Also, from www.sniksnak.com
The normal gestation time for cats is 64 to 69 days, roughly two months. Around the time for delivery (queening), the female will seek out a secluded nest. It may be in a closet, under the shrubs, in the hayloft, or in the center of your bed. There will usually be little fuss or bother, but a few pregnant queens will stay close to the owner. Cats can delay the onset of labor or halt the delivery process if the nest is disturbed. Just prior to delivery, her body temperature will drop to under 37C.
Kittens are usually delivered after a few strong contractions that look like waves across her abdomen, with the entire litter being born in just a few hours. Some cats deliver part of the litter and then go out of labor for up to 24 hours before delivering the remaining kittens. This could be due to a lack of privacy during delivery, or because the kittens were conceived at different matings (which means the kittens in a single litter could be fathered by different toms). Pauses in the delivery process are perfectly fine, but if your queen is in active labor and straining for more than 45 minutes without producing a kitten, you should call your veterinarian.
A placenta is usually passed immediately after each kitten is born. The female will lick each newborn to clean off the translucent membranes covering their bodies. She will chew the umbilical cord to separate the placenta and unless you intervene, she will more than likely eat it
Most mother cats stay with the kitten except for very short periods of time to eat and eliminate. NOTE: Female cats can and do go into heat and can become pregnant as little as 48 hours after delivering a litter. Mothers will move the litter to a more secluded nest if the kittens are handled too often.
Mother cats rarely require assistance in the delivery of their kittens. Your most significant contribution to the birth will be to provide appropriate prenatal care to the mother. This should include immunizations and attention to her nutrition.
Pregnant cats should be fed a high-quality diet formulated specifically for kittens beginning in the last third of the pregnancy when the fetuses are in their rapid growth stage. Continue to feed the mother this food until the kittens are weaned. The nutritional requirements for energy and protein for pregnant and nursing cats are about double those of a healthy nonpregnant cat. A diet formulated to support nonpregnant adult cats may be inadequate in energy, protein, and minerals for the pregnant or nursing queen.
Although problems related to queening (the delivery of kittens) are rare, there are a few precautions you should take. If you know the breeding dates for the mother, calculate the approximate delivery date on your calendar. Watch for any subtle signs of nesting behavior as this date approaches. You can check her body temperature, but this intrusion may delay delivery. Once labor has started, it is a good idea to call your veterinarian's office to let the staff know that the kittens are arriving, just in case of a problem.
Under no circumstances should you intervene in the delivery unless a problem arises.Have some soft hand towels ready to help the mother remove the fetal membranes and dry off the kittens if problems do arise. If you need to tie off a kitten's umbilical cord, use thread or dental floss and a pair of scissors. The mother will clean the kitten and detach the umbilical cord from the placenta in plenty of time, unless two kittens are born in quick succession. In this case, you can wipe the kittens' noses and mouths free from fluid and membranes, watch for breathing, and let the mother contine with her thing.
Problems with Delivery: Dystocia
Beware of the few signs that could indicate a potential problem with the births. If you see any of the signs in the table below, you should immediately consult your veterinarian.
Kittens are born covered by a set of thin, transparent membranes. Before birth, the kittens were suspended in a fluid enclosed by these membranes inside the uterus. A beltlike mass of blood vessels encircled the kitten's abdomen. This is the placenta. As a kitten passes through the birth canal, these membranes break and partially slide off. The mother licks the remnants of the membranes from around the kitten's face and body. The action of her tongue helps stimulate the kitten to breathe. There will be some initial gasps through the tiny mouth. Within seconds, the kitten will begin shallow, rapid respirations.
As the mother licks the kitten's body and encounters the umbilical cord, she chews it and frees the kitten from the placenta, the pulplike mass included with the fetal membranes. Soon after birth, check each kitten's umbilicus to make sure that the mother has not severed the cord too closely, creating a hole in the abdomen. Should this happen, don't panic. Contact your veterinarian right away. Despite the high risk of infection or chance that a loop of intestine may drop through the hole, the kitten may do very well if the defect is closed surgically as soon as possible.
Sometimes the kittens come in such quick succession that the mother won't have time to attend to both. Two possible problems can occur. First, the membranes may not be cleared away from around the mouth and nose and the air passages may stay blocked. As the mother is busy alternating licking and cleaning each kitten, one may not receive enough stimulation to make him breathe on his own. This is a life-threatening problem. The second problem related to rapid births could be a failure of the mother to detach the placenta. This, however, is not a life-threatening problem.
Attend to the first problem: the kitten's breathing. Gently wipe the kitten's face with your finger wrapped in a soft towel. In most cases, simply handling the kitten will stimulate him to breathe. Wipe the kitten dry very carefully. It's very easy to tear a newborn's skin, especially around the flank folds and inner thighs. If the kitten doesn't start breathing, cradle him in a towel in the palms of your hands. Put him on his back with the hind feet toward you and gently swing the kitten downward toward the floor. This causes the fluid in the airways to flow upward and out the nose and mouth. Be especially careful not to fling the kitten out of your hands. Hold the kitten properly and do not swing aggressively.
If you are confident that a kitten is breathing but his attachment to the placenta is still intact, tie the umbilical cord off tightly with a piece of thread or dental floss. Place one knot about an inch from the kitten's abdomen and a second one just a little bit beyond. Sever the cord between the two. Do not tie the cord if it is thick or irregular in diameter. A loop of intestine may have herniated through the abdominal wall and may still be inside the umbilical cord. If you're not sure, call your veterinarian rather than make a serious misjudgment.