Pregnant Foster Mama Cat

Kitteh Mama

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Hi all,

I've been lurking for a little bit (love the site), and I am hoping you all can help me with my question.

My family has been a foster home for our local shelter for several years and this is our first time fostering a pregnant mama cat. The vet is guessing 4-5 kittens and her initial guess was delivery in 7 - 10 days. That was about 12 days ago. I've followed up with the vet and she is not concerned yet, though does want to see kittens this week. I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos about queens giving birth, and I have my little birthing kit assembled in case I should need to assist (though will be as hands off as I possibly can.)

As we only know mama cat as a pregnant cat, it is kind of hard to look for labor signs that aren't INCREDIBLY obvious. She seems to be meticulous about cleaning herself. She is SUPER friendly - lots of purrs, loves her belly to be gently rubbed. She kneads on the sofa when she sits next to someone. Still seeing kitten movement in the abdomen (which is just too cute for words). Her appetite is still good, water intake, too. Nipples are absolutely pronounced, but no discharge that I can see. (They're a pale pink rather than a deep pink, if that makes a difference.) No vaginal discharge that I can see (except some clear fluid when she is kneading). She is a chatty cat intermittently, but no howling. No pacing though she does alternate between wanting to be sitting right next to you to sitting just NEAR you. She's got three birthing boxes set up (wasn't sure what kind she'd like, so we've got options for her.) She has checked them out and lays in there occasionally, but nothing consistent. We're keeping the room as comfortable as possible - our other animals don't come in here, we turn the lights down at night (but keep a small light on the desk).

Anyways, thoughts? I've seen that some cats may eat right up to the moment of delivery, others stop eating 24h prior. Since she seems to be a tidy, affectionate, kind of chatty cat to begin with, I don't know how well those other signs will be for her. She was grooming herself a couple days ago for like 8 minutes straight, but no labor. :) While I understand that rectal temperature may be a great indicator, I'm nervous about trying that.
 
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Kitteh Mama

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Thank you, I will try that. If my math is correct, a temp of 96F (via armpit) could be an indicator of approaching labor? (Like 12 - 24h away?)
 

Sarthur2

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I’m not a fan of temperature as an indicator. Definitely not rectally, and under the arm pit is actually plus 2 degrees F not 3.

Was an x-ray done? If not, your vet is just guessing, and can be way off. I took in a pregnant stray a few years back and had her x-rayed. The vet saw four kittens, and she had exactly 4 kittens. The vet said they were due in 7-10 days, and she had them exactly 12 days later. She was huge - bulging, in fact.

Milk can come in up to a week early, or even after giving birth. The mucus plug can be lost up to a week ahead. Sometimes you don’t even see it if mom eats it. But what you do see when labor begins is clear or pinkish discharge, the vulva opening up more, and a very uncomfortable cat, often changing positions frequently, and eventually you’ll see intermittent waves down her sides that are actually contractions.

Stage one lasts about 24 hours, then pushing begins. The kittens can come quickly, or an hour or more apart. If they come quickly, she may need help tearing sacs open so the kittens begin to breathe.

She sounds very close, so hang in there and keep us posted! And thanks for fostering!

K Kitteh Mama
 
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Kitteh Mama

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We have kittens! She went into active labor this morning. I came into the room just before kitten #1 was born. ❤ Maybe she was waiting for me. LOL

5 so far. She's doing great! She didn't need any intervention. We're not sure, but there may be one more - there felt like there might be another lump in there. I've not seen all the placentas but I've definitely seen 3 or 4 so far. Hard to tell as she's very keen on grooming the kittens and herself.
 

Sarthur2

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Congrats! How are things now? Are all kittens latching and nursing?
 
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Kitteh Mama

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They are doing great! I'm keeping a log of their weights (but not interfering with them as much as possible). All are putting on weight to varying degrees. Two of the kittens were having a kitten fight club over one of mama's nipples so I had to try to show them that there are a few others to choose from.

Mama is already rebounding nice - less fatigued, happy, purring up a storm, allowing us to pet her and be near the babies.

She hasn't eaten yet but I'm assuming that is OK for now at least. Is there a point where I would need to be concerned? Food and water is nearby, though safely out of reach of the kittens.
 

Sarthur2

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Is it still 5 kittens?

If mom ate the placentas she may not be hungry right away.

Good to hear they are all doing well so far!
 
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Kitteh Mama

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Yep, still just 5. Whatever we thought must not have been anything. We don't feel it now and she doesn't LOOK like she has any more to deliver.

When I went back into the room to check on the little furry family, mama greeted me at the door, then grabbed some food, and went back to letting them nurse.

So far, so good then!
 

Sarthur2

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You felt her lumpy uterus then. It is now beginning to shrink back to normal. Takes a week or so. She may spot a little blood while it heals.
 
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