A female deliver her kittens is a big event and no birth is like another, there is a lot of things that can go wrong and a lot of different scenarios. I will talk more about that in another article. In this, I will focus just on what “I” normally have prepared.
When it comes to giving birth as can be read in books, where the female nicely starts to pant and then 12-24 hours later starts to push, does not exist in my world. About 30 litters and 20 years later, I still only encounter 1 female who did it all by the schoolbooks.
Let’s start from the beginning, time to prepare.
You can use whatever you want really, I got an Atlas 80, but I also used a bigger carrier, an open plastic box from Ikea, Paperbox and so on. Personally I never give the female any alternatives, I put up a birth nest and this one she will just have to settle with, I think it is a security for a female that I take charge in the situation, at least all the females I have so far seemed to be more secure with this or maybe I just been lucky having females secure in themselves.
However, 1-2 times it’s actually happened, that they have started looking for another place in the middle of birth, I then basically just been softly and quietly holding them in the nest, talking to them and scratching them and this made them calm down again and settle, I want to decide where my kittens will be born, I want to get good overview and easily be able to help if needed, this does not work underneath a bed or inside a small closet.
Make a bed in the Birth nest:
I always make a decent bed, too soft and fluffy is never good but not too hard either.
I often have a layer of old sheets and often have a regular sheet at the top, underneath this I have pee protection sheet either disposable that you buy among the diapers at the store (very smooth as you can only throw them when they are used) or puppy pads which can be purchased from pet stores. At the bottom, I usually have a blanket of some sort just as "mattress you can say".
When I suspect that the delivery is completely finished, I usually change the surface of the birth nest to a clean one (it is easier to have a larger birth nest), I usually try to get mum and kittens to one side and then I roll up the sheet and the pee protection sheet against them and put down a new rolled-up cover and the sheet on the other side, then I roll it towards the dirty, lift over the kittens to the clean side, and the mother, then often follow or alternatively I also lift her over the clean side and then remove the dirty cover completely and rolls out the last bit of the clean one… Sometimes I just moved mom and kittens to a blanket next to the birth nest, cleaned the bedding and then moved them all back.
To have prepared for the delivery and finish near the birth nest:
- Plastic bag (For garbage)
- Torky (Super nice to use both for drying the kittens and to pick up uneaten placentas with).
- Scale with low scale thus 1-2 grams diff, like a food scale.
- Towels to dry the kittens with if needed, to wrap them in firmly if you need to “hurl” them, etc. (don't know if hurl is the correct word but it’s what you do to get the water out of the lungs if needed when you use the centrifugal force).
- Camera, with loaded battery and ready, preferably a system camera. (I always try to take pictures of them when they are just about dry).
- I take photos on the head from the front and in profile, and also pictures of the body from above (This can help to see who is who later on).
- A Watch so you can keep track of the time if it expires in time and record what times they are born.
- Computer (Nowadays I always type directly on the computer or phone in a document that is located on google drive)
- Paper and pen (If you choose not to use a computer)
- Suction is good to have the same type that is used for babies, I have never used any even if I have one at home.
Many people advocate having kitten formula for the kittens at home, I myself never bought any, sometimes I have had leftovers from previous litters or so but I never buy before the female is giving birth, just to have it at home. Of course, this depends on how you live. I have access to a pharmacy or an open pet store every day even she would deliver on a Sunday since I live in a big city. But if you live in a small town or simply know that it can be difficult to get kitten formula, within not too many hours, it can be a good idea to have some kitten formula at home prepared before the female gives birth.
By: Malin Sundqvist