Vet Info for Pet Parents

Emergency Feline C-Section: What Happens When A Mama Cat Is Facing A Potential Pregnancy Crisis?

When your cat is pregnant, your entire household may be upended. Pregnancy is an exciting time for anyone; however, since your mama cat can't talk to you, per se, you need to be vigilant about her situation. Should it become precarious, your quick and decisive action could save her life and the lives of her unborn kittens. 

Symptoms Of Complications With The Pregnancy

Under normal conditions, a pregnant cat about to go into labor appears restless, meows a lot, readies her nest, and, possibly, vomits. After the contractions begin, your feline mama should deliver within an hour or so, but if not, the two of you may be facing dire complications. Occasionally, a stressed feline may delay giving birth on purpose, though if you don't observe any apparent reason for the cat's behavior and were anticipating birth, you should call an emergency veterinarian.

Premature delivery, usually evident by vaginal bleeding sometime before the expected time of delivery, is also a cause for concern. Additionally, if the placenta does not discharge, you're looking at an emergency run to the closest veterinarian. Trust your instincts, monitor the cat closely and constantly, and call your vet if anything alarms you.

Your Cat's Emergency Caesarean Section

In the event that the kittens do not emerge within an hour or so following the onset of contractions, your cat is experiencing a situation that may very well mandate an emergency C-section. She will require anesthesia and surgical assistance for the healthy births of her kittens. With minimal (other) complications, both mama and babies should pull through the procedure unscathed.

After-Care For Mama And Kittens

The new mother may still be feeling the effects of anesthesia; therefore, she will need to be watched carefully. She should be kept calm and still, so her kittens may begin nursing and to avoid the possibility of injury, due to being slightly groggy. The kittens may need to be nudged toward the food supply, or, in more extreme situations, hand-fed by you. Your vet will prepare you for that situation; however, most mother cats are capable of providing the milk their kittens need, although other complications may arise:

  • Post-operative bleeding, if her stitches are breached.
  • Possible infection.
  • Blocked mammary glands.
  • Malodorous or prolonged vaginal discharge and/or bleeding.
  • Lethargy, loss of appetite, and other indications that mom simply isn't feeling well.

Again, your observations and instincts are invaluable to the well-being of your cat and her offspring. Anything that causes your cat, the kittens, or you any stress means putting another call into the doctor, for further instructions.

While pregnancy in any species should be an exciting and positive experience, sometimes things go wrong. Your vigilance with your feline, along with working closely with a veterinarian, should result in a strong and healthy litter, led by their proud and doting feline mum (called, appropriately, the queen). Be alert and prepared and keep the number of a 24-hour emergency pet clinic handy.

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