Most cat owners are very familiar with a range of aspects of cat health care, but one issue that not every cat owner will have to deal with is their pet giving birth. In the vast majority of cases the cat owner will know that their pet is pregnant, so hopefully the birth won’t come as too much of a surprise!
Try not to panic and remember that the vast majority of mother cats, which are also called queens, will manage the birth perfectly well, needing no assistance from you or a vet. That said, it is prudent to be vigilant and look out for any excessive discomfort or any kittens appearing to be stuck. After the birth it is very important to count the kittens and count the placentas to ensure the numbers match. If there are more kittens than placentas then one has failed to be delivered and a vet must be called.
Immediately after the birth soiled bedding must be taken away to prevent infection and replaced with clean dry bedding. Try to replace the bedding without disrupting the queen and her kittens as she is likely to get aggressive if she perceives a threat to her offspring. Also be sure to offer the queen a meal, she may or may not eat it, don’t worry too much if she doesn’t.
During the first few weeks, cat owners need to make sure that the queen has a comfortable and warm place to feed and look after her kittens. Don’t be surprised if she becomes much less sociable than usual, she will spend the vast majority of her time in her den with the babies. Make sure other pets and noisy children are kept well away from the mother and her kittens as they may distress her.
Another consideration is that the lactating queen will require much more calories than normal. She will normally eat two or three times more than before she was pregnant during this period: this is perfectly normal. Be sure to allow her to eat as much as she likes and always provide fresh and clean water for her to access easily.
Lastly, once the kittens are a little older, she may express an interest in going outdoors again. This is fine, she won’t leave the kittens for too long and not until they’re ready. The only thing you must remember is that female cats become fertile again very quickly after giving birth, so consider having your pet spayed or making an effort to keep her away from male cats for a while.