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What are Birth Difficulties?

If a “queen” or mother cat is reasonably healthy, it is highly unlikely that she will suffer from birthing difficulties. However, birth difficulties that include mechanical blockage and uterine inertia occur in some cats. Sometimes mechanical blockage happens when the kittens’ diameter is too wide for the queen’s birth canal diameter. Uterine inertia could come about when the uterus is too weak to contract.

Birth Difficulties Average Cost

From 536 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,000

Average Cost

$650

Symptoms of Birth Difficulties in Cats

Mechanical blockage and uterine inertia are most likely to take place with older cats, with queens who are obese and, with queens who birth small litters of relatively oversized kittens. These conditions are apt to occur in cat breeds with big heads and flat faces like Persians. It also frequently involves the birth of the first kitten or the last kitten.

If any of the following signs occur, call the veterinarian. It could help to save the life of the kittens as well as the mother

  • No birth of a kitten after one hour of deep straining 
  • A kitten is visible in the birth canal after 10 minutes of strong labor 
  • A constant flow of fresh bleeding occurs 10 minutes during or after kittening
  • Abrupt lethargy and fatigue
  • Rectal temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or below 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) could mean the queen has an infection
  • If labor ceases and the queen is agitated, anxious or weak
  • Kittens should come down the birth canal 15 minutes to two hours apart. When the amniotic sac surrounding the kitten ruptures, birth of a kitten should take place within 30 minutes. There is cause for alarm if more than three hours pass between kittens. However, if the queen is relaxed and tending to her kittens without showing distress, she and the kittens to come should be fine.
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Causes of Birth Difficulties in Cats

Mechanical Blockage

: The "diving position" – exiting the birth canal with nose and feet first, and the back next to the vagina’s crown – is regularly how kittens are born. An oversized kitten or a kitten is situated wrong in the birth canal are the two main reasons for mechanical blockage. 

  • The kitten exits backwards from the birth canal with its hind feet or tail and hips showing first. 
  • The backwards position of presenting the tail or rump is called the breech position and if it occurs with the first kitten, it can really present a problem. 
  • Deviated head, where the head of the kitten is curved forward or sideways.

Uterine Inertia

: When the uterine muscles become too weak, labor becomes futile. The uterus can’t generate contractions that are strong and effective. Reasons for uterine fatigue include:

  • Having an extremely large litter
  • A single very large kitten in a tiny uterus
  • Distortion of the uterus
  • Surplus of amniotic fluid as the result of a condition called hydrops amnion
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Diagnosis of Birth Difficulties in Cats

Abnormal or difficult births in cats are typically caused by several factors, including uterine inertia, the birth canal is too small, the fetus crosses the birth channel in an atypical orientation, and/or the fetus is too large.

Veterinarians pay attention to the following situations and history:

  • Previous history of dystocia or reproductive tract blockage
  • Birth doesn’t occur within at least 24 hours once the rectal temperature drops to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 degrees Celcius
  • No kitten is born after the queen suffers severe abdominal contractions that last for more than two hours
  • Pause in labor lasts more than four to six hours
  • Obvious pain of the queen – howling, licking or gnawing at the vulva
  • Odd discharge from the vulva before the kittens are born (possibility the placenta has separated)
  • Pelvic trauma
  • Prior births

The vet could also carry out a sterile digital exam to determine the degree of obstruction in the birth canal as well as the position and presentation of the fetuses. To determine the presence, mass, location and health of the fetuses, the veterinarian could also use radiography or ultrasound scans.

Should labor be prolonged, and the veterinarians cannot see or feel the kitten in the birth canal, an x-ray of the queen will help to determine the relative sizes and positions of the kittens.

A fractured pelvis is detrimental for queens. If a queen with a fractured pelvis becomes pregnant and it wasn’t known she had a fractured pelvis, she will have to undergo a surgery to give birth.

Veterinarians warn that a queen with a pelvic fracture should not get pregnant. X-ray scans, taken prior to pregnancy, are the way to determine if the queen suffers from this malady.

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Treatment of Birth Difficulties in Cats

Medication

: The source of some forms of uterine inertia is caused by a lack of oxytocin or calcium or both. To stimulate stronger contractions, the veterinarian may inject oxytocin (which is made by the pituitary gland) and calcium gluconate. There is danger associated with such injections, in that the uterus could rupture. 

Cesarean Section

: If birthing difficulties can’t be resolved by the use of drugs or obstetric treatment, the veterinarian will determine whether a cesarean section is necessary. The veterinarian will decide if this common procedure, which is used when all sorts of birthing problems are present, is the best choice for the mother. The vet will take the following into consideration:

  • Length of labor 
  • Condition of the queen
  • X-ray and testing results
  • Kittens’ size relative to the queen’s uterus
  • A dry vaginal canal
  • Lack of response to oxytocin

In most cases, a cesarean section presents no problems, especially if the queen is young and healthy. The veterinarian performs the operation under general anesthesia. There may be major problems if the labor is excessive and drawn out and toxicity occurs, i.e. the kittens are stillborn and starting to decay or if the uterus ruptures.

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Recovery of Birth Difficulties in Cats

The veterinarian will consider medical management when obstruction of the birth canal and fetuses is constant, the appearance and location of the fetal position are correct, and there is no blockage in the birth canal. To encourage uterine contractions, the veterinarian could prescribe oxytocin. A cesarean section could be done if the oxytocin gets no reaction.

Surgery could be necessary for obstructive dystocia and birth difficulties along with distress or general poor health, extended active labor, primary uterine inertia and if health management is unproductive.

Within three hours of the surgery, the queen is expected to be stable, alert and capable of nursing her kittens. Reasons for having the cesarean section vary and just because the queen had the procedure when she had one litter does not necessarily mean that she will have to have another cesarean section when she has another litter. 

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Birth Difficulties Average Cost

From 536 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,000

Average Cost

$650

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Birth Difficulties Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Black cat

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Labor

My cat started labor and having kittens around 3:30 pm and has had 4 kittens so far. But she has stopped pushing anymore kittens out and is just relaxing with her kittens but I can still feel kittens moving in her belly. When should I be worried about her not having anymore it has been two hours since the last kitten.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Hello- Thank you for your question. Cats will have breaks in between delivering kittens. If she is not actively pushing and straining then I would let her rest in a quiet space and check on her regularly. If she is actively pushing and not delivering a kitten within 2 hours then that is when you need to seek immediate medical care for her. I hope all goes smoothly for her and you. Take care.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Feline

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Labor Complications

It’s been almost 24 hours since delivery of the 6th kitten and there is still one kitten left and no signs of contractions. Just bloody discharge still.

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello I recommend that you take your cat to a veterinarian right away. If she has stopped having contractions but there is a kitten remaining, she may need an injection of oxytocin to expel the kitten or a C-section. Good luck.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Calico

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Not even 1

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blockage Pus, 1 Kittin Came Out Backwards

Cat stopped giving birth after 6.. fed ones that where born... I noticed she wasn't done.. at least one more kitten maybe 2.. but she has puss coming from her vaginal spots she pushes but only puss comes out.. it's been 5 days and the vet hospital said they can't see her unless someone pays... I'm barely scrapping by late on rent. I have no money there's no payment plans... I rescued her in winter she was a few months old and pregnant... I didn't think she was gonna live through her litter but she did with 3 kittens.. before she was done nursing she got out n he we are now... I'm lost..

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, there is nothing that I can do to help her if there is a kitten stuck, over an email. She needs to see a veterinarian right away, and likely needs to be spayed. The longer the kitten is stuck, the more sick she will become. If there is a low cost spay/neuter clinic in your area, they may be able to help rather than let her die, and ti would be worth calling to see if there is anything like that near you. Most clinics also take Care Credit, which may allow you to have her seen. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Cat

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Ten Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Afterbirth

My cat gave birth two days ago, but now she seems to pushing, as if she was going to give birth again. Is this Normal? I’m so worried.

July 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It is not completely normal for her to be actively pushing and in labor again, but if she is acting normally otherwise, eating and drinking, and is not bearing down with nothing happening, then she may be having another kitten, or she may be passing some placentas. If she is having active contractions for more than 30 minutes and there are no kittens being produced, then she needs to go in to see a veterinarian right away. Also if she becomes lethargic or stops eating, then she should be seen as well. I hope that all goes well for

July 19, 2020

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Cat

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Has Symptoms

Baby Girl Had Three Kittens Back To Back Later That Evening She Had Another One Some Time In The Niteit Was Bigger Than The Other Ones But It Was Dead She Eat And Weent To The Bathroom Feed The Kittens But Three Days Later She Is Not Hardly Moving Eating Or Not Wanting To Feed Them Need Help Soon

Mother cat had three kittens later that nite she had another one it had died and it was bigger than the other three 2 days later she's not wanting to feed or have anything to do with them she's not eating or drinking and not wanting to move please help with advice

July 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello I'm sorry to hear that your cat is not feeling well. If she is not eating or drinking and lethargic shortly after giving birth, she may have some type of uterine infection or metritis. I recommend that you take her (and kittens) to your veterinarian as soon as possible for an exam. They may want to do blood work or even x-rays to try to figure out what is going on. Good luck.

July 19, 2020

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Peanut

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tabby

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Balance
Wont Eat
Cant Get Up
Cant Move Legs
Cant See

My cat pnut got pregnant.on Wednesday she went into labor.the baby was too big so i pulled it out and it was a stillborn.the next morning i took her to vet.before i dropped her off she was fine.they gave her anesthesia for cesarian.she had 2 more stillborns.wen i picked her up they said she was blind.possibly paralyzed.she cant feel her bladder before she was fine.she is barely 2 and shes not eating drinking.i got to give her ivy.she hasnt used bathroom in 3 days.she sits n stares at floor.she wasnt like this before i dont no what to do plz help.

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Lexi

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Siamese

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

None

Okay so earlier today my cat was under my dresser cause she was wanting to have a safe place to chill for a little bit. My cat came out of my dresser and licked some ketchup on a plate. She then bented down like she was going to poop. Then ONE baby kitten popped out. this was at around 8 or 9 p.m. We think that there is more kittens in the cat. But it is 5 A.m. right now and she has only had one baby what do I do??????

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Jazzy

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Tabby? (She looks like a squirrel)

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2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Kitten Inside But Not Giving Birth

I have a young queen named Jazzy. It’s her first time having kittens and it all went smoothly yesterday around 4pm when I noticed she was bleeding. I kept her calm the whole time until she finally gave birth around 5. She had a healthy little black kitten and I thought everything was going well. We could feel at least 2 kittens inside of her before so my family and I were waiting for another to come out. 30 minutes later nothing happened. Finally something came out of her that was purple and looked like a kitten’s sack. We were worried if the kitten’s sack had fallen off on the inside. We had left her in a box fairly close to a heat lamp for warmth so she could peacefully be with her kitten. It’s now a day later and she still hasn’t given birth even though we still feel a little kitten inside. We’re worried it might be dead but we aren’t sure. Jazzy has been content the whole time with her one baby and it’s really healthy. Both my grandma and my mother haven’t experienced a cat giving birth and giving another kitten birth the next day. I just hope the kitten is alive and hope everything will be ok for Jazzy and the kitten inside.

dog-name-icon

PK

dog-breed-icon

Cali

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

So just curious, my cat went into labor last night about 10pm. Literally within two minutes she already birthed one kitten. But that’s all. The line kitten is alive and is definitely healthy. He labor seems to have stopped though and momma belly still looks like she has babies to birth....is my momma cat Oka?

dog-name-icon

Nola

dog-breed-icon

Not sure

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Nola my momma cat is pregnant for her 1st time she gave birth to 1 kitten 1 placenta sack nothing else on 1-15-20 yesterday (Wednesday)around 2pm but she has not had another 1 yet and its 1-16-20 9pm (Thursday) been over 24 hours. She's eating and everything she's not acting like she's in pain or stess or anything out of the norm other than i can tell she still had probably 3-4 kittens in her belly its her 1st time giving birth. Should I be worried and call the vet tomorrow 1-17-20 friday if nothing has happened? Please help im worried i dont wanna lose my momma cat.My male cat Simba is the daddy. She's a small kitty 5lbs and he's about 11lbs. Could her kittens be to big? Please help worried momma here thanks.

Birth Difficulties Average Cost

From 536 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,000

Average Cost

$650

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