If you didn’t realize until late in the day your cat is pregnant and about to give birth, you may swallow hard and think what do I do to help things purr along smoothly. It’s important that you know what to do in this kind of situation. Cats can get pregnant as early as three months old which can take owners by surprise. Not all cats come into heat, and some do not show any obvious signs of being ready to conceive. Important things include making sure the cat is warm to keeping other pets away from mother and her newborns.
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- Make sure that there is a littler box available.
- Let the mother take care of her babies as much as possible.
- Check the kittens for signs of infection, fleas or other health problems.
- Provide your cat with extra food and water during this time.
- After the kittens are born, you should also have a plan for them.
Do not Disturb Your cat While she’s Giving Birth
As soon as you notice that your cat is getting ready to have her kittens, make sure to keep your distance and let her do her thing. You shouldn’t even try to touch or move your cat during the birthing process. This is because cats are very sensitive and very particular when it comes to their giving birth. You could end up disturbing her and making her feel uncomfortable, which will only make her stressed. It’s best to leave her be which will ensure that your cat feels safe and comfortable while she’s having her kittens.
Keep her warm perhaps with a beanie which has been warmed in a microwave. Sharp claws can puncture a water bottle. Have disposable gloves ready and a bowl of warm water, towels and cloths. Keep children away so the mother can remain calm as possible.
What are the Signs of a Pregnant Cat?
You’ll know that your cat is pregnant when she’s showing the following signs:
- Swelling in the Belly – This is called being “distended”, and it is a clear sign that your cat has something growing inside of her. While some pregnant cats don’t show much of a belly at all, this makes it very easier to tell if your cat is expecting.
- Mood Swings – If you’ve ever seen a pregnant woman, you know that the mood swings that come with pregnancy aren’t just in humans. Cats can get very emotional during pregnancy, and may go from being affectionate to angry in a matter of minutes.
- More Frequent Urination – another sign that your cat is pregnant is that she needs to go to the bathroom more often. This is because her body is creating more fluids, and you may even notice that she’s urinated outside of the litter box more than usual. If she’s pregnant, don’t punish your kitty for this as it’s out of her control.
- Rubbing Her Body Against Things – Cats are very territorial creatures, and they mark their territory with scent. This can be done with their fur, feet, tails, or even their poop. When cats are pregnant, they often rub their bellies against objects, furniture, and even people.
After your cat has given birth to her kittens, you’ll want to make sure that they’re healthy and don’t have any health problems. If you notice that one of the kittens seems like something is wrong, don’t panic. As soon as the kittens are born, you should gently clean them with a piece of clean cloth.
After this, you should put them in a warm box and let their mother take care of them. If you have a kitten that isn’t moving or seems unwell, don’t panic. Instead, gently clean it with a piece of cloth, wrap it in a warm towel, and put it next to their mother. Mother cats have very strong maternal instincts and know what to do when they have newborns.
Identify and Treat the Cause of Labor Pains
If your cat is showing signs of lingering pain while she’s giving birth (howling constantly), you need to figure out what’s wrong. Make sure to watch your cat closely, and if you notice signs of discomfort, contact your vet immediately. There might be something blocking the birth canal, or your cat might be experiencing contractions. In some cases, the birthing process might be taking longer than it should, which means that your cat might need help.
What to Expect When Breaking the Amniotic Sac for the First Time
More often than not mother cat will break the amniotic sacs of her kittens when they first appear, though there may be a time when you have to lend a hand to help the kitten breath. The first time you see your kitten’s amniotic sac break, you might feel confused. You might wonder, “Why is the sac still there?” or “What am I supposed to do now?”
The amniotic sac is supposed to break naturally as the fetus grows, but kittens are born early more often than not. You can gently pinch or pull the amniotic sac while holding a cloth (never use a sharp object). Clean the kitten’s face with a warm towel until the sac falls away.
Why is Breaking the Amniotic Sac Important?
Breaking the amniotic sac is important for two reasons. First, it helps your kitten breathe. Before you break the sac, your kitten breathes through its umbilical cord. This means it receives oxygen from the same source it poops and pees from. If both of these are in the amniotic sac, it can’t get fresh oxygen. Breaking the sac allows your kitten to breathe on its own. Second, it helps your kitten regulate its body temperature. An amniotic sac is warm and cozy, which is great when your kitten is inside it. Once it’s born, though, it needs to regulate its temperature. Breaking the sac gives your kitten the opportunity to regulate its temperature on its own.
How to Help a Kitten Release its Umbilical Cord
If your kitten has already broken its amniotic sac, you can help it release its umbilical cord. First, make sure the area is clean, and the cord is neither too tight nor too loose. There should be a small amount of slack to ensure the cord is not constricting your kitten’s blood flow. You can help your kitten release its umbilical cord several ways:
- Massage: Gently massage your kitten’s belly.
- Gently pull on the cord: Pull the cord very gently until you feel it break. Do not pull too hard.
- Use dental floss to tie around the cord 2 inches from the belly then cut the cord on the further side with a sterile pair of scissors to cut the cord.
- Make sure you don’t cut it too short. The cord should be about one inch long.
Helping Kittens Feed For The First Time
Kittens are born with survival instinct and should start suckling within an hour of birth. They know what to do when they are born, and how to find their mother for food – or at least, most of them do. Unfortunately, there will be times when a kitten does not understand what it needs to do in order to survive. This is especially true in the case of a newborn kitten who is still unable to see or walk when first removed from the mother cat’s birth canal.
A priority is to get the newborn as near to its mother’s teets as possible. The kitten may need a little extra help to gravitate to the correct spot, so gently hold the kitten in the palm of one hand and use your other hand to guide the newborn to the mother’s teets.
If the kitten is unable to find the teets on his own, use your finger to gently direct the newborn to the teets. If the mother is not lactating (producing milk), she may reject the newborn by trying to kick him away. If this happens, continue to help the newborn find the teets until its successful, then place the kitten back with the mother.
Get the Newborn Kitten to Smell his Mother’s Scent
Once the newborn kitten has found the mother’s teets, gently rub his head and the back of his neck with his mother’s scent. You can do this by gently rubbing the mother cat’s fur against the newborn’s head. This will help the newborn to associate his mother with food; the kitten will begin to smell her scent and know that it can find food there.
Cat mothers often are very independent and focussed when giving birth and dealing with the care of newborns. You can help matters by giving them there own space but keeping a not so distant eye on proceedings. Children and other pets should be kept at bay so you can give her a more relaxed ‘nest’. Please remember that you can call a vet if the mother seems to be in excessive pain or for further advice. Start thinking ahead on whether you or somebody else will house the kittens. Good luck on overseeing the birth and weaning of a purrfect litter and congratulations on new members of the family.
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