How to Prepare a Birthing Box?
Is your kitty expecting to give birth soon? Here are some tips on how to make an ideal birthing box.
- Line a large cardboard box with newspapers and some soft sheets (flannel works nicely).
- Cut an entrance into one of the sides (for easy access).
- Make a cardboard cover to go over half of the top (makes a partial roof).
- Be sure to leave the box in a warm, quiet room.
- The plug can burst prior to one week before the birth of the kittens. (This may cause premature babies but usually not.) You need to watch for this carefully to ensure that you will be around when the cat gives birth.
- If one of the kittens is very weak, keep it on a heating pad wrapped in towels. Keep massaging the baby as much as possible, stroking it gently.
- If it seems like all the kittens have been born, remember there may be one last addition. A cat can give birth for up to 8-hour intervals.
- If you have tried everything, be ready and willing to let the kitten go. Sadly enough, these things happen sometimes.
- Ensure that the remaining kittens are suckling the milk and that their stomachs are showing signs of being full.
- Do not give the weak kitten too much milk….in a bottle. It can collapse the lungs of the kitten, and he/she will pass away gasping with air. Use the eye dropper or the ear dropper and put very few drops in the mouth. Remember the kitten is weak, and he/she can also choke.
- Have wonderful friends with whom you can share the experience over the telephone, the Internet, or in person.
Moving the Kittens
When a mother cat is concerned for the safety of her young in the wild, she will shift her litter to a new location. It’s just a natural reaction. Because of the smell of the blood, every mother cat will shift her kittens at least once after they have been born from the location where they were born.
In most cases, it is OK to move the kittens while allowing the mother cat to select a new location for them. After that, she needs to find some peace and quiet. Nevertheless, there are some mothers that will continue to move their kittens even after they get carried away. In the event that this occurs, it is essential to verify that the mother has not penetrated the baby’s skin, which would result in the formation of abscesses.
It is common for mother cats to feel more secure when they confine their young kittens to dark, confined areas. Clearing out of a lower cabinet in your home that is big enough for the mother and her babies is one strategy that may be utilized in the process of calming anxious mothers. Towels should be used to cover the floor of the cabinet. Wrapping the towels around the door’s edge and propping it open with them will allow Mom more freedom of movement. (Also, lay some towels on the ground in front of the cabinet so that you are prepared in the event that a kitten falls out.)
(This information came from Debbie L. and Michelle C.)
Kittens are generally weaned around the age of 6 weeks old. If weaned too early, there can be problems with diarrhea and/or vomiting. Then dehydration becomes a risk, and it can be life-threatening if left untreated.