For many female cat owners, the prospect of how to care for a pregnant cat, or ‘Queen’ as they are often referred to, can be quite daunting. It needn’t be this way if you are prepared ahead of time, and know what to expect. It is also wise to be prepared ahead of time, for instance, as to what to do for your pregnant tabby cat. Moreover, the change in diet, as well as what to do if there are any problems should they arise, need to be considered too. That being said, this article will cover everything you need for how to care for a pregnant cat from the time your cat becomes pregnant until her kittens arrive, so read on to learn more.
CHECKLIST ON HOW TO CARE FOR A PREGNANT CAT
- Take Your Pregnant Cat To The Vet
One of the first things you should do is make a trip to your Vet to ensure that your queen doesn’t have any underlying medical issues, which may complicate the pregnancy. This is also where you can discuss her diet, as most Vets will encourage you to give her high quality food, usually a kitten food, as they often come with plenty of vitamins, protein, and carbs, which she will require to produce strong healthy kittens. You can also discuss with your Vet whether to give a Calcium supplement, as female cats are prone to losing large amounts of Calcium when pregnant, and especially when nursing.
2. Problems With Calcium Deficiency During Pregnancy
In addition, calcium deficiency’s usually occurs during nursing, after the kittens are born, but can even occur during the last stages of pregnancy. This can lead to a life threatening disease called Eclampsia, or sometimes referred to as “milk fever”. Sometimes, at the Vets discretion, calcium supplements can help prevent this rare disease. Eclampsia can be recognized fairly easily due to the fact the cat will show prominent signs, like walking with a stiff gait, appear to be disorientated or even ‘drunk’. This can eventually lead to the cat not even being able to walk with legs becoming rigid, and body temperature can have a very high fever. If, treated early enough, there shouldn’t be any problems, which is why we have pointed out this possible calcium deficiency.
3. Ensure Pregnant Cat Fully Hydrated
An important thing to do while your cat is pregnant is to keep clean water in its bowl, changing it regularly as well as changing the litter tray often. Removing dirty litter from the litter tray as soon as possible prevents any unwanted disease that the cat may pick up, especially if there is more than one cat in the house. Be sure to check the water level in the bowl to make sure ‘Queen’ is drinking and eating fine, some pregnant cats do get morning sickness, and if they stop eating or drinking, she should be taken to the vet.
4. Make Your Cat Comfortable During Her Pregnancy
While your cat is pregnant also make sure she has a very comfortable bed. If she is not used to a bed, then you can introduce a box with a blanket in it, but make sure it is low enough for her to get in and out. Also you should put the new, or old, bed in a quiet place in the house, this is due to the fact that many pregnant cats require a lot of alone time, especially during the last few weeks, and they prefer peace and quiet during this time. This is also typical when she is getting ready to have her kittens, so if you have a nice quiet space in a quiet room in the house this would be ideal.
Making it as comfortable as possible should be the main concern for your ‘Queen’ during this time of pregnancy. Keep the heating on even if your going to be out for a few hours, and don’t take it personally if she isn’t in the mood for petting, things will go back to how they were once the kittens are born. She also still needs to exercise during this time, but not excessively. Therefore, try to keep a scratching post at hand, so she can stretch and scratch without exerting herself too much. Also keep her inside the home during this time to prevent injuries caused from fighting other cats, or jumping from heights that may harm her unborn kittens.
5. Keep Your Pregnant Cat Indoors
Another reason for keeping your pregnant cat indoors, especially during the last three or four weeks, is so that she doesn’t give birth outside, which could lead to you not being able to find them, and they could succumb to predators or die of cold. You will know when she is getting ready to give birth due to the fact that she will start producing milk two to three days before giving birth. Depending on your relationship with your cat she may be more reclusive during the final week or so, alternatively she may require more affection than usual.
You need to be able to observe while she is giving birth to make sure everything is going fine, in most cases she will not need any help. However, if you notice part of the fetus protruding from the cats vulva, and she does not pass the kitten within a two or three minute time frame you should call the Vet immediately. Likewise, if your cat is having active contractions, but does not give birth to a kitten within 20 minutes you should again seek a veterinarian for help.
6. Medical Conditions To Watch After Birth
It is not unusual for a cat to rest between giving birth to each kitten, although if it has been two hours, or more then you should seek a Vets help. After all kittens are born it is not unusual for a discharge from the vulva, however, if the discharge is foul smelling you should once again seek the advice of your Vet. After giving birth, the mother will spend at least the next two to three weeks with her kittens, and she will even eat their feces, clean them regularly, and regulate their body temperatures. Keep an eye on mother for a few days to make sure she is eating fine, speak to your Vet if she is not eating properly, has diarrhea, or is vomiting as these are signs she could be ill.
7. Food To Give New Born Kittens
At around five weeks of age, you can introduce your new born kittens to solid foods. Once they have been eating solid foods for a few weeks then they can be weaned. Their development and socialization skills are crucial in these early weeks, so it is not recommended to split the kittens up for at least 8 weeks after birth. Although we have pointed out most things that can go wrong, most of the time a cats pregnancy will go smoothly without any mishaps. That said, it is however, always better to be prepared for the worst case scenario, and we recommend you always have an emergency Vet number close at hand.
8. Need For Any Medications
It is not recommended to give any medications to your cat while she is pregnant. Many medications could cause birth defects, or other harmful effects on the unborn kittens. If, you feel your cat needs some type of medication, then you should speak with your Vet before giving any treatments. Worming, or flea treatments should wait until after the birth, unless absolutely necessary, but only with the Vets approval.
9. Finally …..
Breeding any animal is a huge responsibility, and although in most cases everything runs smoothly there are rare occasions when something can, or will go wrong. Please remember that there is a growing problem with unwanted cats, and overcrowding at animal shelters. Therefore, be responsible, and be sure you have good homes for your kittens before taking on this responsibility.