How to Tell When a Cat is Ready to Give Birth – The Ultimate Guide

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

how to tell when a cat is ready to give birth

Cats are cute, and kittens are even more adorable. Is there anything in the world cuter than your pet cats? If you have a female cat, you can expect to have your own little kittens that you can take care of.

Have you ever wondered how to tell when a cat is ready to give birth? If so, you are reading the right article! Cat pregnancy is rather complicated if you don’t have enough knowledge and preparation for the big day.

There are certainly some signs of cat labor that you need to notice to prepare for your little, adorable pet the best. You may think that these pre-labor signs in cats are too hard to observe, but they’re actually simple if you know how to catch them.

In this article, I will introduce you to different signs when a cat is about to give birth. Here are some cat labor signs that need to be paid attention to:

  • Mammary Glands Increases in Size: Your cat can experience changes in its mammary glands, and there are some certain symptoms around those areas, such as her breast.
  • Fall in Temperature: Her body temperature will slightly drop, but usually, there are other supporting signs of labor in cats for you to check out.
  • Behavioral Changes: Your cat may behave slightly differently from her daily activities, such as hiding from you.
  • Her Nesting Begins: She begins nesting and you can help her find some places that are comfortable for her and her offsprings.
  • The Decline in Appetite: Your pet is reluctant to eat and drink when labor day is coming close.
  • Licking: Your cat tends to lick her vulva a lot as pregnant cat mucus plug discharges when giving birth.

Now, let’s get started with the first signal of pre-labor in cats: the increase in size in mammary glands.


How to Tell When a Cat is Ready to Give Birth

1. Mammary Glands Will Increase in Size


Mammary glands are glands in charge of producing milk, which are located in the breast in 2 parallel rows alongside your cat’s body. Typically after two days of giving birth, your cat will produce milk.

When your cat is about to give birth, her mammary glands will increase in size to prepare for producing milk for her kittens.

There are also some cream color dots from her nipples that are believed to have different smells of different cats. Usually, your cat will lick it off or leave it dry. Together with this one, your cat can experience a fall in temperature. So, let’s continue reading to find out what it is.

2. Fall in Temperature

Regularly, a cat’s temperature lies between 37.7 ℃ to 39.1℃, which is about 100℉ to 102.5℉. However, after 1 or 2 days of delivering kittens, your cat’s body temperature will drop to 37.2℃, which is approximately 99℉.

Hence, my advice is to keep your cat warm by hugging her as much as possible, as long as she doesn’t find it bothering. Moreover, there are stronger signs indicating that she is ready to give birth. Continue reading to find out.

3. Behavioral Changes


Your cat can act a little weird, but don’t worry because it is a pregnant cat’s behavior before birth. She may be either too affectionate or trying to hide as much as possible during the last week of her pregnancy.

If your pet is acting too affectionate or clingy, then she might expect you to be there with her all the time. It is probably saying that she has a good relationship with her caretaker – you! Therefore, during her gestation period, make sure that you display your love for her.

On the other hand, if your cat is secluded and often hides in the house, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love you. One explanation is that she wants to find a hidden place, often cabinets or closets, to give birth. Hence, you can help her out by eliminating sharp objects on the floor.

If you spot her wandering around those places, there are high chances that your pet is about to have kittens. In addition, One sign relating to this one is probably the nesting time begins, which will be mentioned in the next part.

4. Her Nesting Begins

Every mother wants to give birth to their kids at the best place in their abilities, and cats are no exception. As mentioned earlier, they will wander around the house, especially hidden and secluded places, to find a perfect location for their kittens.

In this case, you can help her out by building a nesting box so that she can rest, waiting for the day. Your nesting box is better to be in a warm room because cats can’t control their temperature. Furthermore, your location should be out of reach of other pets in your house and children.

You can make use of your cardboard box that is her size and cover the walls of the box with newspaper and plastic. In addition, when your cat is sleeping, make her feel cozy by putting a blanket on her.

The next sign can be easily recognized: loss of appetite.

5. The Decline in Appetite

When a cat is pregnant, she is likely to eat a lot. Nonetheless, she might lose her appetite when her delivery time is close. For instance, she might show a lack of interest in eating or drinking, maybe because the kittens’ weight in her body is pushing against her stomach.

Furthermore, this phenomenon can be caused by her extreme anxiety before giving birth. Therefore, this is a good indicator to diagnose when your cat is ready to give birth because it strongly contradicts the cat’s huge appetite in the first stages of having babies.

6. Licking

This is the most noticeable sign showing that the delivery time has nearly come. Before a few hours of giving birth, her vulva will discharge a lot of mucus plug. As a result, she will clean herself up by licking her vagina many times during the day.

When noticing this sign, you may want to let your cat rest in her nesting box, or you can drive her to the pet clinic for a quick check-up with the vet. When her water breaks, your cat needs to get to the vet immediately.


This article is the answer to the question of “How to tell when a cat is ready to give birth”. I hope that this has helped you recognize signs when a cat is about to give birth and take good care of your pet.

A cat pregnancy timeline with pictures is also provided in this article for you to refer to. Share your opinions on this topic with me in the comment section. If you find this article informative, share it with your family and friends as well.

5/5 - (3 votes)