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When Can Puppies Go Outside?

Bringing your new puppy home is an exciting time for the whole family – but when can puppies go outside? You’ll no doubt be excited to show them off to friends and family and head out for adventures with your new best friend. After all, you want everyone to love your new pooch as much as you.

While it’s important to socialise your dog and get them used to their environment, you don’t want to put their health at risk. By taking the right precautions, you can ensure that your pup stays happy and healthy while not putting the vital puppy socialisation time at risk.

In this post, we discuss when it’s safe for your puppies to go outside, when can you take your new pup for a walk and why it’s important to take it slow.

Medical restraints

Typically, it’s not recommended to take your dog for walks until they are fully vaccinated. Vaccinations help protect your dog against diseases, making them essential when puppies go outside. Pups in particular are vulnerable to serious diseases, such as parvovirus and canine distemper.

Puppy vaccinations start from around 8 weeks old and they will need two sets of injections before they are fully protected. The second set is usually administered around 2-4 weeks after the first, when your pup is around 11-12 weeks old. Some vets may recommend a third set of injections for high-risk puppies or those without a clear medical background.

Depending where your bundle of joy comes from, they may have had a head start on injections. Some breeders and rehoming centres will give puppies at least their first set of vaccinations, perhaps even the second depending how long they have been there. Be sure to ask whoever you’re getting the pup from for complete paperwork for you to pass on to your vet.

Puppy socialisation

It can be tricky to find the right balance between teaching your pup to be a well-rounded, happy adult and keeping them safe from disease. If you wrap your pooch up in cotton wool for the first few months of their life, they may grow into an anxious, frightened adult with a low quality of life. That’s why it’s important to introduce puppies to new experiences in a safe, risk-free manner.

Here’s how to manage some of the key aspects when puppies go outside:

Getting out & about

While it isn’t recommended to take your puppy out for walks in a public area before they have been vaccinated, you can carry him or her on trips out to your local area, introducing them to the outside world without risking their health. Whether you go for a walk to your local park or wander around the town, getting your puppy used to its environment early in life will help them later on.

Puppy being carried

Making friends

It’s also useful to interact with other people and dogs early on when they are curious and fearless puppies. The more social interactions they can have as youngsters, the happier they’ll be as adults. Some experts suggest that your pup should meet 100 people by the time they’re 16 weeks old. Of course, unless you’ve got an extraordinarily large family or are throwing parties every week, this number may be slightly ambitious.

However, by getting out with your pup, you’re allowing them the chance to meet new people and animals. Just make sure that any dogs they meet have also had their vaccinations.

Toilet training

Those first few weeks and months of your puppy’s life are essential for gaining new skills and forming lifelong habits. Yes, we’re talking about toilet training. But how do you train them to ‘go’ outside if they can’t actually go outside? Waiting for their injections would mean cleaning up messes for 10-12 weeks – and nobody wants that.

Fortunately, there’s no need to wait around that long. Even before the first round of injections, your pup can go in your own private garden, as long as you don’t have other dogs without vaccinations out there. So, you can get started toilet training as soon as you bring your new best friend home.

For more tips on socialising your puppy, take a look at our puppy socialisation checklist to make sure you’re covering all the necessary bases.

When can puppies go outside for walks?

The main reason people ask when can puppies go outside, is because they want to take their precious pooch on a walk. Before you start heading on walks with your puppy, you need to wait until they have had their complete set of vaccinations. Even then, you may find that your pooch isn’t as keen on walkies as you expected. Just like babies, puppies are doing a lot of growing in those first few precious months. So, they need a lot of sleep, with some even sleeping for up to 20 hours a day!

Taking your puppy for long walks before they’re ready can actually hinder their development. You may create a negative association with walking and could even physically harm your pup. The growth plates in puppy’s bones don’t develop fully until they are around 1 year old (longer for large breed puppies), so over-exercising could damage their skeletal structure.

A good rule of thumb for your pup is to aim for around 5 minutes of exercise per month of age until they are fully grown. So, if you bring them home at 8 weeks, you want to limit play time to 20 minutes – ideally 10 minutes, twice a day.

Puppy on a walk

Remember, you want to make sure the first walks you take your pup on are as fun and stress-free as possible. Let them lead the way and don’t drag them along with you, if they want to stop to smell everything along the way, let them do so.

Keep in touch

With the right preparation and all the necessary information, bringing your new bundle of joy home and getting them ready for the great outdoors can be an easy and enjoyable time for everyone.

Whether you’re an experienced pawrent with plenty of tips, or you’re awaiting your furry arrival and want some much-needed advice, we want to hear all about it. Be sure to take plenty of pictures when your puppy goes outside and share them with us on Instagram or Twitter.

Healthy Dog Poop Chart: In Search of the Perfect Poop

Healthy Dog Poop Chart: In Search of the Perfect Poop

A healthy dog poop chart can be highly useful for pet parents. Whether you like it or not, you’ll have to deal with your fair share of poop in your pooch’s lifetime. However, you might want to slow down as you reach for the pooper scooper and take a second to learn more about your dog’s digestive health.

Your pup’s poops can reveal a great deal about their health, so it’s important to know what to look out for. When we were perfecting our natural pet food recipes, we spent a lot of time – a little too much if you ask me! – inspecting poop to gain an insight into how different ingredients affect digestion.

We’re sure most people agree – the less time you spend inspecting your dog’s poops, the better, right? That’s why we’ve created a healthy dog poop chart, complete with a dog poop colour chart and checklist for healthy poos.

The perfect poop

Just like us humans, all dogs are different. Their toilet habits are different too. With that in mind, it’s important to get to know your pup right away and understand what is normal for them. That way, you will be able to recognise any changes in their stools.

While there can be slight differences depending on the pooch, our healthy dog poop chart covers a few things to look out for that are a sign of a healthy dog poop…

Consistency

When cleaning up after your pooch, many of us don’t like to think too much about what’s inside the plastic bag we’re holding. But it’s important to consider the consistency of your dog’s poo as you pick it up, as this can be a sign of other issues.

Healthy dog poop should be compact, moist and hold its shape when picked up. If the poo is runny or watery, this could be a sign of intestinal upset – maybe your pup has eaten something they shouldn’t. Similarly, if the poop feels too hard or dry, your pooch may be suffering from dehydration or constipation. If you notice a change in your dog’s poo consistency, make sure to discuss it with your vet. If you’ve recently changed food, it’s normal to expect some stool variation in the first few days so don’t panic. If things haven’t settled down after 2 weeks then review. Often it’s a case of feeding too much. Feeding guidelines are just guidelines after all, so try reducing the amount you feed and see if that helps.

Size

It goes without saying that the size of your pooch’s poop depends on the size of the dog itself. There’s no way a Yorkshire Terrier will produce as much poo as a Great Dane! But generally speaking, your pooch should produce poops around the same size as the food portions they are eating.

Happy Dog In Field

The key thing to look out for when it comes to poop size is any noticeable changes. Larger than normal poos may mean that your pup’s food isn’t being digested as it should, and they are not getting the necessary nutrients out of it. On the other hand, smaller poops may be a sign of a loss of appetite due to an illness or a blockage in their digestive process.

Frequency

The number of times your dog poops each day should be consistent – whether that’s once or four times per day. As long as it is the same every day, there’s no need to worry. Typically, most pups will go once or twice a day – although some may go four or more times! Our Smudge loves to go three times and spreads it out during her walkies. If we’re lucky she occasionally plans it right next to the poo bin.

It’s important to pay attention to how many poops you’re scooping each day to understand how your pooch is doing. If they go from being a regular once-a-day-er to needing to go four or five times, they could be having some digestion problems and need to see the vet.

Shape

Typically, your pup’s poop should be shaped like a log and maintain its shape when picked up or moved. Look out for pebble-like or rounded poops as this could be a sign of dehydration or stiff joints.

If your pooch is a little older or suffers with joint issues, they may not be able to stay in the right position for long enough to produce a perfect poop. In this case, you may want to consult a vet and give them something to soften their stools to make things a little easier.

quizzical dog

Colour

The main tell-tale sign that something is wrong when it comes to dog poop is its colour. You may not need to look too closely to spot a colour difference, so there’s less inspection necessary. Take a look at our infographic below for a healthy dog poop colour chart, so you know exactly what to look out for.

Anything other than light or dark brown – ideally a milk chocolate colour – may be cause for concern. Your dog food of choice may contain some food colourings too (if so we’d advise to change foods as this is unnecessary nonsense in pet food), so be sure to check the ingredients list as this may affect the colour of your pooch’s poop.

  • Green – Could be a sign of a gall-bladder issue, or that your pup has been over-eating grass, which could indicate stress or intestine troubles.
  • Orange / yellow – This could be a sign of an issue with the liver or pancreas, both of which will require veterinary attention.
  • Red – Red streaks generally mean there is blood in your dog’s poop, which could be due to a cut near your pup’s anus so its worth having a quick look.
  • Black / tarry – Could be a sign of internal bleeding in the stomach or small intestines, which requires urgent attention.
  • Grey / greasy – May mean a pancreas or biliary issue, so get your pooch checked out by your vet.
  • White spots – White, rice-like grains in your pup’s poop could be a sign of tapeworms, which will require treatment.
  • White / chalky – This is usually due to an excess of calcium and other minerals and is typically observed in dogs with a raw diet.

Keeping your pooch happy & healthy

The main thing to bear in mind when it comes to your puppy’s poop is that it is directly influenced by their diet. Prioritise dog food that is designed to promote good digestion. Our range of dog food (and cat food) is designed to be good for the gut, including ingredients like Slippery Elm and probiotics – the key to the perfect poop!

Regular exercise, a stress-free environment and the right diet should keep your pooch’s digestion running smoothly and save you from cleaning up even messier messes!

For more tips and guidance on being the best pawrent, head over to our Facebook page and share your favourite pet stories with us!

Healthy dog poop chart

In Search of the Perfect Poop

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Dentastix: Are They Good or Bad for My Dog?

Dentastix: Are They Good or Bad for My Dog?

Are Dentastix good or bad? It’s a question asked by so many proud pawrents. After all, we all want what is best for our pup. Alongside showers of daily affection and long walks in the countryside, dental care is vital for your furry friend.

Brushing your pooch’s teeth is just as important as brushing your own, and should be part of every pet parent’s daily routine. While there is no substitute to an old-fashioned toothbrush and paste (dog specific toothpaste not human toothpaste!), a lot of people use oral care chews and sticks like Dentastix, which claim to keep your pup’s teeth clean and healthy.

Read on as we discuss whether or not these chews and sticks are beneficial for your dog’s teeth.

What is in Dentastix?

We wouldn’t eat or chew on something if we had no idea what was it in, right? So, why expect your pup to do just that? Here in the UK, pet food and treat companies aren’t legally obliged to list individual ingredients in their product. Instead, they can simply list them by category.

As a result, a lot of ingredients may be hidden, and you may not be fully aware of what you’re giving to your beloved dog. Fortunately, we’ve broken down the categories to give you a clearer idea of what nutrients your pooch is getting.

Cereals

Some dog food companies use the term ‘cereals’ to describe all different types of grains. With this blanket term, it is impossible to know what type of grains are in Dentastix or the quality of the grains. If you have a dog who has a sensitive stomach or any food intolerances, not knowing what’s in the food can make it hard to identify the problem ingredient.

Derivatives of vegetable origin

The vagueness of this term means you simply do not know what you’re getting in each chew. One batch could be different to another depending on the vegetable products that are available at the pad.

Meat & animal derivatives

Meat and animal derivatives could be any part of any animal, from heads and brains to hair and feathers. This means manufacturers could change the recipe of their chews depending on the animal products that are available or cheapest at any given time.

Minerals

While ‘minerals’ is used as an attractive selling point, it’s actually impossible to know what they are. It can include Sodium Tripolyphosphate (E451) – an artificial preservative that is a common component of detergents, antifreeze and flame retardants.

Oils & fats

This refers to all fats and oils from plants or animals, whether that’s beneficial oils and high-quality animal fats or potentially harmful, highly processed oils. It’s impossible to know just by looking at the label.

Dog chewing on a stick

Do Dentastix clean your dog’s teeth?

Despite the confusion when it comes to the Dentastix recipe, they are used around the world to keep dogs’ teeth clean and healthy. According to their advertisements, they are even recommended by vets. So, they mustn’t be all bad, right?

Yes, Dentastix do contain specific ingredients designed to clean your pooch’s teeth. The question is whether or not you think feeding these dental chews are good for your dog’s health overall.

Active ingredients

The main Dentastix ingredient that cleans your dog’s teeth is Sodium Tripolyphosphate, a chemical which can break down plaque and tartar. However, the chemical only accounts for around 2.3% of each Dentastix stick, so you want to be comfortable that the other 97.7% is good for your dog…

Hidden ingredients

The majority of the ingredients in a Dentastix stick are not actually doing much by way of teeth cleaning. Extra additives are used to improve flavour, add texture and to appeal to the mass market. However, these additional ingredients could actually be doing more harm than good. Cereals, for instance, are turned into sugars when ingested, which can actually lead to cavities and bad breath – the very things you’re trying to prevent!

Only the best for man’s best friend

We believe clean ingredients are best for your pooch’s health, making Dentastix a no no. But at the same time, no pawrent wants to be dealing with smelly breath and poor dental health. While it can be tricky to maintain a healthy companion while navigating the pet food market, there are a few simple things to look out for to ensure your beloved pup is full of the good stuff.

Named ingredients

First things first, when choosing the perfect chew for your pooch, named sources are best. Look for simple, natural ingredients that you recognise. That way, you know what you’re giving to your dog (and what you’re not giving to your dog) so are at less risk of any harmful additives making their way into your pup’s system.

No substitute for the real thing

Of course, dental chews are a great way to keep on top of your dog’s hygiene and health. But there’s simply no substitute for good old-fashioned tooth brushing. Getting a hyper, excited dog to sit still for a few minutes every day for a tooth clean can be difficult – we get it, we’ve been through it with Smudge! – but its definitely worth it in the long run. And don’t forget human toothpaste is a no no for dogs (and cats!). Choose a toothpaste formulated for dogs.

Dog with a brush in its mouth

Tough chews

If you’re in the market for a dental chew for your dog, look for something hard so they have to work really hard to eat them. The chewing and scraping motions are what does the trick when it comes to cleaning, so a soft or flimsy chew simply won’t cut it.

Supervise your pup

Once you’ve found the perfect chew for your pooch, it’s important to always keep an eye on them when they’ve got it. Even with the hardest of chews, your dog could break them apart and may choke on smaller pieces without proper supervision.

Keep in touch

Exciting news! Scrumbles have our own healthy alternative to Dentastix with ingredients that are designed to keep those gnashers clean and benefit your dogs overall well being. Hand baked here in the UK, our dental chews are super yummy and perfect for keeping your beloved pooch’s teeth clean. Follow us on our Instagram and Twitter pages for more pupdates.

Be sure to comment below with your handy tricks for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. And stay up to date with our blog to learn new things about our favourite topic – pets!

Cat Teeth Cleaning: A Guide to Your Kitty’s Dental Health

Cat Teeth Cleaning: A Guide to Your Kitty’s Dental Health

Do you clean your cat’s teeth? Despite the popular proverb about having nine lives, cats only get two sets of teeth in their lifetime. That means, just like human teeth, cat teeth cleaning is an important part of caring for your kitty.

Considering our furry friends can’t do much themselves to maintain good dental health, it’s up to the pawrents to take control and make sure our precious cat’s teeth last a lifetime.

Of course, unless you’re a vet or experienced pet parent, it can be difficult to know how to clean your cat’s teeth. In this post we discuss why clean teeth are important for a happy, healthy cat and how exactly to clean your cat’s teeth.

Why cat teeth cleaning is important

In a previous blog post on the importance of cleaning your dog’s teeth, we discussed how a whopping 80% of our pets will show signs of poor dental health as they grow. Cats in particular are susceptible to periodontal disease, making it hugely important to keep your kitty happy and healthy with regular check-ups and teeth cleans.

Cat teeth cleaning

Without regular cleaning, cats can get a build-up of plaque on their teeth, just like we do. If left to fester, this plaque can harden and form tartar, which can be very irritating on the gums and could result in tooth loss. Not only that, poor dental health could cause your kitty to have heart or kidney complications, so it’s best to be strict with toothbrush time.

Looking out for warning signs

In order to prevent these devastating complications, its important to look out for signs of dental decay or disease. Cats are quiet warriors and often suffer in silence, so you may not notice right away that there are any issues. Fortunately, there are a few key signs to look out for, including:

Bad breath

One of the most obvious and hard to ignore signs of poor dental health is bad breath. While you may not want to get up close and personal with your kitty’s mouth, foul-smelling breath can be hard to miss!

Physical signs

Getting into a habit of regularly checking your cat’s gums and teeth can be great when it comes to spotting dental disease early on. If their gums start to look red or their teeth are a yellowish-brown, it could be a sign of something more sinister.

Change in eating habits

If your cat starts to drop food from their mouth, chew only on one side or simply becomes unable to eat, they could have a nasty case of gingivitis – a dental disease that causes severe inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is easy to spot. You’ll notice a dark red line along your cats tongue and if it’s been left for a while, you might also come across ulcers. If you suspect your cat has gingivitis, get a check up with the vet to avoid it developing into periodontitis and causing more harm for your kitty.

Reluctance to play

Whether you’ve got a sociable kitty or they prefer time to themselves, any change in their playtime could be a sign of dental pain. If they are suffering with tooth problems, they may turn away if you try to play or engage them in any way.

ginger cat with paws over its face

How to clean your cat’s teeth

If you’ve noticed any signs of dental disease or pain in your cat, you should always get them checked out by a vet to make sure there are no long-lasting problems. However, it’s important to prevent issues and reduce the chances of your kitty developing dental diseases by establishing a regular cat teeth cleaning routine.

Cat teeth cleaning essentials

First things first, you will need to buy some pet toothpaste. Don’t be tempted to use your own – human toothpaste is harmful for both cats and dogs. You’ll also need to get a cat finger brush – a small attachment with bristles for you to place on your finger – or a pet toothbrush. Pet toothbrushes are a little different to the ones we know and love, with small rounded bristles that helps to remove plaque and prevent tartar.

Start slowly

Taking it one step at a time is the best way to get your kitty used to the toothbrushing routine. Ideally you’ll have introduced your cat to getting their teeth cleaned at a young age. If you have an older cat fear not, with a little patience and a consistent routine you’ll be able to get their pearly whites sparkling. Put a little toothpaste onto their lips or gums to get them used to the flavour initially. Once your cat allows it, place a small amount of toothpaste on your chosen brush and use gentle circular movements on the sides of their teeth. It should take less than a minute to brush your cat’s teeth.

Keep up this routine for a few weeks, using a little paste and gentle movements every day until your cat becomes used to it and will allow you to brush their teeth regularly, ideally daily.

More than just the teeth

Taking care of your kitty’s dental health is about more than just teeth. Tooth decay is usually the final stage of dental disease, so it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of irritated or inflamed gums. To improve gum health, give your cat a little gum massage after brushing their teeth each day. This will accelerate healing and strengthen their gums. Your vet can also recommend specialist products to keep your precious kitty happy and healthy.

Using the right products

Another way to prevent dental health issues is by choosing the right products for your cat. You need to ensure that, from being a kitten, the food you choose for your little one is beneficial for their growth, happiness and dental health. Specialist chews and treats will also benefit your kitty’s gum health. Be sure to check the ingredients as some treats and food contain ingredients like added sugars which can worsen their teeth. Look out for “vegetable stock” in the ingredient list which is added for palatability and can include added sugars and salt.

In the wild, cats maintain good dental health by chewing on grass, leaves and bones. House cats are a little different. Without the availability of these items, house cats may search for suitable replacements. Getting them a chewy toy or two to sink their teeth into can help them to keep their gums and teeth clean.

Keep your cat comfortable and secure

It’s not fun to have people playing around with your teeth and if your cats anything like our Boo, brushing teeth is not something they’ll look forward to. You can help make your cat happier by establishing a routine somewhere comfortable – we put Boo on the sofa. If your kitty is likely to scratch you can place a blanket over their paws or swaddle them.

Calling on the experts

If your cat has heavy tartar build up or red gums, they might require a professional clean. Your vet will be able to advise if this is necessary. Plaque can be removed with regular brushing but if tartar has established, you’ll need the experts to remove it. A professional dental clean can be costly so it’s best to establish a teeth cleaning routine to avoid this. As it also involves putting your cat under with anaesthetic, it can cause stress for both you and your kitty.

Even if you’ve established a good teeth cleaning routine, it’s important to have regular checks with the vet to ensure your cat is fighting fit.

Keep in touch

At Scrumbles, we’re passionate about all things pets. Whether you’re a new cat pawrent or an experienced pet owner, we want to hear all about your exciting journey – cat teeth cleaning and beyond. Keep up to date on all our furry friends’ adventures on our Instagram page and share your cat teeth cleaning tips in the comments below.

Pregnant Cat Checklist

Pregnant Cat Checklist

A pregnant cat brings about lots of excitement. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to cat pregnancy, our checklist will help keep your cat and future kittens happy and healthy. With your home needing to be prepared, vet appointments to be booked and extra TLC to be given, its important to be able to spot the signs that your cat may be expecting as soon as possible.

How to tell if a cat is pregnant

First things first, is your cat pregnant?

Spotting a pregnant cat is easier said than done for most pet owners. But it’s always a good idea to check whether your cat is expecting, rather than leaving it to chance. While there are worse things to come home to than a litter of adorable kittens, a surprise pregnancy can be stressful and emotional for both sets of pawrents.

If you’ve welcomed your own baby into the world, you know how much your body and mind change during pregnancy. Your cat is no different. Spotting these changes early on is best for ensuring a healthy pregnancy for both the mother and their kittens. Fortunately, with all the physical and mental changes occurring, there are a number of signs to look out for:

Changes in appearance

The most obvious and easily noticeable signs of a pregnant cat are the changes to her appearance. Her nipples may become darker and more enlarged as she prepares to nurse her babies. This typically takes place 2-3 weeks during her pregnancy. You may also become aware of weight gain, specifically around her tummy, which is otherwise unexplained.

Pregnant cats can gain around 1-2kg, depending on how many kittens they are carrying, which should be noticeable if you look at her body shape from above. You may be tempted to touch her belly to feel for signs of life, but you should avoid doing this too much as you could risk hurting the new mum or her babies.

If your cats tummy has swelled but you don’t think she could be pregnant, take her to the vet as this could signal an illness.

Changes in behaviour

Pregnant or nursing cats are known as ‘queens’, and they can certainly live up to their title! She will start to sleep more during the day, appearing to have less energy or desire to move. Your queen may also start to act more maternal and needier, seeking extra attention from you – when she’s awake that is! If you notice your cat rolling around on the floor and being highly vocal, chances are, you have a pregnant cat!

Cat playing on the floor

If you are an experienced pawrent and have had your kitty for a while, you might be able to recognise when your cat is in heat. Just like humans, female cats have periods of peak fertility, which happen once every three weeks or so. Typically, you’ll notice her being more affectionate to others and walking a little differently. However, if her heat cycle suddenly comes to a halt or she displays different behaviours, this could be a sign of cat pregnancy.

Changes in eating habits

Another sign of a pregnant is a change in their appetite. This depends on the individual cat. Your queen could suddenly go off her food and refuse to eat, or she may begin to eat everything and anything in sight. Either way, any drastic change to her eating habits could be a sign of pregnancy, so it’s important to be aware of how much, how often and what food your cat is eating.

Just like a human pregnancy, pregnant cats can get morning sickness and cravings. She may start to be sick on a regular basis as soon as 3-4 weeks into the pregnancy. Don’t panic. Sickness is normal for a pregnant cat. However, it’s a good idea to get her checked out by the vet if:

  • She doesn’t eat for more than 3 days
  • She is being excessively sick
  • She is eating anything other than her food in abundance

How long is a cat pregnant?

Cat pregnancies typically last around 65-69 days, so there’s no time to waste! Once you know for sure if your furry family is growing, you can start planning and preparing for the big day.

While it’s important to look out for physical, behavioural or nutritional changes in your kitty, the only way to know if your cat is pregnant for sure is by booking her in with the vet. They can carry out an ultrasound to confirm whether she is expecting and can usually determine how many kittens she is carrying. So, as soon as you start to notice any of the above changes, book her an appointment to get a pregnancy confirmation.

Caring for your pregnant cat

A little extra TLC

With her body beginning to go through drastic changes, it’s understandable that your queen will require some extra love and care. She may not want to leave the house as often and you might notice that she seeks out some alone time in a quiet place. If so, it’s best to leave her to it. Chances are, she’s starting to nest and is searching for the ideal peaceful spot to bring her kittens into the world.

Feeding your pregnant cat

Your queen won’t just be ‘eating for two’ – each litter tends to have an average of 4-6 kittens. With so many mouths to feed, it goes without saying that she may need a little extra in her bowl each day – food intake can quadruple in this time. She’ll need to be fed small meals several times throughout the day and should have access to fresh water at all times. During her pregnancy you can leave dry kitten food out for her to graze on.

Pregnant cat being fed a kibble

Pregnant cats dietary requirements differ to their non pregnant diet. Your pregnant cat will need extra protein and energy. As soon as you’ve confirmed your cat is pregnant, switch them from their normal adult cat food to a kitten food. Kitten food is packed with extra calories and the nutrients your queen needs to keep herself and her kittens healthy. If you’ve not tried Scrumbles, our high quality natural kitten food also includes a probiotic to keep their digestive system happy and boost their immune system. And most importantly keep those poos in check.

As with any food change, make sure you transition over a period of 7-10 days to keep her sensitive stomach happy. You should continue feeding a kitten formula until her kittens have been weaned off her milk.

Cleaning up

You worked tirelessly to house train your cat and now she’s started to leave messes on the floor again. Frustrating, right? However, the latter stages of pregnancy are not the time to scold your queen for having an accident or two. She simply can’t help it. The extra pressure on her bladder can make it harder to reach the litter box in time.

During those final precious few weeks, her nipples may also begin to swell and leak milk. Keeping your queen, and yourself, as calm as possible during those later stages is important for a healthy pregnancy and birth, so make sure you’re regularly changing her bed blankets to provide a warm, clean and cosy safe space.

Keeping your pregnant cat safe

If your cat is an outdoor cat, you’ll want to keep them safe and secure indoors from around the 6th week of pregnancy.

Preparing for the big day

In what feels like no time at all, your beloved kitty will be becoming a mother herself. You may have spent weeks, even months, preparing for delivery. But it can still come as a surprise for some. There are a few key signs that your queen is in or about to go into labour:

  • Restlessness – Around 24-48 hours before the birth, your pregnant cat may appear restless or anxious, pacing around her nesting area
  • Vocalisation – She might begin to meow and cry out more than usual. Don’t worry. She’s just letting you know the kittens are coming
  • Temperature changes – Around 24 hours before giving birth, her body temperature will drop below 38°C, so be sure to have a thermometer handy
  • Loss of appetite – In the run up to giving birth, your cat may lose her appetite and stop eating altogether.

If the time has come and your cat is displaying signs of labour, now is the time to put all your research to good use and help her bring her new kittens into the world safely.

Let her lead the way

Whether you want to call for a vet or you feel confident doing things yourself, make sure your queen is in a safe and comfortable space when the time comes. A number of pet pawrents have delivered their kittens successfully. But we recommend having a vet on call, just in case something doesn’t go as expected.  

The mum-to-be will probably start wandering around the house, looking for a good nesting space to give birth in. While you can create a quiet corner with a paper lined box, it’s important to let her lead you on this one and don’t try to move her from her comfortable spot. If a pregnant cat feels threatened or stressed at all, her labour could halt entirely which can be dangerous for both her and her kittens. Cats will typically seek an enclosed space for giving birth – choose an option with low sides for her to get in and out easily.

Create a peaceful environment

We understand this is an exciting time for the whole family. Every auntie, sister, brother and friend wants to be there to witness this miraculous experience. But your queen’s needs come first, and she needs a quiet, peaceful environment in which she feels safe.

So, whether they like it or not, the kids and other pets need to stay out of the room during the birth and you need to make sure your home is as quiet and calm as possible. You should delay the introduction of your new family members until they have had chance to settle in and relax to avoid causing stress to the newborn kittens.

Take a step back

With all the excitement and nerves surrounding the birth, it’s easy to get carried away and think that you need to help your cat out. However, there is no need for you to get involved with the birth at all. Mum always knows best. Nature will kick in, allowing her to safely deliver her babies alone.

Your cat will first experience a number of strong abdominal contractions and then you’ll notice some vaginal discharge. After this, the kittens should start to appear. The amount of time to deliver each kitten can vary from as little as 5 minutes to up to half an hour per kitten.

Kittens will appear with an amniotic sac surrounding them that your cat will typically open. If she doesn’t you’ll need to step in here and gently open the membrane using a towel to allow the kittens to breathe. Once all the kittens are out, your cat should bite through the umbilical cord, but again if she doesn’t you’ll need to help here.

If you’re worried about any of these steps, check with your vet ahead of the big day and on the big day if you suspect something has gone wrong, for example the discharge is bloody or particularly heavy call the vet immediately. Preparation will help you ensure your pregnant cat is safe and comfortable throughout and beyond her pregnancy.

Congratulations – you are now a proud new pawrent! Although it’s tempting to dive straight in with cuddles for these new bundles of joy, the new mum may become fiercely protective if anyone goes too near her kitties, so give them all time to settle first. Only when all kittens have arrived and mum is calm and relaxed should you move all the cats to a clean and comfortable area.

Pregnant after-care

Whether you’re planning to keep all the kittens, or send them off to loving new homes, you’re responsible for these new bundles of joy for at least the first few weeks of life. Bringing home a new kitten can be a scary time for any new pawrent, but the new mum will have all the instincts and nutrients needed to allow her babies to grow.

It’s not until around 4 weeks has passed that kittens will be ready to wean onto solid food. Check out our post on feeding kittens to read more about this little milestone in their lives. 

Keep in touch

If your beloved queen has just delivered her first litter or you’re still wondering if she’s expecting, we want to hear all about it. Comment below with any tips of your own for cat pregnancy along with stories about your own pregnant cat.

For more information about all things pets, be sure to check out our blog.