How to understand that a cat has given birth to all kittens
Signs that labor is over:
- The cat begins to actively care for the babies: lick and feed them;
- Breathing is calm, heartbeat is even;
- Pretty soon after the last kitten has appeared, the animal begins to feel intense hunger and thirst;
- For a short time it leaves the nest;
- 30-40 minutes after the release of the last kitten, the belly is soft to the touch, without seals.
It should be noted that the abdomen does not always sharply decrease in volume, so its size cannot be an objective indicator of the termination of labor.
If the animal behaves calmly, this may not necessarily indicate that labor is over. If you have any doubts, it is better to contact your veterinarian and do an ultrasound.
If you suspect that not all offspring have appeared, you need to pay attention to the behavior. There are a number of signs by which you can determine that the generic process has not ended:
- After the last kitten has appeared, the pet retains its position, lies in the same position, there are no signs of activity;
- The animal is reluctant and inactive to care for the kittens, does not try to feed them and does not lick them;
- From time to time you can observe attempts, the animal may try to push out another fruit;
- The cat does not want to eat or drink;
- A few hours after the last cub has appeared, the abdomen remains tense, firm, and an increased muscle tone is felt;
- A day after the last kitten appears, the mother cat’s temperature is above 39 degrees;
- After two days, bloody discharge with an unpleasant odor appears.
If these signs are observed, it is highly likely that the fetus remains in the uterus. Be sure to call a veterinarian at your home. The best option in this case would be ultrasound diagnostics. Do not ignore the survey, as it can save the life of the animal. However, it is best to prevent such situations and visit the clinic about a week before the expected date. During the visit, the doctor will do an ultrasound scan, and then the owner will have accurate information about how many babies should be born. Then it remains only to arm yourself with a notebook and pen and write down how many babies and afterbirth came out.
How is the first birth
A cat giving birth for the first time will be restless. She does not understand what is happening, she can even be frightened of her newborn offspring. Most often, pets give birth early in the morning or in the afternoon. If the owner carefully watches the animal, he will not miss the time of delivery.
In three to four days, colostrum appears, in a day the genitals will begin to increase. Pink or brown discharge may appear. Also, on the eve of childbirth, the behavior of the pet changes. To help her, it is necessary first of all to prepare a place for the birth in advance so that she can get used to the new house. Place a bowl of water and food nearby. It is desirable that the tray is also closer (but at a distance from food and water). It is advisable to take the animal to the veterinarian a week before the expected date.
All the time is next to the box is not necessary. After the birth of the first baby, the mother will be busy. But it is better not to go far, as in the process she may need human help.
The cat gives birth too long
An inexperienced owner cannot always determine whether the birth process is normal. Therefore, it is important to know at what interval a cat has kittens. Labor is considered protracted and the cat needs help if:
- Contractions started 12 hours ago, and the first baby hasn’t arrived yet;
- A birth bladder appeared, but within 10-15 minutes there were no attempts;
- The first kitten was born more than an hour ago, and the next attempts did not begin.
If childbirth is protracted, the pet has more opportunities to keep its offspring alive. The owner should keep track of how long it takes for the kitten to give birth to the next kittens. Sometimes childbirth stops: not all babies have been born yet, but labor has stopped. This state can persist for 36 hours. The behavior of the animal can be quite normal: eating, sleeping and other habitual actions. When the body is ready, the birth process will begin again.
But such situations are rare. Most often this is due to a decline in strength and speaks of the forced termination of the birth process. As a result, the fetus remaining inside dies, and toxins begin to enter the body. The same can happen if there are traces inside.
Cat’s birth interval
Pregnancy and childbirth is an important stage in a cat’s life. Inexperienced owners often have questions about how the pregnancy should go, how the delivery goes and what is the interval of delivery for the cat. Sometimes people worry that the process is taking too long. But do not panic right away, in fact, reasons for concern do not always arise. The birth of kittens can happen in different ways.
Features of the course of labor
Giving birth to cats is an individual process. Their duration depends on various factors:
- Physiological condition;
- The number of births;
- Animal breeds;
- Conditions of maintenance and diet during pregnancy;
- The hormonal status of the body;
- Customized features, etc.
On average, cats give birth 12-36 hours. This time includes a preparatory period with contractions and attempts. It can last for several hours or several days. Then labor begins. Kittens appear alternately. Typically, between the release of two kittens can take from thirty minutes to several hours. But there are times when childbirth lasts a day or even several.
There are no specific norms of the cat’s labor activity. You need to proceed from your own experience and conventionally defined time frames. Contractions begin on average 10-12 hours before labor starts. The first contractions are the weakest. The break between them can be 30-40 minutes. During this period, the expectant mother can remain active, drink and eat. A characteristic sign that she has contractions is that she stops sleeping. In the second stage, the body produces stimulating hormones that keep her awake.
The interval between the strongest contractions is 30-40 seconds. This indicates that the first kitten is already at the birth canal, and there is little time left for attempts. 2-3 attempts are considered the norm, then a kitten appears. After the first, the amniotic sac with amniotic fluid comes out. They either burst themselves, or the cat opens it. Then one or two attempts follow, after which the baby appears. Mom licks it, gnaws through the umbilical cord and eats the afterbirth.
Normal time between birth of kittens
The average time between first contractions and offspring is approximately 12 hours. If more time has passed and the kittens do not appear, the help of a veterinarian is needed. If labor remains inactive for a long time, hypoxia may develop. oxygen starvation of the fetus. This can adversely affect the health of the offspring or be fatal.
The average duration of all stages is approximately 24 hours. Their duration is influenced by the number of kittens, the general health of the mother, and external factors. When a cat gives birth, the interval between the appearance of kittens is 15-30 minutes, sometimes it can increase up to one hour. All this time, contractions will be repeated between attempts. The intervals between kittens during childbirth are usually the same.
The cat gives birth too quickly
Childbirth is sometimes rapid: in this case, kittens come out very quickly. This deviation is considered the most dangerous in comparison with prolonged childbirth. In the case of rapid childbirth, all offspring are born literally in an hour. This can happen due to stress or a miscarriage. This can sometimes be a hereditary trait. In such a situation, the cat experiences very strong painful sensations due to the small intervals between contractions.
In this case, kittens are born almost without interruption, the cat does not have time or cannot properly lick the cubs or gnaw the umbilical cords, but it can eat the afterbirths or even kittens. This suggests that either the offspring is not viable, or a miscarriage has occurred.
With rapid childbirth, human help is needed: open bubbles as quickly as possible, clear the airways of fluid and mucus, wipe babies.
After that, you need to give your mom some time so that she can calm down and try to attach the kittens to her nipples. Some cats begin to feed calmly. But there is a possibility that the pet will begin to hiss and growl at the babies. In this case, they will have to be fed to the owner, but on artificial feeding they have very little chance of survival.
Despite the fact that the average rate is considered a half-hour interval of labor in cats, some deviations are allowed. Much depends on the state of health and age. In weakened and simply tired animals, this time may increase. If the animal is calm, the owner should not be nervous either.
There are times when cats can drink water or even eat a little between contractions, although most veterinarians do not recommend giving food during labor. This can lead to complications in the form of volvulus and even more severe consequences. If you gently feel the cat’s belly, you can feel how the cubs move.
There are situations when you need to urgently call a veterinarian:
- The animal lies completely exhausted, from time to time it meows loudly and protractedly. However, it should be remembered that in a pet giving birth for the first time, this behavior may be normal, so you should not panic ahead of time;
- The last calf appeared after an hour ago;
- Profuse bleeding;
- When palpating the abdomen, no signs of fruit activity are found;
- The cat does not pay attention to newborns, does not put them in order, does not show any activity.
These signs may indicate the presence of serious pathologies: the death of one or more fetuses, their incorrect intrauterine position; possible cat injuries. In this case, you need the help of a veterinarian.
Preparing for childbirth
Often, pets give birth so quietly and carefully that the owner does not even have time to notice any traces of the event. But in case of complications, the pet may need human help, so it is better to find out in advance how to determine that the cat is giving birth, and carefully prepare for this event.
By the end of the third trimester of pregnancy, a caring host should stock up on items and medicines that may be useful during childbirth, as well as immediately after. So, if you are worried about the health of the pet and her future children, you must have at hand by the time of lambing:
Stages of bearing kittens
For the first time, a kitty can become pregnant at the age of six months, when the first estrus usually appears. But most veterinarians believe that only a stronger female, who is at least 12 months old, can bear healthy kittens. Pregnancy takes place in 3 stages:
After mating, the cat shows swelling of the genitals, but this does not mean that she is fertilized. The first signs will clearly appear from the 3rd week:
- The pet becomes lethargic, eats poorly, moves a little, sleeps more;
- Within 2-3 days, she repeatedly vomits;
- The nipples increase and acquire a bright pink color or, conversely, lighten;
- When probing a cat’s genitals, the veterinarian notices an enlarged uterus.
In the middle period of pregnancy, the animal noticeably gains weight, as the fetus develops actively. By the 6th week, the amount of amniotic fluid increases, and the kittens begin to move for the first time. Stroking the belly of a pet, you can gently “feel” future children.
At 7-9 weeks, the cat’s excitement intensifies, she scurrying about the apartment in search of a future “nest”. Kittens move actively, which is especially noticeable in a sleeping cat. The animal restlessly licks its genitals.
How to understand that a cat is giving birth: the main signs
The average pregnancy in cats lasts 65 days (plus or minus 5 days). This period usually guarantees the birth of healthy kittens. But how to find out that a cat is giving birth. not every person knows the signs of this event. Many inexperienced owners begin to worry about the upcoming event as soon as they notice that their pet is in position. The owner of a kitten, which has to give birth for the first time, is experiencing special experiences. And the pet itself often shows anxiety. And I must say: not in vain.
But don’t worry too much. You will have enough time to familiarize yourself with the cat’s behavior during this period and prepare the necessary supplies for the delivery at home. First, let’s try to understand by what signs you can guess that the cat is pregnant. It will be easiest to recognize the “interesting position” and calculate the date of fertilization, if the mating was planned, and you know from what moment to keep the pregnancy record, which is conventionally divided into three stages with characteristic features for each.
How a person can help a giving birth cat
If the cat, on the eve of lambing, has buried itself in a far hidden corner from you, you do not need to interfere with it. Just be ready to help quickly in case of trouble. But when the pet is nervous without leaving you. she definitely wants to be helped immediately.
In this case, you should certainly calm and caress her. Don’t let your cat squat because it can harm its babies. Try to put her on her side, caressing and encouraging with warm words. You can also stimulate labor yourself by stroking your tummy and spine. When the pet is pushing, let her rest her hind legs on your hand. Always keep clean, warm water on hand: an emaciated woman in labor will often experience increased thirst.
Signs of approaching labor
So, you have already purchased and prepared everything you need, it remains only to wait for the birth to begin. And then the question arises again: how to understand that a cat is giving birth, signs of the end of pregnancy seem to be there, but an inexperienced owner needs additional information in order to have time to come to the rescue of the pet at a crucial moment.
Signs of an approaching birth in a cat are as follows:
- The animal shows great anxiety, meows loudly, looks for a comfortable, often hidden place to get rid of the burden;
- The mammary glands greatly increase in size, the skin around the nipples dries and flakes;
- 24 hours before lambing, the pet is lactating;
- Body temperature drops to 37 degrees and below;
- On the day of lambing, the pet completely loses interest in food;
- A few hours before lambing, the kitty often begins to bend in the back;
- The animal licks the genitals, from which a malignant smell often emanates (sometimes you can notice the discharge of the birth plug, which is a slimy clot. transparent or having a pinkish, yellowish and even greenish tint, but usually the animal “cleans up” the plug that comes out in parts, along with secretions ).
The release of the plug and the actively “moving” belly indicate that the pet is about to start or has already begun contractions.
Kittens ready to be born line up in a line of birth in the animal’s two-horned uterus. The childbirth process is divided into 3 stages:
- The cat feels the contractions of the uterus and, in parallel, the urge to empty the intestines. The cervix begins to open slightly. Often at this stage, the birth plug comes out along with mucous secretions.
- In the second phase, the contractions become more intense and painful, the cervix opens completely, ready to let the kittens move through the birth canal. The cat tenses, struggling to “push” the cubs. So a healthy kitten is born with a favorable course of childbirth. If the amniotic sac has not burst earlier, the baby is born in it. Usually the woman in labor frees the kitten by herself, gnawing through the shell. But it so happens that she leaves the place of birth in fright or is lost at the first lambing, and then you must come to the rescue by cutting the bladder with sterile scissors so that the cub does not suffocate. The next calf should come out in 15, maximum. 40 minutes after the first.
- At the final stage of labor, the placenta is separated from the woman in labor. The cat must eat one of the children’s places. this will help her to become more aware of herself as a mother and speed up lactation. Make sure that after each kitten there is an afterbirth. The placenta remaining in the pet’s body can rot, which will lead to severe inflammation, or even death of the animal. At the same time, the cat may eat a stillborn or too weak kitten, which is best avoided.
Well, the birth is over. Make sure that your pet has given birth to all the kittens by feeling the belly: it should become soft and empty. If you still have doubts, and the cat is in no hurry to feed and caress the cubs, but still shows signs of anxiety, consult a specialist.
You can also ask a question to the in-house veterinarian of our website, who will answer them as soon as possible in the comment box below.
Time to travel to the hospital
The best option would be to go to the hospital with a frequency of contractions at least once every ten minutes. Another sign that labor is beginning is the leakage of amniotic fluid in small portions or their complete outpouring. In this case, it is no longer necessary to wait for the onset of contractions, you should go to the hospital immediately. Because the duration of the anhydrous gap can further complicate the course of labor or an infection can penetrate the fetus into the uterus.
In some cases, the fetal bladder leaks much more slowly, but it happens that it suddenly bursts at the most unexpected moment, as a result of which the water flows out in a strong stream. With repeated births, situations occur that the fetal bladder bursts even before the onset of rhythmic contractions of the uterus. In this case, the pregnant woman does not feel pain, but she can be very scared. Read more about what contractions are like during pregnancy and what sensations appear during labor pains →
After the water has departed, you must immediately inform the doctor about it. Even if there are no rhythmic contractions, which can come only after a few hours. In practice, there have been cases when the contractions began within three days after the waters left. But, be that as it may, the discharge of water is the main indicator that childbirth will come relatively soon.
Urgently, without hesitation and without consulting with anyone, it is necessary to go to the hospital when blood secretions appear from the genital tract. Mucous discharge in pregnant women appears a couple of days before the onset of labor. They are not significant, but are often stained with blood. Thus, the contents of the cervical canal. a mucous plug. come out. This happens when the uterine contractions have already begun. Due to this, the cervical canal expands and the mucous plug is displaced. This plug keeps the canal closed throughout pregnancy.
Preparing for childbirth
When a woman does not know how to determine the onset of contractions, it scares her. After all, nothing can frighten a person like the unknown. It is better to always meet a fearful event. That is why a woman preparing for childbirth certainly needs to find out everything about their course. In particular, how the woman herself should take part in this.
To begin with, it is worth talking about the system of psychoprophylactic preparation for such an important event in life. Such training is carried out in domestic health schools. There are now many commercial courses in the country to prepare pregnant women for childbirth. The courses embrace Western cutting-edge ideas in the field of gynecology. But for many pregnant women, due to the high prices, they are not available. Therefore, the traditional courses that are conducted in antenatal clinics located in district polyclinics will just come in handy.
The group consists of five married couples, and this training begins, which includes 4 sessions, usually at 34 weeks of pregnancy. The first lesson is an introduction to the anatomy of the female reproductive system and the mechanisms of the appearance of painful sensations. In the second lesson, the first stage of labor is discussed. Women are told about contractions and how to behave during them. Expectant mothers are taught to breathe correctly. This is necessary so that the uterus and fetus are well supplied with oxygen.
Correct breathing is also necessary in order to prevent pain, since deep abdominal breathing at the beginning of the contractions helps to relax, and when the contractions intensify, it is necessary to breathe deeply with the chest. Normal breathing should be only in the intervals between uterine contractions. Particular attention in the second lesson is paid to psychological distraction, relaxation and massage. All the skills that pregnant women learn in the classroom must be worked out at home to automatism.
In the third lesson, an acquaintance with the subsequent stages of childbirth is carried out. the second and third. It tells about the poses that will be most effective for pushing, pushing special breathing. It can reduce pain sensations and facilitate fetal expulsion. All these activities are also reinforced with regular homework. In the fourth lesson, all the material covered is consolidated and the questions that have arisen during the course are solved.
If the contractions started at home
So, if a woman is soon preparing to give birth, she needs to know what to do if contractions have begun. If the cervix has opened slightly and pushed out the mucous plug, stained with blood, you do not need to panic and call the midwife. This can happen several days before the contractions start. Therefore, after the mucous plug comes out, you need to wait until the pains in the back or abdomen become constant, and the interval between contractions is regular. Or wait for the amniotic fluid to drain.
After the water has departed or a little bit away, you must immediately call an ambulance. Even if uterine contractions have not yet begun, hospitalization will be safer. While waiting for doctors, you need to put a waffle towel for absorption. When dull pain in the back and hips appears, gradually developing into abdominal pain, similar to painful menstruation, you need to know that these are signs of the onset of labor.
It is necessary to record the interval between contractions when they become regular. If it becomes clear that the contractions have nevertheless begun, call an ambulance or midwife. Until the interval between them is up to five minutes, it is not necessary to rush to the hospital. Since the first birth usually takes about ten hours, it is better to be at home this time. Walk slowly, stopping occasionally to rest. While the water is still fresh, it will be helpful to take a warm shower or eat something light.
One must not confuse contractions with harbingers. Harbingers of labor can occur throughout pregnancy. But closer to the onset of labor, in about a few weeks, they can become more intense and more frequent. When such contractions are felt, you need to pay attention to whether the intervals between them become smaller, since the precursors are usually irregular. It is necessary to monitor the dynamics of contractions for an hour, fixing the beginning and end, how often and stronger they become. Regular contractions must last at least 40 seconds.
In the first stage, the muscles of the uterus contract to open the cervix and let the fetus pass. It is possible that during this period the primiparous expectant mother may be seized by panic, but you need to remain calm. Upon arrival at the hospital, the pregnant woman will be examined. Her pulse, blood pressure and temperature are measured. An internal examination is performed to determine how much the cervix has opened.
They will determine in what position the child is by probing the stomach. Listen to the fetal heartbeat with a stethoscope. Next, you already need to follow the instructions that were carried out in the courses or with the advice of a doctor and midwife, up to the beginning of attempts and the birth of a child. Before the onset of labor, it is necessary to maintain strength, as they will be very needed during labor.
How to understand that contractions have begun and what to do with them?
Contractions are contractions of the uterus, which are periodically repeated and are accompanied by a pulling pain in the lower abdomen or in the lower back. Every woman preparing for childbirth should know how to understand that labor has begun.
At the very beginning, contractions appear weak, lasting a few seconds and with 10-minute intervals between them. But there are cases when not too strong contractions begin immediately with a small interval of 5-6 minutes.
Contractions gradually become the most frequent, prolonged, painful sensations intensify. A pregnant woman feels a feeling of pressure in the abdominal cavity. these are rhythmic contractions of the uterus. They usually do not cause much discomfort. It seems that the uterus is becoming heavy, and pressure is felt throughout the abdomen. It is not the fact of contraction itself that is important here, but its rhythm. A mother-to-be may feel uterine contractions a couple of weeks before her baby is born. But if a long and regular rhythm is not established, they do not mean the beginning of labor.
When real labor pains begin, the intervals between them gradually become smaller. This continues until the uterine contractions begin to repeat every three minutes. It should be noted that pain is absent with a relaxed abdomen, in the period between contractions. Very often the feeling of the first contractions appears in the abdomen, but sometimes it happens in the lower back. The pain seems to come in a wave, starting in the center of the back. Then it divides and diverges along the thighs, connecting in the stomach.
The contractions are weak at first, similar to light pinches. Then they intensify, gradually becoming a duration of 6-10 seconds. They appear more and more often, until they begin to repeat themselves at regular intervals. If a woman gives birth for the first time, usually the duration of the contractions is delayed by 10-12 hours. In pregnant women giving birth to a second or third child, contractions last 6-8 hours. Depending on how frequent the contractions are, you can determine the travel time to the hospital.
Useful video about the beginning of labor
When is it time to go to the hospital?
Contractions are false and real. How to distinguish?
Normal pregnancy process, stages and timing
In a healthy animal, the process of pregnancy and childbirth proceeds without the need for intervention and assistance. In pedigree, small, problem cats, childbirth can take place with complications. In more developed countries there is a special profession. a zoo obstetrician, a specialist responsible for the favorable course of childbirth, preserving the life and health of the mother and offspring. In “our realities” all responsibility falls on the shoulders of the owners and general veterinarians.
On average, a normal pregnancy for a cat lasts 60–65 days, but the term can vary by 7–10 days, depending on the breed and body constitution of the expectant mother. Pregnancy is conventionally divided into 3 stages:
- Mating – 3 weeks: after mating, the cat has a swelling of the mucous membranes of the genital tract, but this is not a guarantee of pregnancy. Distinct signs are observed from the third week:
- Drowsiness, decreased appetite and activity.
- The demand for affection and attention.
- Vomiting (no more than 3 times a day, no longer than 2-3 days).
- Distinct pigmentation of the mammary glands. from light to bright pink.
- Enlargement of the uterus, which can be detected by a veterinarian on palpation.
Signs of labor in a cat. We will tell you how not to miss the moment
Waiting for babies is always accompanied by a kind of trepidation, the birth of kittens is the same special process as the birth of a child. The owners of the expectant mother are worried and afraid to miss the first signs of the onset of labor in a cat. If the mating was planned, then the situation is simpler. the expected range is reduced to 24–72 hours, guessing the “date X” for a self-pregnant cat is addition. In any case, while taking care of the Murka mother, you need to know about the harbingers of childbirth and the events to be experienced.
Preparation for childbirth, behavioral changes
In the normal course of pregnancy and the absence of health problems, by the 50th day of the term, the following set should be prepared in the house:
- Strong box with a low side. The cat should freely enter and exit the “nest” without clinging to the side of the belly.
- Multiple pairs of sterile, latex surgical gloves.
- Medical pipettes or suction, for forced cleaning of the respiratory tract, if the kitten did not clear its throat on its own.
- Sterile or boiled thread.
- Surgical or antiseptic-treated cosmetic scissors.
- Liquid and powder antiseptics purchased from a veterinary pharmacy. Human drugs can be toxic to mom and kittens.
- Zelenka and cotton swabs for lubricating the umbilical cord.
- Clean cotton diapers, bike. Several small terry towels for rubbing kittens.
- Levomikol ointment or analogue. in case of stopping the movement of the fetus in the birth canal.
- Clean water bowl.
- Powdered infant milk formula from 0 months. cat milk replacer.
- Pre-agreed conditions for a veterinarian’s departure and a telephone number for remote consultation.
- Oxytocin or equivalent. stimulation of contractions and labor.
- Sulfocamfocaine. stimulation of cardiac activity.
- Potassium gluconate. support in case of prolonged labor. A solution of up to 10% is injected subcutaneously, above. only intravenously!
You may not need anything other than a box and diapers, but you need to prepare for everything. From a behavioral point of view, the changes may not be noticeable, especially for cats of the “noble” breed. From the point of view of physiology, the following signs of an approaching birth in a cat are observed:
- 24-72 hours before the onset of labor, the body temperature drops to 37 ° C.
- For 24–48 hours, the cat actively licks the genitals, the mucous membranes turn red or pink.
- Not always. the mammary glands are heavily poured, the skin becomes hotter in the nipple area.
- The cat can become “aloof” and inactive.
- 4-8 hours before the contractions, the cat “hunched over”. this is due to the “training” contractions of the uterus. During this period, the pet is very anxious, may “call for help” or hide.
- A sharp decrease in appetite. Drinking water or milk in the usual amount.
Birth of a fetus
As soon as the kitten comes out, it is covered with a shell. The mother should carefully tear it open and bite off the umbilical cord. The cat begins to intensively lick the baby, which helps to release mucus from his respiratory tract. The kitten should squeak. this is a sign that he is breathing. After or with the kitten, the placenta comes out, which the mother can eat. If the litter is large, it should not be allowed to eat more than 3 successions.
It is necessary to make sure that all traces have come out. Their number should correspond to the number of fruits. Remaining placenta inside can cause serious inflammatory disease.
In the intervals between births of fetuses, it is necessary to ensure that the mother does not lie on the newborn kitten. Because of the pain and discomfort, she may not notice him and accidentally press down.
When all the babies are born, it is necessary to organize complete rest for the family. The mother will lick and feed her children, so there is no need to bother them again. If the cat has eaten the afterbirth, then she may not eat for several hours after giving birth. It is necessary to leave her drink and put a toilet next to her so that she does not go far from the offspring.
Organization of the “family nest
On average, pregnancy in cats lasts 65 days. The term can vary from 60 to 70 days. Childbirth before and after this period can be caused by pathologies (violation of the course of pregnancy, fetal death, etc.) and be accompanied by complications. Therefore, it is important to closely monitor the condition of the animal during pregnancy, and especially in the latter stages. After the 60th day of pregnancy, it is necessary not to leave the cat alone for a long period of time, so as not to miss the onset of labor.
Childbirth is a natural process. Sometimes, it causes even more stress for the owner than for the pet itself. The cat’s instincts will allow her to perform all the necessary manipulations, however, a person should control the process and intervene only if necessary.
Before the birth itself begins, it is important to provide the animal with an appropriate place. Kosha herself will look for a secluded corner and spend a lot of time there. Sometimes the animal is hunted into the farthest and darkest corners, to which there is no access, and in an emergency it will not be possible to provide assistance quickly. Therefore, it is better to organize the “family nest” yourself. For this it is recommended to use special baskets for cats or adapt a cardboard box. One wall is cut off at the box so that the pet can enter there without any extra effort. At the same time, the remaining side should become an obstacle for the kittens so that they do not crawl out.
The place should be cozy, spacious enough, and located in a quiet and peaceful part of the house. It should be remembered that the mother and offspring will spend the next few weeks here, and at first they will not be disturbed.
Contractions and the birth of kittens
The process of giving birth to kittens can be conditionally divided into two stages:
- The beginning of labor. The uterus begins to contract, the first not too intense muscle contractions appear. During this time, kittens prepare themselves for the exit and line up before passing through the birth canal. At the first stage, it is not always possible to understand that the cat has contractions. They are invisible and do not cause significant pain, so the animal will not react strongly to them. Contractions are usually repeated at intervals of 30-40 minutes. The interval will gradually decrease and the duration of the contraction will increase. This period can last 8-10 hours.
- Passage through the birth canal. The grips become stronger, the interval between them is reduced to 1 minute. Muscle contractions become distinct and easy to see with the naked eye. Final contractions are prolonged muscle contractions, also called pushing. They push the kitten through the birth canal. Due to the increased intensity of contractions, the fruits begin to come out.
From the beginning of the first contractions to the birth of offspring, it can take about 12 hours. If for a longer time kittens are not born, you should seek help from your veterinarian. In the process of prolonged inactive labor, the fetus may experience hypoxia. oxygen starvation, which negatively affects its health and can lead to death.
On average, labor takes about 24 hours in total. Everything will depend on the number of fruits, the state of health of the animal, and external factors. Kittens can appear one after the other at intervals of 15-30 minutes (sometimes, up to 1 hour). During this time, the cat will continue to contract with short breaks between attempts. In primiparous cats, contractions can last longer than in animals that have already given birth. However, this statement is not an axiom. Primiparous cats can also successfully cope with the birth of offspring, as experienced mothers. At the same time, complications are not excluded in the second and third births. This process should always be monitored, as the pet may need help at any time.
The following signs indicate the end of labor:
- Contractions are absent for more than 3 hours;
- The abdomen has become soft, the muscles are not tense, the fruits are not felt in it;
- The cat behaves calmly, rests.
To know exactly how many kittens should be born, it is preliminarily recommended to do an ultrasound.
How long does a cat fight?
In the process of childbirth, a cat, to a large extent, does not need human help. She herself will cope with this difficult task. However, the owner should know how long a cat’s contraction lasts, so that if necessary, respond in time and take the necessary actions to maintain the health of the mother and newborn kittens.
Signs of the onset of labor
It can be quite difficult for an inexperienced owner to understand that a cat is having contractions. It should be especially borne in mind that contractions are false. In the last days of pregnancy, the cat’s behavior will change, which will be a signal to the owner about the upcoming event. The obvious signs of the onset of labor are:
- Enlargement and redness of the mammary glands;
- Swelling of the genitals;
- The stomach goes down, it becomes pear-shaped;
- Intense licking of the genitals (there should be no discharge);
- Frequent urination
- Loss of appetite;
- Lethargic behavior, excessive attachment to the owner.
During the drainage of water, the cat will intensively lick.
Immediately a few hours before giving birth, the cat may become restless, meow loudly, and cannot find a place for itself. She also begins to arch her back, as if she is having contractions. Such contractions of the uterus are not contractions, as such. However, they become their harbingers. If the cat exhibits this behavior, then it should be expected that she will give birth in a relatively short period of time.
False contractions are often noted several days or even weeks before the expected onset of labor. In this case, you must carefully monitor the behavior of the animal. If false contractions give the pet significant discomfort, discharge from the genital tract (especially with an unpleasant odor) is observed, or it becomes too lethargic, completely refuses to eat and drink, it is necessary to show it to the veterinarian.
Actions for complicated childbirth
If the owner noticed that something was wrong during the birth, he should immediately intervene and provide the animal with first aid. Or urgently go to a veterinary clinic. It is better to have on hand several phone numbers of veterinarians who can conduct a remote consultation.
Signs of the development of complications are:
- The cat’s contractions have stopped. If the contractions have stopped during the passage of the fetus through the birth canal, the genitals should be lubricated with petroleum jelly to facilitate its exit (the procedure is performed with sterile rubber gloves). Stroke your belly towards the vulva. If labor has stopped, and fruits are still clearly felt in the abdomen, oxytocin (a hormone that stimulates the uterus) in a dosage of 0.2 ml should be injected into the animal’s withers. It is recommended to seek the help of a veterinarian, as the offspring remaining inside can lead to the death of the animal.
- There is a mucous discharge with an unpleasant odor, or bleeding. You should immediately go to the veterinary hospital, since inflammation (as evidenced by discharge) or uterine bleeding without appropriate treatment will lead to the death of the animal.
- Suspected eclampsia (critical drop in calcium levels) with seizures. Within 3 days, you will need to inject calcium gluconate at a dosage of 1 ml.
- Preservation of afterbirth in the womb. It is necessary to inject oxytocin and go to the veterinary clinic if after the injection the placenta does not come out.
- Frozen pregnancy. In this case, the animal will require a caesarean section. Most often it is performed with a radical method with complete removal of the uterus.
Also, help may be needed for a newborn kitten. If the mother for some reason refuses to do all the procedures he needs, a person should do it. The mother may not lick the kitten or release it from the bladder. In this case, you need to carefully cut the bladder with sterile scissors and wipe the baby with a clean soft towel. The airways should be cleared of mucus with a small pear-shaped enema. The umbilical cord is pulled with a sterile thread at a distance of 4 cm from the abdomen and then cut with scissors. The cut edge is treated with an antiseptic.
The newborn kitten must be placed with the mother. If she ignores him, then the owner should take care of him. In the future, the baby needs to be provided with warmth and safety. These kittens are fed with a pipette with a special mixture for newborns.
What are contractions from a physiological point of view?
This is the name of the involuntary contractions of the uterus (i.e., the cat cannot consciously control them), which contribute to the withdrawal of kittens from the uterus and the passage of the cubs through the birth canal.
It is interesting, but the question of what exactly stimulates the immediate onset of labor is still actively discussed. The researchers point out that physiological (normal) labor is stimulated not only by the mother, but also by her babies, still in the uterine cavity. When a cat’s body is already “mentally ready” for childbirth, its placenta, as well as the pituitary glands of kittens, begin to secrete a complex mixture of hormones, thanks to which contractions begin.
The complete readiness of the cervix (more precisely, the degree of its opening) is of great importance. During the entire period of pregnancy, the lumen of this organ is tightly closed due to the contraction of muscle tissue. The first labor pains are accompanied by the gradual opening of the neck and the withdrawal of the remnants of the mucous plug from its lumen. The latter is responsible for the complete tightness and sterility of the uterine cavity during pregnancy.
At the same time, the pressure inside the uterus itself continues to grow gently, but constantly. This stimulates fetal movement, which will also help the cat to give birth normally. As a result of this process, the rigidity of the uterine muscles increases. This is also extremely important, since otherwise the animal may develop dystonia or complete atony of the uterine muscles, which will most likely lead to the impossibility of the natural birth of young.
All of the above processes lead to the fact that the fetal bladders, in each of which there is one kitten, begin to gradually squeeze out to the exit from the uterus, moving along the birth canal. If everything goes well, and at the second stage of labor, the first of the amniotic blisters is clearly visible in the birth canal, it is considered that the cervix has opened to the proper extent, and the process of childbirth is proceeding normally.
The beginning of the second stage is indicated by contractions not only of the uterus itself, but also of the walls of the abdominal cavity, which help to push the born kittens through the lumen of the birth canal.
Another important circumstance must be taken into account. If contractions of the uterine wall (i.e., contractions itself) are an involuntary phenomenon, then the cat can control the contractions of the muscles of the abdominal wall quite deliberately. The rate of birth is related to this: in primiparous pets that have not yet had childbirth experience, it is much lower. Older animals give birth much faster, because they already know when labor has begun and how much to strain the muscles. For the same reason, in primiparous pets, pathologies of the generic process may occur much more often.
Cat contractions: signs, duration and general information
Childbirth is an important and responsible time. Many cat lovers subconsciously fear them, as they believe that the generic process will necessarily be accompanied by some pathologies. Fortunately, the practice of veterinarians testifies to the opposite: almost 100% of births in cats are completed safely, no assistance is required to the animals. The owner only needs to notice the cat’s contractions in time and get ready to receive kittens.
The labor force itself can tell a lot to an attentive and experienced breeder or veterinarian. By the way, how long does a cat give birth? The first contractions can be noticed even a day before the kittens are born. In primiparous animals, the process can take even longer.
The most typical pathology of the birth process, which is directly related to contractions, is dystonia or uterine atony. These violations do not allow the organ to contract normally, as a result of which the normal birth process is seriously disturbed.
- Such disorders are most common in older cats as well as obese animals.
- Primiparous cats may well experience atony.
- Almost certainly, this pathology will develop in cases of large-fruited or congenital deformities of kittens: in such situations, the animal’s body will spend all its energy and nutrients long before the newborn kittens can be pushed through the birth canal.
- This violation is most often encountered by owners of purebred Persian cats, as well as crossbred animals “based on” the Persians. Note also that uterine dystonia / atony most often develops during the birth of the first or last kitten.
Below we list the main signs that you should immediately contact your veterinarian if they appear. Your delay may well lead to the death of both the cat itself and all of its kittens. So, these are the symptoms:
- The cat has had intense, strong contractions for an hour or more, but not a single kitten has been born.
- The interval between contractions is more than half an hour, and they themselves are very sluggish.
- During the attempts, the amniotic bladder burst, but the kitten itself has been in the lumen of the birth canal for more than 10 minutes. Simply put, in cases where the calving is simply stuck.
- Each contraction is accompanied by a flow of blood from the lumen of the external genital organs.
- The cat is apathetic and almost does not react to irritating environmental factors, already born kittens are very weak.
- A cat’s body temperature that rises to 40 ° C or drops below 36 ° C does not indicate anything good. Note, however, that a few hours before delivery, the body temperature of a pregnant cat always drops to about 37.3 ° Celsius, and this is not considered a pathology.
- When labor seems to have stopped, but at the same time, the cat’s belly strains from time to time, and the animal itself is either completely apathetic (it may not react at all to what is happening), or worries, meows anxiously and pays almost no attention to the cubs already born. All of these signs can indicate the presence of “extra” kittens in the uterus. If you do not help the cat within an hour, the cubs will almost certainly die.
- The normal interval between the birth of kittens is from 15 minutes to an hour. It should take no more than 20 minutes from the rupture of the amniotic sac to the appearance of the first kitten. If this time increases significantly, it does not hurt to call a veterinarian. This is especially true for cases when the cat is agitated, meows strongly and lingeringly, and shows other signs that can indicate a strong pain reaction.
When do they start?
Note that the harbingers of labor may appear about a week before the “true” birth, but they are not direct attempts. Rather, it is a “rehearsal” of the body, as well as the time when the organs of the reproductive system begin to prepare for the process of childbirth. During the same period, the body’s mitochondria accumulate energy, which is required during intense contractions of the muscular layer of the uterus. This phenomenon is also called false contractions. A distinctive feature of the latter is an early appearance. immediately before the due date at this time, there are still several days (up to one and a half weeks). They start quickly and end just as quickly. Note that at this time the cat does not experience any pain or other unpleasant sensations. This explains the relatively calm behavior of the animal.
These are training attempts, with which the animal’s organism “tests” itself, checking the readiness of systems and organs for the birth of offspring. As in the case of false attempts, their training variety is characterized by a quick, sudden appearance, but such contractions still last longer. The cat becomes restless, can run around the house and meow heart-rendingly, looking for a place that is most suitable for the birth of kittens. All this happens periodically, the rest of the time the pet’s behavior is no different from normal.
How do you know if a cat has contractions that indicate an imminent birth? The immediate onset of labor is indicated by a set of other signs: first, the remnants of the mucous plug leave, soon after that the discharge of fetal waters may begin. Considering that the mucous plug may well leave three or five days before the immediate onset of the labor process, a really reliable sign is strong and prolonged contractions, accompanied by the release of large volumes of fetal water.
Delivery options for weak or absent labor pains
In many cases of excessively weak or completely absent uterine contractions, this is caused by a lack of calcium and / or oxytocin in the body of the giving birth animal. To stop the lack of such important substances, specialists use synthetic oxytocin, as well as intravenous injections of calcium borgluconate. However, there is always a certain likelihood of severe consequences of such stimulation of labor, up to the rupture of the walls of the uterus.
If the problems are so severe that they cannot be solved with medication, the specialist may decide whether to perform a cesarean section. Note that the prerequisites for performing abdominal surgery must be really objective.
The veterinarian must consider a combination of the following:
- Duration of labor.
- The current state of the cat’s body.
- Abdominal ultrasound results.
- The presence / absence of large fruits.
- Dryness of the birth canal.
- Lack of a pronounced response to the introduction of oxytocin.
In most cases, a cesarean section is not a problem, especially if the cat is young and healthy enough. The veterinarian performs the operation under general anesthesia. However, certain difficulties are possible in these cases, especially when the reason for the impossibility of natural childbirth was some serious pathology of the development of the placental membranes or intrauterine death of the fetus, accompanied by their decomposition in the organ cavity.
In such situations, the specialist must quickly make a decision about the advisability of leaving the organ or the need for its surgical resection (i.e. removal). Of course, in the latter case, the animal will no longer be able to give birth, but its life will be saved.