborn kittens have been weaned. Its important to switch foods gradually with cats to avoid dodgy tummies and fussy eaters.
Switching to kitten food has multiple benefits, not just for the pregnant cat but for the new kittens, too. They will get top quality milk from the extra nutrients their mum is consuming and, as they grow, they will start trying some of mums food, which will help them to wean a bit further down the line.
You might find that as her belly swells and is taken up by growing kitty cats, your pregnant cat cant eat masses of food in one go, so small, frequent meals are the way to go. It will be handy to leave out high-quality dry food for her to graze on throughout the day as she feels necessary.
Handling and cuddling
However, you need to remember that as her body changes you will need to watch how you handle her.
Health and vaccinations
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Will My Cat’s Diet Need To Be Changed During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the queen’s nutrient requirements will reach one-and-a-half times her pre-pregnancy level. By the time of weaning, it may exceed twice the pre-pregnancy level. It will be necessary to increase the number of meals given and feed a diet formulated for pregnant females or kittens, since this provides the additional nutrients required for pregnancy and nursing.
Second Stage Of Labor: Birth
The second stage of labor in cats begins with stronger, more frequent uterine contractions that eventually lead to;the;birth of a kitten.;Do NOT move or distract your cat during;the;birthing process;because she may stop labor and begin again the next day;if she feels stressed.;
Depending;on the individual;queen, kittens are usually born every 30-60 minutes, with the entire litter being delivered in less than six hours.;Pregnant cats can have four to six kittens in a litter. You can use a timer to keep track of the time between kittens to make sure there isnt a problem.
Watch for Complications
Dystocia means difficult birth;and can occur for a variety of reasons.
If the mother;is having strong contractions and hasbeen straining for more than 60 minutes without birthing a kitten, she should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.;
What Should You Do After a Kitten Is Born?
Kittens;are born with a protective fetal membrane;that is usually removed by the mother cat shortly after birth. Fetal membranes are usually reddish-yellow in color and surround the fetus thats floating in amniotic fluid.
If the mother cat fails to remove the fetal membrane within the first minute after birth, you will need to break the sac;and wipe away any fluid from the kittens nose. Then open the mouth with the head facing down and clear any remaining membranes or fluid. You can then stimulate the kitten to breathe by firmly stroking their body with a towel.
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Indications For The Beginning Of Labour
When exactly will it start? What are the signs for your cat entering the birthing phase?
Shortly before start, the kittens have grown quite a bit within their mums belly and may have even been seen moving around! As soon as your cat starts;looking for a safe delivery spot, you can be sure that things will start soon.;
The mum-to-be;walks around and examines everything,;from wardrobes to drawers to laundry basket. All the favourite spots will subjected to a thorough inspection.
How Many Nipples Do Cats Have
There isnt one set answer for this. Cats almost always have an even amount but cats have been known to have odd amounts as well. As for the number, cats can have as little as 4, but as many as 10! The average number being 6. Yes, this includes male cats as well! Some kittens from the same litter may have different amounts. You can have 2 kittens with 6 nipples and 4 kittens with 8 nipples. Sex doesnt change the number, but purely genetics.
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How Long Are Cats In Labor
There are three stages of cat labor.
- The first stage;usually lasts around 24 hours to 36 hours.
- The second stage;is when contractions occur to push a kitten out, which usually happens within 5 minutes to 1 hour in between kittens. In total, this could take about 2 hours to 6 hours for most cats.
- The third stage;is expelling the placenta for each kitten that comes out which does not take more than 5 to 10 minutes each.
Signs Of Impending/active Cat Labour
- If your cat refuses food, acts fidgety and looks for a secluded place to settle down, it could be because her labour is due to start very soon.
- Your cats body temperature will drop to around 37.8°C in the 12-24 hours before her labour starts.
- Right before giving birth, mum may become more vocal, appear agitated and want to wash herself constantly.
- Delivery should start with strong abdominal contractions, followed by some discharge from her vagina. If the discharge is heavy and black, or blood-coloured, then contact your vet.
- After this discharge, the kittens should follow very quickly!
Most cat labours go smoothly and you shouldnt have to interfere. There are some signs however, such as discoloured discharge and mum straining without producing kittens, which could suggest complications.
If you notice either of these or have any other concerns, contact your vet. See our guide on labour and giving birth for more information on cats giving birth.
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For How Long Is A Cat Pregnant
Around two months will go by until the offspring are developed enough to enter the world. The young ones go through different stages of development until they are ready for birthing.;;
Depending on the breed, kittens are born after 58 67 days of gestation.;Smaller breeds dont take as long as larger ones.;
If nothing has happened around the 70th;day, you should consult a vet who will examine the mother cat thoroughly and give advice on how to proceed.;
Duration and phases of the gestation period
Day 6:;Transfer of the fertilised eggs to the uterus
Day 12:;Settling in the uterine wall
Day 15:;Connection of the embryos with the mother cats circulatory system.
Day 21:;The embryos can now be seen via an ultrasound scan.;
Day 28:;The embryos are 3-4 cm in size
Day 38:;Nerves, sensory organs and muscles are developed.;
Day 50:;The babies in the making are ca. 7 cm in size now and the fur is growing
;Day 60:;Ready for delivery
The kittens are preparing for the big day. They are now complete, tiny cats with all the trimmings and measure ca. 13 cm shortly before delivery.
How Many Kittens Can A Cat Have In One Litter
There are typically between one to 10 kittens in a litter. First-time queens tend to give birth to smaller litters of two or three kittens. Older queens tend to have smaller litters as well. It also may depend on the breed; Siamese cats tend to have big litters while Persian cats tend to have smaller litters. Its a smart idea to talk to your vet to find out how many kittens in the litter to expect, as sometimes a first-time mother will birth some but not all of its kittens, which can cause potentially life-threatening issues. Sometimes, pet owners are surprised by more kittens, as there is typically 10 minutes to an hour between them.
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Weeks Three And Four : Days 15
During week three, the implanted embryos will begin to develop their organs, which causes a massive hormone surge within the pregnant cat. You may begin to notice that your female cats nipples have become darker and possibly more swollen in a process known as pinking.
Around week three or four, your cat may begin to suffer from morning sickness, which may make her less interested in food than normal and can also cause vomiting; not necessarily just in the morning! This is perfectly normal, but if the vomiting is prolonged or particularly severe, you should consult your vet. Your vet should be able to confirm pregnancy by means of an ultrasound scan from around 18 days after conception. At the end of week four, your vet should be able to feel the abdomen and definitively confirm the pregnancy manually, if you have not already had an ultrasound scan performed.
You should not pick your cat up after week four of her pregnancy, in order to avoid inadvertently hurting her kittens.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Pregnant
- After more or less 15-18 days of cat pregnancy, you will notice that your pets nipples become enlarged. Read this is often referred to as pinking up.
- Similar to nausea in humans, your pregnant queen might undergo a stage of projection. If you notice that her illness becomes frequent. She is in the slightest degree unwell in the other manner, contact your vet.
- Your queens tummy can begin to swell, however, avoid touching it thus you do not risk pain mum or her unborn kittens. There are alternative causes behind abdominal swelling, thus monitor your cat closely for any signs of health problem. Consult your vet if youre distressed.
- A mum-to-be can gain weight between 1-2 kilogram this is often a robust sign that she is pregnant.
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