Since I am still on kitten watch, I thought I would include a bit of info on what you can do to prepaire your cat for the pushing faze of her delivery. I know that sometimes I feel helpless, and there is more that I would like to do for my queens to help them along. With these simple methods, you can actually help her somewhat. If they don't work, well at least it will give you something to do while your waiting!
Speed Up Her Contractions And Make Them Stronger
Help her to contract. I have never personally seen a queen in labor turn down a belly rub. So if she is willing, start out by lightly rubbing the length of her belly with the flat of your hand. After you have her relaxed, roll the nipples in your fingers and remove any crusty material from them. The rubbing will give her nipple stimulation and that in turn will make her contract. I have found it most effective to rub and then stop and let her contract, then keep repeating that pattern. You will notice in between rubs that her belly will rise up on the sides into a hard ball, that will be her contracting.
Bring her milk down
Some queens will not start to lactate until after the kittens are born. I find it advantageous to help her to start lactating before they are born. The reason why is if there weak kittens are born, they may not be vigorous enough to bring her milk down quickly. I like for the queen to be ready with plenty of milk before they are born. This process will also help her to contract.
Hereís how to bring her milk down:
1.)Start out by rubbing her belly again with the flat of your hand along itís length. If your hand feels slightly sticky from this, that means she is starting to lactate already. This is good but you can still follow the steps below to help really get her milk going.
2.)Take a nipple closest to her tail since itís the easiest one to get milk out of and roll the nipple gently between your pointer finger and thumb. Remove any crust that might be blocking it, especially at the tip. Repeat with every nipple.
3.) Next make an OK sign with your hand and again grasp a nipple closest to her tail with your pointer finger and thumb. You are going to be grasping the nipple as close to the base of it as possible. The sides of your fingers should be pressing down on the skin around the base of the nipple. The nipple is not actually what holds the milk. The milk gland in underneath the nipple. This is the area you want to focus on in order to extract milk. VERY gently press down with your whole hand 9with your fingers still in the OK position, like the picture shows) and the squeeze in a slight upward motion. If you press too hard, you wonít get any milk out. Imagine a newborn kitten, they do not suck very hard. If you focus just on the nipple itself, you also wonít get any milk out unless she is really lactating heavily. A very tiny drop of milk should come out. Sometimes it is so small that you canít see it but your fingers will get a slightly sticky feeling.
If you cannot get any milk out, try rubbing her again for awhile and try getting milk later. She may not be far enough along to bring her milk down but if she is showing all of the signs of being in early labor, she should be ready. Do this for a hour or so every couple of hours. Try different nipples each time. You will notice her breasts will start to swell with milk.
finger position for milking a cat - at the base of the nipple pushing on the glands underneith it.
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