So you noticed the male cat lurking around, waiting for an opportunity. Your female cat is not spayed or neutered, and you know she got out recently. She’s eating more than usual and you notice your cat’s enlarged nipples and “bulging” belly. The signs of pregnancy in cats begin to show about 3 weeks after mating. If you want to know for sure without waiting the entire 2 month gestation period, a vet can feel around or give ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. You can also decide at this time whether to allow the pregnancy to go forward.
When getting ready to give birth, cat will seek a secluded quiet area. She may not pick the spot you have chosen, so expect to be flexible. You may notice your cat crying or being extra affectionate at this time. Get newspapers or an old blanket ready, things will probably get messy. You might notice a mucus plug, discharge, and some bleeding in the early stages of labor. Your cat may begin panting, and you will probably be able to see the abdomen contracting. Birth should begin within the hour, if your cat is showing these signs for longer than that without a kitten appearing, you should seek veterinary help.
The first kitten will come out, wet and slimy-looking, and mom will usually begin cleaning them off so they can breathe. The “afterbirth” or placenta will come out with each kitten, and the mother will probably gobble it down. It’s ok to let her do this to recover nutrients and energy. If you are not seeing any afterbirth, you should also seek veterinary assistance. Your cat may deliver a single kitten, or as many as 8 kittens. The whole show should be over in a few hours (should be no more than 6).
You won’t have to do too much for the first few weeks after birth, the kittens will spend most of their time nursing, crawling around, and sleeping with mom. Their eyes will begin to open after the first week, (all will appear blue at first) and they should begin stumbling around within a month. Mom will clean up any wastes they produce, and will continue to provide them with milk for the first 8 weeks. Kittens can be introduced to solid food after the first month, and will usually learn the meaning of a litter box by imitating their mother. You can begin to adopt out any excess kittens when they begin to eat solid food and drink water, usually after 6 weeks.
Hopefully you enjoyed your kitten experience, but finding homes can be hard, and if you want to prevent further pregnancies, your cat can be spayed as soon as the kittens are weaned. Good luck!