This might sound obvious but make sure you know when your kittens are due and ensure you can be around when the kittens are born as you may need to book time off work in advance. The average time a Siamese cat is pregnant is 65 days from conception. I like to use the second day of the girl being mated as the conception date. Very often an experienced stud cat owner will provide estimated due dates on your mating certificate. In my experience my cats usually go no more than a day or two either way.
Birthing Kit for Kittens
The must have essentials that you may have been told that you need when preparing for the arrival of your kittens.
- An air bed so you can be close to your queen, if the labour is a long one.
- Towels – boil washed twice, to be sure they are sterile.
- Blankets – minimum of 6.
- Cotton wool (balls) where possible.
- Washable cat beds (at least 2) big enough to fit a medium-sized dog
- Energy drinks (your queen will appreciate them – labours hard work)
- Strong coffee (two full jars – be prepared for an overnight job) you’ll appreciate it.
- Vets phone number, in fact preferably his home address in case he does not answer the phone.
- Plastic bags for rubbish
Forget all that, all you really need is –
- A place for your queen to ‘find’ where she can give birth, queens often get loved up and start nesting near their due date. A cardboard box or a purpose-built kittening pen in a nice quiet room are ideal.
- Heat pad to keep the kittens warm once they are born.
- A couple of clean, dry towels or a kitchen roll.
- Your vets out of hours number to hand, just in case.
- To be awake and alert.
- Plastic bags for rubbish.
- Kitchen scales.
- Pen and paper to record the birth weights.
- Fresh bedding to use once the kittens are born.
Okay you are ready so now what?
I know from my own experiences how anxious it is when that due date starts approaching. You stay up all night and nothing, your still awake but not quite with it during the next day still nothing, the night after your eyes are wide open but your heads all over the place again nothing. Then by the next night your queen gets on with giving birth and you’re sleeping whilst comforting and encouraging your pillow to push as you are delirious due to sleep deprivation and in no state to be helpful should your queen actually need you.
So at least two days before due date it’s a good idea to take your expectant queen up to your bedroom with you at night, this way you are on hand if she needs you and both of you can sleep with ease until the birthing begins. If by chance you are asleep when your queen begins her contractions don’t panic I find my girls let me know one way or another.
It has been known for queens to give birth during the day or at night, but in my experiences of Siamese and Orientals they like to be as inconvenient as possible – it’s in there DNA and so the Burnthwaites Queens seem to insist on night-time births.
So how will you know when your cat has started to have her kittens?
Usually a couple of days before the birth a pregnant cat look as if she has ‘dropped’, what this means is that the kittens are moving into position to be born and instead of her walking around with two huge ‘saddle bags’ she now has a bulge that hangs downs underneath her.
I find that my girls will start nesting and will find a nice place to have her kittens. I very often find my girls sat quietly in their nests resting as if they know what is coming. I like my girls to ‘find’ their own special place to have their babies, as long as the place they ‘find’ is the kittening pen in my bedroom then we are both happy! (makes life so much easier when your girl chooses your bedroom, trust me)
The kittening pen can be a purpose-built pen or simply a cardboard box turned on its side with a blanket draped over it. If you are clever you can let your girl ‘find’ the kittening pen of your choice by placing it in nice quiet room (your bedroom) and make sure there is nowhere else that she may prefer to have them. I find this technique usually works and is preferable to confining your queen to a pen as I believe letting her choose her nest reduces her stress levels which can only be a good thing.
Very often the signs that your cat has started to have her kittens can be very obvious even before she is pushing. The signs already mentioned usually happen a week to a few days before the birth, but an example of one of the more immediate signs could be when your cat discharges her mucus plug which usually results in her having her kittens within the following 24 hours though I have known it to be longer. Another more obvious sign once her mucus plug has gone is your cat might start to discharge some of her amniotic fluid which is a clear fluid sometimes tinged with blood. These are the early signs of labour.
So your cat has started to have her kittens what should you do?
First thing I would say is do not panic.
The second thing I would say is do not panic!
Your cat will pick up on any ‘vibes’ and so I believe it is essential for you to remain calm as this will pass down to your girl. Nine times out of ten your cat will do all the hard work and will need no help but as you are now prepared if you are unlucky and your cat falls into the unlucky one out of ten who need help then you are ready so do not panic.
My next article including a video will be cover your kittens being born.