Cat In Labor

5 Signs Your Cat is in Labor

Dr. Jeni Nezerka

Sep 15, 2023

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As the proud parent of a pet cat, understanding your feline companion’s health is one of your most important duties. This is especially true if you are the owner of a pregnant cat. Being able to identify the signs of cat labor can play a critical role in ensuring the birth process goes smoothly. Keep reading to help you spot the top five signs that your cat might be in labor.

Overview of Feline Pregnancy

Before we delve into the signs of cat labor, it’s beneficial to have a basic understanding of feline pregnancy. Typically, a cat pregnancy lasts between 58 to 70 days, with an average span of about 63 to 65 days. As your cat’s pregnancy progresses, you’ll notice her belly expanding and her nipples becoming more prominent and pinkish. If you’ve observed these signs and your cat’s pregnancy is nearing its term, labor may be imminent.

Five Critical Signs Your Cat is in Labor

Read below to learn the 5 signs to look out for: 

Nesting Behavior and Appetite Loss

One of the earliest signs that your cat might be going into labor is a significant decrease in appetite. She may start refusing food, even her favorite treats. Additionally, she might begin seeking out a quiet, secure, and comfortable spot in the house. This behavior is known as “nesting” and is often a precursor to labor.

Behavioral Changes: Restlessness and Increased Vocalization

Like humans, cats also show signs of discomfort and restlessness when labor begins. They may start pacing, seem anxious, and exhibit increased vocalization. You may notice your cat meowing or crying more than usual, a clear indication that labor could be underway.

Physical Indications: Rapid Breathing and Temperature Fluctuations

Physical changes are also common signs of labor. Your cat might start panting or breathing rapidly due to the intense physical demands of labor. Also, there can be a significant drop in her body temperature. While a normal cat’s body temperature ranges from 100.4 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, it may drop below 100 degrees in the 24 hours leading up to labor.

Visible Contractions: The Active Stage of Labor

The onset of visible contractions indicates the first active stage of labor. Your cat may look like she’s straining or trying to eliminate. She might also start grooming her genital area more frequently than usual.

The Grand Finale: Welcoming the New Kittens

The most joyous part is, of course, the arrival of kittens. The first signs of a kitten’s arrival are the appearance of a small, clear amniotic sac, this often signifies the final stages of labor.

Steps to Take When Your Cat is in Labor

Once you’ve identified these signs, it’s crucial to make your cat comfortable. Provide her with a warm, safe, and quiet place to give birth. While most cats can handle labor and delivery without assistance, complications can occur.

If you notice excessive bleeding, prolonged straining without a kitten being born, or if your cat appears to be in severe pain, seek immediate veterinary assistance. Having a reliable emergency veterinary service like the Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG) can make a significant difference in such scenarios.

Contact VEG if Your Cat in Labor 

At VEG, our primary concern is always the wellbeing of your pet. Understanding the signs of labor can be a decisive factor in ensuring a successful delivery. We are here 24/7 to support you and your pet in any emergency situation.

If you have any questions, concerns, or if you think your cat is in labor, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We provide expert, compassionate care to all our furry patients and are dedicated to making the birth process as safe and smooth as possible for your cat.

Remember, each moment you share with your pet is precious, and witnessing the miracle of birth is a unique experience. VEG is here to provide assistance and guidance during these magical moments, ensuring both the mother cat and her new kittens start their journey together in the best possible health.