First Stages of Cat Labor

Written by mardy derby
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First Stages of Cat Labor
A laundry basket lined with blankets makes an ideal delivery area. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A cat's gestation period is normally 62-67 days. To monitor the mother through the birth process, create a delivery space roughly two weeks before her due date. Set up a cardboard box or laundry basket lined with soft blankets. Make sure the box or basket is clean and dry. Place it in a warm, quiet and softly lit room and give her time to get used to the area.

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Preparing for Labor

Before the start of labour, the cat might appear restless or sleep more than usual. Her stomach might appear to be lower, and her nipples can be enlarged. Her body temperature will drop, and she might refuse to eat.

First Stages of Cat Labor
A cat may need more sleep before labour begins. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

First Stage of Labor

As labour begins the cat might knead or rearrange the blankets in her delivery area, a process known as nesting. She might tremble and breathe rapidly. Fluid might leak from her nipples, and she might lick her abdomen and vagina. The cat could be agitated and try to hide. She might use her litter box more often. The first stage of labour usually lasts 12 to 24 hours.

First Stages of Cat Labor
Keep the cat's litter box near the birthing area. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Second Stage

The first stage of labour is over when the cat begins to push the kittens through the birth canal. This is marked by straining and crying out. The first kitten should be born within an hour after the first stage ends.

Care During Labor

If she will allow it, gently pet and reassure the cat throughout the labour. Monitor her to ensure that labour is progressing smoothly and the newborn kittens are doing well.

First Stages of Cat Labor
Cats usually produce a litter of three to five kittens. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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