Feline parturition when to wait and when to worry

Pregnancy and birth in cats

source: Feline Advisory Bureau Volume 39(4) 2002
starts page105, 6 pages long

Pregnancy in cats lasts for 63-65 days, although shorter and longer times do occur. The first stage of parturition is when the cervix and vagina relax and uterine contractions begin. Cats may make several visits to the kittening bed and dependent cats may seek reassurance from the owner at this time. In the second and third stages, uterine contractions are stronger and move the first foetus to the pelvic opening. Fluid pressure causes the cervix and vaginal passage to dilate and normal delivery of the first foetus takes between five and 30 minutes, after which the placenta is expelled. Some cats will deliver one or more kittens and then rest, sometimes for 24-36 hours, before delivering the remaining kittens. Difficult births can be due to problems with either the queen or kittens. A ruptured uterus is a rare abnormality of the first stage. Methods of kitten revival and congenital defects are discussed. Photographs of a cat birth are included.