How does a cat's behavior change before delivery? The answer to this question interests almost all new owners. The difficulty is that the changes in behavior are very individual ... some “partisan cats” do not show signs of pregnancy until they “round up”. Let's look at what features you can notice in the behavior and physiology of a pregnant cat.
Pregnancy cats, important nuances
Pregnancy of cats proceeds according to a certain cycle. According to generally accepted rules, cats of value are subject to breeding. If everything is done according to the rules, mating is planned and registered at the breed club.
As practice shows, most inexperienced owners face the pregnancy of their wards already in fact, not following the ward during estrus. The first sign of pregnancy can be considered the absence of estrus, which should occur in a cycle. Usually the cycle is 3-4 weeks. So, if your cat did not start to meow and call the cat, it is worth analyzing whether she could contact the male during the last estrus.
If your cat has no pedigree value, in order to avoid pregnancy and the associated troubles, it is recommended to sterilize the cat before sexual intercourse. With a responsible approach, you will maintain the health of the cattery and will not encounter the problem of "attachment" of kittens.
According to a strange "tradition", it is believed that a cat carries and gives birth to kittens without complications. In fact, pregnancy planning and care for the expectant mother is of paramount importance. Like all living things, cats experience severe stress during gestation, need enhanced nutrition and care. After the birth of kittens, many, especially thoroughbred cats, can suffer from complications.
Note! In the early stages of pregnancy, the owner has a choice - medical abortion or castration of a cat. In late pregnancy, the owner will have to come to terms and take responsibility for the life and health of the kittens.
Regardless of whether you wanted to get kittens or not, as soon as you find out that the cat is pregnant, it must be shown to the veterinarian. Before planned mating, both parents are vaccinated and rid of parasites. If preventive measures were not carried out before mating, some of them can be carried out in the first trimester. Some types of parasites can infect kittens in utero, which will lead to serious postpartum complications or death of the entire litter.
If you have decided that your pet will give birth to kittens, it is necessary to take the advice of a veterinarian with full responsibility. The sooner you balance the diet of the expectant mother, the higher the chances of having full-term kittens and maintaining the health of the pet.
Important! If your cat will give birth for the first time, you should prepare for possible complications. Some animals suffer from postpartum eclampsia, and with prolonged labor, there is a risk of uterine inflammation.
In the early stages of pregnancy, you need to enrich the cat's diet with calcium and other useful trace elements. Calcium deficiency is very likely to lead to postpartum eclampsia. Make sure that the cat remains active and mobile against a background of good appetite. Obesity is guaranteed to lead to complications in childbirth.
The first symptoms of pregnancy in cats appear approximately three weeks after conception. In the third week, you may notice that the cat has enlarged and slightly swollen nipples. The glands acquire a more saturated, pink hue. These changes occur against the background of the usual activity of the pet. In the fourth week, you may notice the first roundness of the abdomen. If the cat has 2-4 kittens, this symptom can be detected at 5 weeks. During pregnancy by 4 weeks, swelling of the nipples becomes apparent.
In the fifth week, using an ultrasound examination, the veterinarian can detect kittens in the uterine cavity. At this time, it is unreasonable to count the kittens, because the cat can literally dissolve the dead embryos. From this point on, it is important to switch your cat to an enhanced diet and keep track of adequate water intake.
Cat's pregnancy becomes apparent at 6-8 weeks. You will notice not only physical, but also behavioral changes. The expectant mother moves carefully, avoids jumps and dangers. During sleep, the cat tries not to curl up, but lies on its side.
As the abdomen grows, the pet may have problems with washing. Inspect the area under the tail regularly and clean the coat if necessary. Longhair cats recommended shorten the wool in genital area so that it does not stick together after defecation and urination.
At this stage, it is important to ensure that the pet does not start to gain weight dramatically. Since the diet of a pregnant cat should be strengthened, it is recommended to include low-calorie, but micronutrient-rich foods in it.
Until 8-9 weeks, try to provoke a cat to games and activity, but make sure that she does not jump from a height.
By 7-8 weeks, the cat's appetite will increase markedly. To avoid discomfort, the cat is transferred to fractional feeding. The problem is that due to the deformation of the internal organs and the growth of kittens, the expectant mother is physically unable to eat the right portion at a time. The daily norm of food is divided into 5-6 equal parts and feed the cat more often.
At week 7-9 pregnancy behavioral and physiological changes become apparent. The cat's belly has noticeably increased. When the pet is sleeping or resting, kittens can be seen moving. If not necessary, palpation and palpation of the peritoneum is not recommended.
Note! From 50-55 days of pregnancy, kittens begin to turn their heads to the cervix and move to the birth canal. At this time, the cat may feel severe discomfort, behave uneasily, meow and pester the owner.
Preparation for childbirth
1-2 weeks before birth, the cat will begin the so-called nesting. Usually, from the 7th week of pregnancy, the pet begins to look after a convenient shelf in the closet or other shelter, which will become a nest. At this time, it is strictly forbidden to let the cat out for walks, as it can equip the nest outside the house.
Carefully monitor the behavior of the pet and do not intervene if there is no urgent need. If the cat decided build a nest in your closet, it’s wiser to free her shelf than to move the nest to a place more convenient for you. It is necessary to pay attention to the preparation of the nest, if only because the cat can give birth on your bed, clothes or a stack of clean linen.
Important! In the process of childbirth and feeding offspring, the cat must be protected from stress as much as possible.
You can avoid the negative consequences if you prepare the nest for childbirth yourself. Special boxes are sold in stores that are equipped with nests for women in labor. In fact, any durable cardboard will do. box with high walls.
One wall is cut off, leaving a side, through which the cat easily steps over. When preparing the nest, it is better to stock up on an additional box, since during delivery the cardboard can get wet and tear.
Important! Before making a box out of the box, make sure that it is not fastened with sharp staples or glued with toxic substances.
Think in advance how to close the top of the box so that the cat feels secluded and calm. A few days before the birth and the onset of labor, most cats become closed and try to hide. For a future mother who will give birth for the first time, it is better to equip several nests at once. Before giving birth, the pet herself will choose a more optimal and safe (from her point of view) place.
It is worth taking care of the litter in advance. Best used absorbent diapersbecause they are easy to change. After the birth of kittens, the litter must be changed daily. Make sure you have removable bedding made of natural material.
Important! To replace the litter, kittens will need to be taken out of the nest, and on the first day, babies are very susceptible to hypothermia. During cleaning, in a nest of babies it is necessary to place a heating pad or a bottle of warm water.
Harbingers of birth and the appearance of kittens
Normally, the cat’s pregnancy lasts up to 65 days but a delay of up to 71 days is considered non-critical. A few days before birth, the cat begins lactation - the production of colostrum, which looks like a clear or yellowish liquid.
1-2 days Before giving birth, the cat’s baseline body temperature decreases. If the normal temperature ranges from 37.7 to 39.1 degrees, then before birth it can drop to 37 degrees. This is normal and does not require intervention or treatment. Against the background of a decrease in body temperature, the cat may seem more lethargic, but as the experience of the owners shows, most expectant mothers behave anxiously. The day before giving birth, the cat may refuse to eat and spend more time in the nest. A few hours before the onset of labor, the expectant mother actively licks the genital area, which stimulates the onset of labor.
During the last week of pregnancy, especially after the cat's temperature drops, it must be kept in a separate room. Transfer the feeder and tray to the nest so that the cat does not have to spend extra power. During childbirth, a young mother does not control her body temperature well, so it is important to monitor the humidity and temperature in the room. Kittens, immediately after birth, quickly supercooled, therefore, if necessary, a heating pad is placed in the socket.
Tip: in order to protect the cat from stress and prevent a rapid birth, it is advisable not to let other pets, guests and younger family members into the room where the woman is in labor.
Contraction indicates the beginning of the birth process. The interval between the first bouts can be delayed up to 30 minutes. As the experience of the owners shows, the first bouts may not be noticed. Just before childbirth begins attempts, they are preceded by contractions with an interval of less than 30 seconds.
By the time the birth begins, you should have the following set at hand:
- Several pairs of sterile surgical gloves.
- Pipette or syringe to remove mucus from the airways of kittens.
- An antiseptic, dental or cotton thread for tying the umbilical cord - useful if the cat loses too much strength in the attempts.
- Sharp, sterile scissors.
- Clean, soft towels and moisture-absorbing diapers.
- Substitute of cat's milk.
- The number of the round-the-clock veterinary service or the veterinarian who observed the cat during pregnancy.
The appearance of each kitten consists of four steps: contractions and attempts, the birth of a kitten, the expulsion of the afterbirth. From the beginning of labor until the first kitten appears, it can take from 10 to 12 hours. During this period, the cervix will expand, and the kittens will move along the birth canal.
About a day before childbirth or immediately before labor, it will exit the birth canal mucous plug. This stage can go unnoticed if the cat went to the tray to empty the bladder or intestines. During pregnancy, the mucous plug protects the cervix and protects kittens from infections.
Important! If a cat gives birth for the first time, she can stay in labor for up to 12 hours, or even for a day. If within 24 hours after the onset of labor, the kittens have not yet been born, urgently contact a veterinarian.
Second phase - this is an attempt. Attempts are the contractile activity of the uterus that pushes kittens into the birth canal. The greater the pressure exerted on the cervix, the more the cat pushes. Normally, after the onset of an attempt to the appearance of an amniotic bladder with a kitten, it takes no more than 10 minutes. Attempts within an hour indicate a prolonged birth, and in this case it is better to consult a veterinarian.
Immediately after the bubble appears, the cat gnaws it and actively licks the kitten. With proper presentation, the kitten is born head first. The cat actively licks the face of the kitten, freeing its airways from mucus.
Important! Normally, after the start of the onset of the appearance of the first kitten, no more than 40 minutes should pass. If the birth takes place without complications, the period between the birth of kittens is not more than 30 minutes. With rapid delivery, a break between kittens lasts about 5 minutes. With prolonged childbirth, a break can be up to 1 hour.
Normally, immediately after the appearance of the kitten, from the birth canal comes last. The latter is similar to a small piece of liver and is connected to the kitten by the umbilical cord. If everything goes smoothly, the cat independently cuts the umbilical cord and eats up the afterbirth.
Cat behavior during childbirth and signs of complications
During all birth, the cat must remain in the nest. If the pet is worried and tries to leave, she must be picked up and reassured. In attempts, the cat can feel the urge to defecate and go to the tray. It’s not worth the hassle, but be careful what happens next.
With this development of events, especially during the first birth, immediately after defecation, a bubble with the first kitten leaves the cat's birth canal. If this happens you do not need to panic, just grab the cat in your arms and carefully transfer it to the nest. The anus and the hair under the tail can be cleaned gently with wet wipes.
Postpartum eclampsia is a common, insidious, and very dangerous complication that needs to be prepared in advance. In rare cases, a cat in a state of eclampsia can kill or even eat its own kittens. Such a sight is hard to bear even for an experienced pet owner, however you will have to pull yourself together to save the life of the pet.
All kittens that are born after, you must immediately pick up, independently remove the mucus from the respiratory tract and place in a separate nest with a heating pad. In order to save a cat, she needs to start administering calcium preparations and carry out maintenance therapy!
Important! Call your veterinarian right away if a cat tries to strangle a newborn kitten.
In very rare cases, a cat can kill its kittens if they are not viable. For example, in preterm birth, premature kittens most often do not survive. However, for a healthy cat that does not suffer from a disorder of the central nervous system, it is more common to refuse to feed offspring and completely ignore kittens.