Well, I am officially on "kitten watch" and since the wait can be long and very boring, I have decided to make myself useful and put this information on my site. I am a very observant person so I have decided to write down my observations on how you can tell if a queen is in early labor (right before she starts the pushing faze). All of the info below applies to the time period right before she goes into active labor which is the pushing faze. This information should be helpful to new breeders and may even prove to be helpful to more experienced breeders.
Stomach will seemed to have dropped into a lower position. The queen may appear to lose weight and hip bones may become more prominent. The bulge will seemed to have moved from her sides down lower more under her. (see picture below)
I have noticed that almost in almost all of my queens that the day of or the day before they give birth, there is a boiling movement of the kittens. This movement looks almost exactly like a pot of boiling water. If there is not this very obvious boiling movement, I always say “nope not ready, the kittens aren’t boiling yet”. I think the boiling movement comes from the kittens moving down closer to the pelvis because of the contracting of the mother.
The queen will move a lot. Because she is uncomfortable with the contracting, she will toss as turn every few minutes. She will not sleep for long periods of time. If she sleeps for 12 minutes at a time or longer, I know that she will not be having them that day. If you can tell your cat is not comfortable, check to see if she is contracting.
Most queens will start to look for nesting spots about a week or so before delivery and will always be looking for better spots right before delivery. They may even change their mind about where they want to have the kittens during delivery. Usually though if a queen goes into her box and stays there, the pushing faze is about to start.
Usually about 2 -3 days before she gives birth, her appetite will pick up and she will eat like a pig. Sometimes the appetite drops off the day of delivery, but not always. I have noticed though that the majority of queens get this hungry stage a few days before delivery.
Usually a few days before she delivers, she will get separation anxiety from me. She will not want for me to leave the room and will cry until I come back.
Contracting Her contractions will get so strong that she will not be able to remain still throughout them. You should also be able to visibly see and feel her contractions. You will see her sides rise up in a hard ball, or kidney shape or a sideways V shape. When you see the kittens start kicking a lot, usually right after you will visibly see the contraction start. If you lay your hand on her side, you will feel the hard ball rise up. It will stay that way for a minute or two and then slowly recede. As she gets closer to the pushing faze, her contractions will get longer, stronger and closer together. I like to time contractions. I start from the beginning of one and time it to the start of another. I also like to time each contraction to see how long each goes. When the contractions get anywhere from 2-4 minutes apart and stay that way, the queen should be ready to go into her pushing faze. (see picture below)
For a lot of queens the sensation of the kittens pushing on her rectum feels like they have to have a bowl movement. If your queen trys to make a bowl movement in the litterbox but cannot go or only passes a little bit of mucus, you can be sure she will be going into the pushing faze very soon (probably with a few hours).
Experienced queens can lactate up to 2 weeks before delivery but first time queens usually don’t lactate sooner than 24 hours prior to delivery.
This cat has dropped - notice prominant hip bones and tummy lower under her belly instead of on sides
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Sacramento CA, 95835
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