Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Parturition

Synonym(s): Delivery, kittening, queening

Contributor(s): David Godfrey, Michelle Kutzler

Before parturition

The Queen

  • The endocrinology of the initiation of parturition has not been extensively studied in cats. The process may start with corticosteroid production from the fetal adrenal glands which stimulates maternal estrogen activity. This in turn induces production of prostaglandin F2-alpha which reduces ovarian progesterone production. 
  • Milk may be expressed from the mammary glands from 1-7 days before parturition, it tends to start earlier in multiparous queens.
  • In the final week of pregnancy the queen often is less active and will start to nest.
  • In the last day some queens will stop eating.
  • In the day prior to parturition the queen's rectal temperature may reduce slightly in conjunction with the fall in progesterone production.

The owner

  • Pregnancy lasts on average lasts 63-65 days from first copulation Pregnancy - gestation.
  • Ideally, the owner will be educated about normal parturition and when to intervene.

Print off the Owner factsheets on Breeding from your cat Breeding from your cat and Kittening/queening in cats - potential problems Kittening/queening in cats - potential problems to give to your client.

  • The ideal place for most cats to give birth is a kittening pen. A box about 2x1x1 meters with a lid, and room for a bed, litter tray and food. This enables the queen to be confined to a suitable area and later enables her to be left with the kittens and keeps the kittens under control and other cats away.

Stage one of parturition

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Stage two of parturition

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Stage three of parturition

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Duration of parturition

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The attendant's role

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Lamm C G, Makloski C L (2012) Current advances in gestation and parturition in cats and dogs. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 42 (3), 445-456, v PubMed.
  • Smith F O (2012) Guide to emergency interception during parturition in the dog and cat. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 42 (3), 489-499, vi PubMed.
  • Little S (2011) Feline reproduction: problems and clinical challenges. J Feline Med Surg 13 (7), 508-515 PubMed.
  • Musters J, de Gier J, Kooistra H S et al (2011) Questionnaire-based survey of parturition in the queen. Theriogenology 75 (9), 1596-1601 PubMed.


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