Pregnant Cat? What To Prepare For The Birth

So you know your cat is pregnant. This means she's actually going to have kittens, and you need to be there for her for the delivery.

Cats make good mothers and are generally very proficient (and, alas, prolific) mothers. Around the world, feral cats deliver kittens with no human help and usually with no problems.

However, your cat is your responsibility, and her safety and well-being, as well as those of the kittens, depend on you. So, you must start preparing for the big event a few weeks before the due date.

Many sites will give you lists of items, such as towels and nesting boxes, to prepare. We'll do that later in the article, but first, let's focus on the real challenges of preparing for kitten delivery.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

A pregnant mother cat while resting on a wooden chair showing its tummy and nipples while looking at camera with a big eyes

The most important thing in most cat births is to keep your cool. Stay calm, and don't panic. If you stress out, your cat will sense it; the last thing she needs during delivery is added stress.

The birth is going to be messy. There will be some discharge, water breaking, and blood. The kittens will be born wrapped in a sac, giving them a rubbery look.

That's all perfectly normal. The mother cat will tear the sacs with her teeth and lick the kittens to help them breathe. Each kitten will be followed by a placenta - a red-looking lump of flesh.

The mother cat will tear the umbilical cord, which connects the kitten to the placenta, and yes, she will eat the placenta and whatever else comes out. This is all part of the natural process of birth.

While this article does not deal with a detailed description of the birth process, it's important to keep the above in mind to be mentally prepared for the sights and sounds of birth.

Do not panic when you see this happening. Do not scream, shout or express disgust to not stress out the cat. Just stay calm and quiet and be there for her to reassure her.

Prepare for Emergencies

Approximately 99% of cat births go on without complications and human intervention. However, you must be aware of and prepared for the other 1%.

Learn about signs of problems during birth, what you can do about them, and when to seek veterinary assistance.

The vet feels the cat's stomach. The cat is lying on the table in front of the doctor. Clinic appointments, pregnancy, childbirth. Close-up palpation.

Prepare your vet

Let them know your cat's due date and ask about emergency calls. If your vet does not provide an emergency service, have them refer you to the best and nearest emergency animal clinic.

Add the numbers and addresses to your phone's contacts list. Have them available in writing, too, and put that note in a place where you can't lose it.

Set aside the money for vet treatments

This one cannot be stressed enough. You should always have an emergency fund for your cat's health issues, even more so before a cat is about to give birth.

You need enough money to take her to the vet without delay. If you don't drive yourself, include the cost of a taxi, too.

Cat about to give birth?

Here are the things you need to have at home:

A Nesting Box

A cute pet cat lays down in his nest inside of a cardboard box with a hole in it wrapped up in a blanket

The most important thing your cat needs is a quiet, safe place where birth can take place. You can prepare a nesting box for her ahead of time.

Place a large box on its side, creating a small cave for your cat. Remember that your cat may or may not use the box for birth.

Fill the box with a thick layer of clean old towels, linen, etc. Don't use anything you're unwilling to throw away because it will get messy.

Our member and site advisor catwoman707 recommends covering the bottom of the box with alternating layers of pee-pee pads (Amazon link) and old towels.

You can later peel off the top layer quickly and discreetly in a way that will be less stressful for the mother cat and kittens.

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Place the box in a room that's not too hot or cold and away from drafts. It must be a quiet place where children and house pets are prohibited.

Have a bowl of fresh water and some food available nearby. A clean litterbox should be placed in the same room but far away from the nesting box and the food and water bowls.

Prepare the nesting box a few days before delivery, and let your cat find it and make herself comfortable.

If she doesn't go there, don't worry and leave the box there. Limit her access to other potential birthing spots, such as dark closets and drawers, so she uses the nesting box.


In Case You Need to Help the Mother Cat

Cat and kitten. Mother and child. Cat kitten sniffing, nose to nose. Love, family, affection. The cat is gray, fluffy. The kitten is small, white and red. Background board.

Prepare the following items in advance and have them in your home. Remember that you're not supposed to intervene unless there's a problem.

Please read up about interventions during cat birth and be prepared for those.

A list of possible scenarios and how to deal with them is also available here. Please read through it to make sure you know what to do and when.

Here's a list below of what you need to have at home in case there's an emergency during the delivery that you have to deal with:

1. More Clean Towels and Sheets

Our member and forum advisor StefanZ suggests sticking with fleece and flannel if you can.

As the kittens develop they will be less likely to get their claws to tangle in the material as they crawl around the nesting box. You can even get a packet of baby flannels.

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2. A Notebook and Pen or Pencil

You should document the process, carefully noting the birth time of each kitten and its placenta. This would be a good place to document the kittens' birth weight and other important data.

Our advisor EB24 suggests writing the names, numbers, and addresses of your vet and an emergency vet on the front cover.

3. A Suture Removal Set

Go for the set that includes blunt scissors and forceps. You'll need them if you have to deal with cutting umbilical cords.

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4. An Antiseptic Solution

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5. Gauze Pads

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6. Non-Waxed Dental Floss

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7. Disposable Gloves

Be ready with these gloves for handling newborn kittens if necessary.

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8. Milk Replacer Formula with Appropriate Bottles

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9. Eye Dropper

Prepare an eye dropper or a small 1.0 ml syringe (no needles!) for feeding newborns who can't yet latch onto a bottle. You shouldn't need these unless there's a problem with the kittens' nursing.

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10. Weighing Scale

Make sure you have an accurate weigh scale for weighing small kittens.

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Sounds scary? Having a cat deliver kittens is not for the faint of heart. It's only one more reason for recommending spaying and neutering all pet cats.

There are other reasons, too, and you can read about them in this article about spaying and neutering. Please don't let your cat become pregnant if you're not mentally and financially prepared to deal with the consequences.


Next, read our article "Help! My Cat Is Having Kittens!" if you want to be fully prepared for the birth itself.

Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!

Note: We may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page.

17 comments on “Pregnant Cat? What To Prepare For The Birth

Elaine June 10, 2023
Hi My kitty is pregnant and I have visually seen her belly fluttering while she's lying on her side . How many weeks pregnant will she be now I've seen this .
Lilpeanut April 20, 2020
Ok.... now im freaking out.... i am so going to fail miserably at the 'dont stress' part 😣😣😔😔
    Karen October 14, 2020
    Me too. My Peaches is heavily pregnant and reading this just made me so much more nervous. I'm also very excited to meet these little boogers 😃
      Furballsmom November 28, 2020
      Please register and post in the appropriate forum DO NOT POST HERE, and be sure that you have your vet's number handy.
Shaikh inzamam April 11, 2020
I m new to this and my cat is 63 days old pregnant and I don't have any knowledge of delivery of a cat
    Claire May 30, 2020
    How did you get on?
Jessica February 24, 2020
Im now panicked. My momma cat is due in about a week.. what if she goes into labor and im not home. Will she be ok. Im freaking out i dont wont anything to happen. We are so excited awaiting the babies arival.
    Yuri March 14, 2020
    Don’t panic I understand my mama cat is having kittens but isn’t due that soon all you need to do is stay Calm and don’t stress as to your cat will sense stress and the least you want is for you cat to be stressed during the labor prepare a box with soft towels and blankets your willing to throw about afterwards and keep the box handy and near for when your cat will have you kittens
    Karina July 5, 2020
    my cat had her baby in the middle of the night she did everything for him
ZaMM April 9, 2019
My LunaBug just had her first litter and she wouldn't let me leave her side the whole 7 hrs of labor, if I left the room she would follow me and wait until I came back. Now it's 12 hours later and she still wants my presence, should I be concerned?
    Yuri March 14, 2020
    It is normal for the cat to do that they need to be conforted and they will do that often you should not be concerned as it is normal for the kitty to do that
Christina50 December 30, 2018
I have put a nesting box together in area my girl likes to be. She spent 2 whole minutes in it and to my knowledge hasnt been near it since. Did i do something wrong?
Asderion September 25, 2017
I'm afraid that during birth, most of this will fly out of my head т.т
zed xyzed March 13, 2016
A very good article, thanks for sharing 
StefanZ June 23, 2014
Re blunt scissors for cutting off the umbilical cord if so becomes necessary.  If dont have blunt scissors at hand, you can use your fingernails.  Wash the hands well before, and after.    DONT use sharp scissors for this!    Re kmr = kitten milk replacer.  If you have difficulty to find a good kmr, in some countries its easier to find goat milk. Goat milk is OK to use. Fresh or bottled.   Cats manage goat milk better than for example cow milk. (dont never use cow milk for kittens unless really desperate!)   Glucose sugar (brand name may be Dextrose or Dextropur) is useful in many emergency situations.  Both to perk up fading kittens, and as part in home made pedialyte.  So it is wise to have it at hand. If you dont have glucose sugar at hand, you can use honey or white caro syrup.   Also other sugar sources may be useful if you are desperate, even the common white sugar. But glucose is the best and quickest - works instantly already in mouth.
StefanZ June 23, 2014
Re: The weighting scale.  Best are electronical, measuring in grammes. They can be quite cheap kitchen scale, sold at Walmart or similiar.   If necessary, you can also perhaps borrow one from some neigbour. Begin measure as soon after birth as you possibly can, and measure once a day at the same time, so you know the starting weigh and later on can notice changes - hopefully gain every day  (about 10g a day as a rough rule of thumb)
kittehkatlover May 24, 2014
Thank you this helped a lot 

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