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How Long Can A Cat Be In Labor

What Will Mating My Cat Involve

Kitty Series: How to tell when YOUR CAT IS ABOUT TO GO INTO LABOR!

A queen is an induced ovulator, which means that eggs are released from her ovaries in response to mating or sexual contact. During mating, the male cat holds the queen’s scruff in his teeth and when he ejaculates, the queen cries out and frequently becomes aggressive. Although it appears violent, this is normal mating behavior. After mating, she will groom herself, wait a while, and then mate again.

Pregnancy or gestation ranges from 60-67 days, averaging 63-65 days.

Welcome To This World Kitten

The little rascals will learn how to conquer the world while they are growing up.

The first weeks are the most important ones when they learn everything a cat needs to know through play and interaction with their mum and siblings and their two-legged friends.

We wish all the kittens a happy, long life, filled with everything that cats love and desire!

How To Help Deliver Kittens

Is your cat due to give birth? You might feel nervous at the prospect of your cat going into labour – as well as ensuring that the kittens are safely delivered. Cats often give birth unsupported and are private creatures, so watch quietly from a distance in case you need to help or call the vet. You can find out more on how to deliver kittens in our video below.

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Allow For Cuddling Time

As the big day nears, your cat will become more affectionate and clingy. Young cats are often specifically anxious, especially during their first pregnancy.

Dont leave them alone too much. Spend a lot of time with them and spoil them rotten, even if to them giving birth is a natural process and may be able to do it all by themselves in the end. Yes, they prefer to be alone and without the help of a human midwife on their big day, but there is no harm in showing them upfront that we are there for them if needed. We receive so much affection from them now is the time to give something back.

Consider Spaying And Neutering

Stray Cat Came to Shelter with Big Belly, So Pregnant She ...

According to the ASPCA, a cat can have an average of four to six kittens per litter, and can have one to two litters per year. That adds up to a lot of kittens!

Shelters are full of cats and kittens across the United States. To help with the serious problem of overpopulation, talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your cat.

It is also important to consider the risk of pyometra , which is a life-threatening condition that can happen in intact cats.

The best way to prevent this serious and expensive medical condition is to spay your cat. Spaying before the first heat cycle , can also reduce the risk of mammary cancer in your feline friend.

Here are some tips for caring for your cats kittens safely.

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Keep The Scales Ready

Keep a protocol of the birthing process. Write down both order and weight of the kittens at delivery. Give them names. Take a picture , so that you can match the data more easily later on. In case the kittens all look alike, recording the data can be hard later on, while a variety in appearance makes things a lot easier. To weigh the tiny new kittens, a digital scale works best.

Cat Pregnancy Stages: A Week

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It seems as though cats get pregnant easily and often. Neutering and spaying your pets are very important in keeping the population under control and reducing how many kitties end up in shelters, on the streets, or euthanized.

Plus, cats that have been neutered or spayed are often healthier. However, things happen, and cats do have kittens, whether you plan for it or it just happens.

When your pet is conceiving, you may be wondering how long your cat will be pregnant, and what the cat pregnancy stages are from week to week. Hopefully, this brief guide will help give you some ideas on what to expect when your feline is pregnant.

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Keep The Area Private And Quiet

The mother and her kittens should be kept in a quiet, low-traffic area of the house. If there is too much commotion around her, she may become stressed and neglect her kittens.

As the kittens get older and more rambunctious, your cat will want more and more time to get away and sleep, groom, or socialize with members of the household. Give your cat space to get away from the kittens, but make sure that she is returning often to check on them.

How Can I Help My Cat

Kitten Care : How Long Are Cats Pregnant?

Your cat knows what it is doing, and there is little you will need to do besides keeping an eye on things to make sure labor doesnt last too long. You will want to prepare by having a carrying cage ready to go should your cat require it. You should also take steps to ensure the area is quiet and wont be disturbed by other family members. If possible, you should increase the rooms temperature to make the cat and the new kittens more comfortable.

  • During the final week of labor, your cat will begin to select a nesting place to give birth. If it gives birth in the house, it will seek a quiet area away from other family members. You can help your cat by supplying plenty of towels and making sure she has her privacy.
  • The mammary glands will grow and become visible in the last week of pregnancy, signaling that labor is near.
  • The cats temperature will drop before labor.
  • You will notice increased vocalizations, pacing, grooming, and other behaviors that are unusual for your cat.
  • You may also notice a decrease in appetite.

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Nesting Behavior Will Begin

Similar to humans, your cat may start nesting behavior You can help your cat at this time by putting the kittening or nesting box in a quiet, warm room that is free from drafts. Draft-free is very important since kittens arent able to regulate their body temperature. Make certain that the location of the box is off limits to any other pets you may have, as well as to children. Encourage your cat to sleep inside this box as soon as you notice any nesting behavior going on.

Third Stage Of Kittening

The third stage of kittening involves the passage of the membranes and the dark flesh mass of the placenta or afterbirth.

What to expect:

  • this usually follows immediately, although occasionally two kittens are born followed by two sets of membranes
  • try to count the number of placentae to ensure one is passed for each kitten. If they are not all passed within four to six hours, call your vet for advice. Bear in mind that the queen will usually eat the placenta to hide evidence of the birth and protect her kittens.
  • a red-brown vaginal discharge may be seen for up to three weeks after the birth. It is abnormal if it is green or foul-smelling, although there may normally be a small amount of greenish discharge after the kitten or placenta

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Tips To Prepare For The Big Day

Make your home a comfortable place for the impending birth. If you normally let your cat go outside, stop that, to avoid them to go into labor during one of their walkabouts.

About 2 weeks before the due date, you may notice your cat is acting different as they get into nesting mode. To help out, you can scan your home for a good birthing spot for them. Find a medium-sized box with a low opening, and cover it with newspapers, old towels, and soft blankets to create a relaxing area for the mother and their future kittens.

You should place the nesting box in a quiet corner of your house. Let your pregnant cat visit it often, before the birth, so they get used to the area and feel comfortable.

Keep in mind that you can guide your cat as much as possible and set up the ultimate birthing spot, but they are going to do what they are going to do. If they want to give birth in a laundry basket, behind the garbage can, or in the back of your closet, they will.


When you notice that the cat is in nesting mode, take them to the vet for their final prenatal visit. The vet will give you more information about how to prepare for the delivery, check on the mother and kitties health, and tell you want to do if theres an emergency during the birth.

Two clues that the big day is coming: Cats usually stop eating 24 hours before they give birth, and their temperature drops below 100 F. Youll meet those kittens soon!

Signs That A Cat Is In Labor

Can a Cat

The average gestation period of a pregnant cat is between 62 and 65 days. They breed an average of four kittens. They can give birth several times a year, but are usually more fertile during the brighter months. During their pregnancy it is recommended that the cat is taken to a veterinarian for various reasons. The vet will help us to prevent any complications, establish an approximate date of birth and encourage a healthy development of the pregnancy.

Changing a cat’s diet during their pregnancy is necessary to ensure they are best able to adapt to their body’s new needs. We should notice that their general food intake increases as the pregnancy proceeds, until a few days before labor. At this point the amount of food they will eat will decrease or they may even stop eating altogether.

Approximating the time of birth is related to changes in the cat’s body temperature. By measuring it, a vert can have an idea of the probable birth date. There are other indications that a cat may give birth, such as preparing a nesting space. This is where the cat seeks out a sheltered and safe space to both give birth and begin rearing the kittens. We can help by making a bed with soft materials and placing it in a warm place away from any drafts or other possible impediments. However, they may choose their own place and you shouldn’t force them to go somewhere they don’t want. Their security is paramount.

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What Happens When My Cat Comes Into Heat

Queens come into heat many times a year. Cats in estrus become very affectionate and vocal, demand attention and roll frequently. When stroked they raise their rear quarters and tread the ground with their back legs. These behavioral changes can confuse the inexperienced owner, who may misinterpret them as pain or illness. The pattern of estrus is variable from cat to cat and is usually seasonal.

Avoid Medication And Vaccinations

Vaccinations should be done prior to the gestation period, so that antibodies are already present and can be passed on to the kittens via the mothers milk. The same goes for de-worming: This should also be done before the mating season, so that the little ones dont get infested through the mothers milk. De-worming therapies and medications: Ideally, a cat should be de-wormed prior to a pregnancy. If not, this should happen during gestation at the latest, so that the milk is worm free and there is no danger of infestation of the kittens via the mother. Never medicate or treat your cat without consulting the vet who will be able to advise you on the correct medication suited for pregnant animals.

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Signs A Cat Is Pregnant & What To Know

Is my cat pregnant? Its a question concerned cat owners ask a surprising amount. When you havent gotten your cat spayed and shes gone unsupervised for a time, chances are that your cat might be pregnant. But how does one know for sure? This is how to tell if a cat is pregnant. There are several key symptoms and features to look for during the short gestation period.

When Should You Provide Your Cat Assistance

How to Tell if Your Cat is in Labor?
  • When kittens are delivered but the amniotic membrane or sac is intact. Usually kittens start tearing out the sac, or the mother does this task. When neither the kittens nor the mother does this, carefully cut it open to release the kitten.
  • When the mother cat is too exhausted to lick her kittens. The mother cat licks her kittens to stimulate breathing. If this does not happen, rub the kitten gently with a towel. Make sure the kitten is face down to clear the fluid from its airway.
  • Normally, the mother cat chews off the umbilical cord. If she doesnt, tie a piece of non-waxed dental floss or a sturdy thread tightly around the cord an inch from the kittens body. Tie another loop of thread an inch further up the cord, then tie between the two loops with a sharp pair of scissors.

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Start The Weaning Process At 3 To 4 Weeks

Once the kittens are 3 to 4 weeks old, you can begin the weaning process by giving them access to kitten food.

You can mix dry kibble with water or canned kitten food to make it easier for them to eat. They should still have constant access to the queen, who will continue to nurse them.

Over the next few weeks, they will rely more and more on kitten food rather than nursing. Most queens will wean their kittens by 5 to 6 weeks of age.

At this age, you also can put out a small litter pan with a thin layer of litter. Most kittens will naturally scratch in the litter and learn to relieve themselves in the litter box.

1. Pet statistics. Animal homelessness, shelter intake and surrender. ASPCA. .

2. Nelson RW, Couto CG. Small Animal Internal Medicine. 5th edition. St. Louis, Mo. Elsevier. 2014.

3. Reducing the risk of cancer. Special pet topics. Cancer and tumors. Merck Veterinary Manual. .

4. Brooks Wendy. Giving birth to kittens. Veterinary Information Network.

5. Williams Krista. Pregnancy and parturition in cats. VCA Hospitals.

The First Stage Of Cat Labor

During the first stage of cat labor, she will start showing these symptoms:

  • Nesting, including kneading/rearranging her bed or maternity box
  • Rapid Breathing/Rapid Pulse Rate
  • Trembling
  • Fluid May Drip From Nipples

She will be uncomfortable during the first stage of her labor, because the uterine contractions have begun and the kittens are moving into birthing position. She may have trouble getting comfortable and can shift or change positions a lot during this stage.

The first stage of labor can last from 12 to 24 hours. If she is a first time mom, she may be on the upper end of this scale.

If she is in the first stage of labor for longer than 24 hours, or moves to the second stage then back to the first, contact your vet for advice.

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Helping Your Pregnant Cat Give Birth At Home

If your pregnant cat is expecting a litter, make sure you feel prepared and able to support her in a stress-free birth with our simple guide.

With a litter of kittens on the way, it’s important you feel prepared and confident for when the day arrives. If you choose to have a home birth, then there are a number of simple but essential things you can do to make sure your cat is happy, healthy and able to give birth in a stress-free environment.

Preparing your home for your cat to give birth

Ideally, your pregnant cat should be allowed to have a room or space to herself at the end of her pregnancy. Queens can become aggressive in the final two weeks of their gestation, so isolate her and keep her away from children. The room needs to be quite warmaround 72°Fto help her feel comfortable and reduce the risk of hypothermia, and ideally needs to have 65-70% humidity.

You should put together a nesting box where your queen can give birth. This can be a cardboard box that’s big enough for her to lie down in and with tall enough sides so the kittens won’t fall out. Line it with plastic and then newspaper, which is easily removed if it becomes soiled, and cover it with a blanket.

The nesting box should be warmer than the rest of the room to support the kittens when they are at their most fragile during the first few days of life. An infra-red lamp is a good way to do this as it doesn’t direct heat too harshly in one area, and it should be set to 86°F.

When The Kitten Delivery Is Too Long

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Now that we have explained how long it takes to deliver kittens, we should know there are circumstances when veterinary intervention is recommended. They may include:

  • If more than 2 hours pass after the contractions have started.
  • Very weak contractions for 2 to 4 hours.
  • After 20 to 30 minutes of very strong contractions without the expulsion of the kitten.
  • If we see any obstruction in the birth canal, regardless of time.

Any of these signs may indicate a problem with either mother or babies and we will have to contact a vet. They will be best able to diagnose the problem and even use a cesarean section if necessary.

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Keep Pregnant Cats On Safe Flea Preventatives

During pregnancy, its even more important to keep your cat on a safe, vet-approved flea preventative. Always check with your veterinarian to ensure that a specific flea preventative is safe for use in pregnant cats.

Keeping your cat flea-free isnt just for their safety, but for the safety of their kittens. Flea anemia is one of the most common causes of death in young kittens.


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