Preparing for baby kittens is a little different than preparing for puppies or other animals. There is not a “season,” per se, for cats to give birth. A female cat can go into heat every two to three weeks whenever a male cat is in the vicinity and she hasn’t been bred, and the heat period lasts 6 to 7 days. If you have a female cat or you are thinking about getting a kitten, there are some things that you should do to prepare.
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Removing Toxic Plants
Cats like to chew on and eat grasses and leaves of some plants. There are certain plants, however, that can be potentially poisonous to your unknowing feline. You might try to put them in a place that you think is not accessible, but cats are very skilled at getting to things and into places that might seem quite challenging. If you are going to invite a cat/kitten to live with you, it is best to rid your home of these toxic plants before they arrive. These plants can include:
- Lilies, and Lily of the Valley; cats are particularly sensitive to lily poisoning
- Anemone, Aloe Vera, Amaryllis, and Asparagus Fern
- Daffodils, Philodendrons, and Jade Plants
- Chrysanthemums, Cyclamen, and Cycads
Taking Care of Momma
Whenever you know or suspect that your cat may be pregnant, be sure to take her to the vet for a checkup. It is also recommended that you provide more food for her so she can keep up her energy, as well as switching to a kitten food during the third trimester of pregnancy. Diamond Kitten and Iams Healthy Kitten are two options that we offer that meet the nutritional needs of baby kittens.
A Bed for the Birth
Cats are more comfortable when they feel protected and somewhat isolated. If the mother does not have a regular space or bed that she normally uses, you can simply set up a cardboard box with sides tall enough to keep the baby kittens from falling out and a pet bed or old blanket. Prepare your “nursery” area ahead of time and put it somewhere quiet and warm, away from traffic. This will help your new momma cat get comfortable with her new area. Make sure fresh food and water are nearby, but not inside the box.
The litter box, also, should be somewhat close by. Normally, cats don’t like to use a litter box that is too close to their food source. After having kittens, however, she may not want to venture too far. It would be ideal if you can place the litter box on the other side of the room from her food.
Concerns During the Birthing Process
Most of the time, a cat will have no problems giving birth to baby kittens on her own. There can be extenuating circumstances, though, that constitute an emergency situation. Some of these can include:
- Half hour has gone by after the start of contractions without producing a kitten
- There is a green or dark discharge before giving birth
- Half hour has passed after one kitten being born and contractions are continuing without indication of another kitten coming
- A kitten has become stuck during birth
- A kitten hasn’t suckled for three hours
Just to be prepared for these issues, you may want to put your veterinarian on speed dial in case any of these or other concerning situations occur. Creating a first aid kit ahead of time can ease the stress of unplanned situations. This could include a box ready to transport the mother and/or kitten(s) to the vet if needed, a few clean cloths, and a Kitten Milk Replacer and Nurser Bottles.
Supplies for Baby Kittens
It doesn’t take long for baby kittens to start playing and getting into things. If they are going to be indoor cats, there are a few things you should get to keep them healthy and occupied:
- Food/Water dishes (a Pet Fountain with fresh water is best)
- Litter box with fresh litter (cleaned out at least daily; more often with multiple cats)
- A comfortable bed (they like to be in spots that are higher up)
- Scratching Pads/Posts (will help to save your furniture)
- Toys (avoid strings or things that unravel in order to avoid choking)
We hope these tips will help you to be more prepared to welcome a new kitten into your home. Here’s a good informational video to help you learn how baby kittens grow from 0-8 weeks and another good video with tips for caring for an orphaned kitten. Please leave any comments or questions and follow us on Facebook. Thanks for reading!