What to Expect When Your Cat Is Expecting The hows, whys, and what-ifs of becoming a cat granny. How to get ready for the pitter-patter of tiny paws? Check this out.

BY | January 20 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
What to Expect When Your Cat Is Expecting

The hows, whys, and what-ifs of becoming a cat granny. How to get ready for the pitter-patter of tiny paws? Check this out.

Like their human counterparts, pregnant cats go through many overwhelming changes.

Are you about to get a new addition to your pet family?

Becoming a kitten grandparent can be both exciting and confusing, and many pet owners do not know what to expect or how to handle this change.

Your pregnant cat is called a queen, since this process is called queening. This couldn't be more apt, right?

Most pet parents/grandparents would want the process as smooth as can be. If you find taking care of your pets and a bunch of kittens stressful, talk to your vet about neutering and breeding.

The average cat will be pregnant for 63 to 65 days. [1] This 8-week period is considerably shorter than that of other animals. Your cat may not show even any symptoms until a few weeks in.

How to know your cat is pregnant

How can you tell?

Your favorite feline may not be as active or as graceful anymore. Behavioral changes may range from withdrawal to hibernation.

You will notice both subtle and obvious physical changes.

1.     A trip to the vet will be the best way to confirm the pregnancy. A confirmatory ultrasound may also be able to estimate the number of kittens. This can be deceptive and the ultrasound may not be exact.

2.     You may observe red and engorged nipples. This is described as ‘pinking up’.[2]

3.     Your cat will get bigger. Weight gain in a cat pregnancy may up to 1-2 kg per pregnancy. This will depend on how many kittens the queen is carrying.

4.     An enlarged abdomen. Do not poke or prod the cat.

5.     Your cat may become clingier or develop a voracious appetite. She may also experience bouts of vomiting in the early stages. This closely mimics the morning sickness of human pregnancies.

How to support your cat

Interfere only when necessary. Let nature take its course.

Provide all the usual care required but don't forget the much-desired solitude.

How to prepare

Much like a human arrival, your pet care during a cat pregnancy should undergo certain changes.

First of all, cat breeding is ideally planned.

ü  Ensure your cat's vaccination is up-to-date before conception occurs as some of the vaccines are unsafe for the fetuses.

 

ü  Prepare for more cat mouths to feed.

 

ü  Ensure your expectant queen is comfortable. Weight gain is common as pregnant cats are slightly larger and may require more space.

 

ü  Queens may eat nearly double the usual quantity of food consumed. Provide adequate quantities of clean water.

 

ü  Take trips to the vet at a frequency higher than that of pre-pregnancy. Get the vet exam for lice, fleas, ticks, and other parasites.

 

ü  Be careful with even over-the-counter medicines during this process.

 

ü  Towards the end of the cat’s gestation, carefully observe for nesting behavior. This usually occurs about two weeks to the end of gestation.

 

Make a comfortable nesting area for her early enough using a box and soft beddings. A quiet low traffic area works great for this.

How to prepare for the new arrivals

Stock on all the supplies needed and keep them within reach.

This would be categorized into:

Ø  Feeding

Ø  Bedding/space

Ø  Birthing supplies

Supplies

Ø  Extra beddings/ blankets

Ø  Fortified cat food

Ø  Kitten milk

Ø  Colostrum for the weak and fragile kittens

Ø  Nursing teats

Ø  Milk bottles

Ø  Heating pads

Ø  Heating lamp

Ø  Bottle brushes            

Ø  Towels

Ø  Feline pheromone spray to give a sense of comfort and relaxation [3]

Ø  Lubricating jelly

Ø  Any ligature material

Ø  Antiseptic solution

Ø  A pair of scissors (sterilized/ blunt end)

Ø  Suction bulb to remove excess secretions

Ø  Surgical gloves

Ø  Thermometer

Ø  Weighing scale

How to tell when your cat is ready to give birth

She may become fussier than usual. She will probably turn to a more isolated and quiet place often.

You may begin to miss your cat seeking her out in darker corners of the house. Queens begin to eat a lot less as the day draws nearer.

Body temperature takes a dip as she's ready for the kittens to arrive. Purring may be louder and accompanied by frantic efforts at grooming.

What to do
Your cat may be frantic. Do not compound issues for the queen.
There may be some clear discharge from her genital area. Be a gentle and unintrusive observer.

Abdominal contractions usually lead to the expulsion of her furry little ones
If there's unnecessary delay or complications with bloody discharge, unusual distress, contact the vet immediately.

Birthing

Cat birthing is often natural and hitch-free unless complications arise. The attention of a vet doctor is rarely required.

However, be prepared for this possibility. Do not allow your cats to birth in the litter box to limit the avoidable spread of diseases to the newborn cats.


Kitten care

They would usually give require little cleaning or none at all.

Supplement mom's milk if need be.

If a kitten is yet to be nursed, you may give store-bought kitten milk. If fragile and requiring extra care, give colostrum.

 
You may use a clean towel to wipe the kittens. Newborn kittens require warmth so keep the heating up. Provide warmth but not so much that they are burnt. Avoid direct contact with their fragile skin. Use material to buffer first.

The kittens may need a trip to the vet if any anomalies are detected.

Make appropriate sleeping arrangements.


Postpartum Care

Ø  Allow the cat to bond with the newborns at her own pace.

Ø  Let her nurse the kittens as soon as she can.

Ø  She will benefit from high-quality food and rest. Allow lots of time to adjust to her new status. Post-birth care will involve clean water and space to nurse.

Conclusion

Queening is an interesting experience for both cats and their owners. Privacy and a quiet place are essential components of this process, and preparedness is important.

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