🐱 Is Your Fur Baby Ready to Be a Mom? Signs Your Cat is About to Give Birth 👶
The end of your cat's pregnancy is an exciting time! Those tiny paws will be here before you know it. But how can you tell when the big day is approaching? As an expert veterinary professional, I'm here to walk you through the signs that your feline family is about to grow. 😸
👀 Changes in Behavior
One of the first signs your cat is ready to give birth is a change in behavior. Has kitty been more affectionate and clingy lately? She may be seeking reassurance and comfort from you as her body prepares for labor.
Cats also tend to become more restless and agitated as they search for a suitable nesting area. You may notice an increase in meowing and crying as well as decreased interest in food. This is all perfectly normal kitty behavior leading up to delivery.
🛏 Nesting Instinct
That maternal instinct will kick in 1-2 days before labor, and you'll notice your cat scoping out potential birthing spots. She may try claiming boxes, laundry baskets, or tucked away closets. It's best to provide a designated nesting area with soft bedding so she feels safe and comfortable.
Once the perfect spot is chosen, you'll see her rip up papers, fabrics, or anything she can find to create a nest. The nesting process is driven by natural instincts to get the area ready for the impending kittens. This is a clear sign kitties are on the way very soon!
🤰 Changes in Appearance
Some physical changes will also start to occur in the final week of pregnancy. Your cat's nipples will become enlarged and red – this is in preparation for nursing. You may also notice milk discharge or wax-like fluids.
Her belly will be very rounded and may appear stretched and saggy as the kittens shift into birthing position. And of course, as her due date approaches, she'll become increasingly round and rotund looking.
💗 Decreased Appetite
In the last 2-3 days before delivery, your cat may go off her food a bit. This is normal, as the kittens take up a lot of room inside! Make sure she's drinking water and eating small, frequent meals up until delivery.
Once she's given birth, her appetite should return to normal within a day or two. Call your vet if she's refusing food for more than a day after the kittens have arrived.
😾 Changes in Vocalization
Your talkative tabby may become more quiet and withdrawn as labor nears. This conserving of energy is natural – she'll need it for the hard work ahead!
You may also notice an increase in low-pitched meowing and purring. She's trying to comfort herself through your company and reassurance. Be sure to give plenty of pets, brushes, and gentle rubs to soothe your expectant kitty.
One of the surest signs kittens are imminent is vaginal discharge. You may see a small amount of milky white or light green discharge 24-48 hours before delivery.
As labor starts, the discharge will increase and take on a dark greenish-black color. This is the mucus plug being passed as the cervix dilutes and the kittens start moving into position. Don't be alarmed by the color change – it's a completely normal part of the birthing process.
😼 Preparing a Birthing Area
Once you notice the signs that kittens are on the way, it's time to prep the ideal birthing suite! Have a comfy box or secure area ready in a quiet, low-traffic area of your home. Make sure your cat's food, water, and litter box are easily accessible.
You'll want soft bedding like blankets that are easy to wash. Avoid loose fabrics that could tangle around newborn kittens. The area should be warm, calming, and allow privacy during the delivery.
🆘 When to Call the Vet
Keep a close eye on your expectant feline for any potential problems. Contact your vet immediately if you notice:
Straining or active labor for more than 30 minutes without a kitten being born
Greenish-black discharge without progression to active labor within 24 hours
Decreased fetal movement
Signs of respiratory distress like open-mouth breathing or blue-tinted gums
Sudden lethargy, unwillingness to eat, vomiting, or depression
Your vet may advise medical intervention if labor stalls or there are signs of danger to your cat or kittens. It's always better to be safe!
🔔 Preparing for Postpartum Care
Once the kittens arrive, mom will need extra special attention and care. Have supplies on hand for assisting with nursing, grooming, weighing, and socializing the kittens.
Make sure your new cat mom continues eating nutritious food and drinks plenty of water for nursing. Provide a calm, comfortable, and safe environment for the new family. And be ready for late night feedings and potty breaks for the kittens!
Enjoy this remarkable time and the thrill of new life. Reach out to your vet with any concerns in the days after delivery. With proper postpartum care and lots of love, your new feline family will thrive! 😻