cat pregnancy & birth
what to expect when they are expecting
Pregnancy can be diagnosed by the vet using abdominal palpations from around three to four weeks of age, or by using ultrasound. Pinking up — enlargement and reddening of the teats — may be seen from around three to four weeks of pregnancy.
For anyone who has a pregnant cat at home or would like to help a mummy-to-be cat through her pregnancy, here are a few things you need to know and can do:
1. PREPARE A PLACE FOR HER TO GIVE BIRTH
Pregnant cats may search for a suitable place to give birth. Ideally, pregnant cats should be introduced to a quiet, clean and warm kittening area away from the family and other pets at least two weeks before the expected birth date. Provide warm blankets and clean sheets that can be washed and replaced as necessary.
2. FOOD & WATER
The expecting cat will need to eat more than usual, especially in the last three to four weeks of her pregnancy where she will need approximately 25 per cent more food.
Continue this feeding regime when the kittens are born as she will use double her usual energy when the kittens start suckling.
Water is also vital of your cat's health, so make sure that pregnant, birthing and lactating mother cats have constant access to water. Do note that during and after birth, water should be out of reach of kittens to prevent any drowning accidents.
3. THE ARRIVAL OF THE KITTENS
It is important that you leave most of the care to the mummy cat when the litter of kittens are born. Only attend to the kittens if you notice the following things:
Muck in/around the eyes. Please gently wipe them with baby wipes.
Fleas. Please treat the mum in areas where the kittens will not be affected (like the back of the neck) and towel rub the neonatal kittens and pick them off as fleas can cause anaemia and disease.
Note: Heat cycles usually stop during pregnancy, but sometimes they continue. If mating occurs again during pregnancy, this can lead to further foetuses being conceived and kittens born with different fathers in the same litter.