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How to Tell If Your Cat Is Going Into Labor

By Sally Endaer

If you have a pregnant cat, then you will want to know when she is ready to have her kittens. This is an important day and you should prepare for it well. You should have a “nesting area” ready for her to use if she chooses. A nesting area is usually a cardboard box or laundry basket filled will shredded paper covered with a towel. It will be in an area which is secluded from noise and distraction, but easy for the mother to get to should she choose to use it.

There are a few things you will begin to notice as the delivery day and time approach. She will begin doing some or all of the following things: licking her vaginal area, calling as if in heat, milk leakage, nesting, and restlessness.

If she is ready to give birth, then she will begin panting heavily. You do not need to do anything. Simply leave her alone. She may purr a bit, this is simply in order to calm herself down and ease the pain. She should be able to birth the kittens all by herself. Once the first kitten has been born, the mother will lick off the sac, she will lick the fluid off the kitten’s nose and mouth, and then she will lick the kitten vigorously in order to get his circulatory system to begin working. She will also likely eat the afterbirth- this is a little gross, but it contains nutrients that she needs, so it is okay.

Between kitten births, the mother cat may get up, stretch, take a drink, or even just lay about. This is all normal. There may be quite a bit of time between kittens too. The mother should be able to take care of just about everything herself. The only time you should interfere is if the mother fails to remove the fluid filled sac. In this case, you should remove the sac, and wipe the fluid away from the kittens eyes and mouth. Then you should give the kitten to the mother to lick. If the mother refuses, then rub it vigorously but gently with a towel. Tie a sterile string around the umbilical cord about one inch away from the kitten’s body. Cut the end of the cord. Dip the end in a bit of iodine.

Following these instructions, you should have a very safe birth with your new mother cat. Have fun with those kittens!

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