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How to Help a Cat Give Birth: 5 Vet-Reviewed Tips

Written by: Jana Blagojevic

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

mother cat gave birth to kitten

How to Help a Cat Give Birth: 5 Vet-Reviewed Tips


Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo


Dr. Athena Gaffud

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Giving birth can be a very stressful situation for cats. We are used to seeing cats being independent animals, but even for them, giving birth is a challenging task. This period is very stressful for cats and also the owners. But don’t worry, as cats usually give birth without a lot of complications. Still, your responsibility as a cat owner is to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

In this article, we will give you tips on how to help your cat give birth when the time comes, so keep reading to find out.

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The 5 Vet-Reviewed Tips to Help a Cat Give Birth

1. Pay Attention to Changes in Your Cats Behavior in the Last Days of Pregnancy

Pregnancy in cats lasts for about 63 days, and as it comes to an end, for the last few days, you will start to see some behavioral changes that are signs that your cat is ready to give birth. These changes are:

  • Nesting behavior
  • Meowing loudly
  • Grooming
  • Possible contractions

Nesting is behavior in which your cat is looking for a proper place to give birth. Most of the time, they are looking for a dark place away from activity. Also, right before birth, cats are very stressed and often meow loudly and act disoriented. It’s also very common for them to start grooming themselves a lot, mainly in the genital area.

You will also begin to see some physical differences, for example, a drop in body temperature right before birth, and also their nipples grow larger as they begin lactating. And finally, contractions are the last sign that birth is starting. They represent the movement of the kitten through the uterine canal.

A pregnant Donskoy Sphinx cat sleeping
Image Credit: Azovsky, Shutterstock

2. Provide a Safe Environment for Your Cat to Give Birth

It would be ideal for your cat to have a separate room where she can give birth peacefully. Although very often it’s not possible, you should try and make them a peaceful nesting place away from other animals and noises. It’s very common for cats to become aggressive during this period because of their protective instincts toward their kittens. You can make the nesting space out of cardboard boxes, and you will also need clean towels and absorbent pads for lining the delivery area.

Proper heat is very important for kittens and your cat, so you may also want to use a heating pad and cover it with towels and blankets.

3. When the Contractions Begin

As mentioned, contractions are the final sign that your cat is about to give birth. Even though they can probably deliver the kittens on their own, you should be present to help or call the vet if there are complications during this process. Some cats may become anxious about your presence, so you should keep your distance and intervene only when needed.

The time between the delivery of each kitten is about 10 to 60 minutes, and the whole birth process typically ends after about 6 hours. Also, you should know that birth commonly happens at night, so be ready because it may be a long night for both of you.

Pregnant White Cat
Image Credit: Boy77, Shutterstock

4. Taking Care of Your Cat After Birth

After giving birth, your cat will be exhausted but also very hungry. You need to give them proper food with a lot of nutrients to give them strength, and they will need it to produce milk. It would help to leave a bowl of clean water near the nesting space because your cat is probably very thirsty too.

5. Taking Care of the Newborn Kittens

When you are convinced that all of the kittens are born and alive and well, you will need to ensure that they are drinking properly. They need to drink as soon as possible after the birth. The milk they drink right after birth is known as colostrum and is rich in antibodies and all the nutrients that the kitten needs in the first period of their life. They need to eat every few hours, and your job is to ensure every kitten is eating properly. Often, bigger kittens drink the vast majority of milk, and no milk is left for the smaller kittens. You need to ensure that doesn’t happen by monitoring their eating regularly.

fluffy cat pregnant give birth and new born baby kittens_iarecottonstudio_shutterstock
Image Credit: iarecottonstudio, Shutterstock

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Watching your cat giving birth is an amazing experience and spending time with your cat during this period will create an unbreakable bond between you two. You should always consult with your veterinary expert beforehand to get through this experience as safely as possible. We hope we’ve made this experience less stressful for you and that you are better equipped to help your pregnant feline give birth.

Featured Image Credit: Azami Adiputera, Shutterstock

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