What Happens When My Cat Is Going to Give Birth?

It's easy to tell when a human is having a baby, but if you have never experienced a cat giving birth, you may be confused as to what is normal and what you can do to help. Like humans, not all cats will go through the exact same process, but there are signs you can look for that are very common when most cats are giving birth.

Signs of Labor

You may be able to tell if your cat is ready to give birth by some key behavioural changes. Your cat may begin nesting and make frequent trips to the nest. Your attention-loving cat may become reclusive, or your reclusive cat may suddenly be starving for affection. Frequent licking of the genital area is also a common indicator that labour is eminent. Your pregnant cat may become restless during the last few days and may spend a good deal of time pacing.

First Stage of Labor

Labor will begin with uterine contractions in your pregnant feline. You may find that your cat is lying on her side and panting. Do not be alarmed if your pregnant cat is sitting with an open mouth and begins yowling; this is all a normal part of labour. The cervix will begin to dilate and a clear and odourless discharge known as the mucous plug will be visible. Contractions will become increasingly closer together as labour progresses.

Second Stage of Labor

As your cat progresses into the next stage of labour, you will notice that contractions are becoming stronger as well as closer together. Once the cervix is fully dilated, the cat is ready to begin the birthing process. A kitten will move down the birthing canal and will put pressure on the cervix. This gives the pregnant cat the urge to push the kitten out. The kitten will be pushed out, and the mother cat will immediately begin licking the kitten with force. This will break open the sac in which the kitten has been living.

Concluding Labor

Multiple kitten births are almost always the case. The mother will finish cleaning the baby kitten and will nurse the kitten while she rests up for the next birth. There is usually a span of 10 minutes to an hour between kitten births. A total of two to six hours is normal for the entire birthing process. It is important to keep the area where the cat is birthing dimly lit and quiet. There should also be fresh water and food available in the same room, as the mother cat will not want to leave her kittens for a day or two.

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About the Author

Geoff Hineman has been a professional writer since 2001. His work has appeared in Dodge Magazine, The Ann Arbor Paper and online. Hineman holds a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University.