Preparing a Queening Box for Your Cat
Your cat (queen) is due to deliver her kittens sometime in the next two weeks. This is a good time to start preparing for that special day. One way is to buy or build a queening box (also called a kittening box), which is a place for your pregnant cat to deliver and care for her kittens.
Cats are known to nest in the most inconvenient areas if there is no box or the situation is not ideal, so it is important that the box location feel comfortable and safe to her. If the queen does not feel safe or is too "bothered" by people, she will often go into a closet, under the bed or in the cupboards to have her kittens.
Types of Queening Boxes
Most cats prefer a covered box. The box you choose should be clean and without rough surfaces. Some examples include:
- Small plastic pet carrier (as used for traveling)
- Cardboard box
- Laundry basket
- A large new covered litter box (new so there is no smell of litter or excrement). The floor is easy to clean and kittens cannot fall out.
- Build your own. Build your own by making a box with a door, sides and a roof. An easy to clean floor is also important. Linoleum or vinyl tile are easy choices. Ensure that you build a ledge at the door way so the queen needs to step over to leave so that they kittens cannot fall out.
The Right Spot
Select a private area for the queening box where your cat will feel comfortable. The area should be warm and free of drafts. Once you select a location for the queening box, allow your cat to become comfortable by letting her sleep in the box in the area you have selected. Be sure to place her litter box, food and water nearby.
Prepare the Box
The box should be lined with paper at the bottom. Newspaper makes a good material as it is clean, disposable, absorbent and the queen can tear it up when she is building her "nest." Soft washable bedding material can also be used such as blankets, towels or whelping pads. The bedding should be changed daily and laundered if not disposable.
After the mother is finished delivering her kittens, remove all dirty bedding and replace with clean ones. To maintain a comfortable temperature, especially during the winter months, you may add a heating pad. The heating pad should be placed under half of the bottom of the box at the lowest setting. It is important to not cover the entire bottom of the box so that the queen and kittens can move toward or away from the heat. Check the heating pad for safety and temperature to prevent the incidence of burns on the kittens or the mother. Cover the bottom of the box with plenty of bedding material.
Even after all the preparations you have gone through, don't be amazed if your cat decides to deliver her kittens in a special spot inside your closet!