Cat Prenatal and Postpartum Care
Female cats are not really choosy when it comes to mates and will accept advances made by a male cat. Letting your pet cat outside, or indoors with an unneutered male cat, will eventually lead to her being pregnant, possibly putting her and her resulting kittens in danger due to possible diseases that feral toms may carry.
Gestation and Queen care
Gestation period last around nine weeks and estrus usually stops after once a queen becomes pregnant. Veterinarians can determine if a cat is really pregnant by doing an abdominal exam or using ultrasound. Enlargement of the teats may be seen from around three to four weeks of pregnancy, activating her mammary glands for milk production.
In the last week of pregnancy, certain behaviors will show up and most likely your cat will start searching for a suitable place to conceive her kittens. Pregnant queens should be introduced to a quiet, warm and clean area away from the family and other pets at least a week before the predicted delivery date (you can also move their cat house to a much quieter place in the house). Clean sheets should be provided to help warm up the kittens after delivery.
Feed the queen more food, around 25% more than the usual, in the last three or four weeks of her pregnancy. This is needed for milk production and she won't have much time to go and eat while breastfeeding her young. This feeding routine should be continued until the kittens are weaned. Throughout the period, queens should have access to plenty of water, preferably placed in a pet water dispenser to avoid kittens being drowned if placed in bowls.
Seek vet advice before having your cat pregnant. It is important to know if your cat is fit to breed and also the vaccinations needed for her kittens. If your cat is already pregnant, ask your vet about particular care procedures and things to avoid, and if there is a recurring medication (like deworming or flea treatments), also raise that concern to your vet to know what is safe or not during pregnancy.
Childbirth and Kittening
Observation and timing are the key traits of being a successful midwife to your cat. Always remember that you don't want to make any actions that may disturb, make her upset or anxious. If facing any particular problems, always ask your vet to avoid worsening the situation.
Parturition, or childbirth., is divided into three stages:
Second stage - lasts for about five to thirty minutes for each kitten:
Third stage - passage of the membranes and dark, fleshy mass of the placenta or afterbirth:
Delivery time between kittens lasts about 10 minutes to an hour and stages two and three are repeated for each kitten. Delivery generally ends within six hours after the start of the second stage, but sometimes can last up to twelve hours. It is expected to have between one to nine kittens born in a litter (more commonly four to six). First-time queens mostly have a small litter size. Once the delivery is finished the queen will take a rest and feed her kittens.
Always have clean towels, a hot water bottle, a feeding bottle or syringe and some specialist substitute cat milk replacement (not cow or goat milk) handy. If all went well, just leave the queen alone and make sure she has access to food, water and litter box near her, but far enough not to be reached by her kittens.
Worst case scenarios
Normally, your cat can handle it all without or with minimal help from you with kittens born five to thirty minutes after a queen starts actively straining. Observe your cat for any problems quietly and preferably from afar, making sure not to disturb her. Nevertheless, problems during delivery may occur and here are some things you can do to help:
Postpartum tasksAlways make sure that newborn kittens are always warmed for they loose heat very quickly. Usually the queen will clean then and use her body heat to keep the kittens warm. In the event that the queen is very tired or disturbed after childbirth, there is a risk that she may ignore them.
First six months of your kitten
How to take care of a kitten is one of the most common kitten care questions asked and also one of the broadest. Here are some basic tips for how to take care of a kitten in the first six months:
Under 4 Weeks of Age: Kittens are still considered as newborn kittens from 0-4 weeks of age. At this time, newborn kittens are just developing motor skills and coordination. They are also learning how to regulate body temperature. At this time in their life, they count on their mother to feed them and for warmth.
5-11 Weeks of Age: At this period, kittens are already weaned off of their mothers and feeding a high protein, energy dense diet (preferably cat food for kittens). Their motor skills and coordination should also be progressing at this time and be always on the lookout for they can be very pesky and might get themselves in trouble.
2-4 Months of Age: This is the time when they reached the peak of their peskiness and playfulness. Pretty much any time they are ready to play and you should arm yourself with the cat toys applicable for your kittens for a much better playtime, such as ones available at https://activefelinesolutions.com.au/. This will ensure you that you'll get the best toys that is safe for your kitten.
4-6 Months of Age: Your kitten is reaching an age of adolescence and therefore, sexual maturity. Playtime is still an important activity for them but with the addition of disciplining them if necessary. Your playtime with your cat should also satisfy their instinctive desires, like playing pretend hunting. At approximately six months is the time to plan for your kittens to be spayed or neutered to avoid unwanted kittens.