Caring For Your Postpartum Queen Cat

Caring for your postpartum cat queen involves making her as comfortable as possible, while closely monitoring for any health complications that might occur. No two cats are alike. You should learn as much as you can about postpartum care of your cat in advance of her delivery, so you may readily apply your knowledge to your own cat's situation when the time comes for her to give birth.

Care of Your Cat Queen During Delivery

Parturition, or giving birth, usually proceeds normally in most queen cats. A healthy queen cat will deliver kittens at thirty- to sixty-minute intervals on her own. Some queens will know instinctively what is going on with her body; others will seem as if they do not understand. In either case, you should remain calm and reassuring to your queen cat, both during and after delivery.

Care of Your Cat After Delivery

Your cat will continue to need your undivided attention and dedicated care after she gives birth. Monitor the health status of your queen cat by doing the following:

Palpate your kitten's pelvic area to make sure all kittens have been delivered. Your vet may need to take x-rays of the pelvic area, too.

Take your queen cat's temperature, which should fluctuate only moderately in a healthy queen cat.

Check your queen cat's vaginal discharge, called lochia. It should be heavy and look dark red to black for a few days after delivery.

Also monitor whether your cat takes the following steps after delivery:

  • She removes the placenta and cord of each kitten.
  • She stimulates breathing and movement with initial grooming of each kitten.
  • She promptly begins nursing each kitten.

Be prepared if your queen cat rejects her kittens and abandons maternal duties, which can be due to behavioral or medical conditions, like internal infections. If this is the case, do not scold or punish your queen cat. Her lack of maternal instincts is not her fault. Do ask your veterinarian in advance of her delivery how you will feed and nurture the newborn kittens yourself, if necessary. After delivery, your vet will advise you on whether you should separate an inattentive queen cat from her kittens.

Postpartum Complications in Cats

First-time cats or those with underlying health conditions, like nutritional deficiencies, may need medical assistance in giving birth. Poor uterine contractions (inertia) and pelvic deformities are two other reasons your queen cat's delivery may not go as smoothly as it should. Always seek medical advice if your queen cat appears to be in severe or protracted distress while giving birth.

Here is a list of postpartum complications that may occur in your cat:

  • Postpartum hemorrhage, controlled by administration of oxytocin
  • Retained fetal membranes, indicated by brown vaginal discharge and enlarged uterine horns; this condition requires medical attention
  • Retained placentas, indicated by fever, lack of appetite, depression, and a decrease in nursing and caring for kittens; this condition requires medical attention
  • Stillborn kittens, possibly to be eaten by the queen cat, especially if she is a nervous, first-time mother
  • Uterine prolapse, signaled by the uterus protruding through the vagina; this condition requires treatment for shock, administration of antibiotics, manual replacement of the uterus or an ovariohysterectomy
  • Uterine infection, or metritis, signaled by persistent, malodorous discharge, listlessness, lack of appetite, significant change in body temperature, disinterest in caring for kittens; treatment includes administration of fluids, giving antibiotics and/or surgery
  • Subinvolution of placental sites, occurring when the uterus does not quickly repair itself after delivery and indicated by vaginal discharge lasting more than three weeks; this condition usually resolves itself.