We just had a litter of kittens born on the farm! This isn't our first, so I've had quite a bit of experience with cat pregnancies and deliveries, as well as watching the kittens develop. This inspired me to start a Kitten 101 series on the blog! Keep checking in for weekly posts about raising kittens.
This is Paisley, our 9 month old cat. She just had her first litter of kittens! I first suspected pregnancy when I felt little bumps in her tummy. She never got very big, but towards the end, it was very easy to see and feel the babies move. She also started to eat a LOT more. But one morning she started acting very different. I was reading a book, and she jumped up on my lap and started purring, something she'd never done before! She did that for about 5 minutes before I noticed something else (this is where it gets a little gross). She started leaking a lightly colored, thick discharge (her plug), and then a clear,watery fluid. At that point, I quickly threw a few blankets and towels on the floor, and moved her before it was too late! Soon after that, the contractions started. Here is a picture of what that looks like:
|Having a contraction|
As you can see, she looks very tensed up, and her back is slightly arched. These contractions will continue for about an hour before the first kitten arrives. But keep in mind that all cats are different. Paisley was very quiet during the contractions, but I know from experience that some cats aren't!
Almost exactly an hour labor started, kitten #1 was born. She came out backwards, but both ways are normal. Mama kitty will quickly lick baby off, as well as eating the afterbirth. Be sure to count the number of placentas she delivers, as a retained placenta can cause severe infection, or even death!
|Eating the sac|
Less than 5 minutes later, kitten #2 arrived. They can't breathe until mama kitty licks the gooey stuff off of their nose and mouth. DO NOT interfere unless it is obvious that she is neglecting it.
|Kitten #3 coming out!|
|Cleaning off Kitten #3|
Not long after, Kitten #3 arrived! Paisley only had 3, but they usually have 4 or 5. Sadly, it is not uncommon for their to be a dead kitten in the litter. I am so thankful that that didn't happen. There is also a chance of her abandoning them. This is almost always caused by too much human interference. Therefore, do not touch them unless there is an obvious problem that only you can fix, or unless you KNOW that your cat is totally fine with it. You know your can better than anyone else, so you be the judge. If your cat is okay with it, just pet them, don't pick them up for the first 3 or 4 days. They will be blind for one to two weeks, but will still move around a lot.
|All 3 babies nursing|
Once you are positive that she is done, move her into a clean space, and wash the dirty blankets and towels immediately.I hope you enjoyed my first Kitten 101 post! Comment below with any questions! Come back next week for the 2nd post!