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Ask Drhollowayvet Your Own Question
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 882
Experience:  Relief Veterinarian at Aloha Animal Hospital
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My cat gave birth to only one kitten over two hours ago.

Customer Question

My cat gave birth to only one kitten over two hours ago. Doesn't look like anymore are coming. She is asleep and comfortable. The kitten also won't nurse, doesn't really care to try, just wants to cuddle with mom. Anything I should do? Is one kitten normal?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

Hello this is Dr. Holloway but you can call me Dr. H for short. I understand you have a pregnant cat. This can be an exciting yet worrisome time for any owner.

So to start I have to inquire how many kittens is mom having? Hopefully you had an x-ray done to tell, otherwise you can only guess when mom is finished with the labor process. - Dr. H

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is just told you she only had one. She had no X-ray or sono.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure if she is done with the labor process but I know only one kitten is rare.
Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

Ok. But there could still be some inside of her. Cats in particular are in no rush with labor. They can take up to 1-2 days to finish the labor process. We can only assume she is done.

Yes 1 kitten is rare but not unheard of. The kitten that is there is it moving around ok and are the airways cleared out (throat, nose). Usually I recommend using a suction bulb to clear things out.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh yes this cat is perfect! In fact he is quite active and super vocal.So she could have more kittens in a day or two? My cat is in like a deep sleep now.
Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

It doesn't sound like momma cat is in distress so I would recommend monitoring her for now. She could potentially still have contractions later if she has any more kitten left.

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

Ok great, but not feeding from mom. Hmm. Is she lactating?

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

No she could have more later today, but the complete labor can take up to 2 days in extreme labors, yes it sure can! I know it is hard to believe but some healthy kittens have been born up to 2 days later, sporadically.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The kitten is looking for a nipple very actively, the mom is asleep, and her nipples look like they did prior to pregnancy. No milk or engorgment at all. Nipples are small and flat.
Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

Which is why monitoring mom for any signs of distress during the labor is the most tedious job when it comes to cats. They are completely different than a dogs labor which is over pretty fast in comparison.

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

Oh she does not have milk let-down. That is why kitten can't nurse. Looks like you may be forced to nurse this kitten on your own unfortunately.

Has mom been on kitten food for the past 3-4 weeks of her pregnancy? Kitten food is important for proper milk let-down.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A few hours prior to birth she was changing her nesting spot and pacing and I saw the contractions. Then she went to sleep under a bed, no more contractions at all, and a few hours later I checked on her and a kitten was already there. So I don't see anything except that.
Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

Yes. Once your cat starts to have contractions, the kittens are born pretty quickly. However, the intervals between the contractions is what causes the whole labor process to be long.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How long should I wait to see if the nursing happens. She was a wild cat. No kitten food. Plenty of wild cats have let down.
Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

At this point there is a good chance she won't have let-down. I would prepare to nurse the kitten with over the counter kitten formula that can be purchased at your Petstore such as this one

- Dr. H

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

You have to feed kittens every 2-3 hrs and mom should be able to handle the rest, which is stimulating kitten to urinate and defecate. You will have to do this until kitten is around 2-3 weeks old then you can cut back on feedings. Here is a website that goes through helping kittens with milk replacement scheduling and weaning.

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

So I would start nursing right away. Kitten will still continue to cuddle with momma cat and if she were to spontaneously have milk let-down then she will be right there, but she needs to eat right away for her health.

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

Is there anything else I can help you with concerning your cat and kitten?

Expert:  Drhollowayvet replied 1 year ago.

If you don't have any more questions for me if you would be so kind as to provide me a rating at this time as this is how I am credited for taking the time to assist you and your pet concerns today. I would very much appreciate it!

Thanks for using the site and entrusting me with providing advise for your cat concerns. Good luck with your cat and have a good day!

Best regards,

Dr. H

If you have any other questions or concerns that you wish me to address feel free to ask and I will be happy to assist you further.