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Building a Cat Birthing Box
A pregnant cat should be inside the home long before she is due to have her kittens. When the time is drawing near for the birthing, your cat will begin to be restless and root around clothes, rags or whatever she can find. This is when you need to prepare a kittening box also called a birthing box, or a nesting box. It goes by many names, but the sole purpose is to provide a safe, warm place for your cat to give birth.
First choose a room of the house where there is relatively little traffic. One that is dark and quiet and can be closed off if need be.
Next choose a spot that is away from drafts or cold air. A closet with a section cleared out and blocked will work, a dresser drawer cleaned out and filled with soft rag strips is ideal. You can use a tall cardboard box, a Rubbermaid plastic container or you can build a nesting box.
The birthing box should have plenty of room. There should be layers of soft bedding inside. The sides need to be high enough so that as the kittens grow they don’t roll out and hurt themselves.
Rubbermaid containers are ideal. Buy a large container, cut round air holes all around the sides (several rows). Cut a hole in the top large enough that your queen can hop out and use the litter pan.
If you decide to use a cardboard box, be sure that all sides are intact because you really do need a roof (to keep the kittens warm and to prevent drafts).
Have on hand, extra rags, towels, old blankets or old soft cotton sheets, for you will be changing the bedding a lot in the coming days.
Place a litter pan, food and water near the birthing box but not inside the box. The queen can then move away from her kittens periodically for a bit of a rest and a meal..
Laundry baskets and open weave baskets should be avoided. A kitten’s head will easily fit through most of the slots of these items. You want something completely contained. If you are crafty, you can build your own nesting box.
Keep a flashlight nearby. You do not want harsh lighting for the new family.
Keep human traffic to the room at a minimum before and after the kittens arrive. Feel free to pick up the kittens immediately for just seconds (if the queen lets you). But don’t bring a lot of people in to admire the kittens or the queen will become nervous and move them.
Mary Anne Miller is a freelance writer, website content provider and member of The Cat Writers’ Association. Her expertise lies in feral cat socialization, bottle babies and animal abuse issues.