Caring for kittens can be a joyous experience. Whether your cat is a cherished family pet or a stray from the neighborhood, she and her kittens deserve the attention and care of an experienced owner. Continue reading to learn what to do after your cat gives birth.
How to Take Care of a Cat After Giving Birth
It is essential to watch your cat and her kittens closely after she gives birth to ensure their health and well-being. If you want to help your cat adjust to motherhood, give her space to do what comes naturally. Here are some tips for taking care of your mama cat:
Give cat mama plenty of kitten food
Kitten food contains more protein and fat, which the mother cat will need while nursing her young. Make sure to feed your cat at least three times daily, and offer wet and dry kitten food.
Make a shallow dish of fresh water available
Please never leave a deep dish of water in a room with neonatal kittens, as this can pose a drowning hazard. Fill a low, shallow dish with water.
Check cat mama’s nipples daily
Lactating cats can occasionally develop mastitis, a painful mammary infection that necessitates immediate veterinary attention. Contact a veterinarian immediately if you notice any swelling, redness, inflammation, bruising, or tenderness in the mammary glands.
Take care of cat mama’s medical needs
If mama becomes ill, consult with a veterinarian and make sure they know she is nursing kittens before administering any prescription or over-the-counter medications. Because not all medications are safe for lactation, always consult a veterinarian first.
Shower your cat mama with affection
This part is simple and enjoyable! Pet her, talk to her sweetly, and encourage her to come out and stretch her legs, sit in your lap, or even play. If mama is feral, only force interaction when necessary.
What Do Cats Need After Giving Birth?
Your cat will likely be hungry, exhausted, and in need of rest after giving birth to her kittens. To feed and bond with her kittens, she will have to continue to stay with them. Do your best to satisfy her needs by providing the following:
Warm and Comfy Space
Provide a warm nesting box for the newborns to sleep in after birth. Try to find a roomy box for mom to stretch out away from the kittens but not so large that the little ones can not easily get to her, too.
Place some newspaper in the bottom of the box to absorb any odors. Kittens can keep warm when separated from their mother if warm water bottles or a heating pad set on low are placed on top.
Optimal temperatures for the container range from about 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure it does not get too hot, as the kittens could get burned if left in there. Finally, fill the box with many fluffy blankets, sheets, and towels. Kittens’ small paws and heads are too vulnerable to becoming caught in holes, so avoid using them.
After giving birth, it only makes sense that a cat mother would be exhausted. Keep food and water close by so she does not have to go out of her way to maintain her health.
Feline mothers who are nursing require a dietary boost. Kitten formula food should be fed in higher quantities, and regular cat food may need to be replaced or supplemented. You could serve her canned tuna, salmon, or chicken to get her to eat more.
Separate the litter box from the food bowl by a good distance, but not so far that she has to work too hard to get there. Since kittens typically do not begin using the litter box until they are about 4 weeks old, placing it outside the nesting box at first is fine.
How to Take Care of Newborn Kittens
The first four months of a kitten’s life are the most crucial. A newborn kitten can be weaned from her mother and learn life skills like eating and using a litter box. Whether you are caring for newborn kittens alone or with a cat mom, keep these tips on taking care of newborn kittens in mind.
Kittens need to stay warm when they are firstborn, so wrapping them in towels or soft blankets can help. If you let them out in the cold, they could get sick. For now, put the kittens in a cat carrier that is big enough to move around. Touching the kittens less unless you have to.
Babies of mother cats usually begin nursing within an hour or two of birth. If she is too tired, the newborn kitten must be coaxed to the nipple so it can suckle. Do not just reach for the cow’s milk or soy milk in the fridge and give it to them. Replace the kitten’s milk at a local pet store or with the advice of your veterinarian.
When kittens are young, they need help doing their bathroom thing. You can gently rub the kitten’s genitalia and anal area with a damp cloth. This will make the kitten want to pee or poop. Do this every time you feed the baby for the first three to four weeks. Make sure to clean the kitten after it poops or pees.
Daily Check-up Routine
Weigh the kittens as soon as possible after birth, ideally every day or two. Make it a habit to keep an eye on them and ensure they seem fine by checking if they have these healthy signs.
- Skin that stretches
- Colorless urine
- Pink and moist gums
- Be sure to see a veterinarian if something needs to be checked.
When to Consult a Vet
After one week, take the mother cat and her kittens to the vet for checkups. A good time to vaccinate a mother cat is before she has kittens. She may also need treatment for roundworms, which can be harmful to her and her kittens.
On the other hand, while many cats will have a perfectly healthy birth, there are some issues to be aware of.
Newborn Kittens Health Problem
Kittens have a higher likelihood of developing health problems. Newborn kittens are vulnerable because their temperature control mechanisms are underdeveloped. They are more prone to dehydration and low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, and their immune system is still immature. As a result, regardless of the initial cause, these kittens can die quickly.
Some common ones are intestinal parasites, respiratory infections, congenital diseases, and other infectious illnesses. One of the most widely known conditions according to the study is fading kitten syndrome: it is a condition in which kittens fail to grow well between birth since they stop getting milk from their mother. It usually lasts about four to five weeks–but this can also be critical. If you notice any signs of this condition in your kitten, immediately take your pet to a vet.
Postpartum Health Problems
For a new mother, the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate postpartum period can be overwhelming. Hormones surge as she breastfeeds, and her body heals after giving birth. Be on the lookout for these other possible health issues in your cat, and make sure to have her checked out by her veterinarian.
Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the milk ducts that happens when swollen mammary glands make it hard for a mother cat to make milk. The teats get swollen and hot, so the mother cat may not let the kittens nurse. Mastitis is an emergency case and needs to be seen by a veterinarian. Most of the time, the cat needs antibiotics to fight the infection.
Hypocalcemia, also called “milk fever,” is a rare but serious condition in cats. This condition can happen if your cat does not get enough calcium while you are pregnant or nursing. Some signs are seizures, falling, shaky muscles, restlessness, and too much breathing.
Metritis is a serious infection of the uterus, and it is also an emergency in the animal world. After giving birth to her kittens, a mother cat should have normal vaginal drainage. However, if you notice a discharge that smells bad or other signs such as tiredness, fever, and inability to make milk–there may be a problem. The mother cat may need to be treated in a hospital and may need to be spayed right away.
How To Take Care Of A Cat Who Just Gave Birth: FAQs
It is important to keep a close eye on your cat and her kittens after she gives birth to make sure they are all happy and healthy. So, here are the most common questions owners have about how to care for a cat that has just given birth.
Veterinarians advise against touching kittens while their eyes are closed. You can monitor their health and weight gain, but avoid direct physical contact with them. The mother will also express her feelings about you handling her babies.
Most cats would rather be left alone when giving birth and do not want to be petted or touched. It is best to give your pregnant cat as much privacy as possible while still being able to watch for any signs of trouble or distress during the birthing process.
Your cat is likely to be very hungry and tired after giving birth. She will have to stay with her kittens to feed them and bond with them. Make sure that they are in a quiet, disturbance-free environment.
It is important to let your mom cat know that you are there for her, but only bother her if she seems to need you. You can talk softly, pet her and even play with her to help her feel better.
You should not move your cat once she has decided on a birthing spot, as this can cause her distress. Labor could begin soon after your cat settles in and last up to 12 hours, during which time she may make extremely loud and disturbing noises.
So it’s pretty clear that caring for a new mother cat, and her litter of kittens can be a big responsibility. But if you’re up to the task, there’s nothing more rewarding than being a good parent to another creature.