The cat should be given a health examination
early in her pregnancy. Examine her for
fleas, lice and ticks and keep her free
from these pests. Ask the vet to
examine a stool specimen for signs of worms
or other internal parasites.
ascarids and hookworms can be transmitted
to the foetuses. Worming is not advisable
after the second week of pregnancy, however
since there is danger of aborting the foetuses.
If your cat shows signs of worms later
in the pregnancy, do not worm her until
after the kittens are born.
The pregnant cat is hungry most of
the time, especially in the later stages.
Feed her well but do not overfeed her.
After the first month of pregnancy,
two or three meals a day will be all right.
She should be fed her regular ration,
plus vitamins and minerals. It is very
important that the pregnant cat receive
a vitamin and mineral supplement,
preferably one high in calcium, to guard
against a postnatal condition known as
eclampsia. As her pregnancy progresses,
the cat will become more and more
inactive and will lie about, basking in
the sun. Leave her alone this is perfectly
normal. At about the eighth week,
milk usually appears in the pregnant cat's
breasts, although it may be produced
earlier in some cases. The breasts will
swell and may become hard and caked,
and the cat will show signs of discomfort.
She will constantly lick her breasts in an
effort to relieve the pressure. You can offer
her some relief by milking a few drops
out of each breast by gently squeezing
each nipple with a downward pressure.
This will not harm the cat or "dry her up".
If her breasts are dry or caked, apply olive
oil, As the time for her delivery draws near,
the cat will become very restless, wandering
around and scratching in her bed. Keep an
eye on her, as she may decide to have her
kittens in some secluded place, such as a
cellar garage, attic or other place where they
may be difficult to find. Some mother cats try
to hide their kittens in old barrels boxes
drawers and other out of the way places.
The cat may lose her appetite from twenty-four
hours before the kittens are due.
Also her temperature will drop a degree
at that stage.
PREPARING FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE KITTENS
You can make some preparations for the big
event. If your cat is longhaired, trim away
the hair around her breasts. This will help the
kittens find the breasts. Also trim the hair
around the anus and vagina if the cat is
constipated, do not give her any laxatives,
but consult a vet. Hundreds of thousands of
cats give birth every year with little or no
help from human beings. Occasionally there
are some difficulties and these will be
discussed a bit further on. While the chances
are you will not have to assist at birth of
the kittens you should prepared to help.
Keep the following materials
blunt-end scissors hotwater bottle
clean hand towels absorbent cotton
thin rubber tubing (1/8-inch in diameter
and 6 inches in length) with
In a normal birth, all the kittens will usually
be delivered within two hours, although
some cats take three or four hours and
other may take as long as seven or eight
hours. If a cat labours more than eight hours
without delivering a kitten, something is
wrong. CALL THE VET for instructions.
Similarly, if there is an interval of more
than three hours between kittens, the
cat is in difficulty and you should seek
When the cat first begins labour let her
alone. The labour contractions will start
slowly, with long intervals of no activity.
During the contraction, the cat will pant,
move around and perhaps even leave
her bed. Bring her back to the bed and
watch from the sidelines. The first kitten
should be born within two hours
after the contractions have speeded up.
delivery, the kitten emerges head first, if
the kitten appears with hind legs first it is
a breech delivery The cat may have some
trouble with breech deliveries, in which
case you can help by holding on to the
kittens rear legs with a clean towel
and pulling GENTLY as the cat labours.
Time your tugs with contractions, pulling
lightly as she tries to expel the kitten.
If this is not successful call the vet asap.
Each kitten is born encased in a transparent
sac or membrane (a greyish bulky mass)
with the kitten visible inside. The
membrane is attached by the cord to
the placenta or afterbirth, which should
come out immediately after the kitten.
The placenta, the lifeline from the mother
cat is the means by which the kitten is fed
while in the uterus. The foetal membrane
may rupture as the kitten is expelled.
When this happens, pick up the membrane
and the kitten in a clean towel and place
them in front of the mother. Normally the
mother will break the membrane, chew
off the navel cord and lick the kitten clean.
If she fails to do so you will have to assist if
you have to brake the membrane, pick
up the membrane and the kitten in a clean
towel, gently stretch the membrane near
the kittens head, hook your finger into it and
carefully rip it open, remove the kitten and
sever the navel cord. When the membrane
is broken, the kitten should gasp for air.
Let the mother lick the kitten clean. If she
refuses, wipe the kitten with a clean towel.
In some cases, breathing may be blocked by
mucus in the kittens nose, throat or lungs.
This mucus must be removed. Open the kittens
mouth insert a medicine dropper or
eyedropper and draw out any mucus.
Then rub the kittens vigorously with a
clean towel, both with and against the
lie of the hair. This will stimulate circulation.
If the kitten still does not breath, take
more drastic steps. Wrap the kitten in a
towel hold it cupped firmly in your hand
with the head towards your fingers and
swing the kitten downwards in an arc in
front of you, holding on tightly. Stop the
swing suddenly. The centrifugal force
should dislodge any mucus from the throat
and lungs. Should this procedure still fail
to start the kittens breathing, attach one
end of the rubber tube to the syringe.
Squeeze the syringe firmly and then insert
the loose end of the tubing into the kittens
mouth, well down into the throat.
Release the syringe, thus sucking any mucus
upwards into the syringe. Keep working
and do not allow the kitten to become chilled.
A hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel will
provide heat. If the kitten still does not
breathe remove the syringe insert the
rubber tubing into the kittens throat and
try forcing your own breath through the
tube. First breath air into the tube then
stop and press gently on the kittens rib cage
with your fingers. DO NOT press hard or
you may break the ribs. Keep trying and
DO NOT GIVE UP TOO SOON.