You are here:

Cats/Giving birth


I have a stray mama cat that is pregnant.  I have no idea how far along she is.  This morning she had a mucus discharge that was red/pink looking.  She continued with this discharge for about 4 hours which included some urine looking liquid occasionally.  She was grooming her self licking the liquid away.  Now she is sleeping soundly.  I have no idea what the heck is going on.  Is she in labor or not??  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


It seems as if she will be giving birth soon.

Here is an information dump on what to expect in the latter stages of pregnancy. I suspect you know most of this, but there may be some things that may help you:

Cat gestation is normally 65-67 days with 63 days being a normal minimum and 68 days being a normal maximum.  Anything over 68 days would mean a visit to the vet!  You should be able to see and feel the kittens moving in the last week and a half to 2 weeks of pregnancy.

Here is the problem.  Every queen seems to want to do it a little differently, so the best I can do is give you some guidelines.

Anywhere from a week before birth up until the onset of birth or anywhere in between, she will get her milk in.  In this time frame she may also have a mucous/bloody discharge. (Although these events may start at different times during this time frame).

Anywhere from a few days before birth up until the onset of birth or anywhere in between, she may exhibit nesting behavior and restlessness.  Also, in this time frame her kittens will form hard knots and begin to move backward and downward in her abdomen.  This is really the very early stages of labor. (Although these events may start at different times during this time frame).

Anywhere from a few hours before birth up until the onset of birth or anywhere in between, her water may break and she will have what are called positioning contractions where she begins to get the kittens in line for birth.

You will know hard labor when you see it.  Once she starts her birthing contractions, it is usually about an hour before the first kitten is all the way out.  About 50% of the kittens are breech, so although it is a bit tougher, it is normal for the first kitten to be breech.

A couple of things you want to have handy are a roll of paper towels, a bottle of isopropyl alcohol, scissors (in case you have to cut the cords), and a soft face cloth to clean the kitten's face if mama does not do it immediately.

I like to use a "jumbo" cardboard storage chest (10" X 16" X 26") as a birthing box.  Put some old sheeting or toweling in side.  Put it somewhere you can easily get to, in a warm spot away from drafts, and away from young children and other pets.  You can half cover it with a towel, so it seems more den like.

Make sure your vet knows what is going on, so, in case she has trouble, you have arrangements about what you must do.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Best regards... Norm.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Norman Auspitz


I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.


I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.

Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

©2017 All rights reserved.