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Hi there,

I'm a long time cat lover and cat servant, and we have 2 indoor spayed females (after having lost our beloved senior boys last year). However, living on a farm means that we on occasion have other cats "adopt" us for varying amount of time. I think we have a very pregnant-possibly-about-to-go-into-labour barn cat that we have been feeding and providing heated shelter for these last couple of months.

The plan is to bring her in and spay her, and although I am an experienced nurse, midwife, and alpaca farmer with many births, this will be my first feline birth! So many questions, as I try to figure out how to bring her in. (We thought her initial weight gain was due to being fed regularly - and only the last couple of weeks have we figured it out as she is such a tiny thing) While I am green about this, I'm an expert on dealing with kidney issues in cats and sub Q fluid therapy etc. due to unfortunate experience.

Looking forward to meeting many great fellow cat lovers!

Dar Long
 

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I'd bring her in ASAP and get her settled into a room of her own before she has the kittens, if that's at all possible. This way you can monitor her more closely and it will also stop her getting 'creative' in her chosen den sites. Cats can be notoriously fickle and weird in their choice of where to have their babies.
I'd get her wormed and treated for fleas ASAP as well so that her little body isn't struggling to cope with infestations on top of being pregnant.
Thank you for taking this little girl under your wing and caring for her :)
 

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This way you can monitor her more closely and it will also stop her getting 'creative' in her chosen den sites.
Yes, definitely. When I was a kid we had a pregnant female cat who went out of the front door in the morning pregnant, and when she came back in to eat she wasn't pregnant. :yikes Oh boy, what a kitten hunt we had - thankfully it was warm weather and thankfully we found them all and they were all fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nice to meet you

Thanks for your thoughts. My gut tells me to get her into the house. The plan was to have her spayed, de-wormed, vaccinated etc and brought to the safety of indoors - before we determined that she is likely quite pregnant. Obviously the shots and de-worm will have to wait until after delivery I assume?

I picked up a cushy bed for her and put it in the barn to get the familiar smell and pet her in it for awhile. She is starved for affection and follows me around the barn and yard. She jumps up onto our shoulders and rides there like a parrot, so we call her "Polly". I opened the door to our front porch and she stepped in cautiously and sniffed around then got agitated and bolted out again. I am hoping tomorrow I will have better luck getting her in calmly. I could just pick her up as she allows me to hold her and even check her teats - which are pretty swollen- but I am concerned about freaking her out and possibly causing a premature labour or some kind of rejection of kittens. Is this a potential issue?

She is starting to lay on her side a lot more and I am assuming this means she is approaching labour. She is still jumping up and playing with us, but she is a lot slower and is taking more breaks in the side laying position. I am seeing rippling in her hind quarters which I am assuming is fetal movement. Any clues on how to tell how much longer she may have? (I imagine you hear that a lot. : )

I've read here about the concerns of trying to bring pregnant feral cats in. I'm hoping that the fact that we interact and cuddle/feed this cat and that she comes running to us when we call her makes her more of a stray than a feral cat.

I have nursed week old kittens before, but since all of my animals have been neutered/spayed this will be my first feline labour and delivery. I am reading up on it, but am a little nervous as I don't want anything to happen to Miss Polly or her kittens. I have started to line up new homes for the kittens for September or so assuming they are weaned and able to be neutered etc by then.

Any advice about bringing her in, and preparing for labour and what to expect will be appreciated!

I suspect the father of the litter is a friendly intact orange cat that has taken to dropping in to the barn. Once we are sure he isn't someone's cat we'll have him neutered and bring him in as well - once we have things sorted out with Miss Polly and the kittens.

Sorry this is so long, I guess I am more nervous about doing this right than I thought. : )
 

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If you've got a kennel I'd try to bring her inside that way. Put some yummy tuna in the back and just close the door on her.

IMO you should get her in ASAP. Like tonight. The longer she has to acclimate before the kittens come the better and she could be due any day! If she has them outside you might not be able to get to them until theyre bigger and moving around. Its much easier to have them indoors.
 

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There are some vaccines and flea meds that are safe to give pregnant or lactating queens. Others aren't. You can check with your vet to be sure which ones. I know my shelter does at least one vaccine for pregnant cats, and I know I've given flea meds to lactating moms before, but the type that is "okay" to use is specific and you should definitely verify with your own vet (who may advise you to wait, which is also completely fine).
 

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I went out to check on her and bring her a snack. The boy cat was paying a lot of attention to her back end. She smacked him. She had some kitty milk and a few nibbles of food and would just stand with tail straight out for a bit. She cuddled on my lap and purred. Do cats give birth at night? (Alpacas don't) I'm thinking the male hanging around is not a good thing - am I correct? Maybe I will try and scoop her up tonight but our other 2 cats will not be too welcoming. I have a spare room I can put her in but I'm thinking she won't be too happy at being confined. Anyone ever tried bringing a pregnant stray in? It's supposed to start raining for 2 days and although she has a safe and dry spot in the barn I'm concerned she may go out or something.

My vets are all mostly large animal but I will get hold of my small animal vet tomorrow. If I knew they didn't birth at night I'd wait until morning and bring her in when I could spend all day with her. But I have a feeling you guys will tell me they birth at night too and with my luck I'd go out at 6 am and find her hidden somewhere. :p
 

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Darlong, I am in full agreement with Librarychick! Get this mama cat into that spare room Immediately!!
Litter box, food, water...
Something for her to lay in or under, that won't impede any birthing movements...
Soft blanket or old towels for her...
She needs to come in now!
With what you're describing about her personality, she will probably adjust better than you think!
 

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Yes, NOW NOW NOW. She sounds like she may be very close. I know you are concerned about stressing her but conversely, having her kittens outside in a bad choice of den (especially if she is a first time mamma), exposed to the elements and other animals is a HUGE risk and stress to her. She is already acclimated to you and that is half the battle so bring her in to your spare room TODAY! I've used cardboard boxes; with door holes cut in them to provide a safe hidey hole/cubby which reduces stress, in feral kitty cases. I think she will adjust really well.
 

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Yes cats have their litters at night. Find a good cat vet. Most vets are more familiar with dogs and not issues with outdoor cats. Call a local cat rescue to find out who is best with cats from out of doors.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. I appreciate your responses. We went out and brought her in. We used a cat carrier as suggested and it went well. She is now in the room with a litter box and some food and her bed from the barn. I will put an old towel on it but right now she is stretched out on the bed on her side and she seems to be breathing very fast. Her respiratory rate is 112 breaths per minute. She was purring and cuddling with us about 10 mins after she came in. She had a bite to eat and explored then layed down and is now breathing fast. I have to check but that seems fast to me (the resp rate). Again, I've delivered nearly 200 human babies and dozens of alpacas, but I won't dare assume anything here because this will be my first feline birth. Which is why I came here and also why I take what you say to heart. I took some pics of her and if I can figure out how to post I will. I think I should check on her frequently in case she is in early labour. Will let you know. : ) Thnaks again, keep the great info and hints coming.
 

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You are my HERO! Thank you for bringing her in to safety. Yes, her resp rate is faster than normal but I'd just leave her in her room in the peace and quiet for a bit so that she can start to relax - although maybe peek in now and again quietly; in case her resp rate is indicative of labour, to monitor. She's had a momentous day and is hopefully just really anxious right now. It's great that she has cuddled, purred and had some supper. Fingers crossed for her. Keep us posted. :)
 

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Darlong, YAY! So glad she's in safely now! Good Job! :thumbup::D
 

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Here is a link to a photo I took of her a bit ago. She demands attention and petting and purrs constantly. Then has episodes where she stretches out like this and closes her eyes and breathes fast purring on expiration. Then she will get up and go to us and demand affection and then stretch out. Which is why I wonder if she is in early labour. She seems quite fine being in after she explored everything and is preferring to stretch out on the bed as opposed to the bed we brought in.

Here she is:

darlong: We have a new kitty

Will keep you updated. I put a few things together in case we are actually having kittens tonight.
 

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She's a pretty cat! And oh my goodness, but she looks like she could be very close to having kittens!!
It sounds like she very much approves of her new spot in the house!! :p
 

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Oh wow, she is VERY pregnant!!! Good luck, wow! You are such a sweet soul for taking her and her future babies in!

Be sure to get lots of pictures! ;)
 

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WHOA! She looks ready to pop. It does sound as if she is in labour huh? She looks VERY content and happy and must be feeling SO relieved to be safe and secure. What a darling wee girl she is. I LOVESES tabbies!
 

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Well she hasn't had any kittens overnight, but she has certainly settled in. She has bouts where she crawls all over us needing to be stroked, then she drops to the floor or the bed and lays on her side and her breathing gets fast. You can also see ripples from her midsection, I'm thinking she may be having bouts of early contractions. In between she eats and purrs and drinks. Still hasn't used litter box. If we leave her alone for too long she meows at the door.
Had my large vet take a peak at her this am (he says he's forgotten most of what he knew about small animals : ) and by her teeth she is very young about 7-8 months or so.

She's been sheltering in our barn since March I think.
I read that their basal temps drop prior to delivery so I might try and temp her later. No nipple discharge from what I see. She is a sweet natured girl and she seems to trust us and I hope she had enough time with her own mother to know what to do with the kittens.
Going to keep a close eye on her, at least I am not on alpaca baby watch at the moment. Alpacas are kind enough to deliver their crias when the sun is shining, usually between 8 am and 2 pm and none of mine are due until much later this summer. Will take another photo and link it later. Thanks so much for your help, I really wasn't sure what would be best after reading all the horror stories about trying to bring pregnant feral cats inside to birth. I'm so glad we brought her in, any issues we face inside won't be as bad as what she'd face outside.
 

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Questions about pregnant barn cat : )

Hi, I got some great info to my original intro post and the very pregnant barn kitty is now safe in our spare room. Although I have experience as a nurse/midwife and alpaca farmer, this is my first feline birth. This is a young cat (under a year) so first litter. I have some basic questions and if anyone can help out with info that would be great!

1. Are first litters typically smaller? How many should I prepare for?

2. How long can early labour (intermittent contractions that cause side laying and rapid breathing followed by affection demanding and nibbling etc.) go on for?

3. I grabbed some stuff from my alpaca birthing kit (nasal syringe, alcohol, tiny forceps, swabs, etc) but what stuff would you advise?

4. Is there anything I can do to help mom in the process?

5. What SHOULDN'T be done?

6. We have 2 other cats in the house (spayed females 2 and 9 yrs) but the mamma to be is behind closed doors in another room. How long will we need to protect her and the kittens this way, when would it be safe to expose them to the other cats (supervised of course)?

7. Any other tips you can give us as we prepare for kittens in the very near future?

While we have rescued kittens (including a 3 day old litter) and raised and re-homed them in past, this is the 1st time we have an actual feline birth.
Cats are so small compared to what I am used to (not like I can reach in and turn a stuck baby around or pull them out!) so I appreciate all of your advice and help.

Thanks!
Here is a pic I took last night after we brought her in.
Standing on The Outside
 

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A litter is around 3-6 kittens. I'm not sure how long labor is, but if you suspect complications the last thing you want to be doing is planing to use tiny forceps. Basically leave the mom to deal with the birthing alone, and don't touch the kittens... pretty much do nothing unless she seems to want words of encouragement. You could interrupt her. If you suspect she hasn't finished birthing, she needs to see a vet for a c-section. There's nothing you can do.
 
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