Cat Pregnancy 101 (Part 2)

Cat Pregnancy 101 (Part 2)

Items to have at home during delivery

There are some items that have to be in place to ensure a safe delivery and also in case an emergency arises that you have to deal with.

  • A nesting box. One of the most important things your cat needs is a safe place where the birth can take place. You can prepare a nesting box for her ahead of time. Also keep in mind that your cat may or may not use the box for the birth. Fill the box with a thick layer of clean old towels, linen etc. Don't use anything you're not willing to throw away because it will get messy in there. Place the box in a room that's not too hot or cold and away from drafts. It also needs to be a place where children and house pets are not allowed. Have a bowl of fresh water and some food available nearby. A clean litterbox should also be placed in the same room, but far away from the food and water bowls.
  • More clean towels and sheets. You can even get a packet of baby flannels
  • A notebook and pen or pencil. This is to document the process; the birth time of each kittens and its placenta, kittens birth weight and other important data
  • A suture removal set, including blunt scissors and forceps. They will be needed if you have to deal with cutting umbilical cords
  • Gauze pads
  • Non-waxed dental floss
  • Disposable gloves for handling newborn kittens if necessary
  • Milk replacement formula for newborn kittens and the appropriate bottles, as well as an eye dropper or a small 1.0 ml syringe for feeding newborns who can't yet latch onto a bottle.
  • An accurate weight scale for weighing small kittens
One more reason why spaying and neutering of all pet cats are highly recommended is because having a cat deliver kittens is not for the faint of heart. Once again, it is paramount to not let your cat become pregnant if you're not mentally and financially prepared to deal with the consequences.

If your cat is giving birth and there is an emergency, call your vet or local emergency clinic immediately. There are some possible complications that may look like complications to you but are just part of the normal birth process. We will be discussing some of them below, with information about what to expect during the birth and when to intervene or call your veterinarian.

  • It is perfectly normal for your cat's water to break before the birth commences, either in a slow drizzle or in a gush. You don't need to do anything about it.
  • The birth process often begins with a white creamy, pink or clear discharge from the vulva. It is the mucus plug being expelled from the birth canal and is perfectly normal and your cat will probably lick it off herself. You should however intervene if the discharge is green or brown in color or has the color and consistency of pus as this could indicate an infection in the uterus. Call your vet and ask for advice. This can happen before or after birth, sometimes hours or days later
  • Kittens can be born with their front part or rear part first. So there is no need for concern if a kitten to comes out with its tail first.
  • Cats can take up to a few hours or sometimes a day or two between delivering kittens. It's also possible that the entire litter is just one or two kittens and that the birth is over. You should intervene if the cat appears to be straining, panting or heaving for more than half an hour and no kitten comes out, this requires an emergency call to your vet.
  • It is rare for kittens to be stuck in the birth canal, but when it does happen and you can see part of the kitten has come out and the rest appears to be stuck and isn't coming out despite the cat pushing, you'll need to help the kitten by Using a pair of sterile surgical gloves and very gently grab the kitten by the armpits (of the front or back legs, whichever comes out first) and steadily pull slightly downwards, towards the mother cat's feet and out.
  • Normally, each kitten's birth should be followed by the placenta being expelled, which could take some time. Never attempt to pull a placenta out of the uterus, if you do, you will cause the cat to bleed to death. However, you should keep track of the number of placentas and do so in writing. If you haven't seen the same number of placentas coming out as the number of kittens, or if one of the placentas wasn't whole, contact your vet.
  • Mother Cats are supposed to tear the amniotic sac themselves and lick it off the kitten within minutes after birth, allowing the kitten to breathe properly but sometimes inexperienced cats fail to do so. If it's been more than 3-4 minutes and the mother cat is ignoring the kitten, you need to use your hands to tear the amniotic sac from the kitten's face. If there's fluid and secretion in its mouth and nose, use a piece of sterile gauze to very gently clean that, allowing the kitten breathe.
  • t is perfectly natural for the mother cat to eat the placentas, it is a source of needed nutrients and a way for her to naturally clean the nest. However, eating too many placentas can cause diarrhea and it is advisable to not allow the cat to eat more than four placentas. If the litter is larger, you should remove the placentas after they've fully expelled.
  • The mother cat is also expected to cut the umbilical cord but give the cat time to get to the umbilical cord and don't rush it. However, if the placenta has been expelled for more than a few minutes and the mother cat doesn't appear to be cleaning the kitten from the amniotic sac, you should step in.
  • Kittens usually find the nipples and start suckling within minutes after being cleaned by the mother cat. It can take a while longer and that's perfectly normal too. Some cats prefer to have all the kittens first and only then begin to nurse. Don't stress over this until the birth is over and all placentas are out. You may have to supplement with a milk replacement if you notice that the kittens are trying to nurse but no milk is coming out or if the mother cat rejects the kittens after the birth is over.
I hope this article on cat pregnancy 101 has been able to enlighten you adequately and answer all the questions you have on cat pregnancy. Nevertheless, please do remember that unless you`re a professional breeder and the cat is a part of a breeding program, spay your cat at 4-6 months of age to prevent unplanned pregnancy!
Last edited:
< Cat Pregnancy 101 (Part 1) Essentials of Kitten Nutrition >