Felines Giving Birth
By Rose Long
The first time I observed my cat giving birth, I wanted to contribute with the birthing process. I soon learned that the feline mother prefers to perform all activities associated with the birthing course. The mother cat may become aggressive if unwanted intervention by the owner is unwelcome. Do not intervene unless there is a problem with birth. Intervene only if the mother is unable to stimulate the kittens breathing or if the kitten is born feet first and the mother is having difficulty.
Good feline mothering is based on emotional maturity and genetics. Feline birth is usually uncomplicated. When the mother begins to dig at the surface of a secluded area and her breathing is rapid, delivery is impending. Contractions will occur every 30 seconds. The mother will position herself for the delivery of her kittens.
As the first kitten is delivered the mother licks away the membranes to encourage the kitten to breathe. The mother will also eat the placenta along with the umblical cord which is expelled after the birth of the kittens. It is instinct for the mother to consume all birthing waste to impede other animals as she recently delivered a litter of defenseless kittens. At this point, the mother will become more aggressive than before to protect her newborn kittens.
Afterwards the newborns will find the teat by its nose. It will knead the mothers breast with its paws to stimulate and release the milk. Each kitten will suckle on one specific teat everytime they feed; the kittens that suckle on the more fertile breast will usually grow faster. Kittens will grow rapidly as a feline mothers milk contains a high concentration of fat and protein.
A feline mother is self sufficient from instinct. Did you ever notice the mother constantly licking her kittens? This action stimulates the kittens to excrete their waste products. She will then consume her kittens waste products. Again protecting her litter by instinct from predators. She disposes of all the evidence of the birthing process.
The fathers usually leave after they mate with the feline. The mother is the sole parent in the upbringing of the kittens until they are self sufficient. I always thought how rude can the daddy be? But that’s instinct of animals.
After the kittens are done suckling from the mother cat, please be advised that the mother will again be searching for her next mating session within days. I was not aware of this and unfortunately I witnessed two births within a short period of time.
I was always amazed when my cats gave birth; I just sat in amazement and observed. Animal birth is exciting to watch. Personally the only time I had to intervene during the birthing process when one or two kittens didn’t take their first breath & one was born deformed as the mother neglected this kitten. Surprisingly the mother appeared relieved when I intervened when there were complications.
Just remember….Monitor uncomplicated birth activities only; Do not upset the feline during the process; Watch and be amazed at the birth.
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