Unless you breed cats, you may not know much about what to do and what to look for when your cat is ready to give birth. Most often cats will deliver their young without any intervention needed from their owners. Many owners do worry when they see a lengthy break in-between the delivery of one kitten to the next. It can take up to 24 hours for a mother cat to deliver her full litter of kittens.
As labor nears, many female cats, also called queens, begin sleeping. Cats generally sleep a lot; however, a Queen nearing her labor will sleep more than usual. Often, you will notice that she does not eat or drink normal amounts, either. Adequate food and water should remain easily accessible to the cat and available when the cat chooses to eat.
Queens will start looking around for a secluded area in a quiet location in which to give birth. You may find her snooping under beds and in closets. At this point, many owners choose to make a box lined with old, clean linens, and place it into a discreet location for the queen. Make sure that the location you choose has been placed far out of reach of small children and other household pets. Any linen should be chosen carefully, to ensure the kittens tiny claws will not become entangled, causing potential harm.
Many times a mother cat will become overly affectionate right before going into labor. Sometimes the cat may choose just one family member over the others, especially if she feels closer to that family member. Also common, a cat that normally behaves in an affectionate manner by suddenly become withdrawn.
As the early stages of labor set in, you may notice the cat displaying excessive licking of her genitalia. When her labor begins and the cervix begins dilating, a clear discharge will release from the vagina. This discharge, called the mucus plug, protected the opening of the cervix during pregnancy. When you notice this excessive licking, contractions will begin soon.