Cat pregnancy and delivery

On this page you can find some advice on how to take care of a pregnant cat and newborn kittens up to the time when they are one month old and also on the cat delivery process. Hopefully it will help you to avoid trouble and potential problems. So the cat is back after the mating…
What is going to change in the behavior of your kitty? She will become more affectionate and sociable but perhaps more nervous as well – she may find loud noises and importunate (as she feels it) attention annoying. It is very individual.

On the 21st day (exactly on the 21st) the nipples, which used to be pale rosy, become dark pink, perhaps reddish, and protruding, the areolae also change color.

The normal gestation time for cats is 58 to 68 days, but usually 65. But if after the 69th day the cat does not show any signs of the coming labor, it is a cause for concern and calls for a veterinary visit.

The mother doesn’t begin to bulge noticeably until a couple of weeks before delivery time.

If possible restrain your cat from jumping to and from heights. Now she has a different center of gravity which she cannot estimate and an earlier easy jump to a windowsill might result in a fall. It is especially important during the second half of her pregnancy. Still cats sometimes do manage to do so at least once.

The cat begins to eat more. If you give her kitten food, remember that every good pet food producer has special food for pregnant cats, for example Royal Canine K-34, which is also suitable for kittens. During the pregnancy and lactating it would be very good to feed your kitty cottage cheese, especially the one for children. I am not sure whether she will like peach or banana flavors, but cats usually love cream one. Vitamins would be a good idea, for example ‘Calcidee’ produced by ‘Brevers’. If the cat does not want to eat a pill, you could grind it (it is soft) and mix with cottage cheese.

 

We would like to warn you not to feed your cat fresh-killed meat, especially from a shop, even a very good one. Firstly, you can’t give a cat meat which was not frozen. Secondly, meat is often treated with chemicals to keep it fresh-looking. This might lead to the loss of your cat. The first signs are spasms.

If this has happened, immediately give her an injection into her rear foot:

1. Magnesium sulfate – 0.5 intramuscularly

2. Sulfite cameron 0.3 intramuscularly

3. Dimedrol 0.4 intramuscularly

4. Prednizalon 0.3 intramuscularly.

 

You can buy everything at a regular pharmacy. Even timely measures do not guarantee a positive outcome! So do not make experiments. If you give your cat fresh products, just feed her defrosted meat. It is better to avoid ‘fresh-killed’ meat even if you boil it. The best choice is turkey as it is lean and nourishing.

Do not inoculate the cat while she is pregnant! Carefully read the instructions of the drug you are going to give the cat, make sure it is safe for pregnant pets. The teniacide ‘Poliverkan’ can be given but it causes severe diarrhea (for immediate detoxication), which is not very good for a pregnant cat.

Do not take the risk of giving your cat ‘Drontal’. At least the company Bayer itself does not recommend it.

Personally I prefer Caniquantel – another drug by Bayer. One pill is per 10 kg.

Shortly before the kittens are born prepare a delivery box – it can be a cardboard box with low sides. Fur houses will not do. Put lots of shredded newspaper in the bottom and cover it with a soft towel. Do not use cloth instead of the paper – the kitten will catch on it and may dislocate their legs or get entangled. When the kittens are born you can use disposable nappies.

Place the box where the kittens will grow. It should be a quiet spot away from traffic and drafts.

When the kittens are about one month old, place a litter box nearby.

Around the time for delivery, the female will seek out a secluded nest. It may be in a closet, under the shrubs and then it will be the time to show her the delivery box you have prepared. She might lie down or even start sleeping there.

For the delivery process you will need cotton cloth, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, a pair of sterile scissors and Oxytocin in case you have to assist the birth process. It will be good if you also have a small rubber enema syringe.

Soon after the beginning of contractions you will see a discharge of mucus plug.

You had better keep the door closed, the cat might get scared and run away. Be prepared to hold her in the box. She is unlikely to resist yet as the contractions get stronger she may act up.

Probably the most difficult part is the birth of the first kitten. When it arrives the birth canal is open and as a rule the birthing process goes smoothly. When a kitten appears – no matter how it is born, head or tail first – under no circumstances pull! If you do have to (the kitten is lodged in the birth canal), pull during the contractions. Under no circumstances cut the sac until the kitten is born, especially if it is being born tail first. If it is being born head first and if it is trying to cut the sac itself – help it.

 

 

A placenta is usually passed immediately after each kitten is born. Do not cut the umbilical cord until the placenta is expelled. It is a good practice to count the placentas to make sure all are expelled. If a placenta is retained, veterinary intervention is needed. If it is late, in 2 or 3 hours give your cat an injection of Oxytocin  – 0.2 ml. A retained placenta can cause uterine infection.

As soon as the kitten arrives, the cat will clean the envelope that covers it away but the faster the kitten starts breathing, the better. Puncture the sac with your fingers and remove all matter from around the kittens face and nostrils with a piece of sterile cotton, watch for breathing, and let the mother continue with her thing. If the kitten doesn’t start breathing, cradle him in a towel in the palms of your hands. Put him on his back with the hind feet toward you and gently swing the kitten downward toward the floor. This causes the fluid in the airways to flow upward and out the nose and mouth. Be especially careful not to fling the kitten out of your hands. Hold the kitten properly and do not swing aggressively. The cat will chew the umbilical cord to separate the placenta but if she fails to do it tie sterile string around the umbilical cord about 3cm from its body.  Cut the cord on the side of the knot away from the kitten’s body. Dip the end of the cord in a small amount of iodine. Give the baby immediately to the mother to lick.  If she refuses, rub the kitten vigorously yet gently with a dry towel. Place a heating pad in one corner of the box with a towel over it – put the newborn kittens on it while the cat is delivering other kittens.

 

Then she will usually eat the afterbirth.  Don’t interfere with this process: it contains nutrients she needs. You should not let her eat more than 2-3 afterbirths as it might lead to diarrhea. If she ate them, it is not bad. There is often a 15-minute delay between births, although longer periods of time are not uncommon. If there are a lot of kittens there may be a longer delay up to one hour and more.  If the delivery process is not finished, the cat is restless and does not feed the kittens. Usually cats feed their kittens during the birth process – it is very important both for her and her kittens.

 

If labor activity is small – the cat does not have contractions or they are weak, the cat yowls, the kitten is lodged – give her an injection of oxytocin (0.1-0.2 ml) into a rear leg. BUT you can give an injection ONLY if the uterus opened! Otherwise the contractions will cause hysterorrhexis!! You can give an injection only once or twice with a one-hour delay. It is the last resort.
Take into account the following: if you give this injection – the cat will lactate actively and thus will lose a great amount of calcium which can result in puerperal eclampsia – spasms. Sometimes it happens without oxytocin. To prevent this from happening make sure that the cat does not eat meat for two days after the delivery especially if she ate afterbirths. Feed her cottage cheese with Calsidee (2 pills). If the cat does have spasms, immediately give her an injection of calcium gluconate (2-5 ml) and Sulfite cameron (0.5-1.0 ml). You can buy this all at a pharmacy. If these measures are not taken, the cat might die!

Once all the kittens are born, your queen will normally be caring for and feeding them. Although some bleeding after giving birth is normal, excessive hemorrhaging is an emergency and calls for veterinary intervention.

 

And if anything seems amiss with either your queen or the kittens, seek veterinary care immediately!

Gradually the cat starts eating more and more as the kittens are nursing more. The umbilical cord dries out and falls off itself. At about 10 days of age, their eyes will open.  Sometimes in the corners of their eyes there may be some discharge which does not let their eyes open. In this case use Miramistin, an antiseptic which is completely safe for kittens.

Brew is also good but often it is not enough. If the kittens’ eyes are already open but swell after sleep, after using Miramistin put 1 drop of Sofradex or Dexson into each eye.  Use twice a day but no longer than for 3 days. Usually it helps at once. Kittens nurse until they are one month old – their stomachs cannot take any other food. The mother stimulates them to urinate and defecate by licking, and she consumes the feces and urine.

When the kittens are one month old it is time to start giving them food. It could be raw meat, for example chicken as it is lean and completely safe for kittens. Remember not to give them fresh-killed meat! You can also buy filleted turkey. Mince it, make a meat ball, the size of a pea, and put it into the kitten’s open mouth (you could open it by carefully pressing the kitten’s jaws). If the kitten spits it out, try again later. If the kitten eats it, give him/her another meat ball. Feed the kittens 3 times a day, gradually increasing the amount of food. In 2-3 days the kittens will start eating from the bowl themselves. A dinner plate would be a good idea as you could spread the minced meat on it and the kittens will eat all together. It is important to feed warm food! Cut out fatty foods, otherwise the kittens might have severe indigestion. Let me remind you that everything is individual and sometimes even raw meat results in diarrhea. In this case switch to boiled meat!

Also, you can boil a turkey thigh, mince it and mix with soy. You could substitute soy for carrots (2-3 carrots per one thigh). Boil them together with the thigh and mince afterwards.

Dairy products as well as canned meat for children are also a very good idea. But do not give pork either to your cat or kittens.

A bit later you can give your kittens pet food with water, broth or buttermilk but not milk as it might lead to diarrhea. In case of diarrhea use Smekta – about 0.3-0.5 ml every two hours. As a rule the symptoms disappear during the day. Smekta is absolutely safe even for infants.

Another very good medicine is homeopathic Nux Vomika. It is a 5-millilitre ampoule. If indigestion is severe, give your kittens 2-3 drops every 3 hours, if it is mild, just 2-3 times a day. In severe cases adult cats should be given injections, the dose is 0.5-1.0 ml.

You can also give rice water. It would be better to cook rice in turkey or chicken broth – it is very nourishing and will not upset kittens’ stomachs. The rice water should be given every hour! You could add 1/8 a pill called Phthalazolum. It is completely safe for pet.  Give 3 times a day.

When the kittens are 1-1.5 months old you can give them vermifuge, Polyverkan for example, which is sugar water-soluble cubes. 1 cube per 10 kg. You could use Kanivektal instead, but 1 pill is per 10 kg so be careful with the dose!

It would be a good idea to give the kittens vitamins, Gympet for example, the kittens usually like it and start eating immediately. The dose is about 1/2 a pill.

When a kitten is about to pee, it starts looking for a secluded corner, squeaking and moving their paws up and down. Put him or her in the litter box straight away, take his/her paw and show ‘burrowing’ movement. Don’t clean the litter box – there should be some smell left. The litter box must be close to the kittens. They learn to use it rather quickly.

Another piece of advice is not to take your kittens into the bed with you until they learn to use the litter box.

If you have any questions about pregnancy, delivery process, taking care of the kittens or anything else, you are very welcome to call. We will be happy to help.

Wishing you good luck and may your kittens be healthy! We hope the miracle of raising kittens will bring you a lot of joy!

The information is taken from the website Lunnaya Dolina

CONTACT:

e-mail: llv_vrn@mail.ru

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