You were going to get her fixed, but your car broke and you had to fix that first. Then suddenly someone comments that your little girl is getting fat and you look twice at her. She is getting a bit bigger. Scanning the web, you compare the signs and sure enough if there was a home pregnancy test for cats, you would be running out to buy one.
So what are you going to do about it? You don't really have the resources to pay for emergency vet bills, but then you can't imagine abandoning your cat, especially when she is pregnant. Don't worry, as long as you commit to your cat, you can get through this and pay your bills at the same time. Here is how.
Speak to Your Nearest 24 Hour Vet
Kittens are notoriously born at night. If there is an emergency, it will probably happen while the sun is in bed and you wish you were as well. So it is best to track down the nearest emergency vet to your home. If it makes you feel better, call your regular vet first to find out which one they recommend. Consult with the emergency vet while your cat is still pregnant. After he is sure your cat is in good health, explain your financial situation to him. Although emergency veterinarians are notoriously strict on payment systems, they are still animal doctors who practice out of love. Discuss a payment plan for when there is an emergency and agree on a deposit amount, should you need his services. You have anywhere between one and two months to make sure you have this amount set aside, as an emergency fund. But don't worry, cats are excellent mothers and usually just get on with the business of having kittens with very few snags. Although it is rare, if your vet is unable to help with a payment plan, discuss other options, such as a local shelter with a vet on call.
Switch to Kitten Food
If you have already made the switch to adult food, when you find out your cat is pregnant, it is time to switch back to kitten food. Kitten food has all the nutrients your queen cat needs for her developing kittens. If you can not afford the expensive brands for sale in the vet's office, buy the best you can. You may find that a store brand actually has more nutrients than some of the more expensive national brands. You may even consider contacting manufacturers in your area for samples or coupons. They are usually happy to oblige, especially if you explain that you will soon be feeding a new litter as well.
Clean an Area for Your Cat to Give Birth
Your cat will probably pick a warm, dark and quiet area of your home to give birth. Although many resources will tell you to create a birthing box for your cat, it isn't strictly necessary. If you are happy for your cat to have kittens in the bottom of your closet, she will probably be happy there as well. Just unfold a garbage bag on the floor (especially if your closet floor is carpet) and throw a couple of old towels on top of it. Move food and water bowls into this area, along with a litter box and keep your queen cat restricted to this area for around two weeks before her expected due date. Move everything else out of this space that you wouldn't love to have covered in cat's blood. If you feel very strong about a birthing box, head to your local grocery store for an old box. It is really all you need. Cats are really not that fussy about fancy things when giving birth. All they need is a clean, quiet area and usually plenty of encouragement.
Catch Up On Your Sleep
Just as much as your queen cat needs her sleep, so do you. Remember that kittens are usually born at night. If you have a big day at work coming up, chances are your cat will give birth the night before. Make sure you catch up on your sleep in the weeks before the expected day of arrival. That is, of course, unless you are confident you can take off a day of work or make it through the day without napping at your desk.
A Few Essentials to Have on Hand
You should have some antiseptic, dental floss and a pair of blunt scissors on hand if there are problems with an umbilical cord. Any sort of bigger problem will probably need a trip to the vet. And for the most part you shouldn't even need these items. They are really on hand to make you feel more secure. In addition, you should have plenty of clean towels. Old dish towels work just fine as long as they are clean.
Although many websites recommend heating pads or similar items as kittens can not regulate their body temperature, but just make sure the room isn't too cold for the first couple of days after birth. If you don't have a heating pad on hand, you don't need to worry about buying one. Fill an old sock with uncooked rice and tie it off. This acts as a perfectly good heating pad once you have placed it in the microwave for a minute.
Most important to have on hand is plenty of coffee as you will need it. If you can, be there for your cat when she goes in to labor, it isn't something you want to miss. Not just for her, but also because it is one of the most priceless experiences you can have.
The average first litter is around four kittens, but you never know, there could be six or seven kittens. Your heart will go out to each one of them as they are born, so start finding good homes for them as soon as you find out your cat is pregnant. From co-workers to neighbors, make sure you tell everyone you know about the kittens who will need good homes. Use your social media sites, such as Facebook and free listing sites. Always do as much research as you can about the homes you are potentially sending your kittens to and find more homes than you think you need. Afterall, once your kittens have homes, there are many more in shelters who will also need families.
It may seem daunting and expensive at first, especially if you feel broke at the moment, but stick it out with your cat, just as she would do for you. You won't regret it. A few extra days on cans of tuna fish, isn't going to hurt you or your cat. And you can enjoy it together. And regardless of how enjoyable the experience is, have your cat fixed as soon as she finishes nursing her babies. Bob Barker wasn't saying it for fun.