What Are the Causes of Premature Kittens?

63 days from conception is the ideal due date.

63 days from conception is the ideal due date.

Just like with humans, when a cat gives birth prematurely, it may threaten the life of the babies. There are various reasons why your cat may give birth before her due date, and you can't always do something about it -- but you can at least understand why.


If a cat becomes sick while she's pregnant, it can result in early delivery. Any number of illnesses and conditions can cause premature birth, including viral or bacterial infections or cysts. An injury could also cause your cat to go into labor early, so make sure that other animals aren't playing rough with her, and that she isn't performing her usual acrobatics. Ask your vet about any illness that your cat might have, how you can avoid them during pregnancy and possible treatments.


Pregnancy puts stress on a cat, and if she becomes stressed out by her surroundings, it can send her body into premature labor. This can even be as simple as an environmental change, like moving, taking a car trip or going outside when she is usually an indoor cat. Your cat's pregnancy should ideally last at least 61 days, so try to hold off on any cat-related plans, like grooming appointments, that could stress her out before the cuddly kittens arrive.

Genetic Predisposition

Unfortunately, some cats may be more prone to giving birth prematurely simply because of their nature. A cat with imbalanced hormones or an inbred bloodline, for example, might not have the genetic makeup that can carry a pregnancy to term. Even simple, unpredictable genetic issues, like weak organs, can make your cat a poor candidate for pregnancy and send her into premature labor.

Avoiding Premature Birth

There isn't always something you can do to prevent premature birth, but you should try everything you can. For example, make sure that your cat is comfortable during her pregnancy. Keep her well-fed and make sure that she always has access to water, as malnutrition can cause premature labor. Keep antagonistic pets away, and give her a warm, soft, private place where she can get any rest she needs. If you think your cat may be pregnant, see your vet as soon as possible for medical advice about caring for her during pregnancy.

About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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