Taking certain precautions before and during a cat’s pregnancy is the best way to ensure healthy kittens from a pregnant mother’s litter. There are specific signs and conditions to look for that will help cat owners prepare for their pet’s delivery.
The complete cycle of pregnancy lasts between sixty-four and sixty-six days, and a normal litter produces between three and six kittens. Confirmation of pregnancy can be determined through a simple blood test or an ultrasound procedure. A blood test can only be administered after the mother has been pregnant for about thirty days, while the ultrasound can confirm pregnancy after approximately twenty-two to twenty-five days. The method you choose will be determined by the facilities available in your local area.
When a mother has been pregnant for around forty-five days, mineralized skeletons will be visible on an x-ray through radiology, which is the only way to reliably determine how many kittens are due to be born. Some veterinarians, however, are experienced enough to be able to feel kittens in the womb as early as seventeen days into the pregnancy term.
Some obvious precautions are necessary to ensure a stable and successful delivery of kittens. The pregnant mother should be closely monitored and kept indoors to avoid any injuries from fighting among neighborhood cats or dogs. The mother will not be as agile with a distended belly, and she will need to have adequate nutrition to prepare for labor.
Nature provides for pregnant animals, and the mother will need to be, for the most part, left alone to deliver the kittens, provided she is well cared for in the days before delivery. Flea and worm control are important issues for pregnant cats, since these parasites can be transmitted to newborn kittens when they are born.
In fact, the leading cause of death in newborns is anemia from fleas. A vet can suggest safe products to use on pregnant cats, if this is an issue. Also, all vaccinations should be up to date on the pregnant mother before she becomes pregnant. Doing so after she becomes pregnant can lead to abnormalities in kittens.
As the final week of pregnancy approaches, the mother will begin to seek and prepare a nesting area to deliver her young. In the best scenario, you can try to present an area with soft bedding away from traffic and well-separated from any other animals in the house.
During pregnancy, the mother should not experience any significant vaginal bleeding. This may be a sign that she is aborting the litter and her developing kittens may be born premature or be stillborn as she enters labor. A veterinarian will assess the condition and decide on the best alternative for the pregnant mother.