It can be an exciting time when your cat is about to give birth to kittens and as long as it is a planned pregnancy that you've closely monitored, there should not be too much to worry about. With this said, a pregnant cat needs quite a bit more in the way of extra care as well as comfort, love and affection so they feel safe and secure in the home.
When it comes to changing your cat's diet which you would need to do to meet her extra nutritional needs, you have to do this very gradually over a period of anything from 7 to 10 days because if done too quickly, you may find that your cat develops an upset tummy which could disrupt her digestive system quite considerably. The last thing you want to do is put her off her food when she is carrying kittens. If your cat has been put on any sort of special diet because of a health issue you need to discuss things with the vet who is treating her before changing any food you normally give her.
Even the friendliest and most affectionate cat might start to ask for more attention than usual which all due to the hormonal changes she will be going through during her pregnancy. Some cats go the other way and prefer to tuck themselves away where they feel comfortable, safe and warm. With this said, it's important to be extra careful when handling or picking up a pregnant cat because you need to avoid touching her tummy unless you really have to.
The reason being that this is going to be an ultra-sensitive area on her body and if not gently handled, you might cause your cat a lot of pain and discomfort. You might even inadvertently hurt her unborn kittens if you pick her up too brusquely or she wriggles out of your arms and falls to the floor. If you do have to pick her up it is best to do so by scooping her up by her rear end and chest like this you avoid putting any pressure on her abdomen.
There will come a time when your cat may prefer to be left on her own in a nice quiet area of the house. It's important for her to feel safe and secure especially when it gets closer to her giving birth to her kittens. If things get too boisterous around her, you may find it stresses her out and she will try to go away and hide. As such, it's important to recognise when your cat would prefer to be left alone rather than be given too much attention.
In an ideal world, your cat would have been completely up to date with her boosters and vaccinations before she became pregnant. The thing to bear in mind is that she would pass on her immunity to specific health disorders to her offspring through her milk when they start suckling. In short, if your cat is fully vaccinated when you breed from her, her antibodies will be at their peak which is better for her kittens. The vet would be able to do a blood test to see if her anti-body levels are high or if they are on the low side before recommending whether your cat would need to be vaccinated again or not.
The thing to bear in mind is that certain vaccines cannot be given to pregnant cats, so it's worth making sure she is fully up to date before you breed from her. If, however, your cat is not fully vaccinated when she is pregnant it is not the end of the world, but it is always worth talking to the vet about things if you are at all worried or concerned for her well-being and that of her kittens.
A nursing cat can pass on intestinal worms to her kittens which is why it's important that she be wormed before you breed from her and then throughout her pregnancy. It's also essential that she be treated for fleas using a cat specific product and one that a vet recommends you use on her that won't harm her unborn kittens.
It's important to keep a close eye on your cat's health all through her pregnancy and this includes checking her gums to make sure they are nice and pink. If you notice any swollen gums or your cat has particularly bad breath, it could be a sign she has a dental problem. A vet would need to deal with any oral disease as quickly as possible because otherwise you may find your cat refuses to eat because it causes her too much pain when she does and this could seriously impact the development of her unborn kittens.
Although very upsetting for owners, when a cat experiences a miscarriage she may not be aware of it until much later on in her pregnancy and when she does, she will need to be shown lots of patience, love and affection. If the miscarriage happens later in her pregnancy, it's important to have her checked out by the vet to ensure she has not developed a serious infection.
It would be fair to say that cats don't tend to experience problems during labour. However, it's always best to keep a close albeit discreet eye on things just to be sure. If you think there may be a problem, you should call the vet and ask their advice. They may recommend you take her into the surgery for a check-up and if they feel performing a caesarean section might be needed, they would need to keep her in the surgery to carry out the procedure. Persians are particularly prone to having problems giving birth simply because their kittens are born with such large heads.
You would need to keep a closer watch on your cat during the last 2 weeks of her pregnancy and it's a good idea to keep her in rather than let her go outside just in case she decides to have her kittens outdoors. It's important to set up a nice quiet area in the house for her so she can build herself a "nest" which she will use to rest up in when she is giving birth to her kittens.
Cats love cardboard boxes at the best of times and this is especially true when they are about to have kittens. By placing nice clean bedding inside the box, you would create a nice environment for her. However, you have to make sure the box is big enough to accommodate your cat, the bedding and her kittens making sure they cannot fall or escape out from it. You also need to make sure the box does not tip over when your cat jumps in and out of it. Needless to say, the box needs to be placed in a nice, cozy and warm place, but somewhere you can discreetly keep an eye on her.
With this said, you may find that your cat totally ignores the box you've set up for her and chooses another place altogether to have her kittens which could be in a cupboard, an open drawer or anywhere she feels is safe, warm and comfortable. If she chooses a place that's not that safe, you can move her once she has given birth to all her offspring and it's perfectly safe to handle the kittens albeit very gently and carefully when you do.