If your cat is expecting, it's best to be prepared to step in if the need arises. This is particularly true if your cat will be delivering its first litter. While cats usually know what they're doing based on instinct, problems can arise. When it comes time for your cat to deliver, here are some steps you should take to help facilitate the delivery in the event of an emergency.
Deliver the Kittens
It's not uncommon for cats to have difficulty expelling their kittens during a first delivery. If your cat has been straining for several minutes, and a kitten has not completely emerged, you'll need to step in. Carefully wrap a clean washcloth around the kitten and pull gently until the it breaks free from its mother. Be sure to grasp around the head and shoulders to prevent injury to the kitten.
Remove the Amniotic Sac
Once you've safely delivered the kitten, you'll need to remove the amniotic sac. This is particularly important if the mother is not showing an interest in assisting. Begin by grasping the amniotic sac near the mouth. Carefully open the sac and peel it away from the kitten. Once the sac has been removed, rub the kitten vigorously with the cloth. Pay close attention to the kitten's chest, abdomen, and back. This will help get the kitten's heart and lungs started. The vigorous rubbing will also help break up any mucus that might be in its lungs and airway.
Clear the Mucus
Kittens often have mucus in their mouths after delivery. If the mucus is inhaled, it can get into the lungs and cause breathing problems for the kitten. As soon as the head is free, open the kitten's mouth and insert the tip of your finger. Rub your finger around the inside of the mouth to remove any mucus that might be present.
Care for the Umbilical Cord
If your cat has not chewed through the umbilical cord, you'll need to care for it yourself. Begin by tying two pieces of thread around the umbilical cord. The first piece of thread should be about 1 ½" away from the stomach. The second piece of thread should be about 3" from the placenta. Once you have the cord tied off, you'll want to cut through the cord directly in the middle between the two pieces of thread. Be sure to sterilize the thread and scissors before use by soaking them both in rubbing alcohol prior to use.
If your cat is about to give birth, be prepared to step in to help deliver the kittens. Be sure to contact a veterinarian's facility such as Loving Care Animal Hospital after the delivery. A vet will be able to give you instructions for follow-up care.