How to know if a cat is going to give birth

When the end of the pregnancy approaches, the doubts of the caregivers increase. The time of delivery is the most anticipated, but it also involves great uncertainty. In general, cats stop practically without us noticing.

But it is interesting that we know how to identify the symptoms that indicate that labor is about to begin or is already in progress. This will help us, above all, to discover if there is a problem that requires our intervention or that of the veterinarian.

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What you should know about the gestation of cats

In order to recognize the symptoms of childbirth in cats, it is important that we have at least some basic notions about pregnancy in this species. It is essential because it will allow us to know if the signs correspond to childbirth or it cannot yet occur.

For example, a vaginal discharge on the probable date of delivery does not mean the same as a month before, since, in the latter case, it may be due to an abortion and need the assistance of the veterinarian. Thus, take into account the following data:

  • Parturition is the culmination of the gestation process that lasts approximately two months for cats.
  • The number of kittens per litter is, on average, between 4-5.
  • Cats do not usually change their behavior during pregnancy . Therefore, it can go unnoticed until the last weeks, when the increase in the size of the abdomen and breasts becomes well visible.
  • It is recommended to go to the vet as soon as we suspect that the cat is pregnant. The confirmation and follow-up of the veterinarian help the success of both the pregnancy and the birth and subsequent rearing .
  • Throughout the maternal period the cat increases its nutritional requirements . We have to change her diet and provide her with a formula for growing kittens until the end of lactation.
  • Offering a delivery box is a good idea . Serve a cardboard one with towels and pads on top for easy cleaning. We will put it in a sheltered place, although it is likely that the cat will look for another hiding place. We must not force her to change it.


Care in the gestation of cats

There are many caregivers who consider veterinary monitoring during pregnancy to be expendable if the cat is healthy. But consultations during this period are very important and necessary.

And not only to ensure that the pregnancy runs normally, detect problems early or solve all our doubts . The veterinarian in these cases can provide us with fundamental information regarding delivery. They are as follows:

  • The professional can determine the gestation time and give us a probable delivery date. This allows us to know if it is early or late, although it is normal for it to happen a few days before or after without indicating any pathology.
  • With ultrasounds and x-rays it is possible to count the number of fetuses the cat is carrying. There is always a margin of error but it is a figure that allows us to control whether the delivery has ended or not.

Cat labor symptoms

It will not always be possible for us to detect that the cat begins labor. Normally this usually happens during the night and quickly, so it is easy for us to wake up one morning and meet the entire family. These are the signs that can put us on alert because they indicate the proximity of delivery:

  • Marked decrease in activity of the cat.
  • Decreased rectal temperature.
  • Loss of appetite that, until then, had increased.
  • Discharge from the breasts It is not necessary to manipulate them, since we would stimulate the exit of the milk.
  • Restlessness.
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Frequent licking of the genital area.
  • Heavy breathing, sometimes with open mouth. It is usually due to uterine contractions. Labor has started.

How to act during the delivery of your cat

Once we verify that the cat is giving birth, the truth is that we don’t have to do much. In fact, it is best to leave it alone and just observe that everything goes smoothly.


After the birth we can change the nest pad to sanitize it and bring water and food to the cat. There are some red flags that do require our intervention. Have the emergency phone number handy. We will call the vet in these cases:

  • Kittens are usually born at intervals of half an hour, if labor stops, there are no contractions or the cat makes efforts but no kitten is born, it is an emergency.
  • Vaginal bleeding occurs.
  • A kitten is clogged in the vulva.
  • One or more kittens are not breathing or are having difficulty.
  • The cat has a fever or any other sign of illness such as pain or weakness.




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