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.
A Comfortable Bed To Snuggle In
Kittens spend a lot of time sleeping, up to 16 hours a day on average. All this rest helps with growth and development. Starting from their very first night, your kitten will need a lot of rest in order to grow into a healthy cat, so before bringing your kitten home its essential that you choose a comfortable bed they can snuggle in thats warm, cosy, and safe.
When Will My Cat Have A Heat Cycle
Intact female cats, or queens, come into heat or become sexually mature and able to become pregnant at about 6-7 months of age. Heat cycles in cats happen every 2-3 weeks several times a year. Female cats encourage the attention of male cats by posturing and vocalizing loudly , become very affectionate, and roll frequently. Posturing is seen when queens are stroked, and they raise their hindquarters and tread the ground with their back legs. The urge to mate can be so strong that your indoor cat will attempt to escape outdoors to mate.
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How Long Can A Cat Be In Labor
Cats typically go into labor around 24 hours after the last mating. However, they can go into labor as soon as they feel like it, which can be as little as 24 hours before the last mating. Typically, kittens come at any point after the last mating, but they can come any time within 72 hours of the last mating. There are some factors that can affect labor length. The environment can affect how long a cat is in labor. If the mother is under stress, or if the cat is exposed to heat or cold, it can delay labor. Some cats go into labor early and some go into labor late. This can affect labor length.
How Long Are Cats In Labor Before Giving Birth
Kitty labor can be described in three stages. In reality, they may blend together more than a textbook birth.
Stage one labor: This stage “is characterized by restlessness and pacing behavior,” Katribe explains. It’s not unusual for cats to stop eating during this stage, vomit, vocalize, pant, or tremble. She might have clear, watery discharge too. This pre-birth phase could last anywhere from six to 24 hours.
Stage two labor: When visual contractions are apparent, your cat has entered the second stage of labor. This is when she’ll actively birth her kittens. It usually lasts under six hours but could go as long as 48 hours. “It’s normal for mothers to rest between kittens, and periods of rest can be several hours long,” Katribe says. But, she adds, if the period of rest between kittens last four hours or morecall your vet for immediate care.
If you had an X-ray taken before delivery, you’ll know how many kittens to expect and when Mom is done giving birth. If you didn’t get X-rays and are wondering how to know when a cat is done giving birth, Katribe says when visible abdominal contractions have stopped, it’s typically safe to assume all kittens have been born.
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What To Do When Your Cat Is Giving Birth
A difficult birth is referred to as dystocia and may involve intense straining, excessive bleeding, and more.
Most of the time, cat owners should not interfere with a mother cat that is delivering because in most cases, mother cats instinctually know what to do. Provide a quiet, warm, safe place to deliver, and check on her at least once an hour.
If you have a first time mother cat, however, then you should monitor her birthing process more closely, and watch for signs of dystocia, which means difficult birth.
What Are The Signs Of Labour
About 24 hours prior to going into labour your cat may become restless, uninterested in food and begin making a “nest”. Her vulva may be swollen and have a clear mucous discharge.
Abdominal contractions will then commence, the queen will strain and the first kitten should be born within 1 to 2 hours. The placental membrane often ruptures prior to the kitten being born but is not always the case and some kittens are born completely covered in their membranes.
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Recovery Of Early Contractions And Labor In Cats
After the delivery, it is important to keep the cat isolated from other animals for a period of three weeks, with exceptions being made for any surviving kittens, of course. Even animals that live in the home and that the cat knows should be kept at a distance, as the cat will need time to recover from going through labor. As much as possible, the cat should be kept in a warm and quiet room by itself.
After a cat has gone through early labor, it is important to bring it in for a checkup after the three week period. At this point, the cat should be returning to normal, and it can be a sign of other diseases if the cat is still weak or sick after the first three weeks.
While a cat is nursing its kittens, it is important not to give it any medication without approval from a veterinarian. Many medications can affect the cat’s milk and be harmful to kittens.
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Supplies For The Birthing
Your cat might want to hide to give birth. However, you can prepare a birthing area, such as a cardboard box or laundry basket lined with towels or blankets. If the cat uses this spot, it will be easier for you to observe and attend to the birth.
- Absorbent pads: Get absorbent pads to line the delivery area.
- Towels: You will need clean towels or paper towels to clean the area and stimulate the kittens, if necessary.
- Nesting box: If you have brought your pregnant cat to the vet, and you know how many kittens to expect, get a nesting box large enough for the brood. Although a cat can have from one to 12 kittens, an average litter is about four kittens. A standard, 8-pound cat should be fine with a box that is 16-inches by 24 inches. The larger the cat, the bigger the box it will need.
- Heating pad: Put a heating pad in the bottom of the box with a blanket or several towels over it to prevent the kittens from getting chilled. Never place the kittens directly on a heating pad it can burn them. If the box does not have a lid, then drape a clean towel over the top to hold the heat in and keep out drafts.
- Refuse bin: You will have a bunch of soiled towels after the birth, so have a laundry basket, plastic bag, or extra box ready for discarding them.
- Dental floss and clean scissors: If the mother cat does not break away the umbilical cord, you will need to tie it off with dental floss and cut the cord.
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Signing Up With A Vet
Registering with a vet is very important and with many practices to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one to pick. Follow our advice on how to pick the right vet practice for you and your pet.
Make sure they are registered
It is illegal for anyone that isnt registered to practice as a vet. You can find a full list of qualified vets on the RCVS website.
Word of mouth
If you are in touch with local cat owners, ask around to see what vet their pet is registered to. Recommendations are a useful way of find a vet that is right for you.
Choose a local vet
Choosing a vet that is close in distance to you is important. As well as being convenient, it is good to know that your vet is close by in an emergency.
While most vets can carry out various medical and surgical procedures, there may be times where your cat needs specialist care. For example, your cat may have a complex fracture that needs treating. Your local surgery should be able to point you in the right direction.
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Stages Of Labor In Cats
Cats go through several stages of labor, starting when the uterus starts to contract, the cervix relaxes, and the cats water breaks.
Just like humans, cats go through several stages of labor when they are about to give birth. The first stage of labor happens when the uterus, the hollow organ inside a cats belly where the kittens develop, starts contracting, the cervix starts to relax, and the cats water breaks.
Stage one lasts anywhere from 6-12 hours on average .
During stage one, a mother cat may meow more, or purr and be very social it really depends on the cat.
The mother cat will usually refuse food starting 24 hours before giving birth, and her body temperature may drop under 100 degrees F. Pregnant cats in stage one rarely have discharge from their vulva.
Stage two labor happens when the kittens are delivered. It can take up to 16 hours on average for a cat to deliver all her kittens, some cats can take 3 days to finish delivery.
The length of stage two depends on how many kittens are present, whether this is a first pregnancy or not , and if there are any difficulties with the birth. It will take longer for the first kitten to be born in first time mothers.
During stage two is when abdominal wall contractions and straining are noticed. These contractions help move the newborn kitten through the birth canal.
If a mother cat goes longer than one hour between giving birth to kittens, however, and you notice any of the following:
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Looking For Behavioral Signs
Pregnancy And Parturition In Cats
Breeding cats can be an extremely rewarding experience. However, before undertaking a breeding program, it is essential to understand what this involves, from the time of mating to the time of weaning.
It is also important to remember that tens of millions of unwanted cats are euthanized every year. It will be your responsibility to find permanent, loving homes for every kitten.
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Diagnosis Of Birth Difficulties In Cats
Abnormal or difficult births in cats are typically caused by several factors, including uterine inertia, the birth canal is too small, the fetus crosses the birth channel in an atypical orientation, and/or the fetus is too large.
Veterinarians pay attention to the following situations and history:
- Previous history of dystocia or reproductive tract blockage
- Birth doesnt occur within at least 24 hours once the rectal temperature drops to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 degrees Celcius
- No kitten is born after the queen suffers severe abdominal contractions that last for more than two hours
- Pause in labor lasts more than four to six hours
- Obvious pain of the queen howling, licking or gnawing at the vulva
- Odd discharge from the vulva before the kittens are born
- Pelvic trauma
- Prior births
The vet could also carry out a sterile digital exam to determine the degree of obstruction in the birth canal as well as the position and presentation of the fetuses. To determine the presence, mass, location and health of the fetuses, the veterinarian could also use radiography or ultrasound scans.
Should labor be prolonged, and the veterinarians cannot see or feel the kitten in the birth canal, an x-ray of the queen will help to determine the relative sizes and positions of the kittens.
A fractured pelvis is detrimental for queens. If a queen with a fractured pelvis becomes pregnant and it wasnt known she had a fractured pelvis, she will have to undergo a surgery to give birth.
Keep Male Cats Separate From Your Female Cat After She Gives Birth
If your female cat is around a male cat that is not neutered, she could become pregnant again before she is even done weaning her current litter.
Most veterinarians prefer to wait until about a month after she is done weaning to spay her, as this allows time for the uterus to shrink down and makes the surgery safer.
If you are in this situation, have your male cat neutered as soon as you know your female is pregnant, or keep your female cat confined so that another pregnancy is not possible before she can be spayed.
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Third Stage Of Labor: Afterbirth
The thirdand finalstage of labor is the passage of the placenta.
A greenish-black mass of fetal membranes is expelled after passage of each kitten.
Retained placenta is a condition that can occur if the mother cat fails to expel the placenta during birth. This can lead to fever, infection, lack of appetite, and failure to care for the kittens.
If the queen has a retained placenta, you will need to seek veterinary care for her as soon as possible.
How Long Should Vaginal Discharge Last After a Cat Gives Birth?
Vaginal discharge may last for up to three weeks after the kittens are born. The discharge will normally appear reddish-black since it consists mostly of old blood. If the discharge is overly bloody or looks like pus, the queen should be examined by her veterinarian as soon as possible.
Once your cat has given birth, the real work begins. Heres what you need to know about postpartum care, nutrition, and lactation.
Regular Veterinary Checkups For Pregnant Cats
Your veterinary team will help you understand the best schedule for checkups throughout your cat’s pregnancy. Additionally, you’ll be able to plan together for the big day. You will need to know what is “normal” for at-home delivery, and you will want to be ready to safely transport your cat to the office if need be during labor. It’s also vital to have the name, location, and phone number of the closest pet emergency facility in case there are complications outside of regular veterinary business hours.
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Treatment Of Birth Difficulties In Cats
Medication: The source of some forms of uterine inertia is caused by a lack of oxytocin or calcium or both. To stimulate stronger contractions, the veterinarian may inject oxytocin and calcium gluconate. There is danger associated with such injections, in that the uterus could rupture.
Cesarean Section: If birthing difficulties cant be resolved by the use of drugs or obstetric treatment, the veterinarian will determine whether a cesarean section is necessary. The veterinarian will decide if this common procedure, which is used when all sorts of birthing problems are present, is the best choice for the mother. The vet will take the following into consideration:
- Length of labor
- Kittens size relative to the queens uterus
- A dry vaginal canal
- Lack of response to oxytocin
In most cases, a cesarean section presents no problems, especially if the queen is young and healthy. The veterinarian performs the operation under general anesthesia. There may be major problems if the labor is excessive and drawn out and toxicity occurs, i.e. the kittens are stillborn and starting to decay or if the uterus ruptures.
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How To Tell If Your Cat Is Going Into Labor
Towards the end of the pregnancy, which lasts about two months, we should expect the labor to start at any time. The veterinarian who examined our cat may have given you a probable date of birth. It should be noted, however, that determining this date is not an exact science. It may be advanced or delayed a few days without pathology.
Your cat will start preparing for birth a few days before. You might notice that your cat is calmer and spends more time resting. Her movements become heavier and she may eat less. During the final week of pregnancy, the mammary glands of your cat will increase in size, and it is also possible that we see a drop of milk in the breasts.
Usually, cats choose a quiet and safe place to give birth, which they call “nesting.” You can provide her with an easily accessible box of towels. It is important not to stress her, so it is best to keep your distance and avoid direct contact. However, you should keep a watchful eye on her and make sure everything is going well.
Symptoms of labor in a cat:
Also, birth often happens at night, so it is likely that we will wake up one morning and meet the new family.These signs indicate that labor has already begun in our cat. We will now describe the normal development of the process.
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