After your cat gives birth, it’s really important to keep a close eye on her and her kittens to make sure they’re all happy and thriving. Your cat will naturally provide her kittens with all they need, so try to keep your distance if you can so she can settle into motherhood.
After your cat has given birth, you will need to:
If you’re worried at all, call your vet as they can advise you.
Very rarely, your cat might struggle to care for her kittens. If they are not feeding well, you may need to speak to your vet about possibly hand-rearing them. You can read more about hand-rearing in our free guide.
While a lot of cats will have a perfectly healthy birth, there are some problems that could happen you should keep an eye out for. These are:
If you notice any of these problems call your vet straight away.
Most cats will take to mothering their kittens very naturally. You might notice your cat:
A slight change in behaviour is normal for your cat after she has given birth, but she will settle after a few weeks.
Sometimes your cat’s behaviour is a cause for concern and this is when you’ll want to give your vet a call. Some things to look out for (and ways to help your cat and her kittens) include:
Your cat will need lots of the right nutrients to keep her and her kittens healthy and strong. As she’s supporting her kittens while they are still nursing, she’ll need a food that’s higher in calories, fat, protein and is easy to digest.
It’s best to feed your cat a good quality kitten food while she is nursing her kittens. This will make sure she’s getting plenty of nutrients to support their development and growth, and make the weaning process easier when the time comes. Read more about weaning in our kitten care guide.
At first, it’s usually best to avoid touching your cat’s newborn kittens if you can. She will be very protective over them and might not want you touching, so it’s best to respect her space unless something is wrong. Sometimes, handling newborns too much can cause their mother to reject them.
After a couple of weeks, if your cat is happy for you to do so, you might be able to gently stroke the new kittens. It’s important to start socialising the kittens from week two and some of this will involve handling them.
If your cat is struggling, unwell or has rejected any of her kittens, you may need to intervene and handle them sooner. You should do so very gently and look at our hand-rearing guide for more advice.
Getting your female cat neutered is a good way to make sure they don’t have any unwanted litters and can also help to prevent certain health problems.
After your cat gives birth, you might decide you don’t want her to have any more kittens. You can have her neutered around eight weeks after giving birth once her kittens are fully weaned, but discuss this with your vet as they will be best placed to advise you based on your cat’s circumstances. Up until this point she’ll be spending a lot of time with her kittens and needs to nurse them, so she wouldn’t be able to properly recover from surgery.
Remember you can get your cat neutered from four months old which will prevent them having a litter of kittens at such a young age.
Newborn kittens need to feed every two to three hours, so it’s likely your cat won’t want to leave them for the first week or so. They also rely on her for protection and warmth, so she’ll need to stay close to them.
Once the kittens are a little more independent she will be able to go outside again. However, an unneutered female can get pregnant again as soon as two weeks after giving birth while her litter is still reliant on her, so it may be best to try to keep her indoors until the kittens are ready to go to new homes when they are at least eight weeks old.
We’d recommend getting your cat neutered as this will prevent any unwanted litters. Talk to your vet about when is the best time and read our free neutering advice.