Signs of labor in pregnant cats

Updated June 19, 2018

Even though cats can take care of themselves while in labour, it is good to know when the births will occur so that you can help your kitty have the safest experience. You also will be able to help if something goes wrong.

Prepare for Labor

Cats do not usually need help during labour. You can set up a box or a basket for the mother, complete with towels, in the bathroom or laundry room. Put its food and water bowls and litter box in the area, too. With all that effort, some cats will stubbornly choose another place to give birth.

How to Tell When Labor Begins

Labor starts about day 61 of the cat's pregnancy. Watch your cat for signs. Her temperature will drop to 98.5, instead of its normal 101.5.

When your cat has been pregnant for close to nine weeks and you see her looking around for comfortable spots around the house, it is almost time for birth. Your cat is doing what is called "nesting." Some cats, however, do not look for a place and instead follow the owner around the house.

Its nipples will swell because of the milk being produced. Some cats will also lose their appetite, lick their genitals or vomit.

When labour begins, the cat will start to purr and breathe heavily. It will have contractions, and you may see some blood. If this continues for more than two hours, call the veterinarian. Something could be going wrong, such as two kittens trying to come out at once.

The Birth

When the kittens are born, they are in a greenish sacs filled with fluid. The mother will lick the sacs. Then the kittens should start to breathe and cry.

When the cat is done giving birth, make sure the placenta comes out. If not, this can cause infection in your cat.

Keep food and water wherever your cat decided to give birth. Keep that area warm, and keep children and other pets away. It is very important for kittens to nurse during the first 24 hours, especially, to ensure they get the proper nutrients. If you must bottle-feed the kittens, wait until after the 24 hours.

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About the Author

Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.