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How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Give Birth Between Kittens (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10 minutes to 1 Hour

It is an ideal thing for any animal to reproduce. There can be however a distinction in the way the reproduction is done in all the animals. Mainly between other animals, and one specific category that is mammals. Cats are known to be domestic species of carnivorous mammals.

Mammals like cats give birth to their young ones, unlike some animals that lay eggs. The process for giving birth is lengthy as compared to a few other mammals. If mammals like cats are giving birth to multiple offspring, then the time between birthing each offspring is also different from other mammals.

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Give Birth Between Kittens?

When a cat gives birth to kittens, it is a time-consuming process. The time for the whole process even extends if the number of kittens that the cat is pregnant with is more.

Cats usually give birth to at least two kittens in one pregnancy. The number can go up to even nine kittens in some cases. The birthing of the kittens is one after the other. However, that does not mean that the cat will deliver the kittens just seconds apart.

There is a time gap of at least 10 minutes between each kitten being born. The time can even go up to an hour before the cat births the next kitten.

There are usually three stages that a cat undergoes before a kitten is finally born. The first stage is for about 36 to 40 hours. In this stage, the cat feels contractions. It is the way the cat’s body is preparing for the delivery.

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It is in the second stage that the kittens are born. The period of this stage depends on the number of kittens the cat is pregnant with. Between kittens, the cat will often take a maximum of an hour to give birth.

The third and final stage is where the placenta for each kitten is passed out of the cat. The third stage can take about six hours until the cat eats up the placenta.

Average time limit The birth time between two kittens
Minimum time10 minutes
Maximum time 60 minutes

Why Does It Take So Long For A Cat To Give Birth Between Kittens?

The period of labor or as more correctly said interrupted labor happens with cats when they are going to give birth to more than one kitten. It is considered very normal. When the cat is pregnant, all the fetuses are lined in each of the horns of the uterus.

The biological structure of the cat is in such a way that once one kitten is born, the cat can stop straining for some time. It gives time to the cat to recuperate after the current birthing process. However, the cat’s body is preparing itself for the next birth.

It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to even an hour to give birth to the next kitten. It can even take more than an hour in some cases. In the meantime, the cat often suckles the born kittens. Once the cat is comfortable after a kitten is born, the cats rest while the body starts preparing for the next birth.

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There are even chances that the cat herself will interrupt the next birth until she wants to. It depends on many factors like the owner being out, or the cat not being comfortable, etc. In such cases, it might also happen that the time between two births can last from an hour to even days.

Conclusion

Sometimes there is a chance that there might be a difficult pregnancy with one of the kittens due to some complications with either the fetuses or the horns of the uterus. In such cases, the time between two births can also increase considerably.

It also happens that one of the kittens in the litter is healthier and bigger, and thus it might take time for the birth canal to adapt to the size of the kitten and to give birth.

Hence, the time between two birth can sometimes be five minutes, while in some cases it can also be a couple of hours. It all comes down to the physical attributes of the birthing cat and the kitten being born.

References

  1. https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1748-1090.1997.tb01198.x
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03193568
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