A Healthy Queen
A Healthy Mate (Tom)The male chosen to sire kittens must be chosen with great care. He must not be related to the queen and should also have undergone all the same health screening as the queen whether or not the Tom is resident or an outside stud.
The breeder will be breeding for the betterment of the breed & will consider coat colour & traits in both parents breeding from cats who poses the qualities one would want in a cat such as affection, playfulness, calmness & enjoying being around people, children etc as these traits will be seen in offspring. The breeder must also consider such things as compatibility for the size of the male & likely offspring.
If he is a well built large specimen for the breed & she is small & slight, the kittens of such a coupling are likely to carry his genetic just as much as her own. Large kittens may be a struggle for her to birth leading to the need for veterinary intervention. If he is a proven male the breeder will make consideration of his previous litters to get an idea of likely litter & kitten size.
Feeding for the healthy pregnancy & beyond.A queen should always be fed with a high-quality food which should be made available to her at all times so that she can cope with the additional stress placed on her body during pregnancy and kitten rearing.
High-quality food before mating will help to ensure healthy eggs (& sperm) and in pregnancy will support the developing embryos/kittens giving them the best chance to be born healthy and well-developed at birth.
Transitioning the cat from its normal adult complete food to either a kitten, queen or mother & baby complete food is the best diet at this time since all these foods have been formulated to provide this nutritional support. The queen should remain on this nutrient load long after she has successfully weaned her kittens since her body will need this nutrient-loaded food to help her to recover lost condition.
Weaning kittens will take interest in the food their mother is eating, so a mother & baby food is most appropriate to transition to after kittens are born.
Manage all food transitions as appropriate to life-stage carefully & gradually over several days
Food Transitions in PregnancyWatch your cat closely when making any dietary change. Make sure that she is eating and drinking well & that her stools are normal. If she seems unwell, develops diarrhoea or sickness or there is blood in the stool you can backtrack a few days allowing her digestive system to settle back down & then continue with the change but more slowly in smaller ratios and over a longer period. See the suggestions below:
An abrupt change in food/diet can cause a kitten/cat to become very ill very quickly.
- Severe diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and onward quickly to very serious complications.
- A blockage causing constipation or incorrectly digested food can be fatal
Day 1 & 2: 80% usual adult cat food //mixed with\\ 20% of the new food
Day 3 & 4: 60% //\\40%
Day 5 & 6: 40% //\\60%
Day 7 & 8: 20% //\\80%
Day 9: 100% new food
If this change is too fast & proving too harsh for your cat try a slower, more gentle change as follows:
Pregnancy Health Care:During pregnancy, your cat should continue to be wormed at the appropriate times. Check the dosage & instructions even if this is a product you have been using for some time.
A safe & gentle wormer such as Panacur is ideal for both mother & her kittens who will be wormed, along with mum, when they are 2 weeks old.
Pregnancy Diagnosis - Is she or isn't she?
Pregnancy ScanningFor pregnancy diagnosis scanning your vet may offer this service, or you may choose to have the scan performed at home using the services of a mobile practitioner. There are several such scanners in the UK who offer the same service as the vet but at home & at sensible prices.
The best time for ultrasound scanning for diagnosis & even a possible kitten count is at around 18-30 days. You must, however, keep in mind that the kitten count is not always accurate & this might be for one (or both) of two reasons......
- despite being small at this stage, one foetus can hide behind another during scanning & since it is not seen is not counted.
- should a foetus not survive early on in development in the womb it can be reabsorbed into the body therefore once counted, it is gone by the time of the birth.
During the pregnancy the nipples will become elongated in preparation making them the right size for the kittens to be able to latch on and feed. In a furred cat after pinking & over the coming weeks the mother-to-be will groom away the hairs around each nipple to make it easier for the kittens to find them.
A diary of the experience of Noodle's First Pregnancy
On the 12th August, she flared into heat for the eighth time, my cue to take her to visit the stud I'd chosen for her mating.
Human MenI had noted very early on that when my sons visited or if a man was in the house, that Noodle would show them a great deal of interest, definitely more so that she did to women. Council workers neighbours & estate agents became the prime targets for her affections. She would spend time checking them out sniffing them thoroughly. Luckily, most of these men have been enamoured with Noodle & didn't mind terribly, but this surely suggests that there is a scent or pheromone given off by a human male that is similar (or the same) as that given off by a male cat?
Underlining this commonality when each time she went into heat that her interest in men became extremely heightened. Rather than the thorough sniffing of them & their faces, now she would exhibit very flirtatious, downright wanton behaviour trilling and cooing, lying down and showing her tummy. trying in her cat ways to look appealing & 'sexy' to them!
During the summer of 2017, I'd watched her closely as I was waiting to take her to stud. I wanted her to come into heat in July, & as she did twice she did in June I thought it would follow quickly in July but strangely she failed to call for several weeks...... Proving beyond all doubt that there is a commonly shared scent-marker between the species which I believe my son must have in abundance, with no sign that a calling was even on its way, after a visit from said son one Saturday afternoon Noodle was catapulted into heat calling at full pelt.
Deciding to BreedBefore owning a Sphynx cat I had done plenty of research into the breed & talked endlessly with my close friends about the suitability of this breed for my lifestyle. Then, during my search for a cat to have as a pet came the possibility of one that was active registered starting me to think about beginning my own cattery.
I knew that I wanted a female Sphynx since they are smaller & lighter than a male & I am conscious that lifting is difficult for me. I came across Noodle at just 15 weeks of age being re-sold! Her original purchaser had bought her on the active register as it was her intention to start her own cattery however, her circumstances had suddenly changed forcing her to change her plans, hence this early resale.
Since this kitten was originally intended to establish a cattery & to become its breeding queen I decided that maybe I would keep her whole & breed from her. I did not, however, wish to buy the male she was also selling in the same advert.
I spent time looking into the policies, rules & regulations set out for breeders learning about breeding practices (& malpractices). And then forged ahead developing cattery policy that reflects my own values, plays by my rules & puts the cats' interests first.
Doing it right for me means first & foremost that my cat comes first, her health & wellness my #1 priority. She is, after all, my beloved pet & breeding or not it is essential that her nutritional & welfare needs are met fully
Doing it right meant finding & selecting a suitable mate which I did long before she was ever old enough to breed. It meant finding out about him; making sure he has all the right credentials! He must possess a calm, affectionate temperament & I wanted him to be proven so that I could ask about previous litters he has sired making sure that his queens had straightforward & trouble-free births & that they had healthy & robust kittens of a size that Noodle can manage - since I did not want her to face any difficulties giving birth.
It was very, very important to me too that this male is a much loved & cherished family pet & that his duties as a stud are secondary. This meant that he needed to be a house cat, not one who is living caged up, or in a chalet & unsocialised for much of his time which some cats are, sadly, when their lives are led simply to make their owner financial profit.
I am so grateful that I found a cattery who own a beautiful male who is made available to stud and both cattery & cat ticked all the boxes. See Sire(s) & Mating page.
Ready for MatingWhen Noodle sprung into heat on August 12th, 2017 as had been arranged I made immediate contact with the stud cat owner checking first was he available to her. Finding that he was we made arrangements for me to travel there with Noodle as soon as possible.
It is always the female who travels to the male because the female is much more concerned (at that time) about her hormonal onslaught & her drive to mate. This need over-rides any stress that she might normally have about going to, or being in, a strange place.Noodle & I have frequently travelled together staying over with my mum so I wasn't at all worried about her reaction to the adventure as far as getting there. On Monday morning August 15th, we drove for an hour and forty minutes to drop her off. She then stayed with her mate until Friday 19th August when I collected her again. See information about her mate on our Sire(s) page.
Being PregnantSince choosing the best quality life-stage appropriate food is the #1 thing I can do for Noodle, she was transitioned to a kitten formula food making sure that she is well-nourished & that her growing embryos will have all the nutrients needed to develop well. A healthy nutrient-packed diet now will also help to ensure that, once her kittens are born, that she will have an adequate milk supply for them.
Noodle does not seem to feel at all happy about this first pregnancy. She could certainly tell that she felt different, that her hormones seemed confused making her unsettled & needy.
|First signs - pinking up!
|Nipples are elongated & pronounced. Breasts have enlarged and tummy is rounded.
I have read previously of a cat who had happily raised several ducklings when they were given to her at the time of her own litter arriving. She accepted these ducklings as her own because just after birth there is a small window of opportunity when the cat's hormones are set her into a "nurture-mode". Had she been near to those ducklings at any other time they would have become a snack rather than gathered up to drink milk from her teats!
|Pregnant 7 weeks.