Pregnancy and Birth
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|Pregnancy day by day|
|1||1||One mating may be enough for the female to ovulate. The male has barbs on his penis which hurts tremendously when he pulls it out and this causes the female to release its eggs. The female does not even need to be in heat to release the eggs, a mating is enough for it to happen and to raise the Luteinization Hormone (LH). The mating does not need to take place when the female is in heat, for her to become pregnant. It happens that males do mate females that are not in heat and who are not willing, and this can still cause a pregnancy.
LH is needed to reach the final maturation of the egg cells and for the follicles to rupture and the eggs to come out into the fallopian tubes.
Probably a single mating will not be enough, but you should still not keep the cats together for too long as it can then be difficult to determine when the kittens will come. The optimal mating time is 3 days.
The sperm migrate through the cervix.
This occurs 24 to 48 hours after the mating happened.
The eggs are undeveloped and unable to be fertilized.
Since the eggs are susceptible for 24-36 hours, several males can become dads to the same litter.
|2-3||The sperm reach the egg in the fallopian tube.
Progesterone rises 48 hours after ovulation, samples can be taken 3-4 days after mating.
When a sperm penetrates the egg, fertilization occurs and the core is fused. A zygote is the result of fertilization, that is, a fertilized egg. Now the first chromosome set to form. The zygote is ready for its first cell division.
Fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes that extend from the ovaries to the uterus
|5-6||Fertilized eggs migrate down the fallopian tube and into the uterine horn. Through the continued migration, space for the fetuses in the uterine horn is also freed.
During the migration, the fertilized egg divides several times and forms an early embryo, a so-called blastocyst.
The blastocysts attach to the uterine wall, 13-14 days after mating.
The placenta (in the form of a girdle) and umbilical cord are developed.
Both the number of eggs discharged and the space in the uterus affect the litter size.
Over the next two weeks, all organs will develop.
|3||15-18||The circulatory system begins to develop on day 15.
Day 16-17 the heart starts beating.
Day 18 is the embryo (8mm).
The nipples are starting to turn pink and getting larger so-called. "Raspberry nipples". The fur on the tummy around the nipples starting to thin out slightly.
Day 19, the embryo is now about 10 mm long and stuck in the uterine mucosa.
Over the next two weeks, important organs will develop such as the brain, spinal cord. Followed by the spine, head, heart and sensory organs. The central nervous system develops throughout pregnancy.
One thing to keep in mind is that weeks 3-5 can be said to be a critical time when the female should be saved all kinds of stress, it is often here that goes wrong. Then the placenta takes over the supply from the yellow body. If this does not go the way, the fetuses will be rebuilt. This is often the case when the female suddenly tapers off again at 7 weeks and all signs of pregnancy disappear.
Now the uterus starts to expand and hormone changes in the cat's body occur. Some cats may be nauseated while some cats may begin to feel ill the first week. It varies just as for pregnant women.
From day 20-22 you can see the heartbeats.
Day 23-24 is the embryo (17-18 mm).
The fetuses are now walnut-sized, and easy to count.
Ultrasound can be done from day 21, but preferably day 28 (depends on UL apparatus and practitioners).
Now the palate and reproductive organs are beginning to develop. The fetuses can now be seen with ultrasound.
Production of the hormone progesterone (yellow body hormone, female sex hormone which is a prerequisite for pregnancy to progress normally) is now completely taken over by the placenta and the embryo is considered fetal.
Day 25-26 (20-21 mm).
You may now start increasing the female's food if she does not have free access. Feel free to provide growth food for pregnant females or kitten food. Do not add vitamins and minerals. However, make sure the female does not become obese as it can cause problems at birth.
The female eats about 25% more food in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy.
|6||32-38||The female's stomach begins to become visibly swollen.
Day 32 (28 mm) and day 35 (35mm)
Day 38 (45mm) and weighs about 14g and has no coat yet.
|35||The stomach begins to grow and becomes visibly bigger.|
|38||The reproductive organs are fully developed.|
|40||From day 40, the fetal skeleton has started to mineralize and can now be seen on X-rays.|
|42||From day 42 you may start to feel fetal movements.|
|7||43||Now it is easy to know the kittens, to count them may be difficult.
On day 43, the fetus is 80 mm.
|44-46||On day 44, the fetus begins to develop fur.
It is now easy to feel the kittens. Counting them might be more difficult.
Day 46 (95 mm)
The female is starting to clean her self more, her breasts are getting bigger.
The fetuses are now starting to get a little fur.
Since the female's stomach is now filled with kittens, the female may partially lose appetite.
If the female has a hard time cleaning herself, you can help her a little.
You can now easily feel the movements of the fetus.
From day 50 (110 mm), the colors begin to emerge.
The fetus grows to about 15 cm.
Kittens born before day 58 usually have a very hard time surviving.
|9||60||Day 60 (143 mm)|
You can now start taking the temperature of the cat.
|63||Day 63 (150 mm).
There may now be some milk coming from the nipples
|10||64||12-24 hours before delivery, the temperature drops to about 37.5 C.
Some discharge may occur, it might be some blood in the discharge.
Expected delivery. Most deliveries occur between days 63 and 67.
The kittens are in two different horns in the female's stomach.
Parts of the cerebrum and eyesight are not fully developed until the kitten is born.
|69-70||If the cat has not started with the delivery yet and she is on day 70, and you are sure the counting is correct. You should contact a veterinarian for advice.|
Av: Malin Sundqvist
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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