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Cats, Critter Chatter, Healthcare, Safety

CRITTER CHATTER: Preparing for Kittens

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog


four kittens sitting in the grass

The three little kittens, they lost their mittens,

And they began to cry,

“Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear,

That we have lost our mittens.”

As soon as you find that your cat is pregnant, and hopefully it’s planned, you should prepare your house, yourself, and “mom” for the arrival of her kittens. It is an exciting time and by making some adjustments, birthing can be stress-free, your cat will be well, and the newbies will grow into vigorous adults.


Begin feeding high-quality kitten food to provide mom the increased energy and nutrients she will need for the growth of kittens and the production of milk. I recommend natural kitten foods made without chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, artificial preservatives and byproducts. Dry food should be available at all times, and you can add small amounts of canned food – if she’s accustomed to eating such – to provide additional protein. If you are unsure which particular food best serves your cat, check with your veterinarian. This may also be a good time for a thorough prenatal exam.

Create a nesting area

Creating a nesting area where she feels comfortable and safe usually makes labor easier and helps prevent birthing on your bed (maybe). A good choice is a large cardboard box with an entryway sized so mom can come and go through, but the new arrivals stay inside. A cat travel carrier or laundry basket will also work. Be sure to choose a location away from heavy traffic. Line it with soft blankets or towels or even puppy training pads. It’s a good idea to introduce her to the area early so she gets comfortable with it. Make sure water, food, and litter box are close by and keep bowls out of the box. But in spite of all your preparations, if she chooses another location, let her be.

Be prepared with medical supplies

Have some medical supplies on hand in case there are problems with the birth. Clean scissors and dental floss to cut and tie the umbilical cord if the mother doesn’t, and iodine or chlorhexidine tincture to stop infection. Have fresh towels available to clean mom and the kids. If the queen doesn’t nurse, get some milk replacer with colostrum and a kitten nursing bottle or eyedropper. Keep your veterinarian’s telephone number handy and a small box to carry the kittens, if a visit is necessary.

Make your home a safe environment

This is a good time to make sure that your house is safe for pets by checking that there are no poisonous plants or ones recently treated with pesticides within reach of exploring kittens. A few plants poisonous to cats include Lilies, Aloe Vera, Amaryllis, Asparagus Ferns, Daffodils, Philodendrons, Jade Plants, Chrysanthemums and Cyclamen.

Being ready for the arrival of new kittens is important for your cat’s health and your own state of mind. It’s a stirring time, and by making sure everything is in place for a safe birth, nobody will lose their mittens and begin to cry. And don’t forget flowers for mom and new toys for the kittens.

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a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden Doodle named Charlotte.

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