Caring for a Mother Cat

A mother cat needs special care to be able to provide milk and warmth for the newborn kittens. The first 2 to 3 weeks after birth are equally important for the mother cat and the kittens.

Quiet Room

The mother cat and the kitten should have a quiet room with a warm temperature. The kittens need warmth as they are not able to keep warm on their own; a kitten that is cold may be in danger. Kittens develop quickly in the first 2 to 3 weeks, so monitor them to see if they are nursing and developing at a normal pace. The kittens should develop a fat abdomen and will sleep a lot.

The mother cat and the kittens should have a comfortable box with blankets and towels. Change the towels as soon as these get dirty; kittens will probably defecate on these towels.

Place the mother's litter box and food and water bowls close to the box.

Feeding the Mother Cat

A mother cat needs more calories and extra calcium in order to provide the necessary nutrients for the kittens. Start feeding wet, kitten food to the mother cat prior to giving birth. Choose high quality kitten food and continue this diet even after birth. Add some KMR to her diet.

The mother cat will nurse a kitten once every 2 to 3 hours. Allow the mother to nurse, as she knows exactly what she needs to do and when to nurse each kitten.

Vaginal Discharge

At birth, make sure that the mother cat eliminates all the placentas; otherwise the cat may get infected. There should be a placenta for each kitten. You may throw away the placentas, as the mother does not need to eat these placentas.

The mother cat will have a vaginal discharge after giving birth. This discharge is dark brown and is actually blood that needs to be eliminated. The discharge should last for maximum 7 to 10 days. If the discharge persists and has a foul odor, take the cat to the vet, as this may mean that the cat has an infection. If she has fever, that is also a sign of infection.

The discharge may be stopped with oxytocin, which is a drug that will induce uterine contraction.


Mastitis is a possible complication that may occur after birth. This is an infection of the mammary glands and occurs when the mother produces more milk than the kittens need. The nipples and the mammary glands will be red and swollen. If the mother suffers from mastitis, she won't allow the kittens to nurse. You will need to feed the kittens.


Eclampsia is caused by lack of calcium in mother cats. A mother cat needs more calcium to be able to produce milk. Eclampsia shows symptoms such as seizures, irritability, panting and muscle tremors. Hand-feed the kittens in case the mother has calcium deficit.

Vet Check-Up

The mother kitten should be taken to the vet to make sure that she is healthy. The vet will vaccinate her, if she hasn't been vaccinated. She will receive medication for roundworms, as a preventive measure.

You may also want to neuter your cat.