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How to help your cat during pregnancy?

Updated on October 31, 2007

If you have waited too long to spay your cat or you have come across a cat that is already pregnant (both of which has happened in my house) you will want to ensure the cat stays safe during the pregnancy and during the labor. Cats can become pregnant as early as 6 months, or in the case of my cat even a bit sooner, and they will carry the pregnancy for 9 weeks. As with pregnant dogs, a pregnant cat will also need a change in her diet. She will need high quality food, sometimes even kitten food to give her all the nutrients and vitamins she needs.

In the first 2 to 3 weeks do not expect much change in her behavior. However as time progresses she will want to eat more but pay good attention - if she gets relatively big during pregnancy it might come to that the weight of the kittens will press on her stomach so she will not be able to eat as much as she wants and needs to. You should make sure she has a number of smaller meals every day instead of one or 2 big meals.

A few days before the birth you will notice your cat will become restless and she will start to look for a place she feels is safe enough to deliver the kittens. You might prepare a special box, however the chances that your cat will use the prepared box are slim, in fact if she chooses a bathroom that would be ideal, however as we all know cats have a mind of their own. Also just before birth you might want to talk to your vet about what to expect and also to have the vet's number ready in case of an emergency.

Cats who have had kittens before are more likely to go through the labor faster, however first time mothers will have to be monitored. Again like with dogs, pregnant cats will become restless, start pacing when they start going into labor and they will also have rapid breathing. The first kitten should come out in about an hour, with as much as 2 hours in between other kittens. For cats this is a natural process however you will have to watch your cat giving birth to make sure nothing goes wrong. Sometimes a cat might reject her kittens, so you will have to remove the kittens from the membrane sac (if not removed the kittens will suffocate). Hold the kitten in the soft clean towel and remove the membrane. The cat should also chew off the umbilical cord, however if she does not do it, tie a piece of dental floss on the cord and cut it off.

Cat should also start nursing the first kitten straight away as this also speeds up and eases the labor process. In case she refuses to nurse the kittens you will have to get the special formula and feed the kittens yourself as well as stimulate them to pee and poop. In general cats are excellent mums and take really good care of their babies and usually they need no assistance whatsoever. However it is good to be prepared.

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