‘I named all kittens, although they were all stillborn.’ ‘My pregnant cat has a bloody vaginal discharge.’ ‘I had a litter of five, but only one kitten survived.’
These are only a few of horror stories I received past weeks. Cat lovers that had hoped for a healthy litter, suddenly found themselves with stillborn kittens or an ill mother cat.
There’s a lot that can go wrong when cats are pregnant or give birth, even when most cats deliver without major problems.
Among dozens of possible complications are infections in womb, death of fetuses, spontaneous abortion, development of fetuses outside womb, suffocation of a kitten right after birth, kittens that get stuck in birth canal ... it’s a long list.
For experienced breeders and specialized vets it’s easy to recognize such problems. But things are different for a regular pet lover. Many female cats have only one litter during their life.
Some people rush off to vet when their pregnant cat is only a little tired of walking around. Others wait too long because they are unaware of discharge from their cat’s vagina. Or they don’t know how to cut an umbilical cord without causing a heavy bleeding.