Here we can see, “Cat Pregnancy Stages”
Spaying and neutering cats is a common part of good pet ownership. Spaying not only reduces the number of undesirable cats, but it also protects your own cat from disorders that affect the reproductive system, such as breast cancer and uterine infections. If you find yourself caring for a pregnant cat, regardless of whether the breeding was deliberate, understanding the phases of pregnancy will ensure a healthy gestation period for both mom and her kittens.
A cat must first be receptive to mating in order to conceive, which occurs during estrus, or when cats are “in heat.” Heat cycles in an unspayed cat can begin as early as 4 months of age and peak between February and April in the Northern Hemisphere, but they can last into the late fall in certain circumstances. When your cat is in estrus, she is ready to mate and will be receptive to males for seven days, although this can vary substantially. Your cat will be a lot more vocal and affectionate during this time. Your cat may also urinate more frequently or leave urine marks on objects. Mating does not have to be scheduled for a specific ovulation event since cats are “induced ovulators,” which means mating encourages their ovaries to release eggs that can be fertilised.
There are multiple steps involved in fertilising a cat’s egg (ovum). A zygote is formed when sperm and eggs combine. The embryo next goes through several rounds of cell division to generate the initial cells that will give rise to all of the embryo’s components. Each step marks a new stage in the development of the embryo. Two weeks after fertilisation, the embryo is implanted in the uterine lining. Embryos are implanted in an even pattern along the uterine horns.
As the embryos develop, cells migrate and specialise to generate the precursors of all the body’s components. The skin and nervous system, as well as the digestive organs and the rest of the organs, begin as three different layers of cells. The placenta begins to form at the time of implantation and permits the mother and embryo to exchange nutrients and waste products. Each embryo has its own placenta and amniotic sac. By the third week of pregnancy, they have grown to around 2.5 cm in diameter and can be felt by an expert veterinarian during a physical exam.
Your cat will gain weight and increase her food intake throughout the first month of pregnancy as the embryos develop. Your cat’s nipples may get enlarged and darker in colour as the pregnancy proceeds, and she may exhibit behavioural changes such as symptoms of nesting. It’s important to give your cat high-quality food that says it’s good for pregnant cats or kittens and has more nutrients and calories.
Continuation of Gestation and Labor
Your queen will show signs of approaching labour as she approaches her due date (about nine weeks following fertilisation, or 65 days after mating). This involves nesting—snooping around in closets and isolated corners for a suitable location to give birth to her kittens and bringing soft things into her selected area to create a warm, soft nesting environment. You should help set up a box, basket, or other safe place to sleep with soft towels or other safe sleeping materials.
Your cat’s main goal from now until birth will be to grow the foetuses, which will take a lot of her body’s energy. Provide a high-quality pregnant cat food or a higher-calorie kitten food. She should also be kept indoors with as little stress as possible.
Another symptom of approaching labour is increased love. Your cat may crave constant contact with you. Behavioral changes such as restlessness, pacing, panting, nesting behaviour, continual purring, and being aggressive toward strangers and other cats are also signals that your cat is going to give birth.
Your cat’s nipples may produce milky discharge 24 to 48 hours before giving birth. This means it’s “go time” for the kittens to arrive.
When labour starts, it normally moves quickly, with all of the kittens being born in 6-8 hours. The mother should birth kittens every 60 minutes or fewer until all of them are born. If she continues to push for more than 60 minutes without delivering a kitten, there may be a problem, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Because cats might temporarily halt their labour if they are stressed, it is critical to provide them with a safe, peaceful environment and as much privacy as possible. There would be no pushing if labour was interrupted, so this would be different from a cat pushing unsuccessfully.
Pregnant Cat Care
If you have a pregnant cat, take her to the vet right away for a “well-check.” Talk about other important and safe preventive health steps for a pregnant cat, like FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FelV (Feline Leukemia Virus) testing.
Assuming your cat is healthy, effective pregnancy care includes a high-nutrient diet as well as fresh, clean water. In addition, your cat should be kept indoors at all times. Change your pregnant cat’s diet to high-quality kitten food or food for pregnant and nursing cats. Keep her on this food until the kittens are old enough to be weaned.
Pregnancy and delivery complications are uncommon, but they can be significant. Because of this, it is very important to have the phone number and location of the closest emergency veterinary facility on hand.
Any unexpected symptoms should be followed up with a call or visit to your veterinarian during pregnancy. This is a crucial aspect of a pregnant cat’s care. Although many pregnant cats have a trouble-free pregnancy, there are certain issues that can arise. Learn how to recognise the signs of difficulty and what steps to take to protect a pregnant cat and her foetuses. Here are a few conditions you should know about so you can recognise the signs and take the right steps if they happen.
Eclampsia, a life-threatening illness caused by calcium deficiency, most commonly occurs when the kittens are one to four weeks old and the mother is producing the most milk. It can even happen before the baby is born. Any pregnant or nursing cat who exhibits any of these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. Calcium supplementation and supportive care are part of the treatment. It can become more severe in subsequent pregnancies, so bear that in mind.
Signs of Eclampsia in Pregnant Cats
- Behavioral Symptoms: Restlessness, pacing, and panting.
- Physical Symptoms: Stiffness in gait, trouble walking, twitching, seizures, and muscle spasms.
Eclampsia is a veterinary emergency, and the cat should be sent to a veterinarian as soon as the symptoms appear.
A pregnant cat’s poor health, particularly some illnesses, might lead to a sudden abortion. If this occurs early in the pregnancy, the embryos are simply reabsorbed by the mother’s body, with no symptoms. Fever, bleeding or green discharge from the vaginal area, and depression are all possible symptoms.
Your cat will need to be closely followed after a spontaneous abortion. If there are any more foetuses, living or dead, or evidence of a uterine infection, the cat should be investigated.
Early in pregnancy, a deceased embryo is totally absorbed by the queen’s system, which is an interesting phenomenon. When resorption happens, there are rarely any visible indications. Because there are generally several kittens in a litter, you may never notice because the rest of the kittens will be born normally. A veterinary visit is required if fewer kittens than expected are born, to confirm that there are no leftover foetuses inside the queen.
The term “dystocia” refers to difficulty giving birth. Dystocia occurs when a cat in labour continues to push for more than an hour without giving birth to a kitten. Dystocia can be caused by a variety of factors, including particularly big or small litters, older queens, abnormally large kittens, or congenital defects in one or more kittens. If you believe more than an hour has passed between delivery and contact, contact your veterinarian immediately. In some cases, the mother cat and her kittens may need to be saved by a C-section.
Can you touch newborn kittens?
Veterinarians advise against stroking kittens while their eyes are closed unless absolutely necessary. You can keep an eye on them to make sure they’re healthy and growing, but avoid making direct physical contact with them. The kitten’s mother will also express her feelings about you handling her kids.
Do cats eat their kittens if you touch them?
If you touch a cat’s kittens, they will not eat them. A mother cat may devour her kittens if the kitten is stillborn, malformed, or has other birth abnormalities. It can also occur if the mother cat is under a lot of stress.
Should I stay with my cat while she gives birth?
Most cats prefer to be left alone, and they certainly do not like to be petted or handled while giving birth. Give your pregnant cat as much privacy as you can, but watch the birthing process to see if there are any signs of problems or pain.
Do mother cats care about their kittens?
Anecdotally, there have been a few reports of domesticated male cats providing paternal care to their young. Because the queen is usually the one that rears the kittens, we don’t expect many kittens to be offering gifts today!
What do I feed my cat after she gives birth?
Mother cats who are nursing should eat a high-quality kitten formula meal. If she’s a picky eater, offer her canned tuna, chicken, or salmon. Contrary to what most people think, cats can’t digest cow’s milk, and it often makes their stomachs very upset.
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