Cat Delivery: How to help your cat during it?

Now that you are well versed on the subject of recognizing whether your Queen is in labour or not – you need to know how to deliver her kittens in case she panics or doesn’t know how to do it. While some domesticated cats are natural mothers – others not so much. Therefore, it is essential for you to pay attention to this.

Once your cat goes into labour and her body starts to convulse at long intervals, start timing them. The less time in between each convulsion and the closer she is to finally pop out a kitten.

Vets doing an ultrasound of the pregnant cat to see if there are any complications.
Also read: Signs to know if your cat is in labour or not

Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Cat Food
  • Litter Box
  • Clean Towel
  • Tissue Paper
  • Sanitized Scissors or Dental Floss
  • A bowl of lukewarm water
  • Normal drinking water for your cat
  • A clean warm place to put the babies in

Why do you need each product?

1. Gloves – To touch the kitten and make sure they pop in case there are germs on your hands.

2. Cat Food – Sometimes cats lose all their energy with constant convulses and labour. They get dehydrated as well which can lead to death. It is not something that happens to every cat but its best to have a precautionary measure – just in case. Therefore, you need to keep a bowl of her favourite food item near her. Keep in mind that her gums might not be in the best of shape during all this – best keep soft food for her as well.

Also Read: Feeding your Pregnant Cat

I keep a bowl of milk, dry food as well as wet food to give my cat as many choices as possible so she eats something for sure.

3. Litter Box – Sometimes, cats think that they are having bowel movements instead of convulsions. They will try to go and pee or poop to make the pain go away. Let them do so. At times, cats actually are constipated alongside their pregnancy. Plus, you do need to make her as comfortable as possible and that includes giving her a place to potty whenever she feels like it.

4. Clean Towel – The clean towel will help you with the baby. You will use it to clean the baby if she isn’t up for it.

5. Tissue Paper – It is to help you see if your cat’s water broke. Don’t worry, we’ll get to this as well.

6. Sanitized Scissors/ Dental Floss – These will help you cut the kitten’s umbilical cord, in case your cat doesn’t.

7. Lukewarm Water – Keep a big bowl of lukewarm water by your side when helping your kitty with her delivery. This is to clean her and the kittens.

8. Drinking Water – Just like cat food you need to place a bowl of drinkable water near the Queen. This will protect her from dehydration and decrease the panting.

I always put a drop or two on my cat’s lips with my finger to keep her from dehydration and if the panting is too much – I use a dropper to help keep her hydrated. If you plan on using this technique, make sure you don’t asphyxiate (means choke) her.

9. Clean Warm Place – The mommy cat can NOT attend to her kittens while still giving birth to its siblings or during the convulsions. Usually, there is almost a 15-40 minute gap between kitten births. Most likely, she will feed/ lick the babies and sit with them until her convulsions start again. The kittens will go to that warm place then.

Keep in mind that you can’t put them in plastic bags or wrap them in a cloth. It will only suffocate the fuzz-balls to death. The best warm place would be a box with a cotton cloth placed like a nest with zero lumps.

Preparing yourself for your Cat

If your cat is anything like my cats – she will probably want to sit as near to you as possible. My cats usually come to lay in my lap as soon as the convulsions start. During this time, be gentle and caress your Queen in a soft voice.

You see, your pet can notice changes in your emotions more easily than humans can. Therefore, if you panic – they will too.

Here are a few tips;

  1. Once you notice your cat’s situation, instead of running to gather things – take a deep breath. Breathe in and out at least 5 times before getting up to go get the things you need.
  2. Walk slowly around your cat. If your pace is too fast or even normal fast – your cat will get anxious. Remember, she is already in duress – no need to enhance her stress level by making her think something is wrong.
  3. Sit with your cat. Keep talking and caressing her. The more physical connection you have with her the better she will feel – unless she tries running away from you. In that case, let her choose where she wants to sit. However, don’t leave the room.
  4. Keep a water bottle for yourself nearby. Sometimes, it takes up to 8 – 16 hours for all the kittens to come out.
  5. Prepare yourself for the worst. There will be blood and your cat will scream. The first time my Owlie was having her baby – she tried biting me to take the pain away. Thus, be observant and fast. If your cat gets aggressive, it is because of the pain. You can try giving her a pacifier. I usually let her try to bite the middle of my palm by stretching the hand to the point that it can’t be bitten.   

Water-Break: How to check if it is time?

  • At most instances, you can notice your cat’s water-break if she is laying in your lap and you feel something wet on your leg.
  • If she’s laying on your bed then check the place for any signs.
  • If you have no clue, just take some tissue paper and lightly touch it at her rear end. If it is wet then the water has broken. This isn’t a sure way to know, thus, you can check if she has droplets of water at her legs or tail.

Moreover, she will start licking herself vigorously once her water breaks. She’s dilated and nearing the birth of her kittens. This is the time when she starts meowing, crying and chirping. The first kitten will make its way out within an hour or 2.

Also Read: Cats & their Pregnancies

Step by Step Guide for the delivery

Let us imagine that the adult cat has been placed in the delivery room (your room of choice). You have everything you need and the only thing left to do is wait. Here is a step-by-step explanation of what to do and when to do it specifically.

One thing to always keep in mind – no matter what – is that once your cat settles to give birth somewhere … DO NOT MOVE HER. It’d uncomfortable for her and may cause problem during her delivery.

Step 1 – Back Support

The cat is panting and licking herself intensely. It’s starting to get difficult for her to go on. Most likely, she will lay on her back and her body would start to convulse. Either;

  • She would try to sit up so she can keep cleaning herself
  • She will give up and just keep laying

What to do here?
Support your cat’s back either by putting your foot/arm behind her or by putting an inanimate object for the purpose.

Step 2 – Head Pats

She will look up at you and meow or cry. Making you feel like she’s asking to take the pain away. This is the moment where she is confused and unable to think up the reason behind all this.

What to do here?
Pat her head and keep talking to her. Caress her body from her front paws – arm – to her tail.

Step 3 – Kitten’s Out

Just as she would try to sit back up – remember, she HAS to push the baby out like any other mammal. With about 3 tries to push and cleaning herself would come a baby in its amniotic sac alongside and the umbilical cord attached. Most of the times, Queens know that they need to clean the baby and cut the umbilical cord.

What to do here?
If your Queen doesn’t clean the baby but instead tries to go poop her way out of this then let her. Wear a glove on one hand prior to this step, just in case. Now place the baby on your palm and clean the sac off of it starting from the face. They can’t breathe if it’s there so you need to be quick. Dip the towel in lukewarm water and clean it up enthusiastically.
If it still has its umbilical cord attached – cut it from a distance of at least three fingers using the dental floss or scissors. If you cut too close to the baby – it can bleed to death or get a bacterial infection which in turn will also lead to death. Therefore, be super careful about it.

Step 4 – Kitten’s First Cry

Most kittens cry on their own. They need to do so, in order to get their mother’s attention alongside breathing the oxygen and settling to the environment of the world outside their mother’s womb.

What to do here?
Once the kitten is clean if you feel the kitten isn’t breathing or doesn’t cry then rub your 2 or 3 fingers on its chest. This is where you will massage the kitten’s chest cavity as if you were giving someone a CPR. You have to make the kitten breathe. However, if a kitten cries too much then there might be something wrong and it would be best to consult a vet.

Step 5 – Maternal Bonding

Once you know the kitten’s alive, place its body near the mother. While the mother cleans the baby, it will try to reach out for her teats. Since each nipple has a smell of its own, it will choose one and start feeding on it. This bonding period will be paused once the next kitten is near. There’s a 15 – 40 minutes gap between each kitten. The mother will, thus, leave the child and sit at a distance to deliver the next kitten.

What to do here?
Place the kitten in a warm, dry place that you customized for it at the start of this content piece. Go to your cat for assistance.

Step 6 – A Stillborn Kitten

Sometimes, it doesn’t go as planned and even after doing everything right – the kitten(s) might be stillborn.

What to do here?
In such a moment, please – do not blame yourself. You tried your best. You can try putting the kitten near its mom because sometimes they are slow. Once they feel their mother’s warmth, they show signs of life. Other times, they are just dead and in such a case, the best thing to do is to remove the stillborn from the rest of the kittens. This is because its bacteria might infect the ones that are alive.

Step 7 – Resting

If there’s been no delivery for 3-4 hours. Let the mother rest with her kittens. Notice her behaviour as to whether she will be okay once you leave or if she will leave the kittens to come after you. My cats leave their kittens to follow me, thus, I try not to move until it is necessary.

What to do here?
The best thing to do in such a situation is placing your cat’s nest near your bed. I always make it on the bed itself. If the cat doesn’t feel like sitting on the bed then I make her space as near to me as possible. Once this is done, give your back some rest as well.

Congratulations, you were great!

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