How to Care for a Pregnant Cat

Care for pregnant cats begins before the pregnancy. Owners should make sure they have a healthy mature animal. The goal should be to produce quality off spring, not to make a profit or to “see what kind of kittens she will have”. As such a cat should only be breed if she is registered and has gone to shows to prove she is worth breeding. Potential breeders should make sure they have homes for the upcoming off spring and be certain they are not contributing to the unwanted pet population. No pet should be bred if the owner is not financially prepared for an emergency.

Before being bred your cat should be wormed and discuss any vaccination concerns with your veterinarian.  A cat should not be bred before she is 18 months of age, nor should she be bred if she is over 8 years.  Cats should not be bred unless there is a lot of serious interest in kittens, as in most places there are always more cats born than there are homes for and shelters regularly euthanize excess animals.

How To Look After a Pregnant Cat

Establish a feeding program for your cat.  Pregnant cats should be fed good quality kitten food from about the 5th week of pregnancy (around day 35). This gives her more protein and energy which helps their young develop properly. In the week prior to delivery it is especially important as it helps her produce enough milk. She should have unlimited access to dry food throughout the entire pregnancy, and around the time she is switched to kitten food she can also be given additional small meals of canned kitten food.  She can have up to 4 meals (2-4 tablespoons) of canned kitten food per day (increasing the amounts, or number of feedings, as it gets further in her pregnancy)

You may want to have an early vet exam to make sure things are going well. If your queen is young or of a breed noted to have problems, this exam is important.  The veterinarian will tell you how many kittens you can expect so you know when she is done having kittens or if more are expected when she is actually delivering them.

Do not hesitate to phone a veterinarian at any sign of change in the mothers behavior. Your vet will then tell you if it is normal, or a reason to bring the pet in for a check.

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scared feral kitten

Prepare for The Delivery of Kittens

As the date approaches monitor your cat regularly for any indication of premature delivery. Most people will keep their pregnant cat indoors only for the entire pregnancy, but she should absolutely not go outside at all after her 5th week, and she should be kept in a small room after her 7th week.  She can be allowed out of the room and into the rest of the house with supervision as she may sneak off to hide or may deliver the kittens early in a hard-to-find spot.  Cats usually deliver at 63 days, or 9 weeks, however kittens can be a few days early, or a few days late.

A large litter box lined with towels tucked in a quiet corner, or even in a closet with a door open, will be a nice place for her to have her kittens.  You will want to have some extra towels ready to replace those that get wet or soiled.  You may want to make two nesting areas so she can pick the one she likes best.  Your cat should have food and water in the room, as well as a litter box using non-clumping litter.

 

Research the normal delivery process for your type of pet. Have your veterinarian’s phone number ready. It is always tempting to help, but when the time comes, it is best to stay back and let the mom do the work unless there are problems.

Overall better care of the mother throughout her pregnancy will help ensure an easier delivery, and a healthier litter.


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