If you have a cat you may find yourself a litter of kittens at home. How to manage pregnancy? What to do before giving birth? And then, how can you help the new mother and the newborn kittens?
The cat, like the bitch, has a pregnancy that lasts about 2 months, but there is a variability that depends on the breed.
The cat can go into heat as early as 5 months of age and you understand this from the exhausting and typical meow that can last from 4 to 10 days or longer if the cat does not have the opportunity to mate. The cat generally goes into estrus from February to August, but the domestic one (used to living in apartments) can also go into estrus in autumn or winter. In this period, if it meets a male it is possible for mating to take place.
The pregnancy and birth of the cat
As for the bitch, also for the cat, the ultrasound does not allow to identify the exact number of kittens but could be useful as a medical check in general.
During pregnancy, the cat is rather quiet and sleepy, ask the veterinarian for advice who will be able to show you how to enrich the diet with specific foods for gestation and future birth.
Before giving birth, the cat will choose an intimate, warm and soft place to give birth to the kittens; you can help her in choosing her by placing a basket or a soft container in a secluded and safe part of the house.
The signs to recognize to understand that the cat is about to give birth are: she begins to breathe heavily, lies down on her side, meows, loses fluids, licks her genitals, her nipples are red, she might vomit.
The delivery of the cat
The cat is autonomous in the delivery: do not disturb her, let her do it and do not interfere in any way. Be prepared to intervene only in case of real need (if, for example, after a few hours the cat is in pain, still breathing badly or has swelling of the vagina). The cat within 20-30 minutes expels the first kitten and then the others, in total the birth lasts from 2 to 6 hours.
The cat cuts the umbilical cord by herself, cleans her newborn kittens by licking them and eats the placenta (it is a rich nourishment during breastfeeding). Do not intervene, do not remove the placentas in the rush to help her or clean up everything, be patient.
The newborn kittens will immediately begin to look for the breasts of the new mother and will be nursed for about two months, after the first month weaning can begin.
A few hours after giving birth and in the following days, provide food and fresh water to the mother cat, until she begins to move away from the nest and resume her daily habits.