It is preferred that you spay or neuter your cat so that this does not happen to start with. But, maybe she got out and got busy before you could get it done. Some cats have been known to breed as young as four months. Maybe a stray showed up on your doorstep with a bloated belly. In a few rare cases, someone with a prize show cat might want her bred to make more cats like her.
How To Diagnose Cat Pregnancy. Their advice should help to put your mind at rest. It has been known for cats to surprise their owners and themselves by having yet another kitten long after they thought it was all over. Cat pregnancy and birth pictures dystocia is caused by disproportion between the size of the kittens and the maternal birth canal. Fetal aging using radiography: Cwt radiographs taken of the pregnant cat reveal the skeletons of the kittens, then we can say that the fetal age of those kittens is at least days Sex and tickling more. There are several ways that ultrasound can be used in order to assess the health and viability of a cat pregnancy: Fetal heartbeat - The presence of a heartbeat tells us that the fetus being examined Cat pregnancy and birth pictures alive. This comparison is not so important in pregnant cats, where kitten sizes tend to be relatively uniform, but it is very important in dogs, particularly if the mother is small in bjrth and the father's size is unknown e.
Latin audition. Cats Mating
This dog has 6 puppies inside. Problems with pregnancy Busty loraine parturition are rare, but can be serious if they occur. A single fetus see the tiny skeleton in the mid pregnanch is visible in this image. The mother may wait until all of the kittens are born before allowing them to suckle. The presence of picthres indicates that labor is soon to commence. If the kitten does Cat pregnancy and birth pictures slide out anc, Cat pregnancy and birth pictures the vet. In the later stages of cat pregnancy, the crowded kitten fetuses curl around one another and can not all be seen at the one prregnancy. In some rare Free lingerie catalouge, cats can deliver their last kitten hours after the rest of the litter. I can't find her, but I have the kitten she left. It is very basic instructions which are easy to follow so it prehnancy a lot. Each and everyone is healthy. The kitten should be breathing and moving within seconds as a result. In fact, food rejection is a perfectly normal behavior for pregnant cats. Unless you are deliberately breeding cats, Assault charges on cop spaying your cat, for the sake of any future kittens many unexpected kittens end up feral, starving, or are euthanized and for the sake of your cat. However, if the mother appears to reject the kittens and refuses to allow them to nurse, prepare the milk-powder you purchased and feed the kittens yourself using a kitten-fostering bottle.
By Clemence Michallon For Dailymail.
- Is My Cat Pregnant?
- This article is designed to help you comprehend different stages of feline labor.
- Responsible pet ownership involves spaying and neutering cats.
Is My Cat Pregnant? How To Diagnose Cat Pregnancy. Unless a mature female cat is spayed early prior to attaining puberty or kept housed in a strictly indoors environment well away from male cats, it is very likely that she will become pregnant at some stage in her life.
Cats are rampant breeders and it is not uncommon for cat owners to bring "suddenly-fat," entire, female cats into the veterinary clinic for reasons of pregnancy diagnosis. In these situations, the cat breeding is generally accidental, not deliberate i.
Registered cat breeders, likewise, often make use of the cat pregnancy diagnosis services available at their local vet clinic. Generally, such cat breeders are seeking to confirm whether or not a deliberate mating between cats has resulted in a pregnancy i. Commercial cat breeders typically want to know additional facts about the feline pregnancy such as: how many kittens are present, what size the kittens are and whether the cat pregnancy seems viable, healthy and normal.
This page contains detailed information about how to diagnose pregnancy in cats, including: feline pregnancy signs, cat pregnancy ultrasounds cat pregnancy scan , abdominal radiography and certain other cat pregnancy tests. Information on how to determine numbers of kittens present litter size , sizes of kittens present and assess the basic health of the kittens in utero is also included.
How To Diagnose Pregnancy in Cats - Contents: 1 Diagnosing pregnancy in cats: 1a Your cat's medical and environmental history - does it fit with a likelihood of your cat being pregnant?
Ways to determine cat litter size prior to birth. This section contains information on the various tests and diagnostic techniques available for the detection of pregnancy in cats. Information on the feline 'background' histories and on the clinical signs and symptoms that may be supportive of a cat pregnancy diagnosis are all included, as is information on the specific cat pregnancy tests that can be performed in order to confirm that diagnosis. There are certain historical facts events in your cat's history and background details that may or may not support a likelihood of your cat being pregnant.
Some of these are very obvious, some less so. This list is just a small sample of some of the historical points and background information that you should think about when trying to decide if your female cat could be pregnant or not.
This checklist is just a guide and is certainly not all-inclusive I am sure you could think of a number of additional points to think about. Is the cat in question actually female? Incorrect sexing of pet cats occurs all the time and your Jessie may in fact actually be a Jerry. If your cat is a female, then she could be pregnant. If the cat is a male, then he won't be. The long and the short of it is: make sure that your cat is actually sexed correctly see our great cat sexing pages before you book the cat in for a feline pregnancy test.
Is the cat entire? Spayed cats can not fall pregnant. If you have had the cat in question since it was a kitten, then you should have a fair idea of whether she has been desexed or not. If the cat came to you as an older animal of unknown surgical history, then there is a chance that she may have been previously desexed. The image on the right shows a pale grey spay scar on a cat's belly you can even see the scar-holes running alongside the spay line where the skin sutures were placed.
If the cat is spayed then she should not be pregnant. Has the cat reached puberty? Female cats generally start breeding from months of age, however cats as young as months have been known to fall pregnant on occasion. If your cat is about 5 months old or more, then there is a chance that she could be pregnant. Has the cat had any possible access to male cats? If your female cat is a completely and I mean completely indoors-living animal with no possible access to other cats, then there is little chance of her falling pregnant.
Cats that live or at least spend time outside are much more likely to become impregnated by male cats in the area. Be aware, however, that indoors-only means indoors only. Some people think that an "indoor cat" is a cat that spends ' most of its time' indoors. It's not. If the cat in question has any free, unsupervised access to the outside world, even if it is only for thirty minutes a day or via a come-and-go cat-door, then the cat is not strictly an indoors cat and there is every chance of her becoming pregnant.
A fertile mating can take place in seconds and so a female cat that is outside, unwatched, for thirty minutes could easily be mated by a male cat in that time and fall pregnant. Equally be aware of the risk of cat doors as useful access points for entire tom cats. It is not that unusual for tom cats particularly domesticated toms to wander into a female cat's house through a cat door cat-flap. The mating could take place inside of your home without your own female cat ever leaving the indoors environment.
Also be aware of the incredible lengths some cats will go to in order to procreate with the opposite sex. Male cats will scale the "seemingly-unscalable" walls of roof-less cat runs in order to access female cats in heat.
Female cats have been known to push their bottoms up against open-mesh wire cat runs and cat aviaries in order to mate with male cats on the outside. The cats essentially mate through the wire and the female cat becomes pregnant an seemingly 'immaculate conception' without ever having left the cat enclosure.
Has the female cat escaped recently? This is an extension of the "access to male cats" point, above. If your female cat has recently escaped from your house or yard or cat-run into the local environment i. Was your female cat in heat recently within the last 2 months?
The female cat generally displays the signs of being "in heat" feline estrus signs just before the onset of pregnancy. The estrus period in heat period is the time that the female cat will 'stand' to be mated by a male cat. Being the time of mating, it is, consequently, the time that cat pregnancy is most likely to begin. If you noticed your cat showing signs of being in heat or "in-season" just before she became fat and "pregnant looking" then there is every chance that she could truly be pregnant.
Were there male cats lurking around your house and yard within the last 2 months? Male cats are expert at detecting the scent of a female cat in heat even if we ourselves, as pet owners, can not yet detect the signs. A female cat in heat will attract male cats to her in the hope of copulation. If you noticed a number of male cats lurking around your house or garden just before your female cat became fat and "pregnant looking" then there is every chance that your cat could truly be pregnant.
Was the cat deliberately mated? Obviously, if you intentionally had your female cat mated, then there is every likelihood that she could now be pregnant.
This is the situation seen with most cat breeders - they place the male cat in with the female cat and so witness the matings that could result in the pregnancy. Was the female cat seen to mate? Sometimes pet cat owners will chance upon seeing their female cat copulating with a male cat in the house or yard.
This scream and attack will often be very short lived, after which the female cat will roll on her back affectionately termed a post-coital or post-copulatory roll. Did the female cat recently become involved in a cat fight she might have developed an abscess? Because of the violence inherent in feline mating and breeding activities, it is not uncommon for a female cat to suffer from mild bites and scratches as a direct consequence of her copulation activities.
An entire female cat who comes back from an outdoors adventure with signs of being in a cat fight bites, wounds and scratches could well have been mated. Some cats may even go on to develop nasty cat fight abscesses on their bodies, which will need treatment by a vet. Most cat owners start querying whether or not their feline friend could be pregnant after observing various external signs usually a "fat belly" or "pot belly" that "fit with" a diagnosis of cat pregnancy.
Feline pregnancy signs pictures 1 and 2: These are pictures of a heavily pregnant cat in the later stages of cat pregnancy she has since gone on to have her litter. Her abdomen is very round and distended and hangs almost pendulously below her spine.
Cat pregnancy signs pictures 3 and 4: These are pictures of a heavily pregnant cat in the later stages of cat pregnancy she has since gone on to have her litter. She is laying on her back and her swollen belly expands outwards around her. Her abdomen is very round and distended. Her udder mammary gland chain is now well developed with large, well-developed nipples and enlargement of the mammary blood vessels.
No milk was yet being produced by this cat. Feline pregnancy signs picture 5: This is an image of the enlarged udder of a pregnant cat the cat's fur has been shaved from the belly for ease of visualisation. The mammary glands are massively enlarged, as are the blood vessels blue lines criss-crossing the skin supplying them. Feline pregnancy signs picture 6: This is a close up image of the enlarged udder of a pregnant cat.
The blood vessels dark blue-purple lines criss-crossing the skin supplying the engorged mammary glands are very dilated and large. Canine pregnancy signs picture 7: This is a close up image of the udder of a dog about to give birth. The udder was large, sagging and pendulous with large, milk-filled nipples.
Similar mammary gland enlargement will also be seen in the pregnant cat at the end of feline gestation refer to cat pregnancy picture 5.
Dog pregnancy signs picture 8: This is a close up image of the udder of a dog about to give birth. When the mammary gland was squeezed, milk beaded on the tips of the nipples. This particular mammary gland revealed opaque, white milk see image , but the other glands revealed a honey-like, pale-yellow, straw-coloured milk called "colostrum" the 'first milk'. The presence of colostrum indicates the end of pregnancy and that labor is soon to commence.
Dog pregnancy signs picture 9: This is a close up image of the udder of a different dog about to give birth. When the mammary gland was expressed, milk beaded on the tips of the nipples.
This particular mammary gland revealed a honey-like, watery, pale-yellow, straw-coloured milk called "colostrum" the first milk. The presence of colostrum indicates that labor is soon to commence. The colostrum appears a bit greenish in this image because colostrum is not fully opaque like true milk is and the black hue of the nipple behind it is showing through the colostrum fluid, artificially darkening the colour.
Generally, the first, spherical, uterine swellings that are associated with fetal development in the uterus can be palpated at around days of gestation. The advantages of abdominal palpation as a way of diagnosing cat pregnancy : Abdominal palpation is easy to perform; Abdominal palpation is low-stress for the mother cat the pregnant animal can be palpated in a relaxed standing position without much restraint ; Abdominal palpation does not require the use of drugs or sedatives that might harm the babies; Abdominal palpation is cheap to perform no need for special equipment.
The disadvantages of abdominal palpation as a way of diagnosing cat pregnancy : Abdominal palpation is less accurate at diagnosing pregnancy than certain other modalities of cat pregnancy test. Accurate pregnancy detection by abdominal palpation generally requires a degree of experience and improves with the skill and experience of the vet; Abdominal palpation as a means of diagnosing pregnancy is not always that accurate in female dogs, though it tends to be much more useful in cats cats are easy to palpate ; In a very anxious, resistant cat, the animal's abdominal muscles may be too tense and tight to permit any level of quality abdominal palpation; False positives and negatives are commonplace with abdominal palpation; If there are only one or two fetuses present, these may be missed on abdominal palpation it is easier to diagnose cat pregnancy by palpation if the litter is large.
It is not possible to determine litter size with abdominal palpation; The viability and health of the babies can not be assessed on abdominal palpation except, perhaps, in the later stages of cat pregnancy when the live fetal kittens may be observed to move and kick under the veterinarian's fingers ; Aging the fetuses is inaccurate on abdominal palpation; Palpating too roughly can result in injury to the fetuses or to the uterus this seldom ever occurs, but I will throw it out there ; During certain stages of the cat pregnancy gestation period usually the middle weeks of the pregnancy , the fetuses and uterine bags become difficult to feel and the accuracy of the pregnancy detection plumets.
At this stage, the fetuses are too small to detect with accuracy and the surrounding fetal fluid bags uterine swellings are too enlarged and 'floppy' to palpate clearly.
The soap should be on your hands for at least 5 minutes with you rubbing the whole time. These are the calcified skeletons of the fetal puppies. Cookies make wikiHow better. Yes, kittens can be presented in the birth canal breech, head-first, or bottom-first. So that they will know whether or not a "surrogate mother" or "bottle feeding" will be needed - Postnatal kitten mortality is greatly increased when larger numbers of kittens are competing for limited numbers of teats on a female cat's udder. As your queen nears her due date approximately nine weeks from fertilization , she will exhibit clues to the arrival of kittens.
Cat pregnancy and birth pictures. Cat Pregnancy Calendar
The mother may wait until all of the kittens are born before allowing them to suckle. However, if the mother appears to reject the kittens and refuses to allow them to nurse, prepare the milk-powder you purchased and feed the kittens yourself using a kitten-fostering bottle. If no milk seems to flow, see the vet, who may be able to stimulate it, and in the meantime feed the kittens the milk-powder using a kitten-fostering bottle.
Look after the kittens' health. After the kittens are born, keep an eye on them to make sure they're adjusting and settling in normally. If a kitten makes choking or gurgling sounds, it has fluid in its air passages. Hold the kitten between your hands with the head on your fingertips think of making a sling from your hands.
Gently swing the kitten downward. This will help to force the fluids out of the kitten's lungs. Use a gauze pad to wipe its face. Be sure to use gloves, but be careful, as a newborn kitten is very slippery. If the mother cat appears disinterested in her kittens, try rubbing her scent onto them. If she persists in not being interested, you may have to care for the kittens yourself.
This will involve constant feeding and an incubator. It is too involved to explain as part of this article, so seek your vet's advice. Don't be alarmed if one of the kittens is stillborn dead.
Make sure he or she is really dead, though, before disposing of him or her appropriately. Try to revive a limp kitten by rubbing him or her briskly to stimulate him or her. Use a warm, damp facecloth to rub with. Other things you can try include raising and lowering his or her legs and blowing into his or her face and mouth. Look after the mother's health. Keep plenty of good quality food and fresh water immediately next to the nest after the birthing has ended.
She won't want to leave her kittens, even to eat or use the litter box, so keeping them as near as possible will allow her to take care of her needs while still remaining near her kittens. It's particularly important that she eat so that she can keep up her own energy and pass on nutrients to the nursing litter. Try to put the food close by, but keep it separate from the litter tray. Cats dislike toileting near where they eat, so whilst she won't want to leave the kittens, she may be put off from eating if the tray is also too close.
For the first day or so, she may not get up at all; keep the food near her bed if possible. Check on her to be sure she's recovering well from the birth and is bonding with and caring for the kittens. Record each birth. Record the time of birth, the gender, weight use kitchen scales , and when the placenta was delivered.
This information may be useful later for medical records or for documentation if you're a breeder. Yes, kittens can be presented in the birth canal breech, head-first, or bottom-first.
If the mother is having active contractions for over 60 minutes and still no kitten has been born then contact the vet urgently. The likelihood is there is a kitten in the birth canal that has got stuck. Yes No. Not Helpful 0 Helpful My cat had one of her kittens and this disappeared. I can't find her, but I have the kitten she left. What should I do? Make sure the kitten is warm and safe but try to leave her as close as possible to where the mother left the little one.
Back off so that the mother can come back without feeling overawed. If the mother does not return in a couple of hours, then start hand-raising the kitten until she returns.
Not Helpful 3 Helpful Is it a bad thing if my cat gave birth to kittens on subsequent days? It is highly unusual for a female to give birth in this way but not unheard of. It could be a sign she became exhausted during the labor, but after a rest her contractions started again. It is best to get her checked out, just in case she still has another kitten inside. This is especially important if she isn't eating, is vomiting, or has a discolored discharge from her vulva.
My cat is 13 an pregnant. We have never let her outside, so she must have sneaked out. Is she going to be ok or is she too old to have kittens safely? Get her checked by a vet.
The vet needs to confirm a swollen belly is due to pregnancy, rather than a health problem. Not Helpful 4 Helpful As long as she has a warm and safe spot such as a barn or shed, leave her be.
You can try to set up a nesting area for her, but she may still have her kittens elsewhere. She will bring them out when they are old enough. Not Helpful 2 Helpful Yes, if the queen is too young, her pelvis may not be wide enough for her to have her kittens without a C-section. Take your cat to the vet before she goes into labor if you are afraid she may be too small. Yes; a young cat may give birth to a single kitten. It can, and does happen. Not Helpful 17 Helpful It should take around minutes.
If it's been longer than 15 minutes, consult a vet right away. Not Helpful 8 Helpful You have to nurse the kitten yourself. Often if it is newborn you have to buy an incubator and fully nurse it yourself. This job is difficult and it may be best to hand the kitten over to an animal hospital or shelter.
Not Helpful 16 Helpful My pregnant cat is eating a lot of grass. Does this mean labor is near? Not Helpful 0 Helpful 9. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Tips When the birthing time is near, consider putting dark sheets and blankets on your bed, because, despite your carefully made birthing box, she may decide that the perfect place to give birth is your bed, because it feels familiar and safe. You may end up being the subject of her bites and scratches.
Come to her only if she needs help during labor. Unless you are deliberately breeding cats, consider spaying your cat, for the sake of any future kittens many unexpected kittens end up feral, starving, or are euthanized and for the sake of your cat.
Spaying decreases the risk of having pyometra later on down the road - pyometra is when the the uterus fills with pus after a heat cycle, leading to infection and imminent death if your female isn't seen.
Don't interfere with the mother if she is not having problems giving birth. Warnings If your cat is in labor and if she doesn't have her first kitten within 2 hours of active labor commencing, then you should see a vet immediately, as there may be something wrong.
This also applies if there is more than an hour's delay between each kitten. If that should happen, don't panic, as the best thing you can do is to remain calm for the sake of the mother and her kittens, and contact your vet for advice. See a vet for immediately if you notice any of the following warning signs: A first kitten that does not come out following an hour of hard contractions The mother begins partial delivery of a kitten that proceeds no further The mother begins to lose bright red blood from the vagina.
Things You'll Need Antiseptic solution for example, Betadine — you will need this to sterilize anything you use near the cat or on her, such as the scissors and forceps; and for the umbilical cord once it is cut. A cardboard box the size of a cat bed with high sides for the mother and kittens. Related wikiHows. Publisher: Bailliere Tindal. Made Recently. Add a photo Upload error. Awesome picture! Tell us more about it? Click here to share your story. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,, times.
Co-Authored By:. Co-authors: Updated: September 6, CD Cadi Driggs Jul 20, All your information, noted line upon line, is a must for me as I can follow each step with more ease than I had before reviewing this site. My tabby is a rescue and she deserves the best of care. Reitz Jan 26, The cat was having trouble with the second one, so I looked up the instructions here and it helped the owner deliver the second one safely.
Thank you, wikiHow. RS Rob Smithson Jun 21, The vet said she wasn't pregnant, and then 4 weeks later she gave birth to 4 kittens. We had no clue what to do, but came across this article. We were going to cut the umbilical cords! AH Adrienne Hernandez Jul 1, I panicked a bit, but because I had read this previous to my cat's delivery, I was able to help the little one. The kitten's nursing as I write this. AM Amy Macey Jan 21, It is very basic instructions which are easy to follow so it helps a lot.
My cat is now feeding her kittens. Each and everyone is healthy. Thank you. TH Tina Hamilton Dec 3, I have been through kittens before, but never looked things up. Nice to know there is information to reference.
RM Rachel Megans Sep 27, Thanks to the preparation that was instructed by this article, all kittens were successfully delivered and mama cat is happy with her babies.
AA Angel Alexander Jul 1, I liked all the information that the article gave me. Now I will know what to do for my birthing cat. KM Karyn Molidor May 1, I've never seen a cat go into labor or give birth.
I found a starving little kitten that is now pregnant. KP Kat Payne Feb 16, DW Deb Wesley Jun 17, Everything was so well explained, great job! NB Nikki Brown Apr 30, In addition to the diagnosis of cat pregnancy, pregnancy ultrasound scans can also provide us with additional information about the fetal kittens. Abdominal ultrasound can be used to estimate the kittens' fetal age and the stage of cat pregnancy how long there is to go before the kittens will be born.
Ultrasound scans can be used to evaluate the health and viability of the kittens present. It can also be used to estimate the numbers of fetal kittens present though it is not so accurate as radiography for this purpose. Fetal aging using ultrasound: The crown-rump lengths the distance from the head to the bottom of the pelvis of the fetal kittens are often able to be detected on ultrasound scan.
As kittens grow in utero, their bodies become longer i. The crown-rump length of the kittens' bodies can help the ultrasonographer to determine the approximate age of the fetuses present in utero i. Fetal lengths as they are used for the purposes of fetal kitten aging and cat gestation staging are described in our great "stages of feline pregnancy" page. The main problem with using fetal kitten crown-rump-length estimations as a means of fetal aging is the fact that the fetal kittens do not always position themselves neatly in a straight line.
They curl up into balls, mould themselves around other nearby kittens or abdominal organs and, in the later stages of cat pregnancy, they move about. This can make it very difficult to determine their body lengths with any accuracy. For this reason, many ultrasonographers choose to measure the cross-sectional diameter of the kittens' heads and chests , rather than their crown-rump lengths, as a more accurate marker of fetal age.
For example, kittens with a head diameter of 1. In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy i. The fetal heart beat also provides us with another element of fetal aging. A fetal heart beat can normally only be detected from days of cat gestation age and, so, the detection of a heartbeat tells us that the kitten must be at least 22 days old, developmentally.
Subjectively, I have found that the presence or absence of surrounding placental fluids also helps to indicate the gestation age of the fetal kittens. Kittens that are within about 2 weeks of being born very late pregnancy tend to have little to no surrounding fluid present in the amniotic and allantoic sacs encasing their bodies.
It seems that, in dogs and cats, this surrounding fluid is reabsorbed back into the mother's body in the very last weeks of pregnancy. Hence the very late stage fetal kitten does not appear to have a halo of black fluid black regions on ultrasound surrounding it. In mid-gestation, there is generally a lot of fluid surrounding the foetal kittens.
Please note: Kitten sizes and uterine-swelling sizes can vary somewhat with the number of kittens present in the litter. Larger litters tend to have smaller kittens and smaller uterine swellings than might be expected for the stage of cat pregnancy that they are at. This can add an element of inaccuracy to the use of fetal crown-rump lengths and fetal head and chest diameters as a means of gauging fetal age and the stage of cat pregnancy.
Fetal viability using ultrasound: There are several ways that ultrasound scan can be used in order to assess the health and viability of a cat pregnancy. Fetal heartbeat - The presence of a heartbeat tells us that the fetus being examined is alive. In most normal, healthy, non-stressed fetal kittens and puppies, the normal fetal heart-rate is above beats per minute. When a fetus is about to be born, its body comes under stress and its heart rate will often drop to levels of just above or below the bpm mark.
Many veterinarians who engage in elective Caesarian section surgeries for breeders will use this reduction in fetal heart rate as one of the indicators that birth is about to begin and that it is time to perform the surgery. If a fetus is undergoing considerable fetal distress of the kind that could result in death e.
Emergency Caesarian section C-section to save the lives of the fetal kittens or puppies is indicated if the fetal heart rate drops to below bpm and keeps falling. The movements of the fetuses - Living fetal kittens move around.
You will often see them roll over or kick out their legs as the ultrasound watches them. The 'clearness' of the surrounding fetal fluids - The placental fluids surrounding a developing fetus should be clear perfectly black in a healthy pregnancy.
If the fluids become cloudy grey-coloured on ultrasound or develop "floaties" bits of debris floating through the fluid , then it is likely that the fetus is unhealthy. It might be infected e. The 'clearness' of the fetal image - When a fetus is alive and viable, its body outline and its internal organ features are very distinctly and clearly visible on ultrasound scan. You will generally be able to see a clear heart, lungs, ribs, liver and skull in a live fetus. When the fetus is dying or deceased, its internal organ structures break down and are no longer clearly visible.
Indistinct or blurry internal and external structures tell us that a fetus is not likely to be viable. Fetal number using ultrasound: It is difficult to accurately assess fetal numbers using ultrasound, except in the very early stages of cat pregnancy.
In later stages, the fetuses curl around one another and can not all be seen at the one time. This makes counting them very difficult as only a cross-section of an individual fetus is seen at any one time.
The advantages of abdominal ultrasound as a way of diagnosing cat pregnancy : Abdominal ultrasound is easy to perform; Abdominal ultrasound is low-stress on the mother the pregnant animal can often be ultrasounded in a relaxed standing or recumbent position with only basic restraint ; Abdominal ultrasound does not usually require the use of drugs or sedatives that might harm the babies; Abdominal ultrasound is very accurate at diagnosing cat pregnancy and can be used to detect pregnancy at all stages of the cat gestation period from about 2 weeks gestation to full term.
Only basic ultrasound skills are required for accurate pregnancy detection, although greater skills may be needed in order for such details as fetal numbers, fetal viability and fetal age to be determined. Abdominal ultrasound as a means of diagnosing pregnancy is accurate in dogs as well as cats; Abdominal ultrasound can still be used to make a diagnosis even in a very tense, handling-resistant cat. Abdominal scanning can still be performed through even the most tense and tight abdominal muscles; It may be possible to determine litter size with abdominal scanning; If there are only one or two fetuses present, these are usually able to be detected by thorough abdominal ultrasounding; The viability of the babies can generally be assessed on abdominal ultrasound; Ultrasound may provide some indication of when medical and surgical intervention is required in order to help a female cat to give birth; Aging the fetuses is possible using abdominal ultrasound; False positives and negatives are less likely with abdominal ultrasound; Ultrasonography is safe for the unborn kittens.
The disadvantages of abdominal ultrasound as a way of diagnosing cat pregnancy : Abdominal ultrasound requires the purchase of expensive equipment by the veterinarian; Abdominal ultrasound may be costly to the cat owner breeder in terms of vet fees; It is not always possible to determine litter size with any accuracy on abdominal ultrasound; Ultrasound visibility and accuracy can be decreased if there is lots of gas or feces present within the abdominal cavity of the animal; The animal's belly may need to be shaved for the ultrasound to be performed.
This can result in poor show-ring performance, abnormal regrowth of the hair in the shaved regions e. Dog pregnancy images 12 and These are images of a puppy dog fetus as seen on an ultrasound scan note - fetal kittens look very similar to fetal puppies on ultrasound.
The fetus floats suspended within a cavity of uterine fluid and fetal membranes the dark regions surrounding the fetus, which are marked out as "fluid" on the second image - I have outlined the dog fetus labeled incorrectly as 'embryo' in white in the second image and you should be able to recognise the animal's shape as being kitten-like or puppy-like: the head and muzzle are visible right of image , as is the tail and back leg left of image.
The crown-rump length is the distance from the head to the base of the tail. Radiographs taken of pregnant cats after day 45 of gestation will usually reveal whether or not the animal is pregnant because the radiographs will generally clearly reveal the skeletons of the kittens.
Before this day stage of cat gestation, pregnancy diagnosis using radiography is generally inaccurate. The vet may get a subjective impression of an enlarged uterus, but this does not necessarily indicate that the animal is pregnant other disease conditions besides pregnancy can produce enlargement of the uterus.
Fetal aging using radiography: If radiographs taken of the pregnant cat reveal the skeletons of the kittens, then we can say that the fetal age of those kittens is at least days or more. The radiographs can also be used to get an estimate of the fetal crown-rump length of the kittens, thereby providing more clue as to the age of the kittens in the uterus. Take a look at the image opposite right. It is an abdominal radiograph of a pregnant dog the same image would apply to a pregnant cat, however.
You can see several tiny skeletons within this abdominal image. These are the calcified skeletons of the fetal puppies. This tells us that the fetal age of the unborn animals is at least days. Fetal number and litter size using radiography: Radiography is the best indicator of fetal number litter size. By counting the skulls and spines of the fetal kittens, the vet can usually determine how many fetal kittens are present in the cat's belly.
Fetal size and position using radiography: In the very end stages of gestation, just prior to birth, the vet can assess the size of the fetal kittens' heads and shoulders relative to the size width of the female cat's birth canal pelvic canal and, from this comparison, determine whether or not birth is likely to occur with ease or with difficulty.
This comparison is not so important in pregnant cats, where kitten sizes tend to be relatively uniform, but it is very important in dogs, particularly if the mother is small in breed and the father's size is unknown e.
The advantages of abdominal radiography as a way of diagnosing cat pregnancy : Abdominal radiography is easy to perform; Abdominal radiography as a means of diagnosing pregnancy is accurate in dogs as well as cats, provided that it is performed at day 40 and beyond; Abdominal radiography can still be used to make a pregnancy diagnosis even in a very tense, resistant cat. Abdominal radiography can still be performed through even the most tense and tight abdominal muscles; It is usually possible to determine litter size with accuracy on abdominal radiography; If there are only one or two fetuses present, these are usually able to be detected on abdominal radiography; Radiography may be able to provide some indication of when medical and surgical intervention is required for a female cat giving birth e.
Radiography is safe for the unborn kittens, if done only sparingly. The disadvantages of abdominal radiography as a way of diagnosing cat pregnancy : Abdominal radiography requires the purchase of expensive equipment by the veterinarian; Abdominal radiography may be costly to the cat owner breeder in terms of vet fees; Abdominal radiography can be highly-stressful to perform the pregnant animal will need to be held down in a still position in order to be radiographed with accuracy.
This could result in adverse effects on the fetal kittens; Abdominal radiography may require the use of drugs or sedatives that might harm the babies; Abdominal radiography is only accurate at diagnosing pregnancy past the day stage of cat gestation. It can not be used to detect pregnancy at all stages of the cat gestation period; The viability of the babies can not generally be assessed on abdominal radiography, however, if the fetal bones of any one fetus appear overlapping and jumbled, this is often an indicator of fetal death and mummification.
Cat pregnancy image This is a radiograph of a pregnant dog a cat pregnancy would appear similar , taken using a lateral view. A single dog fetus see the skeleton in the centre-left region of the picture is visible in this image. Cat pregnancy image This is a radiograph image of the same pregnant dog a cat pregnancy would appear similar , taken using a ventral-dorsal view. A single fetus see the tiny skeleton in the mid abdomen is visible in this image. Cat pregnancy images 16 and This is a picture of a pregnant dog as seen on radiography.
A pregnant cat would appear very similar on x-ray film. A single fetus see the skeleton in the middle of the picture is visible in this image. I have labeled the skull and spine of the fetus in the second image 17 to make these structures more obvious.
The enlarged uterus bearing the fetus is outlined in white. It is "pregnancy specific" the presence of Relaxin tells you that the animal is pregnant and its presence indicates that the kitten fetuses are at least days old fetal age. Please note that Relaxin assays can be difficult to access. Many labs do not perform this test.
If you can source a lab that will run the test, however, this can be very useful. Pet owners, especially cat breeders, often want to know how many kittens to expect. This is for several reasons: So that they will know if there is a problem with the birth - If five kittens are expected and only three arrive, then there is a problem with the birth. The two remaining kittens might have died and so have not been born normally or they might be trapped somewhere in the uterus e.
So that they will know when the birth has finished - Once the cat labor process has finished, the kittens should all be feeding off the mother and the female cat should now be relaxed and contented-looking.
So that they will know how big an area e. So that they will know how many people they can line up to sell kittens to - Cat breeders need to know prospective litter sizes so that their kitten-buying clients can be lined up to take the kittens once they have been weaned.
There is no point promising seven people a kitten if only six kittens are going to be born! Knowing litter sizes can help breeders to establish their waiting lists for kitten buyers. So that they will know whether or not a "surrogate mother" or "bottle feeding" will be needed - Postnatal kitten mortality is greatly increased when larger numbers of kittens are competing for limited numbers of teats on a female cat's udder.
A female cat only has a certain number of nipples typically about 8 nipples and greater than eight kittens in a litter will mean that competition for these limited milk reservoirs is heated.
The larger, more vigorous kittens will tend to dominate and the weaker, runtier kittens will be pushed aside, often to their deaths if a cat breeder is not vigilant in ensuring that they all get enough milk. A cat owner who knows to expect a large litter can ensure that milk supplementation equipment is on stand-by to help the weaker kittens or that a surrogate mother a recently whelped cat with a smaller litter size of kittens already feeding off her is sourced who will be able to take on some of newborn kittens in addition to her own small litter.
Female cats are often quite tolerant of taking on surrogate offspring that are not their own, provided that they already have their own litter and provided that the new additions are similar in size and age to the already pre-existent litter. Cat pregnancy diagnosis pictures 18, 19 and This is a female cat with three kittens of her own the three larger kittens, labeled with green dots and three surrogate kittens from another mother who, presumably, could not provide enough milk for all of her young the smaller, newer kittens, labeled with red dots.
The mother cat seems quite content to look after all of the extra mouths. You'll notice in image 20 that when the kittens have all aligned themselves for feeding, the three original kittens take up positions along the front group of teats, leaving the rear teats for the smaller fosters. The front teats are the teats of choice more milk and the small foster kittens could never hope to compete with the larger, stronger littermates for these choice positions.
How to determine litter sizes fetal numbers : Radiography is the best indicator of fetal number litter size. By counting the skulls and spines see images below of the fetal kittens, the vet can usually determine how many kittens are present in the pregnant cat's belly.
It is difficult to accurately assess fetal numbers using ultrasound, except in the very early stages of cat pregnancy. In the later stages of cat pregnancy, the crowded kitten fetuses curl around one another and can not all be seen at the one time. Cat pregnancy diagnosis pictures 21 and This is an image of a pregnant dog, showing how radiography can be used in order to assess fetal numbers.
The vet can count the fetal kittens or puppies by counting their skulls the round, crash-helmet-like structures that have been labelled with numbers in image Alternatively, the vet can count the number of fetal kittens or puppies by counting their spines the long, jointed structures that have been labelled with letters in image I have attempted to match skulls to spines by labeling the skulls with their corresponding spines in the same colours.
This dog has 6 puppies inside. If the fetal kittens grow normally, free of genetic defects, and they remain undamaged by such insults to the uterine environment as: infection, oxygen starvation, overcrowding, premature placental separation, stress both maternal and fetal , toxins e.
It is possible for fetal health to be checked-up-on and monitored throughout the cat pregnancy using ultrasound scanning just like occurs in human pregnancies. Although regular ultrasound check-ups are seldom performed in order to monitor the progress of the average cat pregnancy, such intense monitoring of the health and progression of a feline pregnancy can be important in female cats that have a previous history of abortion and miscarriage of their litters failure to go to term. This is particularly so if the cat in question is a valuable breeder.
Performing weekly ultrasounds can not only tell the breeder whether the kittens are viable, but, should fetal death or miscarriage occur, they can tell the owner the exact moment in the gestation when the failure of pregnancy happened. This can provide important clues as to the cause of the cat pregnancy failure. There are several ways that ultrasound can be used in order to assess the health and viability of a cat pregnancy: Fetal heartbeat - The presence of a heartbeat tells us that the fetus being examined is alive.
The fetal sizes with respect to the stage of cat pregnancy and point of gestation - Just like in human obstetrics, the size of the fetal kittens in the uterus can be an important marker of whether the pregnancy is advancing healthily and normally.
Kittens that are undersize for their stage of gestation e. The kittens may be overcrowded i. Please note that in order for fetal sizing to be used to determine the health of a cat pregnancy, the date of pregnancy conception needs to be accurate. Sizing as a means of establishing the health of a cat pregnancy is of no use if the date of pregnancy conception is unknown.
Radiography is of little value in determining the viability and health of a feline pregnancy, although the presence of the calcified fetal skeletons does at least tell us that the cat pregnancy managed to make it to the day gestation mark. If the cat pregnancy is progressing normally and the fetal kittens are still alive, then their bodies should have a nicely structured skeleton shape on radiography i. If the fetal bones seem to be oddly piled up and overlapping each other e.
In this event, the fetal tissues break down and absorb back into the mother's body and the fetal bones, which do not absorb, remain in the uterus in a bony stack. Cat breeders and owners of pregnant pet cats often want to know fetal kitten sizes for a variety of reasons: To determine approximate fetal age and therefore predict how long there is to go in the cat gestation period; To determine whether or not the fetus will be able to be born naturally and whether a Caesarian section will be required for birth to occur; Knowledge of fetal sizes can tell cat breeders whether or not the unborn kittens are growing normally - if the date of pregnancy conception is pre-known then the size of the fetal kittens in the uterus can be an important marker of whether the cat pregnancy is advancing healthily and normally.
Kittens that are undersize for the stage of cat gestation may indicate that there is a problem with the cat pregnancy. It is possible for fetal size to be determined using both ultrasound scanning just like occurs in human pregnancies and radiographic techniques. Ultrasound assessment of fetal size can be performed at any stage of the cat pregnancy from about weeks of age, however, radiographic assessment of fetal size is only possible from about days of the cat gestation period.
Ultrasound is of particular value in determining fetal ages gestation stages throughout the cat pregnancy and can assist breeders in determining whether the pregnancy is progressing normally with regard to kitten growth and sizes. Unlike ultrasound, because radiography can also be used in order to visualise the pelvic structures of the pregnant mother, it is of particular benefit in the final days of cat pregnancy when it can be used to compare the widths of the fetal head and shoulders with the width of the mother's pelvic birth canal so as to determine whether or not the birth can proceed naturally.
Using ultrasound in order to assess the size of the fetal kittens:. The crown-rump lengths the distance from the head to the bottom of the pelvis of the fetal kittens are often able to be detected on ultrasound scan. Using radiography in order to assess the size of the fetal kittens: In the very end stages of gestation, just prior to birth, the vet can assess the size of the fetal kittens' heads and shoulders relative to the size width of the female cat's birth canal pelvic canal and, from this comparison, determine whether or not birth is likely to occur with ease or with difficulty.
The bones of fetal kittens become mineralized at around day of gestation.
Couple stages birth photo shoot with their CAT | Daily Mail Online
While many authors believe that problems in parturition birth are rare in the cat, others feel that with the progression of selective breeding these problems are becoming more common. The effect of this has been shown in a survey of over breeding cats, which found that cats with extremes of conformation, such as Siamese and Persians, experienced much higher levels of dystocia difficult births , 10 per cent and 7. It is therefore very important that breeders are aware of the details of normal parturition so that they can recognise a problem when it arises.
In pregnancy, the foetuses are spaced along each horn of the uterus. Each foetus is contained within its own membranes and has its own placenta through which it derives nourishment. The uterus may be considered as a muscular, sausage-shaped bag, capable of contracting both around its diameter and along its length. To help in its passage, each foetus is contained within a fairly tough double-layered bag of foetal membranes, which are filled with slippery fluid in which the foetus floats.
This serves as both protection and lubrication and provides a distending, stretching and dilating force when the uterus relaxes in front of it and contracts behind it during the course of parturition. In the cat pregnancy generally lasts for 63 to 65 days; however, it is not unusual for some cats to carry a normal litter for either a shorter or longer time range 58 to 70 days.
During that final week, the search for the most suitable kittening bed becomes the dominant factor. Cats should be confined from this time to allow for observation of labour.
So-called interrupted labour is common enough in the cat to be considered a normal occurrence. In this case, when one or more kittens have been born, the mother will cease straining and rest quite happily, suckling those kittens already born.
She will accept food and drink and is in every way completely normal except that it is obvious from her size and shape, and the presence of foetal movement, that there are still kittens waiting to be born.
Some rather dependent cats will deliberately delay or interrupt labour if the owner has to go out. This resting stage may last up to 24 or even 36 hours, after which straining recommences and the remainder of the litter is born quite normally and easily. Dystocia difficult birth can be classified as either maternal or foetal in origin, depending on whether it is caused by problems with the queen or kittens.
Dystocia can also be classified according to whether it arises from obstruction of the birth canal or a functional deficiency of the uterine muscle. Obstructive dystocia is caused by disproportion between the size of the kittens and the maternal birth canal. Factors resulting in an inadequate size of the maternal birth canal may include disorders of the maternal skeleton healed pelvic fractures , the pelvic soft tissues severe constipation , or the uterus itself uterine torsion or rupture.
Foetal causes of obstructive dystocia may result from malpresentation, severe foetal malformation eg, hydrocephalus, Siamese-twins , foetal oversize or foetal death. Functional dystocia is usually termed inertia and can be either primary or secondary.
Primary inertia is by far the most common cause of dystocia in cats. It is seen when the uterus produces none, or only weak, infrequent contractions and there is a failure of expulsion of normal kittens through a normal birth canal. Primary inertia may be related to stress, old age, obesity, ill health or the administration of certain drugs. It has been suggested that very small or very large litters may result respectively in inadequate or excessive uterine distension, and that this may result in primary inertia.
However, recent work found no difference between the litter size of cats with dystocia due to primary inertia and the litter size of cats with dystocia for other reasons. In this condition extreme apprehension during the first stage causes all progress to cease.
The affected cat is markedly and vocally distressed, crying constantly and demanding attention. She may be positively hysterical, and in such cases, immediate relief may be obtained by the use of tranquillisers. In an emergency, this would be administered by a veterinary surgeon by injection, but if the cat in question is known to behave in this fashion, the breeder may be equipped with tablets which can be given by mouth at the start and will be equally effective.
Abnormalities of the first stage can include all forms of primary inertia, and occasional rare disorders, such as torsion or rupture of the uterus. These latter two conditions can result in major emergencies in late pregnancy or first stage labour. Torsion implies a twisting of the uterus, cutting off its blood supply, and making delivery of the contained foetus or foetuses impossible.
It also causes what is quite obviously an acute emergency with a very ill and shocked cat. Torsion is usually presumed to have occurred during jumping or some violent movement which imparts a swinging motion to the heavily gravid uterus. Rupture is more usually the result of an accidental blow from a vehicle or other violent trauma, or can occur from violent straining upon a complete obstruction.
A rupture occurring at the time of parturition will give rise to the same signs of acute emergency as a torsion. It has been known for rupture to occur early in pregnancy and for the foetus es to continue to develop outside the uterus in the maternal abdominal cavity.
In these cases, the placenta becomes attached to one of the abdominal organs but it is unusual for such foetuses to develop to full term and, of course, impossible for them to be born without an abdominal operation. Secondary inertia arises after prolonged second-stage labour, and may be associated with obstructive dystocia, muscle fatigue, or excessive pain. Interrupted labour, as already described, is definitely not an inertia, as the cat is manifestly normal, labour recommences normally, and kittens are born alive and normal.
An important point of difference between the two is that secondary inertia follows previous difficulty or delay and the cat is often restless and exhausted. Foetal malpresentations, malpositions and malpostures may all lead to dystocia. Presentation indicates which way round the foetus is coming ie, head or tail first , position indicates which way up it is ie, rotated or unrotated and posture indicates the placing of the head and limbs ie, extended or flexed. Some people believe that foetal malpresentation in cats rarely causes dystocia, except when combined with other problems such as poor cervical relaxation or relative foetal oversize.
However, others have found foetal malpresentation to be the most common cause of dystocia of foetal origin, while relative foetal oversize was very rare. Posteriorly presented, or tail-first, kittens occur quite frequently, so much so that this could almost be considered a normal presentation, often causing no delay in birth. If, however, the first kitten comes tail-first there may well be delay owing to the absence of the wedge-shaped head pushing behind the fluid-filled membranes.
The kitten is usually passed eventually. However, it does have an increased risk of drowning in its own foetal fluids if the time from placental separation to when its nose is free from its membranes is too prolonged. Malposition usually occurs when a kitten has died in utero prior to rotation. It is uncommon except in cases of illness, infection or prolonged delay in a late-coming foetus.
The presence of a dead foetus within the maternal pelvic canal can, in itself, result in functional or obstructive dystocia. Malposture is of most importance in relation to the position of the head. Brachycephalic cats may have difficulty at the point where the foetal head first engages the opening of the maternal pelvis.
The lack of a wedge-shaped muzzle increases the risk of the head becoming deflected to one side, downwards between the forelegs, or onto the chest. Occasionally, one or both forelegs may lie back along the body, and in posterior or tail-first presentation one or both hind legs may be retained forwards alongside the body to give the breech posture. All of these situations may give rise to either a temporary delay and necessitate extra efforts by the cat or, at worst, result in complete obstruction.
A late manifestation of inhibitory hysterical behaviour may cause delay when the kitten is already through the maternal pelvis and protruding through the vulva. This may cause some pain, so at this point, the cat appears to give up trying and waits for, or demands, help. If this is not immediately forthcoming, the particular kitten involved may die, especially if it is coming tail first. The above was a rather daunting, but by no means exhaustive, list of what can, but rarely does, go wrong.
Breeders or owners may want to know what can be done to recognise trouble early and how it can be avoided or overcome. It cannot be too firmly stressed that a normal cat needs no intervention. The good midwife is essentially a good and unobtrusive observer until trouble occurs. Midwives should have provided, as far as possible, the ideal kittening bed which should be warm, comfortable and safe, but should also be observable, ie, a happy medium between confinement and relative freedom within the confined area.
During the first stage of labour, they may need to provide either moral support or remain unobtrusive as dictated by events. They should have at their fingertips a history of any previous births by the cat in question and, if possible, information relating to earlier generations and related animals. They should have observed the changes during pregnancy and be aware of the degree of abdominal distension, amount of fluid, and perhaps have a rough idea of the number of kittens to be expected.
Facilities for help or examination should be at hand if needed convenient table, access to running warm water, soap and towel. An internal examination is resented by most unsedated cats and should not be undertaken by the unskilled. If problems are anticipated the veterinary surgeon should have been alerted and given the probable parturition date before the event and informed of the start of labour so that if a call for help becomes necessary it is expected and can be promptly answered.
Apart from the value of observations and knowledge of the behaviour of the cat, breeders can, and in some cases must, be responsible for the treatment of some parturition problems. The secret, if there is one, of the recognition of trouble lies mainly in the recognition of delay. The hysterical dependent cat is obvious enough and easy enough to deal with, provided the necessary tranquilliser is at hand.
Identification of delays later in the course of kittening will again involve observation of behaviour. In the case of the normal interrupted labour, it will be evident that the cat is in no distress, has a normal appetite and is perfectly happy with the kittens already born. Straining in the course of a normal parturition, while it may or may not be vigorous, is clearly productive in moving the kitten along and does not appear to give rise to pain. Obstruction, on the other hand, shows as a cat that strains without producing any results, may pant, cry, or appear exhausted, is restless and unsettled, and finally desists in an attempt to recover sufficient strength for a further, although decreased effort.
This is the cat that requires help. Feeling from the outside around the perineal area under the tail will indicate if a kitten is already through the pelvis, and a view of nose or feet and tail at the vulva indicates that birth must be imminent if the kitten is to live.
If no progress is being made and the kitten is clearly visible, it is up to the breeder to give immediate help since, unless the veterinary surgeon literally lives on the premises, veterinary help may not arrive in time for that particular kitten. If nothing can be felt at the vulva and the hold-up is evidently further forward, then it is time to send for professional help. Diagnosis and treatment of the serious dystocia must be in the hands of the veterinary surgeon. Because of the small size of the cat, manipulative correction of malpostures from within the vagina is rarely possible and is, in any case, a job for skilled hands.
To compensate for this, manipulation from outside the abdomen can often correct a malposture such as a laterally deflected head; again professional skill is needed. Often, in any real hold-up, a Caesarian operation is the preferred method and provided that the cat is neither desperately ill nor very exhausted, it is a safe and routine procedure. The case where the breeder has to help is that of the cat who gives up trying with a kitten hanging visibly from her vulva.
If it is coming head first, the first urgency is to clear the membranes away from its nose and mouth to allow breathing to take place. The kitten must then be eased gently out, alternating the direction of traction, first freeing one side then the other, and always directing the pull slightly downwards.
Since kittens are slippery and wet at birth, clean pieces of towelling or soft paper towels may help to get a grip. If the kitten has only the tail and hind-legs showing, delivery is even more urgent and the problem of holding the slippery subject more difficult, but the same principle applies. Pull and traction are probably misleading words to use here to convey the sensitivity required to co-operate with the cat as she strains and rests momentarily in between, so that progress continues without fear of injury to cat or kitten.
Make haste slowly. The normal mother cat will generally make a much better job of cleaning and drying her kittens than any human, so do not interfere unless necessary. If, however, a kitten has had to be helped out and is not breathing, or on those few occasions when the maternal instinct appears to be lacking and the kitten is ignored, reviving it becomes a matter of urgency.
If this is not sufficient, a vigorous licking massage of this area follows. Finally, a more general drying lick and some attention to the posterior part of the abdomen and anal area is given to start the bowel and bladder movement going.