Do Cats Stick Their Butt Up in the Air When in Labor?

A pregnant cat offers slight behavioral changes during labor.
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Your cat probably raised her butt preceding the act that created those kittens in her belly, but will not pose the same way when in labor. Most of Mother Nature's clues regarding imminent kitten birth deal with Mama cat preparing herself and her nest for the messy arrival.

Bottoms Up!

You may notice that your sweet little kitty raises her tushie sometimes when you pet her. This behavior typically takes place while your little miss is in heat and ready to mate. Sticking her bootie in the air tells nearby toms that she is ready for some hanky panky. Cats are induced ovulators, meaning they don't release an egg until they have mated with a tom, and each mating means the release of a new egg. Every successful fertilization means that each kitten in a single litter can have a different father. Once she successfully conceives, your now pregnant kitty won't raise her butt again until she goes into heat after she delivers her litter.

Typical Labor Signs

As your cat prepares to squeeze out those soon-to-be adorable little kittens in her belly, you'll notice slight changes in her behavior. Her food dish may stay fuller longer as her appetite drops in preparation for delivery. She may seem extra snuggly and clingy, or go the opposite direction and stay away from company for some silence and solitude. A sure sign of imminent birth is a nearly constant licking of her nether regions, as this indicates her cervix is dilating and preparing for the exit of the kittens.

A Delivery Room

As she nears delivery, your soon-to-be mama will seek out a safe, comfortable place to have her babies. Unless you want to risk your little mama giving birth in your laundry basket or bedroom closet -- or worse, on the middle of your bed -- provide her a queening box to use as a combination delivery room and nursery. You can cut the side off a laundry basket, plastic storage bin or cardboard box to allow Mama some privacy and easy entry. Leave a little lip on the bottom to keep any squirmy baby kittens from wandering away and getting too cold. Place the box in a quiet area, such as a bathroom or closet, lined with newspapers or old towels to keep it clean and comfortable.

Something Amiss

Every cat and pregnancy is different, meaning you may not see every quintessential labor sign in your cat before she pops out her kittens. The absence of certain symptoms doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong, but the presence of other signs could indicate trouble. Some bloody discharge is normal during labor and delivery, but if there's an alarming amount of blood flowing for more than 10 minutes, call your vet immediately. Excessive vocalization or extended periods of hard straining warrant a call to the vet as well. Trust your instincts. If your cat seems in extreme pain, suddenly lethargic or struggling to deliver, she may need medical assistance to prevent a tragedy.

Vet Assistance

Mother Nature can have a nasty sense of humor, prompting birth at the most inconvenient times. Speak with your vet as your cat nears her due date to get an idea of what you should and should not do as she delivers, whenever it happens. Ask your vet for a phone number so you can contact him as your cat gives birth to walk you through any problems or meet you at the office should your cat need assistance. There's a good chance your cat will have no problems doing what Mother Nature intended, but luck favors the prepared. Have a plan in place for the worst case scenario so you'll know just what to do if things go south.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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