If anyone has any advice for pregnant and stray cats e.g. feeding or vetinary care etc.

Hannah SmithHannah Smith CoalvilleMember Posts: 1
I have a stray cat that visits us and we think its pregnant. I need advice

Best Answers

  • Liz HicksLiz Hicks Member Posts: 1
    Accepted Answer
    Pregnant cats need lots of vitamins and water. I have rescued female pregnant cats. You need to feed her high quality kitten food. She needs this while pregnant and nursing. I give my cats Nutro Max Cat - Kitten food. All the major pet stores carry this. Equally important is lots of fresh clean water the better she is hydrated the better her milk production will be. Since she is a stray, you want to try and provide a box with some old towels or clothing in it close to the food location but out of a high traffic area. I usually seal it and cut a hole for kitty to enter but high enough so kittens can't escape. As she gets closer to having the babies you will notice her staying in the box. There is a product on the market called Cat Attract. Sold in the litter area in the pet store. It is herbal but cats love the scent. I use it to help litter train but you can use it to help encourage her to the box. Sprinkle it in the bottom under the bedding material. Hopefully this helps.
  • Stephanie ChangtuStephanie Changtu MiamiMember Posts: 1,175
    Accepted Answer
    Veterinary Care It is essential that a pregnant cat be given an examination by your veterinarian, both to determine her overall health, and, with a pregnant stray cat, for the protection of any other cats in your household, in the event she is carrying serious contagious diseases. Should she be spayed? Stray and feral cats often give their last ounces of energy to the developing kittens they bear, because of the lack of proper food, care, and veterinary attention. Whether or not your pregnant cat is a stray, your vet can determine the approximate stage of pregnancy and discuss with you the option of spaying to terminate the pregnancy. Vaccinations Generally, vaccinations are not recommended during pregnancy because of the possible risk of harm to the developing fetuses. You should discuss this aspect with your veterinarian and weigh the risks, especially if there are other cats in the household and the pregnant cat is a stray. Food for a Pregnant Cat Feeding Your Own Pregnant Cat If your cat is already on a diet of quality canned food, it should be safe to continue feeding her the same brand she is accustomed. During the last three to four weeks, she should be switched to kitten food, and continue on that regimen until after the kittens are weaned. In the final week of her pregnancy, try a supplement of KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement,) which is readily available in most pet supply stores and many supermarkets. Feeding a Pregnant Stray A pregnant stray may be thin and undernourished. I'd advise immediately feeding her kitten food to build up her strength and stamina, and to help the developing fetuses grow strong and healthy. Pregnant Cats Need Calcium Pregnancy (and subsequent nursing) causes a depletion in the amount of calcium in the bloodstream. This condition can result in eclampsia, a life-threatening disease. Although it more often occurs during nursing, it can occur during the last stages of pregnancy. A calcium supplement can help prevent this potential problem, particularly when caring for a pregnant stray cat. Also, just wanted to mention, if you haven't done this yet, it would be a good idea to switch her to kitten food over the course of a week and leave her on it until she's finished nursing the kittens and has gained her healthy weight back. This will provide her with extra protein and calories she needs to support her litter. As for the box, it's a great idea to provide her some sort of shelter. Hopefully it will protect the kittens somewhat from predators that may kill them, like tom cats, birds of prey and badgers. Generally, a box open on top is great for cats who lives indoors. However, because it's going to be located outside, I would make it one with a full top on it. If it's open on top at all, it won't protect the newborns from the scorching sun or rain and will leave them in plain view of predators. God forbid you have a downpour and the rain accumulates in the box, drowning the kittens. There should be a small opening on one of the sides of the box several inches above the bottom of the box. This way, the newborns won't be able to wander out of the box. Also, remember cats can squeeze into tiny places, so only make the opening just big enough for her belly to get through. This will discourage larger animals like raccoons from taking over. And the box shouldn't be too large - cats feel safer in small spaces. Big enough for her to stretch out fully and comfortably is good. Ideally, the top should be hinged so you can open it to check in on the kittens and replace towels if needed. Lining the bottom with towels is great. Just remember, these will need to be thrown out and replaced after the delivery, as they will be soaked with blood and amniotic fluid. Pregnancy and nursing are stressful, and heat can cause exhaustion. Sun exposure is more dangerous than the temperature itself, though, so the box you provide will help with this. Also, if you add some ice cubes to her water, that will help keep it cooler longer. I am attaching one of my articles about delivery and raising kittens in general, just for your information. You may or may not wish to be this involved. I love seeing and helping kittens be born and raised more than anything else in life. Fortunately, cats usually make excellent mothers, so we are just there to sit back and enjoy! 24-48 hours before delivery, sometimes a cat's body temperature will drop a couple degrees, usually to around 99 degrees (anything lower than this is a medical emergency!). They may also lose appetite at this time, and may vomit. A cat can remain in preliminary labor, with mild contractions, for 48 hours. Within a few hours of the first birth, you will probably notice some fluid and blood leaking from her vulva. She may spend time in the litter box pushing without producing stool and may spend time grooming her genital area. Some cats go into hiding. Others will become very clingy. You should also be able to see her sides harden with contractions, which will become more and more frequent. By this time, birth is very near, and most expectant mothers will purr, breathe rhythmically, and knead as a way to cope with the pain. When birthing time comes, it's not uncommon for the cat to moan a bit or cry when delivering, especially if it's her first litter. A kitten should be produced within 45 minutes of heavy pushing. They can be born head first or feet first, about 50/50. A kitten is usually born every 15-45 minutes thereafter. The cat may go a couple hours between kittens, as long as she is not pushing heavily. If she is pushing heavily but does not produce a kitten within 45 minutes, she and the kittens are in danger of dying. Sometimes, a kitten may get stuck, and a c-section is necessary. A cat may go out of heavy labor for several hours before delivery is finished. This is because a cat's uterus is divided into two horns. All kittens in one horn are usually delivered before the kittens in the other horn, and there can be a break in between. There should not be any contractions during this time. If labor and delivery have not resumed within 5 or 6 hours, again a vet is needed. Labor may need to be induced. However, complications are pretty rare, and things will probably go smoothly. The kittens will be born in grayish sacs called amniotic sacs. Mama should break these open right away to get the kitten breathing. The kitten should begin squealing, and mama will probably lick him clean. This is important, because a wet kitten chills easily, and that can be deadly. She'll also chew the umbilical cord in half, and she may or may not eat the placenta. Once all the kittens are born and mama's nursing them, you should throw away any placentas she hasn't eaten. You also should prepare another box like the one she gave birth in, with clean towels. Wash your hands with hot water and antibacterial soap, and move the kittens and mama into the clean box. Throw away the old one. If any of the kittens don't begin nursing within an hour of birth, you should help the kitten find a teat by gently nuzzling his nose against it. If he still doesn't start nursing, you'll need to hand nurse him. That's a lot of work and it can be heartbreaking, since many kittens are lost. I recommend to call a vet or animal shelter and see if there are volunteers who can hand nurse. If you want to do it yourself, there is a lot you'll need to know. I won't go into it here, but if you're interested, you can write back and I'll tell you how. Personally, I am much more involved with the birth than I just went into. You can be, too! Just make sure your hands are sanitized prior to touching any of the kittens, and make sure they're warm. As each kitten begins to emerge from the vagina, I gently cradle the body. Never pull on a head or tail. The kitten may come out a bit and then go back in, and that's okay. DON'T break the sac! Wait for the kitten to be half delivered, and then gently support the kitten. When mama pushes, you can very gently tug on the kitten’s body to help move it along, but never pull between contractions. I also break open the amniotic sacs with a clean cloth, rather than waiting for mama to do it. Sometimes, she won't "get it" when the first one's born. Dry the kitten off and place him at her belly for nursing. This will help the other kittens be born more quickly. After all the kittens are born and are dry and nursing, you can cut the umbilical cords if mama hasn't chewed them in half. Use a pair of sharp round-tipped scissors, disinfected with alcohol, to cut the cord no closer than 1" to the kitten's belly, and then throw away the placenta. Be sure not to pull on the umbilical cord, because if it's torn from the belly, infections or serious hernias could occur. One thing you MUST do - handle the kittens each and every day! Most people believe that that will cause a mother to reject them. This is completely false. Don't take them out of mama's sight, but do pick them up, stroke them, and talk to them for a minute or two a few times a day, every day from birth. Just make sure you wash your hands well. It's so important to handle the kittens often. They begin to bond with people by the time they open their eyes at just 7-10 days old, and getting them familiar with your voice and scent even before then is a great idea. Responsible breeders handle kittens every day to ensure they grow to be excellent pets. It's also important to weigh the kittens each and every day. The size at birth is not as important as the amount of weight they gain each day. You should measure their weight daily with a mail scale. They should gain 1/4-1/2 an ounce every day. If they don't gain for two days, or if they ever lose any weight at all, get them to the vet. This is a sign of Fading Kitten Syndrome (FKS). There are many, many possible causes of FKS. If caught early enough, many problems can be treated. But I must warn you that timing is imperative! Kittens can quickly die within 12 hours or shorter, if they stop eating. They aren't able to maintain blood sugar, which is why they need to eat at least every two hours. Around 3-4 weeks, kittens usually start to be able to urinate on their own, and defecate shortly after. If you catch them urinating or defecating, place them in a shallow litter box with litter (but NOT clumping because this can cause gastrointestinal blockages in young kittens). I use a cookie sheet with a layer of litter (never clumping litter) at first, so they can get in and out. If you find solid accidents, move them into the litter tray so the kitten can see it. Kittens can start experimenting with canned kitten food around 4 weeks old, and should be weaned by about 8 weeks. They may continue to nurse for another few weeks for bonding, but not really for nutrition. I personally don't recommend feeding kittens under 12 weeks any dry food, because they can choke. These kittens will need their first vaccines by at 8-12 weeks old. Any younger than that may work against the antibodies kittens have gotten from mama's milk and leave the kittens completely unprotected. And mama should be spayed as soon as the vet confirms she is not lactating, which is usually about 10 days after the kittens have finished weaning completely.
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