Although cats usually have fewer problems than dogs when it comes to giving birth, there are always risks of letting a cat breed, including the concern that she may need a cesarean section. If you own an unspayed female cat (a queen) and either let her outside, or plan on breeding her, you need to be aware of the risks and possibilities that she may need a C-section at the time of having kittens. The medical name for a C-section is a hysterotomy.
Reasons Why Some Cats Need a Cesarean Section
A queen who is delivering kittens in a breach position (a position where they cannot pass through the birth canal on their own, such as being presented back first), will require a C-section as otherwise she would die in labor.
Many cats with short noses, and round faces, have difficulty delivering their kittens, this being Persians, Himalayans and so forth.
The Siamese cats with the extremely pointed noses and wide heads are also sometimes at risk for having natural delivery problems.
Any cat having distress when trying to deliver her kittens should be taken in for an emergency caesarian section.
Cats who are very young (under 14 months), or very old, are more likely to require a caesarian section.
How Much Does a Feline C-Section Cost?
The cost of a cat c-section will depend on many things, including where you live, and potential complications. In the United States and Canada, the cost for a feline cesarean can vary between $400 and $1,600.
Complications After a Cesarean Section
The queen must be anesthetized for the procedure and this could affect the kittens so the procedure is always done as fast as possible. Cats are often very sensitive to anesthetics so there are some concerns in regards to this.
The chances of the mother surviving the cesarean are fairly high if she was otherwise in good health. Kitten survival rate is roughly 80% depending on how long the mother had been in labor previously.
The mother cat may also be dehydrated and require an IV.
Veterinarians often recommend spaying a female cat at the time of her cesarean section to prevent problems in future pregnancies, ending her heat cycle.
Hemorrhaging is sometimes a concern and the cat should be well monitored for signs of this which could include swelling of the stomach, and/or blood shot eyes.
Additional risks to a cat after a C - Section are mastitis, pyometra, and infection.
After the mother cat is alert her kittens can be placed with her, they will nurse, and she should look after them. If for some reason she is unable to nurse her kittens the veterinarian will provide cat colostrum for the first feedings and after that they will need KMR, kitten milk replacement.