Labour Difficulties

Cats are normally pregnant for approximately 63 days. The actual birth usually takes place without any major problems but sometimes queens can have difficulty giving birth. There are several possible reasons for this.

The first possibility is that of size. The kittens can be simply too large to pass through the birth canal of the queen. The limiting factor on the queen’s part is the bony pelvis. The chance of large kittens is bigger if it involves a small litter.

The second possibility is that the queen is not strong enough to expel the kittens. This is possible as a consequence of a condition called eclampsia. This is when the queen has a low level of calcium in the blood, giving rise to weakness of the muscles. This can be caused by incorrect feeding or supplementation during pregnancy.

The third possibility is that of kittens being in the wrong position to be expelled normally by the queen. Sometimes a kitten can be blocking the birth canal if it is not positioned normally. Also, it is possible for 2 kittens, from the two separate uterine horns, being expelled at the same time. This will again lead to a blockage.

The different reasons for difficulty during labour require very different approaches by the vet and therefore it is important to seek veterinary advice when this happens. If a queen is obviously trying to pass a kitten for more than 15 minutes and nothing is happening, ring the vet!


This pet health article is for reference only.

If your pet is showing any symptoms or distress, and you suspect your pet is ill CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.