Common Problems in Feline Pregnancy and Queening

Queening can present a few problems and as an owner of a pregnant cat, you must know what to expect. Detecting a problem in time can save your cat's life and possibly the life of the kittens.

Determining Cat Pregnancy

A cat pregnancy must be determined so as to be able to offer proper care to your cat. She will need a diet rich in nutrients, especially proteins to promote fetus growth and a lot of attention.

Common symptoms of feline pregnancy include:

  • Vomiting
  • Swollen nipples
  • The nipples are darker in color
  • Weight loss in the first stage of pregnancy, followed by weight gain afterwards
  • More affectionate behavior

Cat pregnancy is typically 9 weeks, but the kittens may be born 57 to 69 days after fertilization.

Fetal Resorption

In early stages of pregnancy the cat may experience fetal resorption. This means that the fetus is reabsorbed in the cat's body and may pass unnoticed. It becomes obvious when you see that the cat doesn't give birth. She may abort one kitten and the rest may be born normally, so fetal resorption will not be diagnosed.

Spontaneous Abortion

Spontaneous abortion can happen in later stages of the pregnancy. The dead fetus is eliminated. This can be caused by an abnormal development of the pregnancy, but could also be caused by uterine problems, herpes, infection with Brucella or if the mother has low progesterone levels.

Premature Kittens

Premature kittens are delivered before the gestation period is over, typically before day 57 of pregnancy.

If a pregnant cat has vaginal bleeding before to the due date, this means that she needs to deliver the kittens prematurely and they will be delivered through a cesarean section.

Premature kittens may be saved but need special care. They need extra warmth and should be fed once every 1 to 2 hours for the first 10 days after birth.

Kittens that are born one day prior to the normal term are like premature babies that were born 1 week earlier. Therefore, kittens born at 6 weeks have very low chances of survival.

Vulvar Discharge

The mother will have vulvar discharge after giving birth. Immediately after birth, the mother will bleed and this may be stopped with oxytocin, which is a uterine contracting agent. For 7 to 10 days after delivery, there will be a brownish vulvar discharge. If the discharge has a foul smell and contains blood or lasts more than 10 days, this indicates an infection, so you must visit the vet immediately.


Dystochia is a labor complication. It occurs when the mother starts labor and lasts for more than 60 minutes without giving birth. Contact the vet immediately.


Eclampsia in cats is caused by a calcium deficiency. The lactating mother needs a lot of calcium to provide milk for the kittens. If she is low on calcium, she might display signs of eclampsia:

  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Anxiousness
  • Fever

Calcium supplements should be administrated to the cat. First time mothers are more susceptible to eclampsia.