If your cat is pregnant, find out more about post-natal cat care for after her kittens are born. We discuss potential problems in your cat after birth - what to look for and when to seek help.
Things to look out for in the mother in the first few days after birth
The first 2-3 weeks are the most critical for your queen after birth and her kittens. You will be able to pick up any issues if you are attentive to what is happening with your post-natal cat after the birth of her kittens.
What to do after your cat gives birth
Knowing about post-natal cat health issues and kitten developmental milestones will give you a head start, should there be any problems. Here are some things to be aware of:
At the one-week mark, take your queen cat and her kittens for a check-up with your vet. If she needs any vaccinations, this is a good time for them. Your vet may advise you to treat your cat for roundworms as she will then pass on the protection to her kittens through her milk.
The first 2-3 weeks
Any post-partum issues in your cat after birth are likely to occur in the first 2-3 weeks. If your cat is happy for you to observe her and the kittens and it doesn’t seem to be causing her extra stress, try to keep a close eye on her.
If the cat is a stray or has recently been fostered by you, be sensitive to her feelings towards humans and how much interaction she prefers. As long as the kittens are feeding regularly and appear to be growing, chances are, all will be okay.
Provide a quiet area in your house for your cat and kittens, preferably a spare room. Keep it nice and warm. Kittens are unable to regulate their temperature in their first few days. Your queen will keep them warm when she is with them, but if she leaves the box to use the litter tray or to eat, the kittens will get cold very quickly. Heat pads, heat lamps, or blankets will ensure they don’t catch a chill.
By feeding a specially-formulated quality canned cat food and KMR (kitten milk replacement), your post-partum cat will get all the correct nutrition she needs to produce plenty of milk. Place it, along with clean water, near to the kittening box, so she has easy access.
Emergency health issues in a cat after birth
There are three main emergency post-partum health issues you need to look out for after kitten birth:
Thankfully, this is a pretty rare condition in cats, but it is very serious, so it is worth knowing the signs. Also known as ‘milk fever,’ hypocalcemia results from a lack of calcium. Symptoms are panting, staggering around, seizures, muscle tremors, and restlessness. Contact your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.
Mastitis is an infection of the milk ducts caused by bacteria. It causes the mammary glands to become blocked and affects your cat’s milk production. The teats become very painful, and you may notice they are hot, red, and swollen. Your queen could refuse to allow her kittens to suckle, which is a veterinary emergency. Contact your vet straight away as your cat will need antibiotics, and her kittens will need to be hand-fed until your queen cat is better.
This is a severe infection in your cat’s uterus. The main sign will be a foul-smelling vaginal discharge after the birth of the kittens. You may notice she has a fever, is lethargic, and milk production slows or stops. You must take her to the vet straight away as she will need to be admitted to the veterinary hospital. She may need an emergency operation to be spayed and you will need to take care of the kittens while she recovers.
Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your post-natal cat has any of these conditions after kitten birth.
Health issues in your queen after birth
If you see any of the following issues in your cat, you will need to contact your vet:
- Prolapse of the womb or uterus. If your cat has strained a lot during kitten birth, this can cause the uterus to be pushed out.
- Any unusual bleeding or vaginal discharge from the vagina.
- Ignoring or rejection of any of her kittens. Since you may end up needing to feed the rejected kitten, you should contact your vet straight away.
- Vomiting, drinking excessively, or not interested in food.
Hopefully, by being aware of what to do after your cat gives birth, you can catch any problems early, giving your cat and her kittens the best chance of a good start in life.
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