If your mother cat is ready to pop, then these tips can help you help her through the delivery process.
Step 1: Prepare a bed Prepare a delivery bed for your mother cat with a roomy cardboard box with a top. Cut a hole in the side big enough for the mother to come and go and line the bottom with newspapers. Then cover the box with an old blanket.
Step 2: Find a quiet place Find a quiet, private, and warm spot for the bed that the mother is familiar with. The room should be equipped with food, water, and a litter box, as well as any favorite toys.
TIP: Introduce the mother to her new maternity bed well before she gives birth. This will ensure she doesn't give birth on your clothes.
Step 3: Isolate the cat Keep your cat away from other animals in the late stages of her pregnancy -- mother cats can be aggressive. You also want her as relaxed as possible before and during birth.
Step 4: Give her space Give the mother space when she goes into labor. You will be able to tell that she's in the first stages of labor because she may start pacing, make loud noises, and repeatedly attempt to use the litter box. She may retire to her bed if she's comfortable there. However, if she chooses another spot, do not try to move her.
Step 5: Prepare supplies Prepare the supplies once the mother goes into labor. Gather gloves, warm water, clean towels, dental floss, and petroleum jelly. Cat labor can last up to 12 hours, so make sure you have plenty of everything.
Step 6: Don't panic Do not panic if your mother cat makes loud noises while giving birth to the first kitten. Kittens are usually born between 30 and 40 minutes apart. Watch from afar if everything looks stable.
TIP: If the mother does not break the amniotic sac, tear it using a clean towel; do not use a sharp object. The sac needs to be broken in order for the kittens to breathe.
Step 7: Assist with placenta and umbilical Assist cleaning the placenta from the kittens' faces only if the mother does not do so herself. Use a clean towel and wipe the membrane off of the cat, going against the direction of the hair growth with your gloved hands. If the mother doesn't bite entirely through the umbilical cord, tie the floss around the cord an inch away from the kitten and cut on the mother's side of the tie.
TIP: Don't cut the umbilical cord too close to the kitten, and don't let the mother bite it off too close to the kitten. This can cause infection.
Step 8: Use petroleum jelly Use the petroleum jelly on the kitten's passage if the mother has been straining for an hour with no kitten emerging. If at any point before, during, or after the birth you notice strange behavior or have medical concerns, contact your vet immediately.
Step 9: Let the mother be Let the mother care for her kittens from this point on. Nature ensures that she knows her new job. And if there are no medical concerns, sit back and enjoy watching those tiny creatures turn into playful wonders.
FACT: There are an estimated 6 to 8 million homeless animals entering shelters in the U.S each year.