My Cat Just Had Kittens: How To Care For Mother Cat After Having Kittens

Posted: November 14, 2021 by Anita

my cat had kittens

After your cat has given birth, she will (most likely) do the mother thing and provide plenty of warmth and baby kitten milk.

In this article, I discuss what it means to help your cat through the post-natal part of giving birth.

Most articles are written about postnatal care focus on kittens. And it is vital to make sure that the kittens are well cared for and healthy.

However, it is also essential to make sure Mama cat is doing well because her health and well-being are essential to the health and well-being of her kittens.

Here are 11 things you should consider when caring for a Mother cat after she gives birth.

1. Mother cat needs a nesting box for her and newborn baby cats

As a cat parent, help her out by providing a clean, warm, and dry place for her and her kittens such as a nesting box. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The bottom portion of a dog or cat kennel (24″ X 20″ X 10″ high) would make the ideal nesting box.

Need inspiration? Check out these nesting boxes from etsy.com by clicking here!

Make sure to line the “nest” with pet blankets (click here to purchase these cute ones from etsy.com and puppy pads – I like Amazon Basics Puppy Pads, click here to purchase.

2. Get prepared for your Mother cat having kittens in advance

Don’t wait until the last minute to get prepared for the special event. Prepare the nesting box a couple of weeks before the Mama cat gives birth. Here are some other things to have on hand:

3. Place the nesting box in a good place

Place the nesting box in a temperature-controlled space free of drafts – a spare bedroom; a bathroom or an unused closet is fine also. The space should be warm, quiet, and secluded.

And it would be nice if the space is large enough for mama to lay in a spot away from kittens – should she want to take a break but small enough so that the kittens can reach her easily.

Keep the other pets in the household away from the new mother and her kittens. This will make her feel safe when she is feeling most vulnerable.

4. Ultimately, Mother cat sets the agenda on the location

Please note: what I’ve described in this article is the “perfect spot for mother and kittens”. However, the bottom line is it doesn’t have to be perfect. You might set up the perfect spot and Mama cat still decides to have her kittens under your bed. She ultimately gets the last say.

5. When to change bedding after cat gives birth

Do not change the bedding where she had her kittens for at least 48 hours, The first few days are a critical bonding time for mom with her kittens. So keeping her dirty bedding for a few days helps her to connect with them.

After 48 hours be sure to change out pads and cloth blankets daily to keep things as sanitary as possible.

6. Mother cat might be a bit overprotective of her newborn baby cats

Don’t be surprised if Mama cat seems a bit edgy when you approach her and kittens. And for a few days after the birth, she might not leave her kittens’ side. Leave her alone with the kittens but keep a sharp eye out just in case Mama cat needs help.

Your cat’s job is to nurse her kittens and keep them clean. In the first few weeks of the kitten’s lives, she will do everything for them – including handling their excretions (poop and pee).

Try not to handle them too much at this point because she might reject them if she feels like you’re doing too much for her kittens.

Your job is to provide fresh food and water. And a clean litter box (not too near the nesting box) for her to pee and poop. Only step in if she isn’t feeding her kittens. You might have to guide the kittens to her teat if they are having trouble finding it.

When mama cat starts taking breaks to eat, poop or pee this is the time you can quietly check on the kittens (make sure they are thriving – I will address this in a follow-up article), and change the bedding and pads in the nesting box.

7. Mother cat might need your help with her kittens

Just like in the human world, it ain’t easy becoming a mama. She might need help adjusting to motherhood. Or you might have to assist in the birth of the kittens.

Mama cat might reject and neglect her kittens altogether – this is rare but it is possible. You might have to step in to feed and groom the kittens after she gives birth.

Be ready to step in to assist her just in case. More on that in my next article.

my cat just had kittens

8. Mother cat needs to be fed great nutritional food

Increased calories and fats are essential because nursing cats need a crazy amount of high energy.  Mama needs 2 to 6 times more energy requirements than a healthy adult cat that isn’t nursing.

To keep her strength and energy up to par she needs to be eating kitten formula cat food. Kitten formula cat food is full of the essential vitamins, minerals, and extra calories that she needs,

My recommendation for the best cat food at a great price for Mama cat? Iams Proactive Healthy Kitten Dry Cat Food – click here to purchase from Amazon.

Make sure she has access to plenty of fresh water.

To read more about what’s needed nutritionally for Mama cat please my article, “7 Best Cat Foods For Mama Cat” by clicking here.

9. Make sure Mother cat stays healthy

Along with monitoring the health of the kittens, it is very important that you keep an eye on your cat after she gives birth to her litter.

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • inflammed mammary gland
  • not producing milk
  • smelly vaginal discharge
  • fever
  • weakness

If your cat should experience any of these symptoms, take her to the Vet.

10. Get Mother cat checked by the vet before and after giving birth

Don’t wait until your cat falls ill to take her to the vet. Have your pregnant cat examined before and after she gives birth.

Things your vet will do before your cat gives birth:

  • confirm the pregnancy (perhaps through a digital palpation and x-rays)
  • make sure she is in great health (perform a wellness exam)
  • check for intestinal worms

Things your vet will do after your cat gives birth:

  • post-natal exam for your cat
  • wellness of the kittens
  • perhaps discuss having your cat spayed

11. Consider getting Mother cat spayed after having her kittens

There are great reasons for getting your cat spayed after having her kittens:

  • Spaying helps control the cat population
  • Reduces the number of cats who might eventually end up homeless or in shelters
  • Protects your cat against uterine infections and breast tumors
  • A study done by Banfield Pet Hospital found, “that spayed females cats lived 39% longer
  • Spayed cat are less likely to roam and put themselves in danger of fights with other cats, infections, fleas/ticks and trauma due to being hit by a car
  • Taking care of numerous litters of kittens can be costly. Please note: there’s no health benefit to waiting to get her spayed – the sooner, the better.

Conclusion

Most articles are written about postnatal care focus on kittens. And it is vital to make sure that the kittens are well cared for and healthy.

However, it is also essential to make sure Mother cat is doing well because her health and well-being are essential to the health and well-being of her kittens.

There are 11 things you should consider when caring for Mama cat after she gives birth:

  1. Get her a nesting box.
  2. Prepare for the kittens in advance.
  3. Place the nesting box in a good place.
  4. Ultimately, she sets the agenda.
  5. Know when to change the bedding in the nesting box.
  6. She might be overprotective of her litter after giving birth – give her some space.
  7. However, she might need your help with the kittens
  8. She stays fed with plenty of water.
  9. Make sure Mama cat stays healthy after she gives birth.
  10. Take her to the vet for pre and post natal care.
  11. Consider getting Mama cat spayed after she gives birth.

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