Gestation of cats
The cats are excellent mothers and breeders. As a rule, they give birth and raise their young without problems. Before the first year of age they have their first heat and can get pregnant if they are with a male. If you have not sterilized your cat, even though you are a house cat, it is likely that any time you run away from home you will be pregnant. At each gestation the cats may have between 1 and 6 pups and may have more than one birth per year.
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Having a litter at home can be very rewarding and beautiful but we should also think about the amount of abandoned animals, so it must be a decision taken responsibly. Whether it’s your first cat or if you’ve never cared for cat puppies, this article will help you know a little bit more about cat gestation .
If you suspect your cat is pregnant, keep reading this article from YourCatCareguide where you will learn everything that is related to gestation and birth of puppies.
The heat in the cat
Traditionally, the heat of the cats occurred due to the seasons and the hours of daylight. However, these days, domestic cats can have heat virtually all year round. The first heat of a cat usually appears between 6 and 9 months of age , depending on each cat.
During the heat the cats are restless, they feel stronger than normal and can rub their belly against the ground by tilting their hips upwards. It is these days that will attract the males of the zone and will try to leave the house to meet with them. It is in these romantic encounters that we hear the typical cry of cats crossing .
If you do not want your cat to be pregnant, you should avoid leaving the house during these days, but be aware that it will grow hot overnight and until the heat has passed. You must be patient and wait a few days. Find out more information about cat cio in our article.
If you do not want your cat to have puppies, consider sterilization . During sex the cat suffers, especially if intercourse does not occur. If you want to know more about the topic read our article about the benefits of castrating a cat .
Phases of gestation
The pregnancy in the cats lasts approximately 2 months . Depending on each cat can vary between 60 and 67 days. Many times we will not know exactly when he conceived so from the 60th we should expect delivery:
- 10 days : Nausea and vomiting may occur in the first 10 days.
- 4th week : From this moment, the belly of the cat is already beginning to notice. The embryos are one month old and measure about 5 centimeters in length and about 7 or 8 grams in weight. In the days and weeks following it will increase considerably its size. The breasts swell and become rosier, preparing for lactation.
- Week 5 : The cat may begin to have pain and discomfort. Nausea can occur because of changes in your body due to the hormones of pregnancy.
- 7th and 8th week : It is the final phase of pregnancy. The cat has increased remarkably of weight and you can notice the movements of the cubs in its belly.
- Days 60-67 : During these days is when the birth will happen. If the pregnancy lasts more than 67 days consult your veterinarian. It is advisable to gently touch and caress your belly to notice the movement of the puppies. If labor does not occur and there are no movements, there may be complications.
How do I know if my cat is pregnant?
In the early stages of pregnancy it can be difficult to detect. In addition, not all cats are the same, some pass the pregnancy with normality and others show more evident behavior changes.
We must be attentive to changes in behavior , which may indicate the new state:
- Loss of appetite : Eat in smaller quantities, you can ask for food and then just taste it, including your favorite. It is normal and in a matter of days will eat normally.
- She sleeps for more hours : She becomes more apathetic, unwilling to play. You will notice this if you get along with more cats, you will try to be alone and rest.
- It is more affectionate and homely : After the encounter with the male it is frequent that the cat does not want to leave the house. It is a sign that the copulation occurred, because as you will remember during the heat your priority is to go out to meet a male. She’ll ask for more caresses and be more cuddly than usual.
- You can be grumpy : It can also happen the opposite situation, your cat may be more moody and do not want to relate. Unmarried cats or those who enter and leave with freedom from home may be less affectionate than before. It depends entirely on the personality of the cat and its relationship with its owner.
From the fourth week of pregnancy you may notice the physical changes caused by pregnancy:
- The outgoing belly begins to be felt .
- The breasts become inflamed, become larger and take a rosier shade than usual. It is a sign that they are preparing to milk. By passing the weeks you will notice how the breasts fill with milk and increase in size.
Preparing for childbirth
The time to give birth will occur from the 60th day of pregnancy but as it is often difficult to determine the moment it is important to be prepared. We recommend consulting the veterinarian to have an ultrasound scan of the pregnant cat. This will help us to know how many puppies are on the way, if there are complications in childbirth, etc.
Prepare the nest
In order to give birth, cats usually look for isolated places , warm, quiet and in low light. If you have an attic or a garage in your house, it is possible for the cat to choose a corner to give birth. As a rule, they look for a place they like, watch it and choose a quiet place, far from where people can pass and where the cat passes the first few days after giving birth as quietly as possible. Some advices:
- Prepare a cardboard box or bed with blankets or clothes . Keep in mind that it will stain with blood and fluids, so it is best that it is not the bed where you sleep.
- In this place the cat must have water and food . If the litter box is too far away, take it to this place in the first few days. Many cats do not want to separate from their young, especially if there are many people at home.
- Ideally, you should have a place ready for giving birth and for the first few days, and then you can take them somewhere else. Keep in mind that puppies are born with their eyes closed , so do not expose them to light sources. It is best to stay in dimly lit places until you have opened your eyes. In the first moments also avoid taking pictures with flash of very close, acts like this can damage your eyes in the first days of life.
Symptoms that the moment has arrived
There are several clues that may indicate that your cat will give birth in the next few hours:
- Behavior changes : The cat becomes uneasy, lies down and gets up frequently. He licks his genitals and changes his position as if he is not well.
- Fasting : Hours before the party will not eat. This will prevent vomiting during contractions.
- Tell him : Many cats when the time approaches, they look for their owner and they call for his attention. You may want to go with her to the place you have chosen to give birth. It depends on the relationship you have with your cat, in other cases will leave alone, without warning. You should respect her, especially if it’s her first birth.
- Contractions : Contractions will recur every few minutes. There are small spasms in the cat’s belly.
- Expulsion of the mucosal cap : The expulsion of a whitish or yellowish mucosa by the vulva. It is a sign that labor is imminent.
- Temperatura corporal inferior: A sua temperatura corporal desce antes do parto para abaixo dos 39ºC.
Cats usually have their kittens without difficulty. After expulsion of the mucus plug, it may take minutes or hours before the first pup is released. However, it will not be too hard to prepare the emergency veterinarian’s phone if you have decided that you will give birth at home. You should also know what to do to help the cat give birth .
The mother helps the puppies to leave, lick them and eliminate the remains of blood and placenta. With the teeth cut the umbilical cord of each cub.
It usually takes several minutes between the exit of one puppy and the next , but it may happen that they all leave in a row. In this case and if you observe that the mother is very tired and can not take responsibility of all the puppies, it can help her. With a damp towel wipe the puppy with gentle stroking. It is better for the mother to cut the cord, but if it is not, she can do so by tying two strings on two points of the umbilical cord, separated from the womb of the cub, and carefully cutting with disinfected scissors.
After all the puppies have left, the cat will expel the placenta . Failure to do so can lead to an infection. When you expel her, the cat will eat it, it is normal and in addition it brings many more nutrients after giving birth.
Sometimes a cat can take a night to give birth to all her kittens. They can spend hours between each other. It’s best that you leave her alone during these hours and from time to time she can supervise to see if everything is well.
If after night or all day come you still have some chick inside, but it looks like you’ve just given birth, go with her to the vet. Sometimes they can give birth to dead puppies and may take time to expel them.
When the puppies are born they will look for their mother’s breasts for their first meal . If you are present, you can approach them to breastfeed. It is best that in these early hours do not take the puppies, take photos or move them. You will have time to play with them when they were bigger, think that the cat could refuse them .
The first meals are very important because the female in the days following the delivery produces the colostrum , a special milk full of nutrients and antibodies that will protect the puppies.
Many cats can get grumpy if someone touches their babies. With it, your human companion is normal that you feel comfortable but it is better that people of visit or who do not know the cat, do not take or enter the space of the cat during the first days.
The relationship you have with your cat will be strengthened during these days. The cats are excellent mothers and you can enjoy him and the puppies in a few days.
The puppies at birth can not see or hear , are very delicate and will not move away from their mother and their siblings to keep warm. From the first week of life or a week and a half will begin to open their eyes. Your eyesight will improve little by little and by 10 weeks you’ll be able to see perfectly.
The cat will be responsible for the care of the puppies, you should just confirm that everything is okay. In a few weeks you will have your young ones running around the house and will start weaning from 3 weeks of age.
Mother’s special care
During pregnancy, cats should maintain a balanced diet similar to the rest of the year but increasing their 25-35%, especially from mid-pregnancy. There are specific rations for pregnant cats that will give you the necessary nutrients. It is recommended that you always have food because at certain stages of pregnancy usually eat little or vomit.
During the lactation period the value of calories, protein and calcium should be higher. The cats store an amount of fat that will be used after delivery to breastfeed their young. During this time you can give him vitamin supplements . Consult your veterinarian to find out which is best.
Weaning will occur about 3 weeks after the baby’s birth.
Deworming is very important throughout your cat’s life but especially during pregnancy. You should make sure your cat is free of both internal and external parasites. If this is not the case, complications may occur during pregnancy and the transmission of the puppies at birth. In a baby cat the internal parasites can be very dangerous to your health.
If you want to know more about the topic, see our article on deworming in cats and find out how to protect your cat from the parasites.