What to Expect When Your Cat Gives Birth
Once labor begins, you can expect your queen to deliver her first kitten within one to three hours. The kitten may come out head first or tail first. If the kitten comes out head first, then this is called a normal birth. On the other hand, if the kitten is born tail first, then this is called a breech birth. Breech births occur about 40% of the time during whelping.
Within ten minutes, the kitten will be completely free of the birth canal. She will come out with a thin membrane wrapped around her face and body. This is called the placenta or afterbirth. The queen should immediately lick the placenta from the kitten’s face in order to stimulate breathing. If your queen does not go near the newborn kitten at once, you may have to intervene and remove the afterbirth yourself. You should also stimulate the kitten’s breathing by rubbing her muzzle gently. You will know that a kitten has started to breathe once she begins mewling.
The queening phase should proceed smoothly after your cat has successfully delivered and cleaned the first kitten. The whole litter should be born within three hours. You can place your hand on the queen’s midsection and press gently in order to feel whether or not there are other kittens waiting to be born.
If you observe that your queen has difficulty in giving birth to her kittens, or if she shows signs of pain and prolonged contractions without any delivery, then you may have to call your vet for assistance.
Sometimes, large litters must be delivered via caesarian section. Be alert, and have the presence of mind to administer first aid and support should your queen experience trouble during labor.
If everything goes according to plan, then your new litter will be contentedly suckling milk from their mother a few hours after they are born. All you have to do for the moment is make sure that they stay safe, warm and dry, and that they have all the milk they need in order to grow up healthy.