Breeding, Puppy and Kitten Care, Reproductive Health Advice

Managing Queen Cats – Cat Pregnancy Problems

November 29, 2022

Managing Queen Cats – Cat Pregnancy Problems

Last updated: August 02, 2016

Queens have few issues to deal with but when an issue arises, it results in kitten loss if you don't have a solution.

Newborn Kitten Umbilical Cord

Kittens are often born two or three together. Some have twisted placentas or umbilical cords wrapped around each other. Umbilical cords wrapped around the leg can amputate a foot if not taken care of immediately. When seen, clamp and cut the umbilical cords, freeing the baby from litter mates. It is best to clamp with an umbilical clamp and use an umbilical scissors, which allows safe cutting. Your job is to free the kitten from litter mates and get them breathing room air quickly. Remember that 50 percent of losses are at birth.

Cat Can't Give Birth

Uterine Intertia occurs when a pregnant female is unable to birth her babies because her uterine muscles are unable to contract and expel the babies. Primary conditions are rare and can be genetic. This results in no kittens being delivered. This is best handled with C-Section.

Secondary conditions occur when part of the litter is delivered and the labor is ineffective. This is a more common occurrence. Uterine Inertia is often seen in older, overweight moms but can happen to any mom that is low on calcium.

For ineffective contractions, give Breeder's Edge Oral Cal Plus calcium gel orally. If she is still having problems with ineffective labor, we go to a C-Section.

Preventing Inertia is accomplished by giving calcium gel when starting labor and again when you feel labor is slowing. Heavy-milking moms are prone to this issue and will benefit from the calcium supplement. Calcium is the lube between the uterine muscle that allows contractions and labor. Milking will increase calcium demand at the same time labor does, making queens prone to deficiency. When calcium is low, ineffective contractions can result in a longer labor and giving up on the unborn kitten.

Cat Discharge After Giving Birth

After birth, small amounts of red to black vaginal discharge is normal and can be present for three weeks.

Mucopurulent Cat Vaginal Discharge

This discharge is not normal and anytime the discharge smells, you have a uterine infection that needs to be treated. If left untreated, the queen will run a fever, become dehydrated and quit milking. See your veterinarian for treatment options. Severe cases may need to be spayed to remove the issue.

Anemic Cat Moms

Anemic cat moms wear out in labor quickly, resulting in slow delivery and kitten loss. Giving prenatal vitamins such as Breeder's Edge Oxy Mate, which have high iron, during gestation will prevent anemia in kittens and mom.

Retained Placenta

Queen cats often pass several days post-birth or get pregnant with material still in uterus and deliver normally. We do not do heroics to remove the retained placenta as it does not affect fertility. Retained placenta is not a cause of queen getting ill. Monitoring discharge for normalcy is the key to managing. If discharge is normal and mom is healthy, don't lose sleep over a retained placenta.

How to Help Mom Cat Produce Milk

Queen cats produce one mL of milk per kitten per hour at birth, increasing to seven mL per kitten per hour during the second week. Managing queens to bring mom into milk quickly avoids nutritional loss in kittens.

What To Do if Mother Cat Has No Milk

Females that have plenty of glands but no milk are lacking the prolactin stimulation to start. Treat mom with Metoclopramide. Give two mg every six hours. Mom should come into milk by the third treatment. Metoclopramide comes in an injectable or oral product and releases prolactin hormone to start milking process. This treatment is great for C-Section moms.

Herbs: Fenugreek (100 mg/sid) and Chaste tree fruit both bring moms into milk and are used in all mammals, including humans. These herbs work well at bringing queens into milk quickly. Breeder's Edge® Oxy Momma vitamins have both herbs, along with needed vitamins. On problem females with previous milking issues, we start Oxy Momma seven days before her expected queening date. Don't start earlier than seven days or we may drip milk and risk mastitis before birth.

Queens have few issues to deal with, but when an issue arises, it can lead to kitten loss if not handled properly. Managing the gestating queen's vitamins, diet, queening area and birthing results in more live kittens at weaning.

If you have more questions on cat giving birth problems, call us at 800.786.4751.

-Dr. Bramlage
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival's Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.