Your kitty is pregnant and, unless you provide her with a birthing box, she may decide to have her kittens in your wardrobe or under your bed. If you build a suitable box and put it in the right location she will probably use it, but there is no guarantee.
What is a Cat Birthing Box?
A cat birthing box is also known as a queening box, delivery box, cat nesting box or kittening box. It is simply a warm, quiet, dark and comfortable environment where the cat can feel safe and give birth. Your cat will exhibit restless behavior in the last couple of weeks of her pregnancy and will be checking out quiet corners, drawers and cupboards as her instincts drive her to select possible kittening sites.
Making a Box
There is no need to buy anything expensive, as a large cardboard box is suitable as a birthing box. A good size is 15 inches by 24 inches, bigger if you have a large-breed cat. Cut a piece out of the middle of one side that is large enough for the cat to get through -- about 5 inches wide. Leave the bottom 4 or 5 inches of the box intact so newborn kittens can’t fall out but the mother doesn’t have to jump to get in. Line the bottom with several sheets of newspaper. Put a lid on the box or place a heavy towel across the top.
Choosing a Location
Pick a quiet area that is away from drafts and cold air. It should be in partial darkness and not brightly lit. If she has a favorite item of your clothing she likes to sleep on, such as a nightie or T-shirt, you might place that in the box, too. Introduce your mom-to-be to her birthing box and encourage her to sleep there. If she is clearly unhappy with it, try moving it to another quiet area.
Preparing for Birth
Place a kitty litter tray and water bowl near the birthing box. Feed her near the box but not in it. When she goes into labor remove any clothing from the box and just leave the newspaper. After all the kittens have been born and cleaned, take out the birth-soiled newspaper and put fresh newspaper down. Add warm blankets or clothing for the kittens to snuggle into when their mum leaves the nest.
- sleeping cat image by KtD from Fotolia.com