First you should know that a mother cat wants to be totally in charge of her kittens during the first weeks after giving birth. Although female cats are capable of caring for their litter without help, it is desirable that you try to understand the usual behavior of a female cat that has just given birth . That way, if something goes wrong, you will know and can help prevent a possible health problem, such as the death of a kitten or even the cat.
You should observe the new mother briefly several times a day for at least the first two weeks after the birth.
Provide privacy for your cat and her litter
The cat and her kittens should be in a room or area that is quiet and clean, away from the hustle and bustle of the house. An empty room or bathroom can do the trick, as can closets (if open and well ventilated).
To make a bed for them, you can use a large wicker basket, a medium-height cardboard box, or even a very large dog carrier. The cat will need enough space to stretch out and be able to breastfeed, the bed should have high enough edges so that the babies do not fall.
Keep other household pets away from them . Also keep the room or area warm, as kittens can easily get cold. If you put the cat and her babies in an empty room, she may move her kittens around the room repeatedly. In nature, this is how they protect them. Don’t worry too much about it; she will gather them all to breastfeed.
Normal behavior of the cat after giving birth
The first thing a mother cat does after birth is to remove the amniotic sac around the kitten’s face. She does this by licking it, with it the kitten begins to breathe. The cat generally eats the placenta. He does it with all the kittens.
You should check how many placentas have been removed, there must be one placenta per kitten. If you are not sure if all the cats have come out, ask your vet.
The cat may have a small amount of vaginal discharge for 7-10 days. The discharge is reddish brown in color and must not:
- Have an unpleasant odor.
- Be bright red.
- Excessive amount.
- Duration of more than three weeks.
Kittens should nurse within an hour or two of their birth. Because they don’t open their eyes for a week or so, the cat typically lies on her side to make it easier for her babies to figure out where to nurse.
When her kittens are 4 to 5 weeks old, the mother begins weaning as she is less available to her kittens. Kittens are weaned when they are 8-10 weeks old.
The cat licks each kitten’s genital area to stimulate elimination and to clean her kittens after giving birth. She also eats any fecal matter to keep the area clean. When the kittens can move around and leave the nesting area, the cat stops licking the genital area.
Feeding during lactation
Offer the mother cat a meal once she has had her kittens. If your cat does not eat after giving birth , it is normal, but her appetite should return within the next 24 hours.
A nursing cat will need to consume two to three times the amount of calories that she needed before she became pregnant. Without these extra calories, you cannot make enough milk to feed your kittens. He must be provided with as much food as he wants and constant fresh water.
Feed mother cat the best quality wet food you can; You can also provide dry food if she is used to it. Mother cat needs lots of good quality wet food so that kittens get the best possible nutrition from her while they are growing. Kittens will nurse every 1-3 hours for the first three weeks.
Atypical behavior of the cat after giving birth
1. The cat abandons or rejects her young
Unfortunately, the mother may reject one or more of her babies. If you find a rejected baby kitten, you will need to provide special care and feeding. Causes of abandonment of kittens:
Kittens are born with diseases or physical defects
When a kitten suffers from a disease, it is most likely that it is rejected by its mother, to avoid infecting its other puppies . Similarly if the kitten is too small or has a physical malformation . If the cat considers that she has no chance of survival, she will not hesitate to reject him to focus her attention on healthy kittens.
Cats that are first-time or nervous
They are cats without maternal instinct , so they cannot take care of their babies due to their inexperience or temperament and will reject the litter.
However, you can try to help her understand her new role as a mother by showing her how to care for her kittens. For example, place a kitten close to her nipples, in the correct sucking position, to teach her how to breastfeed.
The cat may be ill, underweight or nutritionally deficient
In this case, you must be able to provide the milk that your little ones need, and provide the cat with adequate food.
The cat does not recognize her kittens
At the time of birth, the cat generates maternal hormones that allow her to recognize her kittens as her own. However, sometimes you do not have time to produce these hormones, especially in the case of a C-section . In this case, she does not recognize her puppies as hers and rejects them.
2. The cat moves her young to another place
A mother cat is very likely to move her kittens during the first few weeks after they are born. The transfer of the kittens indicates that the mother is nervous, either due to lack of experience, because she feels that the nest site is not safe, or both. Lack of privacy, noise, or bright lights can also trigger the move.
While some female cats are very accepting of the care and handling of their kittens shortly after birth, a nervous mother, especially if it is her first litter, can become stressed about it. For the first few days after the kittens are born, keep interaction to a minimum, just check to make sure the mommy and kittens are healthy, they have food, and their litter box is clean.
When the cat appears to be nervous or agitated with people around or has already moved her kittens in the past, extend the minimum contact time to the first few weeks.
3. The cat meows a lot after giving birth
The constant meowing may mean that she is in pain, that she is very stressed from being a first time, or even being in heat.
4. The mother cat does not clean the kittens
Most of the time, a mother cat will aggressively lick her newborn kittens right after birth. The purpose of this is to remove the birthing fluid and the membrane from around the kitten so that it can breathe. The strong licking stimulates the kitten’s circulation. The mother will also chew on each kitten’s umbilical cord.
However, sometimes this instinctive behavior doesn’t happen and you may need help. If the amniotic sac won’t come off or the cat isn’t licking her kitten well enough to remove it, take action. However, it is generally best to let the cat do this herself at her own pace.
5. Aggression towards people
Even the most loving and caring cat can suddenly turn into an aggressive and grumpy cat when she becomes a mom. Moms are the only protection their newborn kittens have, and they will do anything to keep them safe.
Most female cats, especially gilts, will be aggressive towards anyone who gets too close to their kittens. The behavior may seem unusual to you, but it is completely natural and will decrease as the kittens develop.
6. Aggression towards other fellow cats
They may have been the best companions since birth, playing and sharing every moment together at home, but the moment a cat becomes a mother, it is normal that she does not want anything to do with any other cat.
She can scare the other cat away even without being around her kittens. This is because male cats can kill kittens, and mom wants to make sure her babies are totally safe. As with aggression towards people, their tolerance towards other cats will return as the kittens grow and are able to fend for themselves.
Is it normal for a cat to bleed after giving birth?
There are several reasons why cats bleed after giving birth. Like other mammals, a cat’s uterus must regain its normal size. Often times, the cat also expels excess tissue and placental debris from the birth.
Normal bleeding after delivery
A small amount of blood 48 hours after delivery is normal and can continue for several days. If the cat is nursing her kittens, eating, moving, we will be facing normal postpartum bleeding.
Abnormal bleeding after delivery
If your cat is bleeding and is not nursing or eating, appears to be in pain, or is lethargic, see a vet.
An unpleasant odor along with frequent bleeding indicates an infection or a retained kitten.
If the bleeding continues for more than a week after delivery or if the bleeding stops for a day and then starts again, it may not be good for the cat’s health.
When to call the vet after the cat is delivered
Most female cats have no problems after giving birth, but some do. Every day, you should watch for the warning signs that something is wrong, and these signs can be:
- Bleeding from the vagina or unusual vaginal discharge.
- Prolapse of the uterus.
- If the cat seems to ignore or reject the kittens.
- Clumsy movements, contractions, or collapse.
- The cat does not nurse or clean them properly.
- The mother acts aggressively towards her kittens.
- The cat has not eaten, excessive water consumption or vomiting for a long time.
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