Has your cat been pregnant for about two months and the time to give birth is around the corner? Are you wondering how to tell if a cat is in labor and the signs to look out for? There are about 8 tell-tale signs a cat is going into labor you should always be on the lookout for.
How to Tell a Cat is in Labor
Some of the notable signs that your feline friend is almost giving birth include:
1. Mammary glands increase in size
A pregnant cat’s mammary glands will increase in size during the final week of pregnancy. The 4 pairs of the mammary gland increase in size as they get filled with milk in preparation for breastfeeding the newborns.
2. Mammary glands start producing milk
This happens about 2 days before your cat gives birth. You are likely to notice some cream-colored thick secretions oozing out of her nipples. Your cat might lick it off or just let it dry up. The nipples will also have small whitish scabs on them.
3. Nesting behavior will begin
Another sign your cat is going into labor is the nesting behavior. You can help your cat by putting a nesting or kittening box in a quiet, warm room free from drafts. Make sure the room is draft-free because kittens cannot regulate their body temperature.
You should also ensure the box is placed in an off-limits location for both children and other pets you may have. Encourage your cat to sleep inside the box the moment she starts to display nesting behavior.
4. Body temperature will drop
The normal body temperature of a cat falls between 37.7º to 39.1ºC (100º to 102.5ºF). The drop in body temperature happens one or two days before a cat goes into labor, and will drop to about 37.2ºC (99ºF). You can take your cat’s temperature in the armpit although it won’t be necessary if other labor signs are already evident.
5. Displaying extreme affection or being reclusive
A cat that is about to go into labor will also exhibit notable behavioral changes. Feline behaviors during the final week of pregnancy include being reclusive (hiding out in a secluded place in the house) and being extremely affectionate, which happens if the cat has a strong bond with a particular caregiver.
If a cat is extremely affectionate days before going into labor, she will prefer the caregiver to be right at hand when she goes into labor. Some cats will be clingy while others very restless.
6. Significant decrease in appetite
Another way to tell a cat is going into labor is the sudden and significant decrease in appetite. It is easy to notice this because most pregnant cats display an increased appetite during the final weeks of pregnancy. The significant drop in appetite could be a sign of anxiety or can be caused by the weight of the kittens pushing against their stomachs.
PS: The signs highlighted above happens a few days before your cat goes into labor. Below are signs you will notice just minutes before your cat is in labor.
7. Constantly licking her genitalia
Another behavioral sign a cat is going into labor is the constant licking of her genitalia. You are likely to see a discharge from her vulva just hours before giving birth starts. This will be followed by your cat’s water breaking.
8. Pacing, howling, and chirping
Once your cat’s water breaks, she will be restless and will pace, howl, meow, or chirp. This is the last sign and what follows next is her giving birth. Some cats like being left alone at this time while affectionate cats are likely to appreciate the company of their caregiver.
If you have cats at home, you might be interested in how to know your female cat is in heat. This article will help you.
Recap: How to tell if a cat is in labor
We have highlighted signs you are likely to notice when a cat is about to go into labor. We have also identified the signs you will see just minutes before they give birth. If your cat has been extremely affectionate or clingy during the final days of her pregnancy, it might be nice to be there when she gives birth.