Cat Facts: Pregnancy and Birth

By Brooke Stevenson Dec 22, 2016
Cat Facts: Pregnancy and Birth

Cats are a fascinating animal. One that has some amazing unique features through their pregnancies and birthing. If you have ever been blessed to see a cat give birth, it is an amazing heart-warming experience. But there are likely to be a lot of bizarre information about their birthing and pregnancy you may not know. If you do have the blessing to witness a mother deliver her babies, please respect their space and time. Being an observer is fine, but a mother will be very anxious, in pain and protective of her young. Don’t intervene unless; the mother is hurting a kitten, there is no placenta coming out between kittens or if there is another kitten in the uterus that might need to be gently removed. If any of these complications occur, call the vet. Also if the mother is behaving like she is still in labor 3 hours after birthing the last kitten, you also need to call a vet.


1.    The inception

I assume everyone reading this can piece together how a cat becomes pregnant. But what a lot of people may not realize is that a female cat can become pregnant to more than one male at a time. If they are impregnated within the same few days, they will obviously deliver one litter with many genetic variations.

This explains some of the interesting and bizarre litters we can see out and about.


2.    You shouldn’t medicate a pregnant cat

Many rules, which apply to our human pregnancy, apply to cat pregnancy as well. Such as no medications during pregnancy, this often means kittens will be born with fleas and round worms. This is ok, its normal and when the kitten is a safe age you can flea and worm them.


3.    They Nest: like us

Prior to giving birth the mother will nest, just as we do as women. They often will surround themselves and their young with soft and warm things to make a homely environment.



4.    Mums should be left alone with kittens for 3 days

Mums and kittens need bonding time, so the kittens (because they cannot open their eyes) need to develop their sense of smell to establish a strong connection between their mother and kitten. This time is also when the mothers’ colostrum becomes available in the milk, giving the kittens the immunity and anti-bodies they need.

5.    Pregnancy lasts 9 weeks

The gestation for a litter of kittens is around 9 weeks. This doesn’t seem like such a fascinating fact, until you find out that a cat can get pregnant from just 4 months of age (when the mother is a kitten herself). Explaining why having your cat de-sexed is such an obviously important decision.


Being able to bear witness to a mother delivering her kittens is such a gift. But keep aware that cats are not going to be as gentle as humans are. They act out of instinct, so if you see behavior that seems strange then contact the vet. If the mother appears to be harming the kittens, remove the kitten she is hurting and contact the vet.


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