Cat Illness and Pregnancy: Special Times for Care
Has you cat’s behavior changed lately? Does she appear agitated or sick? Certainly, at sometime throughout your cat’s life, you’ll have to provide special care for her if she’s sick or pregnant.
If you have a feeling that something’s not quite right with your cat, don’t hesitate to trust your instincts and have a veterinarian check him over.
A sick catYour Cat and Illnesses
Caring for a sick cat requires a great deal of time and energy. This effort is well invested since it leads to the continued health and well-being of your cat. Your veterinarian should always be consulted to determine a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Sometimes you will be able to nurse your sick cat at home to avoid a prolonged stay at the hospital. Your veterinarian can help you decide whether the treatment and care required can be accomplished outside the hospital.
The following are simple things you can do to help your cat recover:
– Provide a clean area for your cat.
– Keep the cat warm and comfortable.
– Change the bedding often.
– Avoid placing your cat’s bed in a draft.
– Never let a sick cat outside.
– Monitor your cat’s condition.
– Report changes to your veterinarian.
Closely monitor the use of any heating devices. Thermal burns can result from heating pads and heating lamps and many experts recommend that they not be used.
Your veterinarian should approve any medication you give your cat. He will prescribe medication in a form that’s easiest to administer. Many cat owners prefer liquids.
How to administer a pill:
– Grasp your cat’s head where his jaws meet and tip it back.
– Push on the lower jaw and place the pill on the back of the tongue.
With his head still tipped back, gently massage your cat’s throat to encourage him to swallow.
Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate this and other medicating procedures. Also ask your vet if the pill can be ground and mixed with wet food.
Diet During Cat Illness
Sick cats may require a special diet to help them recover faster. Your cat may benefit from foods that are either enhanced or restricted in certain nutrients. Consult your veterinarian for advice.
Mother cat and kitten Cat Pregnancy & Nursing
The decision to breed your cat should not be made lightly.
Regular checkups with your veterinarian help ensure that the queen remains healthy and that her kittens are born with minimal stress and problems.
If you’re uncertain whether your queen is pregnant, use the following signs as an indicator of her condition.
– Her nipples should become pink.
– You may notice a gradual weight gain of about two to four pounds.
– She has a slightly swollen abdomen.
– She has begun to exhibit “nesting” behavior.
Check with your veterinarian as soon as possible in this situation in order to better care for your expecting feline.
To care for your pregnant cat, provide a well-balanced diet and increase her food intake to account for her growing appetite. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what type of food to feed her.
Pregnancy is usually trouble free for most queens. Observe her daily for any signs that seem unusual or indicate that she is sick or listless.
The Birth Process
Discuss breeding with your veterinarian and keep your vet’s phone number handy in case of an emergency. If at all possible, be available to help your queen if she needs it. Many cat owners want to witness the birthing process and consider this a wonderful, bonding experience.
The birthing process includes three main stages:
The first stage may last up to six hours. The queen experiences involuntary contractions of the uterine muscles. She may also discharge clear fluids and some blood. She may vocalize and appear somewhat agitated.
The second stage can last anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. The queen starts “bearing down,” indicating active labor. Most queens do not move from the kittening bed. At the end of this stage, the queen starts to push out the first kitten.
In the third stage, the queen discharges the membranes and the placenta. The amount of time between the birth of the kittens varies. Active labor that produces no kitten after 30-60 minutes may indicate a problem.
Call your veterinarian if the queen seems distressed at any time during labor.
Most queens do not need assistance nursing their kittens. If your kittens are restless and crying constantly, the mother may be experiencing a problem with her milk supply. Consult your veterinarian and be prepared to nurse the kittens yourself.
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