It’s time to start preparing your queen’s birthing box if she’s only a couple of weeks away from her due date. Your pregnant feline will start looking for a place to nest before she gives birth to her litter, and it’s up to you to give her a safe, comfortable place where she can be free from any additional stress.
Cats can nest in the most inconvenient places sometimes, and giving her a box with everything she needs nearby is a good way to encourage her not to birth her kittens somewhere you can’t get to them. This article has a few potential materials for you to make a birthing box, as well as instructions on how to create the right environment for your queen.
The 6 Types of Birthing Boxes
Some cats prefer to have a covered box where they can relax in a dark, private space. Depending on what you’re making the birthing box from you may have to get creative with a removable lid. Your birthing box should be clean and free from any rough surfaces that she or her kittens could get hurt on. Here are a few ideas:
1. Small Plastic Pet Carrier
If your feline already has a plastic carrier that she’s comfortable with, this might be the perfect place for her to give birth. Make sure you clean it out for her ahead of time.
2. Large Tote with Lid
Plastic totes are one of the best options for a birthing box. Cut a small hole in the side that she can easily enter through. Also, create small air holes so mom and kittens can breathe freely. The lids are easy to remove and replace without disturbing her.
3. Laundry Basket
Laundry baskets might not be dark or covered enough for your feline. However, you can fix this by placing a piece of cardboard over half of it so she can still come and go as she pleases. Also, if you choose this option, use a basket that doesn’t have slots on the side for the kittens to potentially fit their heads through and injure themselves.
4. Cardboard Box
The good thing about cardboard is that you can turn it into just about anything. If you have a large enough box, all you need to do is cut a hole in it for her to enter and exit through, as well as air holes.
5. Brand New Large, Covered Litter Box
While an old litter box is probably too smelly for your queen, a new, covered litter box might just be the perfect place.
6. Build Your Own Wooden Box
Building your own box from wood is certainly more challenging, but it could pay off if you do it right. Just make sure there are no sharp edges for her to get injured on and the structure is sturdy.
Preparing a Birthing Box
Your cat’s birthing box should be lined with clean paper (like newspaper) at the bottom. Newspapers are clean, absorbent, and disposable. Plus, she can tear it apart as she builds her own nest. For extra comfort, you can add an old blanket or towel. Make sure you change this bedding every day.
Finding the Right Spot
Your queen isn’t going to want to give birth where there is a lot of traffic. You should place her birthing box in a warm, quiet room away from the chaos of the rest of the house. Once you find a good location, allow her to get comfortable around the box. Allow her to sleep there and place her food and water nearby, but not inside of the box.
After Mother Cat Delivers Her Litter
After your mama cat has delivered her babies, carefully remove all the dirty bedding and replace it with clean materials. Try to keep the box at a comfortable temperature. If the room is colder, you can place warm water bottles or latex gloves filled with warm water at the bottom of the box. Heating pads, although convenient, are not recommended because of the potential to get too hot.
Even if you’ve gone through all of this work to create the perfect birthing environment, there is still a chance that your feline will ignore your preparations and find a new place to give birth. Don’t take this personally. She needs to go wherever she feels most comfortable and safe. The important thing is that you keep a close eye on her and comfort her during the process.