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.
Take Your Cat For A Fecal Test
Its recommended that you have a fresh stool sample checked by your veterinarian, as intestinal parasites can be spread to the kittens both in utero , and during nursing.
Do NOT use over-the-counter dewormers on your pregnant or nursing cat, as some of these could be dangerous. Your veterinarian can prescribe the appropriate medication if her stool sample shows evidence of parasitic infection.
Preparing For Your Kitten
In order for life with your new kitten to run smoothly, make preparations before bringing her home. The first thing you should do is kitten-proof your home by viewing each room from kitten level. Close or block off windows, vents, and any nooks and crannies she might be tempted to explore. Move electronics and power cords, window blind cords, and any other strings out of reach. Completely remove objects that might pose a choking hazard.
You’ll need a number of supplies to help you care for your kitten. Here are the basic items you should stock up on before bringing her home:
- Cat treats – you can make quality treats using kitten food to make sure she is still getting quality nutrients.
- Food and water dishes
- Litter box and cat litter
- Cat brush and/or flea comb
- Toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste
- Scratching post and kitten-safe toys
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Do Cats Stay In Heat After Mating
Depending on the breed, size and lifestyle that has led, a cat can be fertile until 10-12 years. Some cats can even fall pregnant up to 17 years. Therefore, we can say that a cat can give birth until its reproductive cycle ends completely. Again, we must be aware of the effects that continued pregnancies can produce in cats. Continuous pregnancy in cats can lead to certain health problems, as well as reduce a cats life expectancy.
Read here about false pregnancy in cats.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Pregnant
If youre not sure if your unspayed cat is pregnant, there are a number of things that may signal that kittens are on the way.
- Physical changes: A pregnant cat can suffer from bouts of morning sickness, and will also generally eat more as the pregnancy progresses. Additionally, your cat’s stomach will be noticeably bigger after about five weeks, and it will continue to swell until she gives birth. Additionally, her nipples may appear swollen and/or take on a darker, red color.
- Behavioral changes: You might find that your previously loving, friendly cat will go into hiding, or an otherwise apathetic cat has suddenly become a snuggle bug both of these types of changes in behavior are normal for pregnant cats.
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Vaccinations And Health Checks
Your kitten should be taken for a health check within a week of having her home. On the first visit your vet should check for parasites, feline leukemia, and other health concerns, and he or she will administer her first round of vaccinations if she hasn’t yet had them. You should also talk to your vet about scheduling booster shots, starting a flea and parasite control regimen, and spaying or neutering at this time. This visit is also a great time to ask your vet any questions you have about your kitten’s care and feeding.
Raising a kitten can definitely be a challenge, but if done well the reward is years of love, loyalty and affection, not to mention the satisfaction of watching your cat grow from a tiny fluff ball into a sleek and healthy adult. Now that you know all about kittens and how to raise them, you’re well-equipped to provide your new kitten with a warm and welcoming home and a great life.
My Cat Has Just Given Birth What Do I Do Now
After your cat gives birth, its really important to keep a close eye on her and her kittens to make sure theyre all happy and thriving. Your cat will naturally provide her kittens with all they need, so try to keep your distance if you can so she can settle into motherhood.
After your cat has given birth, you will need to:
- keep the room she and her kittens are in warm
- make sure their bedding is kept clean and dry
- keep the room they are in quiet and dont allow family members to keep disturbing her
- keep an eye on the kittens to make sure they are feeding but try to keep at a distance your cat is comfortable with. Take a look at our cat body language guide for the signs your cat wants you to stay away
- keep other pets away from your cat and her kittens
- make sure the kittens are feeding this should start almost immediately after birth. If they havent started after half an hour, gently guide them
If youre worried at all, call your vet as they can advise you.
Very rarely, your cat might struggle to care for her kittens. If they are not feeding well, you may need to speak to your vet about possibly hand-rearing them. You can read more about hand-rearing in our free guide.
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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.
What Happens During A Normal Labor And Delivery
The signs of impending labor generally include nervousness, overgrooming, and panting sometimes the queen will stop eating during the final day of pregnancy. In most cases, a drop in rectal temperature, to less than 100Â°F , occurs in the last 24 hours and signals impending labor. Milk will often appear in the mammary glands 24-48 hours before labor begins. Many cats will prefer to be secluded during the birthing process.
Once labor starts, most cats experience delivery without complications however, if this is your cat’s first litter, you should closely monitor her until at least one or two kittens are born. If these first kittens are born quickly and without complication, further attendance may not be necessary, although it is ideal to be available if an emergency should arise. However, if you leave the room, it is possible that she will try to follow you, leaving her kittens and potentially interrupting the labor.
“If the delivery proceeds normally, the kitten will emerge after a few contractions.”
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What Should I Do When She Finishes Delivering Her Kittens
Once delivery is completed, the soiled newspapers should be removed from the queening box. The cleaned box should be lined with soft bedding prior to the kittens’ return. The mother should accept the kittens readily and roll over on her side for nursing.
Your veterinarian should examine the mother and her litter within twenty-four hours after the delivery. This visit is to ensure that there are no undelivered kittens, and to determine if milk production is adequate. The mother may receive an injection of the hormone oxytocin to contract the uterus and stimulate milk production.
The mother will have a bloody vaginal discharge for several days following delivery. If it continues for longer than one week, your veterinarian should examine her, since she might be experiencing postpartum complications such as a retained placenta.
Channel Their Energy Appropriately
So that you and your kitten both survive their adolescence, channel their energy through puzzle toys, trick training, and daily play times.
If they try to use your body parts as playthings, warn them off with a squirt of water or canned air, or make a hiss noise and walk away, just like their siblings would do.
Trick training teaches self-control and can help you redirect some of those behaviors you dont like, too. Training isnt just for dogs. Lots of cats enjoy the mental workout of learning tricks, and some cats will even play a game of fetch!
Be patient and keep a tight hold of your sense of humor. This too shall pass, and one day youll wake up to find yourself living with a serene, well-behaved adult cat.
Do you have any other tips for handling a cat in their adolescence phase? Is your cat going through their terrible teenager stage right now? Let us know in the comments below!
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How To Bottle Feed Kittens
If the mother cat can’t feed one or more of the newborn kittens at all, it’s important to get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. In the meantime, you must find a way to feed the kittens since they need to eat every few hours with the exact frequency depending on their age. This is usually done . It is also essential to provide motherly care to newborn kittens. Keep them warm and help them urinate and defecate after each feeding.
The most commonly available type of kitten formula is called KMR, which stands for “kitten milk replacer.” KMR comes in cans or cartons and is available to buy in most pet supply stores and on websites that sell pet supplies. There are other brands of kitten formula available as well.
Why A Mother Cat Can’t Nurse Her Kittens
There are several potential scenarios for why a mother cat can’t adequately nurse her kittens. In some cases, the mother cat will start nursing and then stop. Or, the mother cat may never begin nursing in the first place. The mother cat may reject some or all of the kittens. Not only may she refuse to nurse a kitten she may ignore them altogether or act aggressively when approached by a kitten. Sometimes the problem is not with the mother cat, but with a particular kitten, or multiple kittens. Kittens that are smaller or have other medical issues may have more trouble latching and getting adequate milk from nursing. These problems can be exacerbated in especially large litters of kittens when there is more competition for time and space to nurse.
If anything like this happens, your first step should be to contact your veterinarian. You may need to take the mother and kittens in for an exam, however, this can be stressful to a new mom, so it may be best to contact your vet first and find out what she recommends. If you can discover the reason why a mother cat can’t feed her kitten, you may have a better chance of getting her to successfully nurse. Or, you may need to step in and care for the kittens yourself. Either way, your vet can help.
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How To Observe Momma Cats Behavior After Giving Birth
One of the first things you should do is to observe the mothers behavior.
Ideally, your momma cat will already be comfortable with you and should trust your ability to care for her. If this is the case, then its most likely that the mother will not be anxious or worrisome if you approach her and her babies.
Approach your new mommy cat slowly to observe her reaction before attempting to handle her kittens.
What To Do After You Visit The Vet
If you have seen your veterinarian and determined that ongoing bottle-feeding will be necessary, it is important to plan ahead for the coming weeks. Kittens should be easy to identify from one another so you can accurately keep track of which kittens have been fed, how much they eat, as well as monitoring their weights and any other signs of illness. The easiest way is to place collars on them to tell them apart. Make sure to use collars that are small enough so as not to interfere with nursing or mobility and ensure a proper fit so tiny paws can’t get stuck in them. Kittens should be bottle-fed kitten milk for at least the first four weeks of their lives. You may begin to introduce canned kitten food around three weeks of age in additional to bottle-feeding and once the kitten is eating on its own, gradually start reducing the amount of milk you offer.
Remember that your veterinarian is the best source of information when it comes to kitten care. Ask your vet for information about the amount and frequency of feedings, how to help the kittens urinate and defecate, and how to keep them clean and warm.
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Symptoms Of Birth Difficulties In Cats
Mechanical blockage and uterine inertia are most likely to take place with older cats, with queens who are obese and, with queens who birth small litters of relatively oversized kittens. These conditions are apt to occur in cat breeds with big heads and flat faces like Persians. It also frequently involves the birth of the first kitten or the last kitten.
If any of the following signs occur, call the veterinarian. It could help to save the life of the kittens as well as the mother
- No birth of a kitten after one hour of deep straining
- A kitten is visible in the birth canal after 10 minutes of strong labor
- A constant flow of fresh bleeding occurs 10 minutes during or after kittening
- Abrupt lethargy and fatigue
- Rectal temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit or below 97 degrees Fahrenheit could mean the queen has an infection
- If labor ceases and the queen is agitated, anxious or weak
- Kittens should come down the birth canal 15 minutes to two hours apart. When the amniotic sac surrounding the kitten ruptures, birth of a kitten should take place within 30 minutes. There is cause for alarm if more than three hours pass between kittens. However, if the queen is relaxed and tending to her kittens without showing distress, she and the kittens to come should be fine.
How To Help A Mother Cat Deliver Kittens
Adrienne is a certified professional dog trainer, dog behavior consultant and former veterinarian assistant for an AAHA animal hospital.
This article will help you prepare to assist your cat as she gives birth.
While most deliveries are uneventful, it is never bad to err on the side of caution. There are many things that, as a cat owner, you may do to help your cat, before, during, and after delivery.
One of the most important things is to simply stick around. While in most cases nature will take over, telling your cat instinctively what to do, it is not a bad idea to be nearby just in case of complications.
Of course, interfering too much may be overwhelming for the cat, who most likely will prefer to be left alone. But, shadowing nearby to check every now and then may not be a bad idea.
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What To Do If A Mother Cat Can’t Nurse Her Kittens
Your cat has gone through pregnancy, and she has delivered her kittens. Now the time has come for her to take care of her kittens, but for some reason, she can’t nurse them. Perhaps she has rejected one or more of her kittens or you’re simply not sure if her milk supply is adequate. In most cases, mother cats give birth to kittens and take care of them with little or no human intervention. However, there are times when human intervention may be needed to support the kittens. What is a concerned cat owner to do?
What Does A Cat In Heat Act Like
If your cat is in heat, youll know it. They experience some big behavioral changes, such as:
- Vocalization. Your cat will make very loud meowing and yowling noises, in the hopes of attracting a mate.
- Affectionate or clingy behavior.
- Elevating their backside in the air.
- Increased urination and urine odor, and possibly urine marking outside their litter box.
- Attempts to escape home to find a mate.
Heat symptoms can last from a few days to two weeks.
Vaginal discharge or bleeding can also occur, but its unusual to see, especially since kitties are so good at keeping themselves clean.
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