Cat Pregnancy

Cat Birth

Saturday, September 1, 2007

You and Fluffy have successfully survived the 9-10 harrowing weeks of cat pregnancy and now it's time for the litter to make their big appearance! Unfortunately, contrary to what the movie Dumbo has taught us about animal childbearing, storks do not in fact deliver the babies.

Signs A Cat is Going to Give Birth

1. "Nesting" AKA Aiming to Find Expensive Blankets/Designer Clothing Forgotten on the Closet Floor to Destroy with Bodily Fluids

In the days immediately proceeding labor, you will notice Fluffy frantically roaming the house. She will leave no closet, corner, or laundry basket unchecked in deciding where she's going to make a bloody mess (and deliver some cute kittens). You can encourage her to choose a location of your preference by attractively displaying a comfortable bed of old blankets and towels in a dark and quiet area of your home. Be sure the location you choose is kept at a comfortable temperature, since newborn kittens cannot yet regulate their own they will need a warm environment.

2. Icky Licking

She'll now begin to constantly groom her lady parts, lapping up bloody show. Labor is about to begin.

It's Time

Fluffy is becoming quite uncomfortable. She probably wants you to leave her the heck alone to let her moan and pant in peace. She may pace for awhile, and then when the time comes she will squat and squeeze out the prizes of her pain. Generally the first kitten will make his or her appearance shortly after labor begins, within an hour. Subsequent spawn will be birthed anywhere from 10-60 minutes apart.

Each kitten will be packaged in a not-so-attractive looking sac, which the mother will eat along with the umbilical cord. She will then immediately lick the baby to remove gook to allow it to breathe and establish circulation. Do not interfere with a birth unless Fluffy obviously needs your assistance. Instead, check on her progress every few minutes from a short distance. Occasionally though, like some human mothers new to the game, a mama cat will be clueless and need help with freeing the kitten from its sac. Following this not so pleasant task, be sure to gently but vigorously rub the baby with a towel to remove excess gunk and encourage breathing.

The Kittens Have Been Born

Fluffy will most likely begin to nurse the birthed kittens in between expelling the siblings. If you do not notice this occurring, try to encourage the feeding by placing the babies to a nipple.

Keep watch until you're certain every kitten has been born. To state the obvious: if complications arise or Fluffy appears to be struggling, package her up along with her birthed kittens in a box with a blanket or towel on the bottom and bring them to the vet.

Congratulations! You (okay, well, Fluffy) did it! Now you've just got to figure out what to do with all those kittens when they're ready for new homes.

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Stages of Cat Pregnancy

Friday, August 31, 2007

So you've confirmed that your cat is knocked up and now of course you need to learn the stages of cat pregnancy. Firstly, congratulations (or my condolences for those who
aren't thrilled about it)!

A cat's pregnancy generally lasts 9-10 weeks, or 62-67 days. In short, here's what's going on inside:

  • Week 1 - The entire first week is dedicated to Tom's sperm finding Fluffy's eggs, fertilizing them, and traveling to the uterus.
  • Week 2 - Fluffy's fertilized eggs implant into the uterus and begin growing into teeny tiny kitten embryos.
  • Week 3 - Here's the where you may notice the "pinking" (or, swelling and rosiness of the nipples) we discussed here.
  • Week 4 - Fluffy may not be feeling so well right about now. If she's vomiting more than a co-ed at a frat party it would be a good idea to seek medical attention from your vet.
  • Week 5 - The babies are about the size of a walnut. A vet will probably be able to guesstimate how many are in there right about now.
  • Week 6 - Kitty's going to start needing high quality cat food, and more of it than she did before pregnancy. The kittens now look like tiny...kittens now!
  • Week 7 - She's starting to show. Be sure to invest in some comfy maternity...oh. Nevermind.
  • Week 8 - An untrained hand can now easily feel the forms of the kittens inside of mama. Fluffy has quite the rack, and is constantly bathing herself. She probably isn't as hungry anymore, there's not a whole lot of room left in her abdomen for food! Kitty's probably looking for a suitable environment for the big day.
  • Week 9 - If you feel so inclined, you might be able to squeeze a nipple and squirt some mom juice out. Gently, of course. "Bloody show" as humans call it may be observed, which is red tinged discharge from the cat's hoo hoo. Labor could start any day now.
  • Week 10 - You may still be anxiously waiting for the special arrivals this week. If nothing has happened by the end of week 10, it's important to call your cat's obstetrician (yes, the vet).

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Cat Pregnancy Signs

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oops, "Fluffy" escaped your backyard fence a couple of weeks ago, and now you're looking for symptoms of cat pregnancy. Or perhaps you're a novice cat breeder hoping several precious bundles of joy are growing inside the mama. Whatever it is that brings you here, you'll leave with the knowledge of typical cat pregnancy signs.

But first, a quick disclaimer:

Similar to expectant women, a professional diagnosis is required to confirm a cat's pregnancy early in gestation. Unlike humans, there are no home pregnancy tests for cats. (A humorous visual: imagine stalking your cat around the house, waiting for her to pop a squat in the litter box so you can immerse a diagnostic stick in her stream of urine!)

Cat Pregnancy: Owner Assesment

Though there are several cat pregnancy symptoms that you should keep an eye out for, many of them uncannily similar to pregnant women:

  • Swollen nipples - You might notice your cat's nipples "pinking", as breeders call it. This is when the nipples become rosy and swell.
  • She's got the munchies - If your cat is spending extra time at the Friskies bowl, she might be pregnant.
  • Morning sickness - She's leaving you presents around the house. Hey, at least it's a step up from dead rodents! Now if you could just train her to hug the toilet...
  • She's clingy - Most likely the Tom responsible for your cat's condition if she is pregnant won't be around to pet her, or listen to her whine and cry (don't count on child support either). If she's designated you for the job and you've noticed she's needed much more attention, she might be pregnant.
  • She's packing on the pounds - The phrase "I'm not fat, I'm just fluffy" won't apply if you've got a gestating kitty.

Judgement Day: Confirming Your Cat's Pregnancy With a Veterinarian

Once you've suspected pregnancy and if you've noticed some of the signs, it's time to take Fluffy to the vet for the final word. The vet will be able to confirm the pregnancy in one or two ways, or both:

  • Fondling your kitty - The vet will "palpate" your cat's abdomen and may be able to feel kittens as early as 17 days into the pregnancy.
  • A cat scan (ha!) - Your vet will probably want to use an ultrasound machine to scan your cat's insides, looking for kittens. The machine is not unlike those that will be familiar to women who have experienced pregnancy themselves.

Once a cat's pregnancy is confirmed, it's time for some extra special care and decision making.

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