Signs of impending labor
The owner can easily determine that the cat’s labor is approaching and she is about to lamb.
- Relaxation and lengthening of the pelvic ligaments. the animal has a slightly wobbly gait, it jumps on furniture with difficulty, is inactive, the stomach sags strongly and seems to shift to the hind legs.
- Retraction of the sacrum. lower spine, back area next to the tail.
- Increase and swelling of the genital gap, sometimes redness is observed.
- Discharge of the mucous plug. a transparent clot of mucus. Re-giving birth cats often suck up before giving birth, so the cork is unnoticeable. The owner of a pet giving birth for the first time will see a little mucus under the tail.
- Enlargement of the mammary glands, excretion of colostrum. a yellowish thick liquid (not always).
- Discharge from the genital fissure, colorless and odorless fluid. amniotic fluid.
- Decreased body temperature. the ears and tips of the paws get colder about a day before the start of the contractions.
- Behavior change. An active animal becomes calm, and calm, on the contrary, becomes nervous. The cat begins to look for a place where it can give birth. She rushes about the house, sometimes screaming and hissing. The place she does not always find is a man-made nest. She is able to hide behind a closet, under a sofa, go outside, hide in an outbuilding. This is highly undesirable, because in this case it will be difficult for her to help if necessary. Therefore, having noticed signs of developing pregnancy, the owner needs to accustom the cat to the place that will become its nest for the time and after childbirth.
- Refusal to eat and drink. Occurs about a day before the animal is about to give birth.
What signs to look for
Complications during lambing are rare, but pedigree cats are more pampered than their yard sisters, so supervision and assistance is required during pregnancy and childbirth. If you look closely at the behavior of an animal, anxiety can be caused by such phenomena as:
- Mismatch in the number of placenta and kittens born.
- Arising attempts.
- The cat does not get up and does not change position for a very long time.
- Sluggish, apathetic, does not drink or eat anything.
- Increased body temperature.
- The woman in labor cannot sleep.
- Tight swollen belly.
- The bleeding has not stopped after 24 hours.
- Discharge has an unpleasant odor and green color.
All this indicates that the cat has incomplete lambing, or the placenta has not come out and needs emergency help.
Signs of completion of labor in a cat
The lamb went well and all kittens were born, if the cat has:
- Even breathing, normal temperature.
- The cat licked and fed the offspring.
- I got up to drink and eat myself.
- Shows no signs of anxiety and is asleep.
- The abdomen is soft on palpation.
Occasionally, there is an interruption of labor without signs of discomfort. This is a natural defense that works if the cat has been emaciated or had a heavy kitten. As soon as the body regains its strength, lambing continues after a certain time.
What to prepare for childbirth
Every owner whose cat is about to give birth should prepare for this event. Especially carefully you need to prepare if the cat will give birth for the first time: it is not known what complications will have to be faced during childbirth. A pet may require help from its owner, so you need to take care of the presence of such items in the house:
- soft disposable diapers;
- antiseptic solutions: chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate solution, brilliant green;
- gauze sterile wipes;
- clean pieces of cotton fabric;
- small syringe;
- sterile medical gloves.
If the owner saw signs of a cat giving birth and knows for sure that she is going to give birth in the next day, it is necessary to notify the veterinarian about this so that he can come on the first call. This is necessary in case of an emergency, when the animal may need the help of a specialist. Usually, difficulties can arise in pedigree cats that give birth for the first time. Outbred cats tolerate this process more easily, most likely, the owner will not have to do anything. the pet will do a great job on its own.
What you need to know about cat pregnancy
There are several factors that affect when a cat can give birth. These include: breed, health, body size. The age for first pregnancy can range from 5 to 18 months. Veterinarians agree that only a strengthened animal can bear kittens, and this is from about 12 months of age. Willingness is expressed by restless behavior, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, inviting purring, characteristic posture (lowering on the front legs, arching the lower back).
Whether your pet is pregnant can be understood by some of the symptoms:
- fatigue (lethargy, phlegm, drowsiness);
- toxicosis (vomiting in the morning);
- increased urination;
- changes in the mammary glands (swelling, redness).
The cat carries babies for about 9 weeks, or rather, from 55 to 65 days. A pet is capable of lambing three times in a year, but this is a serious stress for her body.
Are all kittens born??
Of course, with the birth of one kitten, such questions do not arise. There are, of course, cases of the birth of a single cub, but they are rare. But suppose your pet has already given birth to three or four kittens. How to tell if someone else is still in the womb?
The exact answer to this question can only be given by an ultrasound scan, but still there are signs, when they appear, it is recommended either to immediately call a veterinarian, or to take the pet to the clinic on your own:
- Childbirth seems to be over, but your pet does not show much interest in already born kittens, constantly meows and runs around the house, shows other signs of strong anxiety.
- Remember that in the normal course of the labor process, there is a third stage of labor. “Officially” it is not recognized by all veterinarians, since at this time the remains of the placenta and other “garbage” leave the animal. This stage should not be accompanied by contractions and attempts. If a cat that has already given birth is shaken from time to time by strong contractions, the matter is clearly unclean. Either she still has a kitten (kittens) in her uterus, or you see signs of some postnatal pathologies. In any case, it does not hurt to urgently contact a veterinarian.
- It happens that a kitten in the womb (or several kittens) is already dead, and for some reason the contractions when it is born are weak. In such cases, a couple of days after giving birth, the cat’s condition deteriorates sharply, a greenish-brown discharge (ichorous) with a disgusting, suffocating smell of rot appears from the external genital organs. It is easy to understand that even in such a situation, it will not be possible to do without an urgent visit to the veterinarian.
How to understand that a cat has given birth to all kittens: signs of the end of labor
Even experienced cat lovers are sometimes worried about the approaching birth of their pet. Of course, the likelihood of developing birth complications in these animals is very small, but nevertheless, they should not be completely ruled out. In particular, when a cat gives birth, you need to know for sure whether all kittens were born. Here’s just how to do it?
- What signs to look for
- Are all kittens born??
- Signs of completion of labor in a cat
- What to do if a cat cannot give birth to a “last child”?
- Duration of labor
- How to find out about the completion of labor?
- Signs that appear in 7-10 days
- What to prepare for childbirth
- What if this is the first time?
- Signs of labor that will take place in 1-2 days
- How is the pregnancy period
- What you need to know about cat pregnancy
- Signs of impending labor
- Normal pregnancy and childbirth
- Signs that the cat has completely given birth
- How can a person help
What to do if a cat cannot give birth to a “last child”?
We emphasize once again that only a veterinarian can accurately identify the fact of the presence of “belated” kittens and only if there is an ultrasound scan (or X-ray, at worst). We would not advise you to feel and crumple your pet’s belly on your own. So you can hardly understand whether the cat gave birth to all the kittens or not, but to harm the animal is completely in your power.
So there is a baby in the womb. For some reason, a cat cannot give birth on its own. What should I do? If the animal is not severely exhausted by childbirth and the muscles of the abdominal wall and the uterus itself contract normally, you can try to stimulate the “second round” of labor by injecting oxytocin. In this case, there is a chance that the newly started contractions will help bring the matter to an end.
But you need to remember that oxytocin is not the safest drug, and therefore important nuances must be taken into account when using it:
- If after the introduction of the first dose (no more than 5 IU) there are no signs of contractions, further administration should be considered meaningless and even dangerous.
- In the case when the body temperature of the cat does not exceed 37.5 ° Celsius, it is also not worth artificially stimulating labor.
- Bradycardia, tachycardia, other cardiac or respiratory disorders are also contraindications for oxytocin.
Thus, drug stimulation is not used very often, since for this the general condition of the cat should be close to ideal. But this, taking into account some “problems” at birth, does not happen often. In other words, we need some other option. And if the cat has not given birth to the last kitten, such is a cesarean section.
Cat signs of labor. We will tell you how not to miss a 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.
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 of a cat lasts 60–65 days, but the period 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 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.
- 4-6 weeks:
- Rapid growth of “babies” and “rounding” of the cat. By the 6th week, the amount of fluid in the uterus increases, and the kittens begin to make their first movements.
- Kittens “feel” with careful probing.
- The cat eats and sleeps more, otherwise behaves as usual.
- 7-9 weeks:
- Kittens are actively moving. Movements are clearly visible to the naked eye, especially if the cat is sleeping.
- Swelling of the mammary glands, excretion of colostrum.
- Some cats have whitish vaginal discharge, which is normal.
- Increased anxiety and arrangement of the “den”.
Important! “Nesting” is not observed in all animals. A cat with increased social activity will rely on the prudence of the owners in arranging the place and helping in childbirth. It is necessary to monitor the “tied murkas” especially carefully, hormones and “naughty” character can bring the animal to a “breakdown” and rash actions, which is fraught with premature birth or abandonment of kittens.
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 compulsory cleaning of the respiratory tract, if the kitten has not cleared 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 substitute.
- 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!
Take note! For fluffy and “hyper-clean” cats, be sure to prepare: dry and wet wipes, moisture-absorbing diapers. If you do not provide the “finicky” with cleanliness, she will wash, crawl from place to place, and childbirth will go to the last plan.
You may not need anything other than a box and diapers, but you need to prepare for everything. From a behavioral point of view, 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 “hunches 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.
Important! A pregnant cat herself chooses where to equip her nest. If the animal treats the box badly and stubbornly settles in the closet on your favorite shirts. give in, free up the place you like and equip it comfortably, the cat will still do it its own way. Some cats, especially first-calf cats, give birth “where necessary”. be prepared.
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 falls, it becomes pear-shaped;
- intensive 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 the 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 a 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, it is necessary to closely 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.
The birth of a fetus
As soon as the kitten comes out, it is covered with a shell. The mother must 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 together 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 the traces have come out. Their number should correspond to the number of fruits. Remaining in the placenta can cause serious inflammatory diseases.
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 crush him.
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.
How long does a cat’s contractions last?
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 preserve the health of the mother and newborn kittens.
Contractions and the birth of kittens
The process of giving birth to kittens can be roughly divided into two stages:
- The beginning of labor. The uterus begins to contract, the first not too intense muscle contractions appear. At 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. Gradually, the interval will 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. 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 another at intervals of 15-30 minutes (sometimes up to 1 hour). During this time, the cat will continue to have contractions 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:
Cat in pre-labor(part 1) Luna’s 1st litter
- there are no contractions for more than 3 hours;
- the stomach 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.
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 last 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 a “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.
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 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 work of 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 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.
- Suspicion of eclampsia (a critical drop in calcium levels), accompanied by seizures. Within 3 days, you will need to inject calcium gluconate at a dosage of 1 ml.
- Preservation of the 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, a caesarean section is required in the animal. Most often it is performed with a radical method with complete removal of the uterus.
A newborn kitten may also need help. 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, it is necessary to carefully cut the bladder with sterile scissors and wipe the baby with a clean soft towel. The airway 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.
A 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 warm and safe. These kittens are fed with a pipette with a special mixture for newborns.
When do they start?
Note that the harbingers of contractions can 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 a few 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.
Contractions begin during the first, preparatory stage of the birth process.
These are training attempts, with which the animal’s body “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 move away 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.
The most typical pathology of the birth process, which is directly related to contractions, is dystonia or atony of the uterus. These violations do not allow the organ to contract normally, as a result of which the normal labor process is seriously disturbed.
- Such disorders are most common in older cats, as well as animals suffering from obesity.
- Primiparous cats may well experience atony.
- Almost certainly, this pathology will develop in cases of large fetuses or congenital malformations 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 faced 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, if any, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. 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 falls below 36 ° C does not indicate anything good. Note, however, that a few hours before giving birth, 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.
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 uterine cavity and the passage of the cubs through the birth canal.
Always remember one important nuance. the presence of contractions does not always indicate the onset of labor.
It is interesting, but the question of what exactly stimulates the immediate onset of labor is still actively discussed. The researchers note 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.
Of great importance is the complete readiness of the cervix (more precisely, the degree of its opening). 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 build up gently, but constantly. This stimulates the fetus to move, 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, each of which contains 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 bladders 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.
Contractions in primiparous cats can begin about a day before the onset of the second stage of labor (“true”).
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 the contractions of the uterine wall (i.e., the contraction itself) is an involuntary phenomenon, then the cat can control the contractions of the muscles of the abdominal wall quite deliberately. The rate of birth is connected with this: in primiparous pets that do not yet have childbirth experience, it is much lower. Older animals give birth much faster, because they already know when labor began and how much muscle strain is needed. 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.
Delivery options for weak or absent labor pains
In many cases, excessively weak or completely absent uterine contractions are 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 truly 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 placental membranes or intrauterine death of fetuses, 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 (that is, removal). Of course, in the latter case, the animal will no longer be able to give birth, but its life will be saved.
Cat contractions: signs, duration and general information
When does a cat’s contractions start, how long do they last, and what is their role? What are training contractions and how can you tell them apart from real ones? Let’s take a closer look.
Attempts are, like contractions, contractive movements of the uterus, pushing kittens along the birth canal. Attempts are intense and have a slightly different function. The contractions push the kittens out gradually, one might say by pressing. Pushing is a longer spasm that literally pushes the kitten through the birth canal.
The first kitten is born longer than the others, because its head expands the birth canal. Nature provides that the largest and strongest kitten is born first. Even if the attempts are prolonged, the baby’s potentially strong body can withstand pressure and hypoxia without irreversible consequences. By the same logic, the smallest and weakest kitten is born last, since its expulsion will be the fastest and easiest.
Note! Normally, for the birth of the first kitten, the cat needs to make 3-4 attempts. After 1-2 attempts, the amniotic fluid comes out of the birth canal.
At the first attempts, you need to take special attention, since attempts are very similar to the urge to defecate. In the midst of the birthing process, the cat can get up and go to the litter box. Defecation will indeed occur, and the stool is likely to be liquid. The problem is that by straining the peritoneum to defecate, the cat can involuntarily push out the amniotic fluid.
In this state, the woman in labor is categorically forbidden to walk, since she can damage the head of the firstborn. Gently take it in your hands and transfer it to the nest. Immediately lay the cat on one side and stroke her belly to stimulate further attempts.
After the birth of the first kitten, the rest of the babies will appear at intervals of 10–20 minutes. If the attempts and contractions last more than an hour, and the next baby has not been born, it is necessary to urgently call a doctor. Delaying the situation will lead to weakening of the woman in labor and stopping the birth process.
Only in very rare cases does the birth process resume without intervention, and the stopping interval can last up to 36 hours. In most cases, stopping labor is fraught with the death of kittens, inflammation of the uterus and a serious deterioration in the cat’s health.
Contractions. stages of labor
The birth of cats is usually divided into three stages: contractions, attempts, expulsion. In this case, the process of contractions is also divided into several sub-stages:
- First, weak contractions.
- Mid-interval contractions. active opening of the cervix.
- Final bouts turning into attempts.
Even experienced owners find it difficult to understand that a cat has contractions in the first stage. The interval between contractions can be delayed up to 30-40 minutes, while the pain is insignificant and the cat manages to hide it. The discharge of amniotic fluid from the birth canal also goes unnoticed, the cat actively licks the genital area. By licking, it keeps the coat dry and stimulates the birth process.
After the cat has started the first contractions, it may take 10-12 hours before the first kitten appears. With a rapid delivery, the cat moves from the contractions stage to the pushing stage in less than 1–2 hours. Labor is considered protracted and difficult if contractions last more than 12 hours.
Note! About 12 hours after the start of labor, kittens begin to suffer from hypoxia. a lack of oxygen. If the cat does not start trying, be sure to see a doctor. In rare cases, prolonged labor is a hereditary factor and does not pose a threat to the life of kittens.
After short contractions with long intervals, contractions of medium duration begin. At this time, the uterus is actively contracting, pushing the kittens to the birth canal. Pressure is constantly built up in the uterine cavity, which forces its cervix to expand. The process of expansion of the cervix is accompanied by severe pain, so the cat can behave very restlessly, scream loudly, breathe with an open mouth.
During contractions of moderate severity, hormones enter the cat’s bloodstream, stimulating the work of all body systems. Breathing with an open mouth indicates oxygen deprivation. Try to keep your cat as comfortable and ventilated as possible before giving birth. However, during the birth of kittens, there should be no drafts in the room, since newborn babies very quickly get supercooled.
The interval between contractions of medium duration is gradually decreasing. The final contractions occur at intervals of 30-40 seconds, the contraction of the peritoneum is visible visually. The cat stops meowing, lays down on one side and prepares for pushing.
Training contractions and their role in labor
Many, especially inexperienced owners, are very worried about the upcoming birth of a pet. There are a lot of theoretical materials, but what to do if something does not go “according to the textbook”?
Note! Contractions are spasms of the walls of the uterus that cause kittens to roll over or move towards the birth canal.
To begin with, let’s figure out how long a cat’s labor lasts. The first birth is considered to be more difficult, but in practice this is not the case. The statistics are skewed as owners who experience problems in their first births in their pets prefer to castrate them. that is, second births simply do not happen. Note that not all complications in childbirth are genetic or hereditary. That is, the first time a cat can give birth is absolutely normal, but the second or third time the owner will have to face complications.
Milk fever or postpartum eclampsia is considered a hereditary complication. Observations have shown that if eclampsia occurred after the first birth, it is likely to recur in subsequent births.
How to Tell if Your Cat is in Labor?
Note! Normally, a cat’s pregnancy lasts 64 days, but the duration varies from 63 to 71 days. The difference in timing can be attributed to the size of the cat, the number of kittens in the litter, the external environment, and other factors.
The duration of labor in a cat depends on the potential of the body. If the expectant mother received adequate care and enhanced nutrition during the entire period of pregnancy, she does not have hereditary pathologies, and the embryos developed without defects, in total, the duration of labor will be from 10 to 20 hours.
Many owners are faced with so-called preparatory bouts. The cat begins to behave restlessly, goes to the nest, meows loudly and with all its appearance shows that labor will begin soon. Most often this happens 5-7 days before the expected date of birth, so the owners panic, call the veterinarian or take the cat to the clinic.
Note! Training contractions in primiparous cats are more noticeable, since the expectant mother is very restless. If a pet is pregnant for the second time, she may not show anxiety during fake contractions.
As soon as the false contractions have stopped, the expectant mother switches her attention to the owner, watches him closely, listens to soothing speeches, and the owner himself does not realize that the cat is not in danger.
False contractions are an exercise in the body. When the uterus is in a slight tone, the kittens turn their head to the birth canal and descend to the cervix. Note that training contractions can be quite strong, especially in the last stages of gestation. The cat itself may not understand that the contraction of the uterus is training and begin to prepare for childbirth.
If you notice excessive anxiety of the pet, despite the early date, be prepared for the birth of kittens. Rarely enough, but cats have premature births, and too early a baby is born with very serious difficulties.
If your cat has premature contractions that cause obvious discomfort and pain, it is best to contact your veterinarian. Since the clinical picture will develop very quickly, it is advisable to consult a doctor by phone. At the first stage of preterm labor, contractions can be stopped with medication, which will allow the expectant mother to deliver kittens and give birth to stronger ones.
Childbirth is a very stressful and time-consuming process that can be complicated for a number of reasons. Weak labor is a serious threat to the life of the offspring and the woman in labor. As soon as you find out that the cat is pregnant, it must be shown to the veterinarian for a comprehensive examination. If the cat has a predisposition to difficult childbirth or questionable heredity, after setting the gestational age, the date of the planned caesarean section is assigned.
After visiting the veterinarian, when the estimated date of delivery is established, it is advisable to agree with the doctor about leaving the house. You may not need the help of a veterinarian, but if the birth will take place on a weekend, at night or with complications, it will be very difficult to find a doctor. In addition, transporting a cat that is giving birth is a very serious stress, which can lead to stoppage of labor.
The first contractions that have begun are not an indicator of the normal course of labor. It happens that the cat is in contractions for more than 12 hours, but it never goes into the stage of pushing. In this case, stimulation of labor is used. Stimulation begins with intense stroking movements along the mammary glands and abdomen of the cat. If the body responds to stimulation, the contractions should become longer and deeper.
If no external manipulations give results, Oxytocin is used. The drug is administered in a dose of 0.3 ml (per medium-sized cat) every hour until the onset of attempts or recovery of contractions. Oxytocin is not recommended to be administered more than 4–5 times, since contractions can stop when the kitten gets stuck in the birth canal. In such a situation, stimulation will damage the walls of the uterus and the birth canal.
Oxytocin is considered a universal and very effective remedy, but it does not always help. If the cat does not start struggling or contractions return, the veterinarian may recommend an emergency caesarean section. The course and outcome of the operation, in this case, are unpredictable. If childbirth began on time, but passed with complications, the chances of saving the offspring are quite high. During the operation, the veterinarian can remove the uterus if it has been damaged or genetic abnormalities are found.
Experience has shown that cats who have experienced caesarean section and neutering recover much faster. However, in a complex operation there is also a negative side. after the removal of the uterus, the cat may stop lactation, that is, the kittens will have to be fed artificially.