Where do cats have kittens?

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Cats are very beautiful animals to keep as pets. Their exhibition of gracefulness and neatness makes them popular among animal owners. However, there are so many myths surrounding the process of pregnancy and giving birth in cats.
Although they are popular among pet owners and pet enthusiasts, where they give birth to their young ones, it has been a frequent question.

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A key characteristic in cats is their love for a solitary environment when sick and uncomfortable or even moody. The exhibition of this behaviour should not be different during pregnancy or the period before delivery. Just as we know, in humans, the process of delivery is very uncomfortable, just as it is in lower animals. As said earlier, cats love to be on their own during the period they feel discomfort. It may be thought that they wouldn’t mind giving birth in front of a lot of people, because they are animals, after all, other animals do not mind. Just as they are unique in other areas like gaits, or how selective they are, they also show uniqueness in this area.

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Due to the discomfort they feel when they are about to birth their young they prefer to stay alone in dark corners. The only way a person can find out where a cat is giving birth is when the person is the owner of the cat. Cat owners usually prepare the dark corners that cats would use to give birth. When a place is not prepared, they find a solitary and dark place themselves. This place they use to give birth might not be discovered by people because it is usually hidden far from the eyes of animals and humans. Their solitary behaviour is because they crave the feeling of safety when they are pregnant. They also want their privacy while they lick themselves before labour. Hence, they prefer the dark spaces during the process of giving birth.

Where do cats have kittens

How Do I Know When My Cat Is About To Give Birth?

Cats are four-legged animals, so if they are pregnant, it might not be noticed. However, there are many signs to show that a cat is pregnant and due to give birth at any time. However, the protrusion of the stomach may not be seen because they are walking on four legs. Yet, there is a visible increase in size and roundness of a pregnant cat. If a pregnant cat is overweight, a significant increase in weight is noticed; this increase in weight signifies that the cat is pregnant with young ones. If an abdominal examination is possible—because most times it is not possible because of the solitary nature of cats whenever they are pregnant. Nonetheless, if this abdominal examination is possible, the roundness of the stomach can be felt just a touch. Unlike in humans, that crave a lot of food during the gestation period, sometimes even in large quantities. 

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These animals lose lots of appetite during this period. The loss of appetite stems from the amount of space the kittens take in the abdomen of the cat, making it impossible for the cat to eat as much as usual. Even though the cat might not eat as much as usual, they crave to eat more often, although in small quantities. Appetite is not the only sign to look out for when trying to discover if your cat is pregnant. Another sign that shows that a cat is close to delivery is the size of its mammary glands. The increase in the size of the mammary gland contributes to the largeness of the abdomen. The mammary glands usually get redder when the cat gets close to the time for delivery. The redness of the mammary glands is due to the formation of milk for the young ones. This redness makes the nipples extremely sensitive. When the day for delivery is close by two to three days, there is usually a milkfish type of discharge from the mammary gland of the cat in preparation for the kittens. This is often a sign that a cat is pregnant. Although the mammary glands are beneath, they would spend time licking off the discharge from the mammary glands. 

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There is also a discharge from the genital region of the cat. This discharge usually appears close to the day when the cat is due to go into labour, and they spend lots of time in their solitude licking it off. When a female cat that has put on some weight starts licking its genital area, it should be clear that the onset of labour is close. Although cats like their solitary confinement and dark places to give birth in private, they could tolerate some contact from a human they are used to. This contact most times ends in them throwing a fit because of their temperament. Accompanied with all these signs is a change in temperature. There is always a reduction in temperature before the onset of labour. There is also usually a change in the behavioural habits of the cat. For example, if it usually eats at 2 pm, it might not want to eat at that time any longer. When all these signs are noticed, it should be known that the cat is about to give birth. 

Do Cats Like To Be Left Alone While Giving Birth?

We know the process of labour as a painful and unbearable one. Cat owners having this in mind would want to give anything to make their cats free from pain during labour. However, this is a very uncomfortable time for the cat, so she might be irritated by constant touch. If cats are used to direct contact with their caregivers every day, it can make them less aggressive when it comes to giving birth in front of this person. Although, that would not change its attitude of being irritated when either the handling is too much, or they are just uncomfortable. Their attachment to their caregiver, even when they are uncomfortable, doesn’t change the fact that they can give birth on their own without any external help. 

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The presence of the caregiver during delivery can obstruct delivery if the person tries to pick up or touch the cat. It is preferable for the owner (caregiver) to watch the process of delivery from a distance so as not to disrupt or strain the process. The answer to, “Do cats like being alone while giving birth?” is yes, because as social animals, there is a behavioural in them during pregnancy that makes them solitary animals. Due to this solitary behaviour, they would rather have themselves as company during delivery than have anyone come close to them during the process. 

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Do Cats Scream When Giving Birth?

The process of giving birth presents itself with excruciating pain in humans. The pain in humans during childbirth is no different from the pain in other animals. In every female, there are uterine contractions during childbirth. These contractions aid the birthing of the child. However, these contractions can be really painful, so painful that it can be teeth gnashing. In this area, cats are no different from humans. Cats also experience these uterine contractions which could be really painful. The contractions cause great discomfort in the cat and that is why they want solitude during the period of childbirth. In terms of the norm, if any mammal experiences discomfort within, it is shown by sounds, the sounds peculiar to that type of animal. The sound peculiar to cats is the “meow” sound. This sound can also be used when showing discomfort, especially because cats cannot talk. 

However, there is a difference in the pitch of the “meow” they release when in discomfort. The pitch is usually high and shrill to the hearing. The sound they make may be known as cat screaming because of how loud and weird it sounds. When in comparison to what humans call screaming, it is quite different. Do cats scream when they give birth? The answer is no.  They might howl or cry but not scream the way humans scream. They might not even howl sometimes; they might just make some loud, weird noises which is quite different from screaming. So, no cats do not scream during childbirth, but they make a considerable amount of noise showing their pain and discomfort. 

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Give Birth?

Most cat owners are usually interested in the exact time their cat got pregnant because these elegant creatures do not even show that they are pregnant till they are close to the period of delivery. Usually, the process seems like a very fast one, which of course, it is. The whole period of pregnancy takes from fifty-seven days to sixty-eight days, depending on the cat’s body. The whole period of pregnancy is really short. During delivery, a cat can take two to five hours to deliver her kitten(s). The amount of time during delivery depends on the number of kittens to be delivered. Cats can give birth to one to eight kittens at a particular delivery. After the onset of the labour, the cat can take thirty minutes to birth each kitten, taking breaks in-between to be able to push out another kitten. If the cat has to give birth to just one kitten, it shouldn’t take up to 3 hours for the whole process to be completed. Sometimes, it doesn’t only depend on the number of kittens supposed to be birthed; it also depends on the body of the cat. 

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Symptoms Of Dead Kitten Inside Cat

There are usually no symptoms to show if the kittens in the cat’s belly are alive or dead. The tummy is usually distended even if the kittens are dead or alive. The process is also very much similar to that of a cat that has a normal type of pregnancy. The nipples would still be swollen and larger even if the kittens are dead inside. The dead kittens inside usually cause dystopia during kitten birth. There is usually a delay in the birth time due to dead kittens, which might not follow the course of normal kitten birth. This can cause the kittens to be stuck in the birth canal, resulting in a considerable amount of discomfort to the mother. The only time it can be known if a litter is dead in the kitten’s stomach is during the period of delivery, which turns out to be a serious birth complication associated with cat pregnancy. Despite the fact that there are no symptoms to show if a cat is carrying kittens that are already dead, it can be determined if the kittens inside the cat are dead by performing an abdominal scan. 

The abdominal scan cannot be carried out at home; it must be handled by a veterinary doctor. The scan would show the health of the kittens and also show which kitten is alive and which is already dead. This is the reason why when it is noticed that your cat is pregnant, it is a wise decision to take it for periodic checks at the veterinary doctor to ensure the overall health of the cats. These periodic checks are also useful to know if there are some conditions that are not favourable to the cat and its pregnancy. Also, to get advice from the vet to enable ensuring that the kittens survive the pregnancy.

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How To Tell If A Cat Still Has Kittens Inside

There are many ways to know when a cat has kittens inside it, from the addition in weight which is inevitable because of the number of kittens in the abdomen of the cat. Also, there is the roundness of the abdomen of the cat containing kittens. If the cat has already started giving birth and you want to know if there are more kittens to be given birth to, it would be easy to know by touching the lower abdomen, close to the tail; you would feel if there is a kitten remaining to be birthed. It is not often advisable to help the cat push out the kitten. When it is the right time for the kitten to come out, it will come out unassisted. Hence, it would be advisable not to stress your cat by trying to pull out its kitten.  If you left your cat for a while, it would bring out its young one after a period of rest. 

How Many Kittens Can A Cat Have?

The amount of kittens a cat can have depends on the breed of cat. But the average range of kittens a cat can give birth to is one to five. Since the duration of the gestation period is not so long as to take up to five months, a single cat can get pregnant up to four times a year. With each birth ranging from one kitten, even up to ten kittens. Some cats even give birth to twelve kittens at once. The number of kittens given birth to also depends on the health of the cat and its nutritional intake. Litter cats can give birth to three to five kittens after pregnancy, while the felines can give birth to as many as ten cats after one pregnancy. Also, the amount of kittens that can be given birth to depends on the size of the uterus of the cat. 

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How To Help A Cat Give Birth For The First Time 

If you have a cat, and it is giving birth for the first time, you may want to assist in its birth process. The way to assist the delivery process in cats is different from that of humans. When a cat is about to give birth, it is important to ask your vet for the conditions that are suitable for expecting cats. Most cats love giving birth in the dark, away from the light. Due to this behaviour, you do not have to wait for your cat to find a suitable place by itself. It has to be assisted since it is heavily pregnant. This is done by creating a dark place where it can feel comfortable to stay before its hour of delivery. This dark place can be created in a cardboard box or even a basket. 

The place created for your cat has to have an abundance of towels and blankets to keep the place warm for the cat and its kittens to come. As delivery comes closer, the temperature of the cat drops drastically; this might be unhealthy for the kittens to come. The blankets and towels help to preserve body temperature. There is an order in which towels and pads should be kept in the box. In the last layer, very close to the cardboard box, the heating pad should be kept to keep the temperature of the whole box warm. Absorbent pads should be kept in the delivery area to ensure that the cardboard box does not get dirty. If everything is put in place, you should be able to monitor the process from outside the box, only stepping in to cut off the umbilical cord with scissors and dental floss when the cat cannot get rid of it. 

Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.