Signs to know if your cat is in labour or not

If your Queen is near her delivery dates she might start looking for warm and dry places to give her babies. Now before we indulge into this – we need to talk about the two types of Queens and their requirements.

Types of Pregnant Cats

  • The first type is a cat who would not depend on you for help. All stray cats, because of spending their lives on their own, are independent and would like to give their babies at the most secluded of places. They would hide the kittens somewhere far from any living being and would make sure it stays that way until the kittens are able to protect themselves.
  • The second type of cat is the one that has been domesticated ever since she opened her eyes. While some kittens might be those you took into your homes from outside your gates – other might be the type who have had a generation of being domesticated. They depend on their humans. These Queens would need you to be there for them.
There are 2 types of cats; those who depend on you – those that don’t!

Domesticated Queens Behavioural Changes nearing Labour Day

It’s an exciting time for you – there would be kittens at your place meowing their way all around the house soon after they are born. It’s all daises and spring but – in all honesty – it’s not that easy. You need take cat of your Queen starting from when she got pregnant and then until after her delivery as well. It’s a lot of work and if you are not that tolerant – my advice to you is to not go down this path at all.

You can read about what to feed your Queen here. Just click on the red text.

Anyway, when you cat is near her labour day – her mood and behaviour starts to change. Here are a list of signs to observe and understand that the kittens are near and you need to prep for that.

1. Mammary Glands are at their largest

During the final week of her gestation period (62 – 67 days), the cat’s body prepares itself fully. The mammary glands or nipples increase in their size and are in two well-structured lines from under her arms all way down to her groin area. 2 days before her delivery – she might even start producing milk. If you have any other 2 (or so) months old kittens at home – you might want to keep them away from her because they will start feeding on her milk confusing her to care about them more than the new litter.

Did you know? Each nipple has a particular smell of its own due to which once the kittens choose a nipple they always quarrel amongst themselves to get the same one again. I had one real stubborn kitten who would rather starve himself than feed via an other kitten. Lol

Mammary glands or nipples get ready for the newborns to suckle on them 2 days before their birth.

2. Nesting Behaviour

Your Queen will start looking for places to give her kittens. Since she’s not like stray cats – she’d try to find a place that is easily accessible to you or whoever is her person. She’d try her best to find a place away from children esp. because cats don’t like too much noise naturally. You can totally be her saviour and make a kittening or nesting box for her.

All you need to do is get a cardboard box and place a towel or two in it for her to sit it. Cut out an entrance for her and keep it near you (if she exhibits signs of attention seeking). Something you really need to remember is that the kittens are NOT able to regulate their body temperature until they are at least 2 months or older than that. Thus, you need to make sure that you choose a warm place for them to be in.

Try to find a draft-free room i.e. an indoor area with minimal cold. I didn’t know this during my Queen’s first delivery and I thought she needed the air conditioning during her delivery – the first born was cold and still. Dead…

3. Her Body Temperature will Fall

A cat’s normal body temperature is some between 37.7º to 39.1º C (100º to 102.5ºF). However, a day or two before her delivery it would fall to 37.2º C – approximately. If you want to you can check her temperature from her armpit – DO NOT TRY TO TAKE IT FROM HER BUTTHOLE … it could be very painful for her and hurt the babies as well.

During pregnancy cats are extra careful, they don’t even jump even when they need to so do you really think it’s okay to measure her temperature like that? No – and if someone tells you it’s okay … don’t believe them.

Mid-Post Story: I went to a vet once to confirm Owlie’s pregnancy and he literally plunged his fingers into her stomach. When I reacted he said that cats can’t feel pain – they are running around right after their delivery … don’t wince, relax. She lost her babies due to his insensitivity, bled that very night and went into depression for about a week. I never went to that vet again.

4. Reclusive and then Clingy

Your Queen might have been trying to stay secluded and away from everyone during her pregnancy but when her labour is near or beginning – she would get clingy. As opposed to the popular belief that cats go and hide until their babies are born – ALL OF MY CATS have always started sleeping super close to me like little babies when their delivery day is near.

They come and even meow in my face to wake me up right before going into their labour. I love that they do that because then I can be there for them.

Signs to know if your cat is in labour or not
A cat dad sharing some life hacks with his girl.

Other Stories:
1. This one time, Owlie gave a baby and I woke up due to his loud cries. I ran to my terrace to see it lying alone on the cold floor because Owlie was coming to get me before sitting near her offspring. I am literally like their second mother. So, in short, if your cat is being very clingy – it means her delivery is quite near. Look out for her signs of labour.

2. Once, my cat, Grace stayed in a 16 hour long labour between her first kitten and the second just to make sure she popped the rest of the babies out when I was home and not at office.

5. Decrease in Appetite

Your cat might not want to eat when she’s nearing her labour. It is very common in them because just think about how stuffed she might be feeling with all the developed kittens trying to float out in 24 hours or so. The kittens line up against their mommy’s stomach, thus, due to anxiety, confusion and basically pain your baby won’t be eating as much or at all.

In the last week of her pregnancy, a Queen’s appetite increases by manifolds – therefore when she stops all of a sudden … be ready!

6. Panting, Howling, Chirping, Pacing & Licking

The moment your Queenie starts panting – that is when her labour has literally started. My cats come to lay in my lap or on my arm/leg mostly as I soothe them down gently. It takes some time for their opening to be ready for the kittens to pass out.

She will seem in distress and her tummy would start to move in a different manner. – in short, her body would start contracting. It’d be slow at first but once the water breaks it might get a tad bit fast. You can check if her water has broken by touching a tissue at her cervix very lightly.

A cat might lick itself excessively when in labour – cats don’t like being dirty and at that time she feels like she’s getting dirty over and over … plus she’s clearing out the opening for her off-springs – so yeah.

Other than that, your baby would be very vocal about her pain and may scream as well – if she doesn’t speak that much she would chirp. Her voice would intensify with the increase of pain, to sum up. Moreover, she would start licking and cleaning herself every 5 minutes because she would feel something coming out.

Some cats also confuse this with poop and try to go excrete it all out – make sure you keep her in a closed room so she doesn’t pace very much. Let her move around – this is her way to calm down and get a hold of her anxiousness but don’t give her too much space to pace in. Lock the door and wait it out.

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