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CARE OF THE PREGNANT CAT & KITTENS







Please Note this is only for advice and help
never risk your cats health also consult your
own vet before giving any kind of treatment
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Care of the pregnant cat and kittens
Nothing contributes more towards a
healthy litter of kittens than good
care during the mother's pregnancy.
If she is in good health at the time of
mating,her pregnancy should pose
no special problems.
Early in her pregnancy begin to feed her
nourishing diet, clear up any skin
conditions, eliminate parasites
and in general prepare the cat for motherhood.
The average period of gestation in the cat is
from sixty-one to sixty-three days. It is not
unusual for a cat to deliver her kittens a
few days before or after this period. On the
other hand, should your cat go three or four
days beyond this time and you are certain
of the breeding date you should consult a
veterinary surgeon. She may be having
delivery trouble or undergoing a false
pregnancy.
 
FALSE PREGNANCY (PSEUDOCYESIS)
A false pregnancy is a condition in which the
female displays physical and emotional
signs of pregnancy but is not carrying kittens.
The cat's breasts swell and produce milk,
her abdomen is distended, she gains
weight, eats more and continually
works at preparing a nest for the
kittens she expects, but is not to have. The cat
need not have been mated to have a false
pregnancy. The symptoms usually
appear
after the cat has gone out of heat and may
persist for several months. You will have
to wait a month or so before you can
determine whether the cat is pregnant or
 having a false pregnancy. After a month
you can palpate for signs of kittens by
gently feeling through her abdominal
wall for lumps. As a true pregnancy
progresses and the kittens increase in size,
the lumps become larger. The cat
with a false pregnancy will not have
lumps, although
she will manifest most other signs of
pregnancy. If
your cat has a false pregnancy, you
will have
to cater to her idiosyncrasies. Tranquillisers
and sedatives will help calm a cat that
is constantly meowing, working on a
nest or mothering old shoes or other
objects. False pregnancies can
recur. While the cat can mated and
bear kittens, there is no telling when
another false pregnancy may occur.
Spaying of course, will eliminate the
condition.



PRENATAL CARE
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.
Remember,
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
handy;
Newspapers,  Vaseline 
Baby bottle
blunt-end scissors  hotwater bottle
eyedropper
clean hand towels absorbent cotton
thermometer
thin rubber tubing (1/8-inch in diameter
and 6 inches in length) with
syringe attached.
 
BIRTH
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
veterinary advice.
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.
In normal
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.



 
THE PLACENTA
Cat owners sometimes become alarmed when
their cat eats the placenta, or afterbirth, but
this is normal action. There are various theories
as to why animals eat the placenta. One of
them is that the animal does so to remove
traces of the birth. This is important to wild
animals, which must guard against other
predatory animals lurking nearby, many of
which will eat the young. Another theory is
that the mother eats the placenta to
provide a temporary source of nourishment,
since she will be unable to leave the new-born
animals for some time. Try to keep a count
of the placentas as each one is expelled.
A placenta should follow the birth of each
kitten. Sometimes a placenta breaks.
If the cat does not expel the placenta,
it must be removed in another way.
Grasp the broken cord hanging out of the
vagina with a clean towel and gently and
slowly pull out the placenta. A retained
placenta may interfere with the birth
of the next kitten, and if retained after
the last kitten is born, will decompose
and cause infection.
 
AS THE CAT CONTINUES TO LABOUR
Even after the first kitten is born, there is
no assurance that the others will follow
quickly. Remain near the cat, and if her
labour continues for more than three hours
between kittens call the vet. Be prepared to
tell him when the first kitten was born, whether
it was a normal or breech delivery, how long
the cat has been in labour with the present
kitten and other pertinent information. If all
goes well the kittens should be delivered
and nursing within two hours. The mother
will stop labouring and panting shortly
after delivering the kittens and unless
there is a kitten left inside, will settle down
to taking care of her new family. To check
whether there is a kitten remaining in the
birth canal, place your fingers on the cat's
abdomen, on the underside of the pelvic
region. If there is a kitten in the canal, you
should be able to feel it, in which event the
cat alone for a few hours. She may expel
it. If she does not call the vet
asap.
The mother cat may become so absorbed
in her kittens that she will refuse to eat.
Some mother have been know to go as
long as twenty four hours without eating.
Place a saucer of water near the cat she
may drink some of it. When she does want
to eat, however she will let you know in
unmistakable ways. Then feed her regular
rations fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Keep fresh water near the cat at all
times.
 
SOME POSSIBLE OBSTETRIC DIFFICULTIES
As mentioned before most cats have no
difficulty in delivering kittens. Obstetric
troubles when they do occur may be caused
by disease or malfunctioning of the
reproductive system.
BREECH DELIVERY
As already stated in a breech delivery the
kitten arrives hind feet first. Usually the head
of a breech kitten is large and the cat has
difficulty in expelling the kitten.
CAESARIAN SECTION
When kittens cannot be born in a normal
manner (that is through the birth canal)
they must be delivered through an incision
in the cat's abdominal wall and into the
uterus. This operation is called a caesarian
section. Caesarian sections can sometimes
be anticipated early in pregnancy when
the vet determines either by a scan or
palpation that the kittens are going to be too
large to be delivered normally. Sometimes
the vet must perform a caesarian to
remove the remaining kittens after one or
two kittens are born. The cat's uterine
muscles may become fatigued, making
her unable to expel the kittens. This is
one reason for calling the vet if your cats
labours for more than eight hours without
producing a kitten.



 
ECLAMPSIA
Eclampsia is a serious condition that often
follows the birth of kittens. It is brought
about by depletion of the blood calcium.
The symptoms include excessive
panting, restlessness, loss of appetite, a
temperature above 103 degrees F, a
stilted
walk and convulsions, eventually followed by
collapse and coma. There is nothing you can
do for the cat Call the vet IMMEDIATELY or
rush the cat over to him. He can revive the cat
quickly by injecting calcium gluconate
into her bloodstream.
POSTNATAL PERIOD
The cat will have discharge for a week or
ten days. This discharge should be red or
dark red in colour. If it is green or
greenish-yellow there is something wrong.
A placenta may have been retained despite
your vigilance and serious infection may
result. Such an infection may cause the
cat's milk to dry up and eventually lead
to her death, and that od her kittens.
DO NOT DELAY when you see a green
or greenish yellow discharge. Get the
cat to a vet IMMEDIATELY
 
CARE OF THE NEW-BORN KITTENS
The mother and kittens should be left strictly
alone for the first two or three days.
Nursing kittens are very delicate, so avoid unnecessary handling.
Caution children not to
pick up the baby cats. During the first ten
days of life, the physical activities of
the new-born kittens are very limited.
They cannot see or hear; their legs are
too weak to support their bodies and they
must get around by crawling on their
abdomens with a swimming motion. Baby
cats will cry when they are hungry and
sometimes stray from the warmth of
their mother's body. Provide some
barricade to prevent the kittens from
getting too far from the mother.
Watch the kittens closely for the first week
to make certain they are getting enough
to eat. The mother's rear breasts contain
the most milk and the more vigorous
kittens will monopolise them. Keep rotating,
you can tie different coloured ribbons to
one leg of each kitten as identification
markers to help you keep track of which
kitten have been fed on the rear
breasts.
Excessive leanness weakness and constant
crying are signs that a kitten is not getting
enough milk. Such kittens quickly become
dehydrated. You can check for dehydration
by pinching the skin at the back of the
kittens neck with your thumb and forefinger
and quickly releasing it. If the kitten is
dehydrated, the skin will not snap back to its
former position, but will remain pinched.
In spite of good prenatal care the mother
may not have enough milk to feed all her
kittens, especially when the litter is
very large. Occasionally a mother cat
dies while the kittens are still nursing.
If either of these situations arises, you
will have to bottle-feed the kittens. I must
stress that this is rare when the mother
cat passes away.
BOTTLE FEEDING
You should have little difficulty in getting the
kittens to feed from a bottle or eyedropper.
Kittens have a natural urge to suck. Use
an eyedropper or baby doll bottle for the
first few days, and later switch to a larger bottle.
Two or three day old kittens do not consume
much milk at feeding, even though they seem
to be eating all the time. The actual quantity
that an average new-born kitten drinks at a
feeding is from about five to twenty five
drops. New-born kittens should be fed five
times a day. Your best gauge as whether
the kittens are getting enough to eat is to
apply the dehydration test already described.
If the kittens are dehydrated, increase the
amount of food for each kitten. You may
make your own recipe or use one of the
commercial preparations. Here is a recipe
that has proved successful:
1/2 cup of evaporated milk
1/2 cup of water
1/10 cup of single cream
2 drops of water soluble vitamins
This is a stock supply and should be kept in
the refrigerator; warm any portion you feed
to the kittens. If you use a commercial
preparation, follow the directions of
the manufacturer. Clean and sterilise all
utensils and bottles after each
feeding.
 
WEANING THE KITTENS
The mother will begin to wean the kittens
somewhere around the fourth or fifth week.
First she will reduce the number of feedings
each day by spending more time away from
the kittens. Then she will bring food to the
kittens and teach them how to eat it.
When she begins weaning the kitten,
take up the feeding yourself. Remember
to introduce the new foods gradually
and avoid overfeeding. Finely chopped
beef, baby cereals with milk, and
strained baby vegetables are all
excellent weaning foods. Feed the meat
raw and serve all food at room temperature.
By the time the kittens are six weeks old
they should be weaned from the mother.
Put them on a feeding schedule. Once the
kittens are weaned, they should not be
allowed to nurse on the mother. She will
usually get away from them when they try.
You can help to dry up her milk supply by
eliminating some meals from her diet or
cutting down on the number of her meals.
If the milk supply persists, consult the vet.
He can give the cat a hormone injection
which will dry up the milk?



SLEEPING QUARTERS
Until they are weaned (and sometimes
afterwards) kittens will sleep nestled
against their mother for the comfort of her
body heat. You can provide the kittens with
their own bed in the form of a large box
placed where it is free from draughts and
away from hot radiator. Unless the room is
very cold it is not necessary to provide
additional warmth. Nature has provided
the kittens with fur coat and a metabolism
which regulates body heat. You can determine
when the kittens are cold by the positions in
which they sleep. The colder they are the
closer they will snuggle up to each other.
On the contrary, if the kittens are too
warm they will sleep alone. Shred
some newspapers and put the strips in
the bottom of the sleeping box.
 
HOUSE TRAINING
By the time the kittens are weaned, they are
ready to use the sanitary tray. Until that
time the mother will clean up after them.
Place the sanitary tray near the sleeping
box for a few days, then gradually move
it away, a short distance at a time. If the
mother uses the same tray it will help
train the kittens. In any event they will
eventually learn to use it by themselves.
To avoid confusing the cats, do not use the
same litter both in the sanitary tray and
in the sleeping box. If you use shredded
newspapers in the sleeping box, use
something else, such as shavings, peat
or commercial cat litter, in the
sanitary tray.
 
EXERCISE
You will not have to worry about whether
the kittens are getting enough exercise.
After the tenth day they will become
very active. Their eyes will open and they
will push, shove, wrestle and play all day
long. You can add to their fun by providing
them with safe
toys.
 
HANDLING THE KITTENS
It is all right to handle the kittens after
they are weaned. In fact they should get
accustomed to being handled and groomed.
Start their grooming early. The nails of young
kittens need to be trimmed more frequently
than those of older cats. Most kittens have
needle sharp claws which can scratch or get
snagged in rugs, carpets and curtains.
Trip off the tips of the nails and file
them with a sandpaper
strip.
 
GENERAL HEALTH
The kittens should be alert, sleek, bright eyed
and full of energy. Watch them closely for
signs of ill health. Examine them for parasites.
Have a stool specimen from each kitten
examined by the vet for worms and
protozoa. Start their immunisation early.
Consult the vet for a vaccination
programme.
 
REGISTERING PEDIGREE KITTENS
If the kittens are pure-bred, they should
be registered in one of the cat registry
organisations.
 
MIXED BREED KITTENS
Most cat owners are responsible people and
they take the time to have moggy cat
spayed and neutered if you do find that
your cat is going to have kittens make sure
you give them to good reliable owners
never give them to pet shops if you have
difficulties in rehoming kittens please
contact one of the many cat rescue
centres never ever just put them out.
Remember it is both inhumane and
very wrong





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