How to Tell if a Cat Is Done Giving Birth

How to Tell if a Cat Is Done Giving Birth

Welcoming a litter of kittens into the world can be an exciting and rewarding experience. As a cat owner, it is important to know how to tell if your cat is done giving birth to ensure the health and safety of both the mother and her kittens. Here are some signs to look out for:

1. Decreased Contractions: During labor, cats experience contractions to deliver each kitten. As the birthing process nears its end, the contractions will decrease in intensity and frequency.

2. Nesting Behavior: Cats instinctively create a comfortable and safe space to give birth. If your cat stops rearranging her nesting area or seems more relaxed, it is a good indication that she has finished giving birth.

3. Cessation of Straining: Once all the kittens have been delivered, your cat will stop straining or pushing. If you notice that she is no longer displaying any signs of effort or discomfort, this could indicate that she is done giving birth.

4. Passing of the Placenta: After each kitten is delivered, the mother cat will pass the placenta. Once all the placentas have been expelled, it suggests that the birthing process is complete.

5. Cleanliness: A cat that has finished giving birth will begin to clean herself and her newborn kittens. This cleaning process helps stimulate their circulation and encourages them to breathe.

6. Resting: After the birthing process, your cat will be exhausted. She will seek a quiet and comfortable spot to rest and bond with her kittens.

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7. Reduced Mammary Swelling: As the kittens nurse, the mother cat’s mammary glands will swell due to milk production. Once the kittens have finished nursing, the swelling will gradually decrease.


1. How long does the birthing process typically last?
The birthing process can last anywhere from a few hours to more than 24 hours, depending on the number of kittens.

2. What if my cat seems distressed or in pain after giving birth?
If your cat appears to be in distress or experiencing prolonged discomfort, it is essential to contact your veterinarian immediately.

3. How many placentas should my cat pass?
Typically, there is one placenta for each kitten. However, sometimes multiple kittens share a placenta.

4. When should I call a veterinarian during the birthing process?
If your cat has been actively laboring for more than two hours without delivering a kitten, or if she shows signs of distress or complications, it is important to seek veterinary assistance.

5. How soon can I handle the newborn kittens?
It is best to allow the mother cat to bond with her kittens for the first few days. Handling them too early can disrupt this crucial bonding process.

6. Should I separate the kittens from the mother after birth?
No, it is important to keep the kittens with their mother for at least eight weeks so they can nurse and receive essential nutrients and antibodies from her milk.

7. When should I schedule a post-birth check-up for my cat and her kittens?
Contact your veterinarian to schedule a post-birth check-up within a week to ensure that both the mother and her kittens are healthy and thriving.

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By being attentive to these signs and following the recommended guidelines, you can ensure a smooth and successful birthing experience for your cat and her newborn kittens.