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Can someone refresh me on what to expect here? As some of you know, I'm fostering my neighbor's cat who is due to deliver any day now because she's in the process of moving home to Hawaii. Anyway it's been quite a while since I've had a litter of kittens. What signs should I be looking for with the mom so I know when she's about ready to deliver, what should I make sure I have ready(other then the vets phone number :p), and what should I make sure I do for the mom and kittens? I know a few things-but I need a refresher! It's probably been 4-5 years since I had a pregnant cat!!!
 

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Hello, bless your heart for taking in the new mamma-to-be.

Check her nipples, are they heavy with milk ? if so , then she will have the babies at any time.
Give her a warm safe box with plenty of bedding , in a quiet room and away from daughts. Hopefully she will take to it right away and have her babies in there.
Closer to the due date she may go off her food and lick her genitalia alot, these are all signs that birth is just hours away. Try and be there when she is ready to have the babies so you can help if she has trouble.

things to have ready : clean towels, hot water bottles, small towels or cloths, cotton string, clean scissors, dissinfectant powder, the telephone and phone numbers. (Its always great if you have someone helping you too, just to have an extra set of hands, and some support.)

1 in 4 kittens born are delivered feet first, so dont panick if you see a baby dangling behind mamma with the head still inside the birth canal. Take a clean small cloth, wrap it around the kittens body, and very gentle pull WHEN MAMMA PUSHES in an arc motion toward the mother belly, (so when the baby is delivered mamma and baby are belly to belly) this avoids too much stress on the neck and spine. DO NOT PULL THE BABY with bare hands or if mamma is not pushing !

When a kitten is born, be sure to remove the membrane from its face so it can breath. Mamma cat has great instinct to clean up (eat) the afterbirth and chew the umbilical cord, so try not to stress her out by removing the baby from her sight, try and work around her if you can.

Clean the baby's mouth and nose with a small cloth, and hopefully it will breath on its own. It should sneeze and cry out the rest of the fluid.
Sometimes the kittens are born very quickly, one after the other, and mamma cant keep up, so you may have to get the babies breathing while she pushes out another kitten.

If she does not eat the afterbirth, and it is still attached to the kitten, take a piece of cotton string and tie it around the umbilical cord approx 2cm away from the baby, tie it tight, then cut the rest off with sissors,( and dispose of the placenta thoughtfully) and dab some dissinfectant powder on the cut-end attached to the baby. Cut the string ends short.

IF THE KITTEN IS NOT BREATHING :
make sure the airway is clear, membrane away from face, gently clean the mouth and nose with a rough cloth, and also rub the full length of the babies body with the cloth. Dont be too gentle, but certainly not rough !. You are trying to stimulate breathing and blood circulation. If you can get them to cry, you've done your job.
If you are not getting a response, hold the baby in the cloth cupped in your hands, head away from you but held firm between your fingers, swing the baby in a large arc between your legs. The force should expell the fluid from the lungs. Only swing twice, then check baby, rub firmly check again - no breathing ? repeat swinging arc. etc.

Have a hot water bottle ready to place the kittens on while the rest are being born. it is important to keep them warm. Once they are crying they should start moving around very quickly , you can tell these ones are strong and are already looking for a nipple.

If they babies are very tiny and look premature and you cannot revive them in 5 minutes, put them aside and concentrate on the next one.

If mamma is pushing hard and crying and no baby is coming within 1 hour, CALL THE VET . She may need and emergency c-section to get the rest of the babies out if they or mamma have any chance of survival.

When you think all the babies are born, you can now attempt to clean the box, put new bedding down. Try and encourage the kittens to suckle by placing them on a nipple.
If you can , make sure each of them has a good nurse for at least 5-10 minutes each, they need the colostrum.

If mamma will let you , check ALL the nipples have milk flowing ( it is a clearish liquid to start) gently squeeze or milk some out, CHECK THEM DAILY, if they dont produce milk the kittens will starve to death, or if there is blood present she may have developed an infection.


When its all over, fix mamma something to eat and drink, she will be tired but I'm sure she will be hungry.

:)
 
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