Birth of the cat and birth of the kittens: explanations

 Birth of the cat and birth of the kittens: explanations

Birth of the cat and birth of the kittens: explanations

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Your kitty is expecting a litter? You are surely excited at the idea of ​​the birth of the kittens, but you are wondering how it will go... Don't panic: here are our tips for preparing the birth well so that it takes place in the best conditions.

How to predict the date of birth?

In general, parturition occurs between 60 and 70 days after the mating of the cat. Thus, from 65 days of gestation, you should already observe the first signs indicating that the "labor" of whelping has begun. If this is not the case, it is recommended to consult your veterinarian to ensure the smooth running of the pregnancy.

A few days before giving birth, the mother will begin to isolate herself and look for a quiet place to give birth to her little ones, away from noise and agitation. It may happen to notice a decrease in appetite in the cat during this preparatory phase and, as the date approaches, she may seem more restless than usual.

One to two days before giving birth, the contractions begin and you will be able to see your kitty prepare the "nest" intended to receive the kittens, hence the importance of offering her a whelping crate, preferably in another place. then his usual basket. When the contractions become more intense and closer together, it is possible to notice an acceleration of the breathing, dilation of the pupils, and a more insistent purr. If ever the cat does not calm down as she approaches childbirth, this abnormal behavior should alert you.

Preparing the whelping crate

To make your kitty feel comfortable during childbirth, it is advisable to prepare a crate provided for this purpose, using a cardboard box in which you will place shreds of newspaper covered with a cloth. The whelping crate should be large enough for the mother cat to lie down completely to nurse her kittens.

It is preferable to provide a lid for this box, to keep the kittens warm and that the cat feels safe there. Drill a hole large enough in one side of the box for her to easily get in and out of, and set up the crate in a quiet place, away from drafts.

Normally, if the place is well chosen and the box comfortable, the mother-to-be will have no trouble making it her own and will go and settle there when the time is right. It is then necessary to be as discreet as possible because cats like to have privacy and tranquility during birth. On the other hand, if she seems to you to need affection, which can happen with some people, you can stay with her to reassure her.

Birth of the cat and birth of the kittens: explanations

Whelping procedure in the cat

The birth of kittens takes place in three phases: the beginning of "labor", the phase of the expulsion of the kittens, and finally, the expulsion of the placentas. It also happens that the placentas are evacuated one by one between birth. The first phase corresponds to the opening of the cervix, during which the cat can be worried and agitated, as we have seen. Then, as the contractions increase, the first waters are released.

In principle, during this second phase, the mother calms down and begins to lick her vulva: she is ready to expel the young. The latter can come out with the head or the pelvis first, any other posture being abnormal and risking cause complications. If you see that your kitten is trying to expel and no baby comes out despite the intensity of the abdominal contractions, a fetus is likely blocked. Beyond an hour of contractions without expelling a kitten, call the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Be aware, however, that the duration of the delivery can be variable, the kittens generally leaving with a gap of ten minutes to an hour. So don't be too alarmed. At expulsion, babies can be surrounded by their fetal pouch, but they can also be born naked or attached by the umbilical cord, without a pouch. The mother then knows what she must do: if the baby is still in her pouch, she will tear the membrane and lick it to stimulate its breathing. If she doesn't, you will have to do it for her quickly so that she doesn't choke, and rub her in a towel if she isn't breathing.

When the labor seems finished, it is essential to count the placentas once expelled, to make sure that no kitten is left stuck. During this third and final phase, the mother will expel and then eat all the fetal appendages: placentas, pouches, and umbilical cords. Finally, she should relax and start nursing the kittens.

A few days after the birth of the kittens

Following birth, it is normal to see red-brown discharge in cats for two to three weeks after giving birth. Any other suspicious-colored discharge may be a sign of an infection, especially if accompanied by a persistent decline in fitness and appetite.

The cat's diet must be adapted during the lactation phase: she will see her appetite considerably increased and will need rich food capable of providing the essential nutritional elements for the development of the young, but also for her own nutrition. There are ranges of veterinary croquettes specially designed for the breastfeeding phase, but you can also give "junior" croquettes which have the advantage of being very rich and balanced.

Access to food must be permanent and the quantities given at will, the cat knowing its own needs. Make sure that your kitten takes good care of her kittens: she must lick them several times a day and absolutely let them suckle. If in doubt, check for the presence of milk by gently squeezing the udders. If the cat seems to lack milk, consult your veterinarian who will provide you with formula suitable for kittens.


If your kitten has had premature babies, do not hesitate to place them yourself in front of the teats so that they can feed; weaker than the others, they often do not have the strength to go to the breasts, nor even to suckle. Unfortunately, infants raised on artificial milk are more fragile and at risk of dying, but there are also many success stories. Be aware, however, that artificial breastfeeding is a constant job and that success is never guaranteed: first ask your veterinarian for advice.

Read more about feeding cats

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