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someone has given me an 8month old cat who is around 8 or 9 weeks pregnant! i have contacted some vets to find out what i can do! i have had conflicting answers on spaying her. some places say that it is too dangerous to spay now. others are spaying at last minute! can someone share advice? also if it is too late can you tell me the best and quickest way to prepare her for birth as i dont think this cat had been looked after and fed properly!
 

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Well, obviously, spaying now would be dangerous to the kittens. Unless she's completely full term, spaying will result in the deaths of the kittens. But if she's truly 8-9 weeks along, she's full term, and you should still be able to save the kittens if she's spayed. Spaying might be slightly more dangerous to the mother during pregnancy because there is extra blood flow to the mammary glands, which will be right around the incision. However, the risk isn't very signifantly greater.

Personally, I don't believe in aborting kittens. It's a bad situation all around, but I feel like they should at least have a chance. If you choose to spay her now, and the kittens are far enough along that they survive, you'll have to prepare to handfeed them. The mother can still nurse them, but she will probably not feel up to it for a couple days. Then she may lose her maternal instinct and refuse to care for the kittens altogether.

Handfeeding kittens is a huge challenge and can be heartbreaking. Very often, you will lose some kittens. For one, if they are hand nursed from day one, they miss out on the colostrum that mothers produce for the first couple days. This is richer than breast milk in nutrients that help the kittens grow strong. Second, they are not getting the antibodies from the mother's milk to help them fight off infection. Third, some kittens just die of Fading Kitten Syndrome, which is similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. There's no known cause of it.

Newborn kittens absolutely must eat every two hours, including during the night. As they get to be a few weeks old, feeding can go down to four hours, but you'll still need to get up during the night. You'll also have to stimulate the kittens to go to the bathroom before and after each meal. And you'll need to weigh them with an ounce scale each day. They should gain 1/2 oz every day. If not, get them in to the vet on emergency.

If you're not up to hand nursing, most vet offices will take them and allow the staff to raise them.

Now, if you decide to allow the mother to give natural birth, you should get her on a kitten food first and foremost. Pregnancy and nursing take a lot of nutrients out of the mama, so she needs the extra fats and so forth that kitten food provides.

A favorite birthing bed is a cardboard box, lined with towels. It should be open at the top, and the sides should be low enough that mama can enter, even with her big belly, but high enough that the kittens can't wander off. The box should be located in the corner or closet of a quiet room. However, you can't force her to have the kittens in the box. She may choose a hamper, on or under your bed, and so on. Either way, add towels to the area, but let the kittens be. Moving them will make the mother nervous and may result in her hiding the kittens. Change the towels as needed, after the birth, and often during nursing, as the kittens' stool may get on the towels.

After the birth of each kitten, the mother should break open the amniotic sacs the kittens are born in and will clear away the fluid from their nose and mouth so the kittens can breathe. The kittens should begin meowing shortly. Most times the mother will begin nursing the kittens immediately, as this helps the labor along so she can deliver the other kittens more quickly. She should also chew the umbilical cord in half, and she may eat the placenta, as it's rich in nutrients. If she doesn't chew the cord off after all the kittens are born, cut it with a pair of disinfected scissors, no closer than one inch to the navel. If the mother doesn't eat the placentas shortly after the whole litter is delivered, throw them out. Most times, cats make excellent mothers, and you don't have to do a thing. However, this kitten of yours is young, and she might need some encouragement. You might have to wipe the babies' mouths and noses off with a clean towel to get them breathing, and then place them a mama's belly to get them nursing.

One thing is critical, you MUST handle the babies daily from birth to make sure they make good pets. The belief that you shouldn't touch young kittens, or their mother might not care for them, is completely false. Make sure you disinfect your hands, and then handle each kitten for a few minutes several times a day. Just don't take them out of mama's sight, or she'll get nervous. Enjoy your babies!
 

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kittycat said pretty much everything i would. The handling part, the only things i would add is 1)see how mum cat acts to you holding them, i started off by smoothing them down in front of her, then moving on to picking them up. Also make sure your hands are warm!!! nice warm kitties dont want to be picked up by cold hands!

My vienna had 6 kittens. She had a box with open top, vet beds in them, and a front door. She still had them in the corner of the room, under al the piled up wood that my boyfriend put there as he builds the waldrobe! She was fantastic, she had them on the carpet, which made me owrry about the mess, but afterwards when she had finished giving birth i moved her to the box, and there wasnt a mark on the carpet. Now if she comes round to you really quickly when she is ready to give birth she might give you a sign, mine did but i didnt realise it. That evening i was on the computer (as usual) and she came up to me, and was like biting my hand, not hard at all, just pushing very gently with her teeth, at the time i remember thinking this was unusual behavour for her. After about 5 mins she left, i didnt think anymore of it. Then half an hour later i could here a tiny meow, i knew what was going on. I found her in the spare room having her babies. I have to say it was the most amazing thing i EVER saw in my life, i got to watch 5 of them being born. What was more amazing was WHILE she was giving birth she had her head and top part of her body in my boyfriends arms, rubbing her head on him.
Later i told my old boss that vienna finally had her babies (she breeds mainecoons and ragdolls) and she was telling me that biting type thing was vienna way of telling me she doesnt feel too well, i was amazed!

Personally with this cat, if it looks like you wanted to spay her, and the kittens would survive i wouldnt do it. I would leave her to do it naturally so to speak, it would be much easier on yourself, and give the kittens a better chance of survival. Just remember that once she has given birth she can imediatly become pregnant again, so u must not let her out. And also around1-2 months after birth they come into season again, so ideally you should keep her in completly. Once you are happy that the kittens are fully weaned (around 12 weeks or so) you can get her spayed then. But on saying that, viennas kittens are now 6 months old, she has since been spayed, and yet on the odd occasion i have caught the kittens we kept suckling her, and it looks like she is still milking.
 

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I couldn't endanger the lives of those kittens. A caesarean section is more dangerous than a natural birth- unless a kitten is too large and gets stuck in the birth canal. Please don't risk mother and kittens.
 

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Nine weeks is full-term. I would let her have the kittens, then get her spayed later.

My tech once anesthetized a very pregnant feral cat, but when she was put on the table, she was already in labor with a little kitty nose poking out...naturally, I chose not to do the surgery (too high a risk to mother from blood loss at that stage, not to mention my tech doesn't like euthanizing full-term kittens!). After that I checked all the pregnant cats myself and would not spay after a certain stage. I only ever lost 2 cats after surgery and both were late-pregnancy spays that hemorrhaged. I still lose sleep over them! So, definitely not worth the risk.

It is bringing more kittens into an overcrowded world, but the options are not great.

Nutrition-wise, kitten food is the key (both canned and dry...I am not a great fan of dry food but it packs the most calories, which she needs right now). Her greatest caloric needs will be about 2 weeks after the kittens are born, during their fastest growth phase, so we have a little time to build her up. Give some canned a couple of times a day and all the dry she wants. I don't usually recommend Science Diet, but their kitten food is palatable and decent quality.

Thanks for taking her in! You are a special angel for doing this!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Your cat should have her kittens in a week or two. Hopefully she will have a small litter. She will need to nurse the kittens until they are between 8 weeks and 12 weeks old. Then have her spayed right away.
 
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