Keeping a Cat Supported During Labor

by catfood

If you have a cat that is pregnant (a queen) and appears to be getting ready to give birth to kittens (queening), all you probably need to do is encourage her. You might even find your cat feeding her young after giving birth all night when you wake up one morning. Although nature has a way of looking after itself, you should be able to spot possible problems and be aware of what you might need to do to help.


Signs of an Impending Labor

Approximately 60 days, give or take five days, pass during a cat’s pregnancy. If you are unsure of how far along your cat is, review the warning signs of impending delivery.

  • Nesting: A day or two before labor starts, your cat will start looking for a quiet, safe place to give birth to her kittens. She may choose the location you arrange for her or make an attempt to hide in a closet or under a bed.
  • Your cat’s behavior may change if she starts pacing restlessly, panting, grooming herself excessively (especially around her genitalia), or making loud noises. She’ll also quit eating.
  • Physical Transformations During Labor It’s possible for your cat to vomit and experience a rectal body temperature drop to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The cat may “drop” a few days before giving birth, and its nipples may grow, darken, or change color.
  • Labor Activity Indicators During contractions, which are the uterine movements that push the kitten down the birth canal, your cat might yowl in discomfort. You may also detect a blood or other fluid leakage.

Maternity provisions

Your cat could want to hide when giving birth. A cardboard box or laundry basket that has been lined with towels or blankets might be used to create a birthing area. 2 If the cat chooses this place to give birth, it will be easier for you to observe and care for the baby.

  • Purchase absorbent pads and line the delivery area with them.
  • To clean the area and, if necessary, awaken the kittens, you’ll need paper towels or clean towels.
  • If you’ve taken your pregnant cat to the vet and know how many kittens to expect, purchase a nesting package big enough for the brood. A cat may give birth to one to twelve kittens, although typically there are only about four. An 8-pound, average-sized cat should fit comfortably inside a 16 by 24-inch box. Depending on the cat’s size, the box will vary in size.
  • Heating pad: Put a heating pad in the bottom of the box and cover it with several blankets or towels to prevent the kittens from becoming chilly. Never place the kittens directly on a heating pad as this could result in burns. If the box doesn’t have a lid, wrap it in a clean cloth to keep drafts out and retain heat within.
  • Refuse container: You’ll have a lot of dirty towels when the baby is born; keep a laundry basket, plastic bag, or additional box handy.
  • To knot the umbilical cord off if the mother cat doesn’t, you’ll need dental floss and a pair of clean scissors.

Kitten Birthing Procedure

Unknown factors that affect delivery include the size and weight of the uterus, the size and weight of the fetuses, and the hormonal balances of the fetuses and the queen.

During labor, regular uterine contractions get stronger as they push the fetus out of the womb and into the delivery canal.

It can take a kitten anything from five to thirty minutes to give birth. Once the kittens are delivered, the queen will take the amniotic sacs out. The kittens will be rubbed by the mother cat’s harsh tongue, which will help them breathe. She will also remove the umbilical cord from the kitten by chewing it about an inch from the body. The placenta might even be eaten by her. The kittens will immediately approach a nipple, latch on, and breastfeed.

If the mother cat ignores the kitten while it is still in its sac, you must carefully cut or tear the membrane pouch, then gently stroke the kitten’s nose and mouth with a rough, dry towel to help it breathe. When the umbilical cord cannot be chewed off by the mother cat, tie a tight knot with dental floss 1 inch from the kitten’s body, then cut the cord on the mother’s side of the knot.

If the placenta does not come out with each kitten, make sure it does so within 24 hours after birth. Each cat should have its own placenta. The idea of a placenta count is clever. If the placenta is still within the animal, you must see a veterinarian.

The typical period between births is 30 to 60 minutes, however longer times between deliveries are not uncommon. The queen has to see a veterinarian if there is a delay of more than two hours and you are convinced that there are still kittens there. Whether or whether the delivery went smoothly, your veterinarian should check on the mother cat and the kittens within 24 hours after giving birth.

Length of the entire labor and delivery procedure

Typically, it takes a queen around a half-day to give birth to all of her offspring. The first kitten should be born within an hour of active labor starting.

Between litters, the mother cat will unwind, therefore she should be allowed to care for the kittens’ needs. If you’ve been keeping the kittens in a different box, put them back with mom cat and help them find a nipple. When she isn’t giving birth, you should feed her food, kitten milk substitute, or plain yogurt.

A healthy kitten rarely shows up after seven hours. If you think the mother hasn’t delivered the entire litter, take the queen and her babies to the veterinarian.


Challenges in Labor

Fortunately, most queens can naturally give birth to their kittens. However, issues might occur.

  • If your cat is in labor for longer than 30 minutes without any sign of progress toward delivery, take her and any kittens to the vet.
  • If your cat won’t pass all of the placentas, a uterine infection could arise from retained placenta. Count each placenta even if the queen eats them. The number of placentas should equal the number of kittens.
  • kitten born with birth canal obstruction: Cats often enter the world head first. Breech (tail-first) births occur around 40% of the time and are common. If a kitten has been in the birth canal for more than 10 minutes, it most likely feels discomfort. Call your veterinarian for advice on what to do if a kitten has been in the delivery canal for more than two minutes.
  • It is fairly unusual for one to two kittens to give birth while they are still living. Remove the dead kitten from the area so that the mother can deliver the other kittens without being interrupted.
  • Although postpartum hemorrhage is frequent, severe bleeding requires immediate veterinary attention since it is a medical emergency. If ignored, the mother cat can pass away. If the typical bleeding lasts more than a week after delivery or stops for a day before resuming again, speak with a veterinarian.

Once they are all born, your queen should be caring for and feeding the kittens. During nursing, your cat need four times as many calories. Ensure that it contains enough kitten formula. A top-notch kitten formula will satisfy your cat’s high-energy nutritional needs.

If your cat is not nursing or eating, seems to be in pain, or is lethargic, something is wrong. Additionally, a foul odor and frequent bleeding indicate an infection or a kitten that has been kept. If this is happening to your cat, visit the vet as soon as possible.

READ NEXT: What to Do if Your Cat Won’t Nurse



If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your pet.

Wondering about Kitten Development in the First Six Weeks of Life? Check it out on our latest post!


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