In the final week of your cat’s pregnancy, you will be able to see her displaying an important behavior – nesting behavior. Although she may be the most pampered cat ever, she will still think that she is living in the wild and will feel compelled to search out a birthing place that is safe,warm and secure.
Under – or even on – your bed is often a prime choice!
As you may be called upon to lend a helping hand during the birth, it is wise to exercise some influence over your cat’s choice of nesting area. As long as your pet feels that she is in control of her surroundings and you have good access to keep the nest clean or offer help, she will be happy.
To build a suitable nesting box, locate a cardboard box that is spacious enough for your cat to move around in comfortably and to have her newborn kittens close by whilst she finishes delivering their siblings.
Following the birth, there will need to be enough space for your newborn kittens to feed from their mother and for her to care for them all.
For privacy and security, the sides of the box should be fairly high and you should be able to partially cover the top with a towel. To allow access in and out for feeding and toiletting, cut one side away, leaving a lip of around 3 inches at the bottom. This will stop any newborn kittens accidentally falling out of the box or beginning to explore before they are quite ready.
Old newspapers make excellent bedding as these can be easily removed and disposed of as they become soiled following the delivery of each kitten. Shred some of the newspaper to provide cushioning and then top with individual sheets that can be simply removed as necessary.
Make sure that you have the nesting box ready at least two weeks before your kitten’s expected delivery date and let your cat become familiar with it. You will need to place it in a warm, draught-free place, away from the busyness of family life. Your cat will need to be kept stress free and feeling secure so that she can concentrate on the business of giving birth.
It is likely that she will not approve of your chosen position for her nest so look out for signs that she is constructing her own nest somewhere else. If she does this, just move the box to that place.
It is vitally important not to let your cat out of the house for two, or even three, weeks before her expected delivery date. If she takes the opportunity to build her nest outdoors and then disappears into it when she feels that she is nearing the birth, you will have little chance of locating it and the consequences could be dire.
Once you have made your beautiful cat her nesting box, you are ready for the birth of her new kittens!