Cat Labor and Delivery: Symptoms and Difficulties

Compared to humans, pregnant cats are usually more independent and more capable of taking care of themselves, particularly when they are close to giving birth. However, even if they can deliver their kittens successfully without human intervention, it doesn’t mean that we have to ignore them completely. Pregnant cats in labor feel almost the same as humans, except that they tend to sneak away to a private place to give birth. It is the reason why owners must be aware of the signs that a pregnant cat is nearing delivery to be able to provide some help. In this post, let us find out the common cat labor and delivery symptoms, as well as the other crucial things we need to know during this stage. 

Cat, Pregnant, Lucky Cat, Three Coloured


Common indicators that your cat’s labor is imminent:

Morning Sickness 

Just like humans, pregnant cats go through a period of being sick occasionally that seems to worsen a few days before delivery. Once in a while, cats vomit during their pregnancy. But if you’ve noticed that it happens now and then, then you can tell that your cat would be a new mum very soon. 


If you notice that your cat is sneaking to a safe and quiet area in your house, then you can tell that she’s just a day or two away from labor. You can help her prepare a nesting area by setting up cardboard boxes with warm blankets on her preferred area. You can also put absorbent pads that your cat can use in cleaning and stimulating her kittens.

Sudden Drop in Temperature 

The average temperature of a cat lies between 37.7º to 39.1ºC (100º to 102.5ºF). But if a cat is close to labor, her temperature would drop to 37.2ºC (99ºF). This symptom typically happens one to two days before giving birth. However, it might be challenging to check your cat’s temperature as this is the stage they usually get anxious or agitated. 

Loss of Appetite

The weight of the kittens pushing against the mother cat’s stomach may result in appetite decrease. Although not all cats suffer from loss of appetite, it is essential to check her eating habits. Look for drastic changes that may occur during the pregnancy, if she always refuses to eat and get sick regularly, take her to vet immediately.

Sudden Change in Behavior

In the last four weeks of your cat pregnancy, she will undergo changes in behavior. She will become more affectionate, particularly in the fourth and fifth weeks. However, there is also an instance that she will become less tolerant of other pets. Furthermore, as labor approaches, your cat’s restlessness and discomfort will increase. She may meow more often or howl at times, indicating that she’s only a few days away from delivery.

Mammary Glands Will Increase In Size

The mammary glands of your cat will be increasingly noticeable during the last week of her pregnancy due to its size and color. You will see that her nipples had become larger and pinker. Furthermore, two days before she gives birth to her lovely kittens, she will start to produce milk.

What are the problems your cat might encounter during labor?

Like what has been mentioned above, most pregnant cats can successfully deliver their kittens even without human intervention. However, there are some cases wherein complications might occur. Read on below tips to know if you need to intervene or not. 

Prolonged Contractions

If your cat is experiencing muscular contractions for more than 30 minutes without birth, take her immediately to the vet. 

Retained Placenta

If your cat failed to pass each placenta, she might develop a uterine infection. To be sure, count the placentas; there should be one for each kitten. Be prepared to see your cat eating the placentas as she needs it for additional nourishment. 

Lodged Kitten in Your Cat’s Birth Canal

When your cat is having trouble pushing the kitten completely, be ready to intervene, especially if more than 10 minutes had passed. If there’s a lodged kitten in your cat’s birth canal, contact a vet immediately. 

Stillborn Kittens

Unfortunately, this could sometimes happen due to unknown complications. While it can be emotional, you have to remove the stillborn kitten from the nesting area so that your cat can continue with delivery without interruption. 

Postpartum Hemorrhaging: 

Some bleeding is normal after giving birth. But if you’ve noticed that there is an excessive hemorrhaging, don’t waste a second and call in the experts immediately. 

No matter how excited you are, keep in mind that the kittens need to be weaned first before you separate them from their mum. Allow your cat to care and feed for them until ready. Of course, keep a close watch so that the recovery will be smoother and faster. 

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