Do you like this picture? This is the best way I think to depict most of the breeders when their queen is about to give birth! And this is completely NORMAL! Cats are what we called a polytocous species (=multiple offsprings), therefore you have no way to be 100% sure that everything is going to be fine. What to do then? Anticipate! Here are 5 things you should know to be prepared!
- 1st: Feed the queen properly during pregnancy (to learn more check our video on nutritional management of the preg...). I recently heard that “food that is too rich can cause problem”. I strongly disagree, queens need to receive a lot of fat during pregnancy (again check our video!) but everything given in excess can cause problems! For sure we don’t feed cats the way we feed dogs, but here as well and especially in pregnant queens, there should be some rationing!
- 2nd: Know when the queen is due! Pregnancy length is 65±1 days from ovulation and the queen will generally ovulate on the 2nd day of the mating period. If nothing occured 2 days after the estimated whelping date, go visit your vet!
-3rd: Don’t be excessively stressed! You might communicate your stress to your animal and stress can inhibit parturition! We usually recommend to try to isolate the queen in a quiet environment few days before parturition, so the animal can get used to this environment which will decreased the stress induced by parturition!
- 4th: Know what is normal! The following table can help “beginners” but keep in mind there is a lot of variability since you are dealing with biology.In the end, what matters is your experience! Longer delays can sometimes be encountered! And if you have any doubt, go to visit your vet!
- 5th: Don’t administer oxytocin unless under veterinary supervision! Oxytocin is indeed a hormone that will stimulate the uterine contractions but it should only be done in certain conditions! For instance if there is a malpositioned kitten, the use of oxytocin can lead to uterine rupture! You want to stimulate uterine contractions? Let the kittens that are already born suckle the mother, this will permit the queen to secrete oxytocin by herself! No kittens yet? You can administer orally calcium gluconate (10mL every 30minutes, no more than 3 times). Nothing happens? Again go for an emergency consultation then.
Parturition is stressful, this will always be the case and I hope these few advices will help. Keep in mind also that cats are usually good “whelpers” (a recent study showed that during feline parturition, veterinary intervention is required in around 10% cases in purebred animals): in the last 7 years I did hundreds of C-sections in dogs. In cats -and despite the fact we were dealing with a lot of cat breeders, I am not sure I did more than 10…
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