Whether you plan to breed your own cats and attend cat shows or just let the kids experience the miracle of birth, dealing with a pregnant cat is a serious matter. Before you breed your cat, you need to make sure you have homes lined up for the kittens, and you need to make sure your have the proper veterinary care in place for the mama cat.
Understanding the do’s and don’ts of caring for a pregnant cat is essential. When your cat is pregnant, she is nourishing not only herself but her kittens as well. That is why providing the proper nutrition is so very important. You will need to provide the mama cat with extra calories throughout her pregnancy, along with a food designed for pregnant cats. If you cannot find a foot made specifically for pregnant cats, kitten food is a good substitute. Commercial kitten foods contain the extra fat and calories your cat will need to nourish herself and her growing babies.
In addition to providing healthy nutritious food, here are some other things you need to consider. These “Do’s” will help your cat remain healthy and happy until the big day arrives.
. Develop a relationship with a qualified veterinarian. If you have not already done so, now is the time to establish a working relationship with a good vet. Choose a vet who has experience with pregnant cats; some general vets may lack direct experience in the area. Check with cat breeders in your area for recommendations.
. Set up a birthing box for your cat. Take some soft blankets and towels and line a box where your cat can go to give birth to her kittens. Choose materials that are easy to launder or replace, and make sure everything is kept clean. Place the box in a quiet location your cat is already familiar with.
. Monitor your cat carefully as the due date approaches. Keep the birthing box clean, but be prepared if she decides to have her kittens elsewhere. Watch her carefully to make sure the birth goes smoothly and be ready to call the vet if it does not.
. Seek veterinary care immediately if your cat is having contractions but has not delivered a kitten within 15-20 minutes. Also call the vet if the period between kittens exceeds two hours.
. Move the kittens to the birthing box is mama cat gives birth elsewhere. It is perfectly fine to pick up and handle the kittens; just let mom see what you are doing.
. Give your cat plenty of quiet time to acclimate and take care of her new kittens. Do not let your kids or other pets disturb her for the first few days.
. Schedule a checkup with the veterinarian for mama cat and her kittens within a week or two of the birth. The vet can make sure everyone is healthy and give you some pointers going forward.
While knowing what to do is important when caring for a pregnant cat, knowing what not to do can be even more important. Be sure to avoid these “Don’ts” when caring for mama cat and getting ready for her babies.
. Don’t allow other pets or rambunctious children to startle or bother the cat. Stress is very bad for your pregnant cat.
. Avoid handling your pregnant cat more than necessary. Let her come to you if she wants to be held or cuddled. Her boy is going through some significant changes, so do not be surprised if her personality changes a bit as well.
. Don’t wait until the last minute to set things up. The normal gestation period of a cat is just over two months – 66 days to be exact, but that is just an average. Your cat could have her kittens early, and you need to make sure everything is ready for her.
. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Cats have been giving birth to kittens for millions of years, and chances are nothing will go wrong before or after the birth. Even so, do not be afraid to ask an experienced breeder – or your vet – for advice if something does not seem right.
. Don’t adopt the kittens out without doing a thorough background check and drawing up an adoption contract. You can check with the local humane society or animal welfare organization for tips and sample forms. Always get the name and address of the person adopting the kitten, and do not be afraid to schedule a home visit. You helped bring these new lives into the world, and they are now your responsibility.
The decision to breed your cat is a serious one, and you should give it the time and consideration it deserves. If you found or adopted a cat that was already pregnant, there is nothing to do but make her comfortable and care for her well. If not, you need to think carefully before bringing any new kittens into the world. Knowing how to care for a pregnant cat is one thing; knowing when and why to breed is another.