How Do You Know A Cat Is Done Giving Birth? (Answers Here)

If your cat is pregnant and is almost due, congratulations, you are going to be a ‘grandparent’ soon.

It has been a fruitful two months keeping your queen in good health to ensure a smooth labor and that her kittens come out healthy.

The birthing experience for most cats will be a smooth one. Mother cat and kittens will be all together after a few hours of labor.

However, there can be times when the labor can stretch more than a day. As a cat parent, can you tell when your cat is done giving birth?

It is possible to tell if your cat has given birth to her litter by observing her contractions. Once the contractions are over, it usually means the mother cat has completed birthing her kittens. Sometimes, it helps to gently press her tummy to see if there are any kittens left inside.

In the article, we will be taking a closer look at ensuring the female cat has expelled her last kitten and how to ensure a smooth pregnancy.

Cat Giving Birth For The First Time

It can be a rather stressful albeit exciting period when your cat is about to give birth to her kittens.

Most cat parents will be getting worried if they have no experience with a pregnant cat or if the cat has never been through the birthing process.

There are a number of things that you should be doing to help with the process of kittening and keep your queen cat as comfortable as possible.

We will be touching more on this later.

But for now, it is important for you to know when the birthing process is over.

Get An X-Ray Done At The Vet

As with all expecting mothers, regular checkups with the OB-GYN are required to prevent any hiccups during childbirth.

You should be doing the same thing for your female cat before she goes into labor.

Get an x-ray done by the vet to get an estimate of how many kittens are in the tummy. It might not be the exact number but it will be the most accurate way of knowing the litter size.

This can be important, especially for certain cat breeds with large litter sizes like the Siamese or Burmese.

These cats can have up to 12 cats per litter!

Once all the kittens are out of her, the labor process is over.

Feel For Contractions

When your cat goes into labor, she will be experiencing strong contractions. Contractions are necessary to help push the kittens out of her womb and birth canal.

You should be able to visually notice your cat’s contractions or feel them by gently placing your hand on her tummy. Her stomach will be having a squeezing sensation.

If she is still having contractions, it means that she is still in the birthing process.

Feel For Remaining Kittens

When you are feeling for existing contractions, make sure to physically feel for any kittens left in your cat’s tummy.

If the cat is still in labor, the kitten would feel like a small potato stuck in the stomach. Do note that it can be hard to feel for the tiny kittens at times with the excess fluid in her stomach.

Make sure to not press her stomach area too hard or you might injure the kittens as they are still very fragile.

Look out for visible signs of her kittens moving about in her tummy. That should give you a good indication as to how many more unborn kittens are left.

Body Language

If you have ever seen a pregnant woman in labor, you’ll understand that it isn’t the most pleasant of experiences.

She will be in pain and discomfort.

The same goes for your cat in labor.

If there are still kittens in her, she will be restless and lick her private parts often. She will probably be meowing or yowling and changing positions frequently.

Changing positions helps the gat get into the best posture for pushing the kitten out.

During the initial part of kittening, the mother cat won’t be too bothered with her kittens. But as she nears the end, she will start to lick and clean her newborn kittens.

If after an hour or so she still seems restless and moving about, it means that there are kittens in her.

But if after some time has passed with her being more settled and paying more attention to her kittens and eating the placenta which is completely normal

This usually means all her kittens are out.

Watch Her Breathing

A cat in labor will be huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf. Giving birth is a strenuous process and the cat’s body needs more oxygen.

She will usually start to pant or breath harder during her contractions.

Her breathing will slowly return to normal once she is out of labor.

How Long Does Cat Labor Last?

A cat in labor will go through certain phases. This begins with the first stage where the female cat will start to settle down to give birth. She will be eating a lot lesser, acting restless and her own body temperature will drop a little.

This phase alone can last a day to 36 hours.

Pretty long.

Once she is ready, the strong contractions in her tummy will start to push the first kitten out of her birth canal.

Once the cat has started to give birth to kittens, the phase can last anywhere between two to hours, largely depending on how large her litter size is.

It can last longer for cats who are giving birth for the first time.

A Stalled Or Interrupted Labor

There will be some cats whose bodies will tap the pause button on the labor process. Your cat will behave as if she has given birth to all her kittens.

But in fact, there could still be one or two left unborn in her womb.

There’s really no way to tell that your cat is going through a stalled labor unless you know the exact number of kittens she should have or you can still feel a kitten or two in her.

I have a friend whose cat went into a stalled labor for 24 hours. She thought that her cat was done with labor.

She had a pleasant surprise when she come back and counted an extra kitten in the litter.

Usually, the stalled labor will commence safely and the female cat will give birth to the remaining kittens and end her labor thereafter.

How To Prepare For Your Cat’s Pregnancy?

Before your cat’s due date, prepare for her a birthing box or next that she can give birth in. Make sure that the box is large enough for her and her litter.

Would be good to have the sides of the box that is high enough to prevent the kittens from climbing out.

Kittens are born blind and afraid hence we don’t want them trying to find a way out of the birthing box.

Line the box with soft towels and blankets that can be thrown away after the birthing process.

Even though our cats have been domesticated, cat owners do not really have to intervene much during the labor process.

It would be best to leave your cat alone in the room alone and observe the kittening from afar.

If you have kids or other pets that can interfere with the labor, use a webcam to monitor the queen and keep the door close.

When To Seek Medical Attention During My Cat’s Labor?

Most cats can handle their own pregnancies without much trouble. However, there can be times when you will need to get your cat to the vet immediately when you notice these symptoms.

  • Heavy and constant bleeding from the vulva
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A confirmed stalled labor
  • No kittens coming out even with contractions

It would be good to give your vet clinic a heads up when your cat is in labor. This allows them to be prepared if you need to rush your cat and her newborn down for medical attention.

You should bring the mother and all her kittens to the vet for a checkup one or two days after the labor process is over.

How Do Mother Cats And Kittens Recognize Each Other?

When the mother cat is almost done kittening, she will start to clean and lick her kittens religiously when no more kittens are born.

By licking her kittens, the mommy cat will leave her scent on her kittens so that she will know who belongs to her litter.

In return, her kittens will start to knead at her nipples to produce milk and imprint their own scent on mommy cat.

Do not touch or handle the kitten when they are newly born as the mother has yet to imprint her scent on them.

Only do so if you to help remove the membrane from the kitten to allow air into the kitten lungs.

Doing so might cause the mother cat to think that the kitten isn’t hers and ignore it.


Having the opportunity to experience your cat give birth to her kittens is an amazing thing. Remember to keep calm and let the mother cat handle her own pregnancy.

Only intervene if you need to help save the life of the mother cat or any of her kittens.