You’ve waited for weeks, your cat has become rounder and rounder, you’re excited about the forthcoming birth of her kittens – but how can you tell when the time has arrived? Suddenly it seems that your cat starts to act differnetly and you need to know if this is really It.
Are her kittens about to be born?
How can you tell?
What signs of labor can you expect to see?
It’s natural for any cat lover to want to give the very best care to their pet. But when illness strikes – or in this case, due to give birth to kittens – we often feel very stressed and helpless. All of a sudden, we realise that we just don’t know enough to be of help.
After all, few of us have veterinary skills! You need to know what signs to look out for and you need to know straight away.
Your cat is due to go into labour around the 64th day of her pregnancy, although it is very unlikely that you will be able to be that accurate in your calculations. Instead, you will have to rely on your ability to ‘read the signs’ of the stages of pregnancy and of her impending labor.
Firstly, you are likely to have noticed that your cat’s appetite will have almost doubled in the past weeks or so and you will be able to see her kittens moving around in her abdomen quite clearly.
You will also see ‘nesting’ behavior where your cat will be actively searching for a safe, warm and secure place for her to give birth in. You should have already prepared a ‘nesting box’ that will meet with her approval, otherwise you may find that she thinks that under your bed is the place she wants to be!
Then, as your cat nears the start of her labor, her appetite will reduce dramatically. It may even disappear completely.
A third sign to watch for is the demonstration of ‘clingy’ behavior, with your cat constantly seeking your company. As the birth becomes closer, you may see her pacing around nervously or she may become rather excitable.
Another, unmistakable sign of impending labor, is ‘calling’. If you have never heard your cat make this sound before, don’t worry, you won’t be able to mistake it!
As the birth draws near, your cat will start cleaning her rear end as she feels her body changing in preparation for the delivery of her kittens.
And finally, as your lovely cat begins to feel the initial twinges of her labor, she will naturally start to feel anxious and you will see her going in and out of her nesting box again and again. She will attempt to arrange her nesting material to her liking and this is known as ‘treading’.
When you recognise this final behavior, you will know for sure that the birth process has started and your kittens will soon be delivered. Your lovely cat’s labor has begun!
But remember, this is when your presence is vital. You will need to have prepared yourself to be on hand to help if things should go wrong. It is your responsibility to have become familiar with what is normal and what is not, during the birthing process. If you know what to expect – good or bad – you will be able to remain calm and in control and give your cat the very best care that she deserves.