For any cat owner, having kittens is a joyous moment, and with a Maine Coon you will be getting something especially special. The average Maine Coon kitten is a little larger than average, around 115g as opposed to the more average 90g.
So what to do when a Maine Coon gives birth? Well, as she was still maturing and this was her first litter I wanted to be there. As a trained nurse and having been present at many kitten births I felt I could offer help. The first thing to do was to get a due date, get round the clock monitoring going and prep everyone for the fact that I might need to rush home.
So, please note, that what follows was my experience with the benefit of being a nurse. If you are indeed worried about the situation, I would advise you to consult your vet immediately.
Normally I wouldn’t be too concerned about a litter birth, but there were a couple of aspects to this new Maine Coon litter that was coming that made me want to make arrangements.
Firstly, Alita was not fully matured. The average age to maturity for a female Maine Coon is said to be around 3 years. Alita is just under 2 years old.
Secondly, this was her first litter.
So I had a Maine Coon, I consider well under the right age for her first litter and a first timer as well. Couple these together and I made it a mission to be there at the birth. Again, this is because I am medically trained.
Luckily, this was pretty easy to do.
Firstly, I took Alita to the vet, who gave me a scan. Apparently I was about to get another 5 Maine Coon kittens into the household.
With this the vet gave me an estimated due date of the first week of February. Therefore around this time, I arranged for friends to be at my home whilst I was at work.
As I live near work, about 10 minutes away, this was ideal. I could be back at home very quickly, at least hopefully, and colleagues had arranged coverage for my temporary absence.
It was just a matter of having everything prepared and at hand for when I needed it.
Firstly I prepared a pretty simple place for Alita. A cardboard box, with an appropriate cutout placed in a warm area of the house, away from any draughts. It was lined with towels and comfortable bedding.
Then it is simply a matter of collating a few items and making sure I know where they are
Most are reasonably obvious, but the bulb has a function that could be life saving for a kitten. More on that later.
The fateful day inevitably arrived. Whilst at work (wouldn’t it just have to be) a friend, who works online, was at my house and gave me a fright with a blurry picture of where Alita was staying with what looked to be a kitten. Accompanied by a text message advising me of such.
I was back at my place within 10 minutes.
The very first kitten, unfortunately did not make it. It was not breathing but a second one had just arrived, and this one was making some noise.
The process I went through was pretty much the same.
As I knew there were 5, then after the last one was born and taken through the procedure I had to do this 4 times with the whole procure taking 3 to 4 minutes with each kitten.
Following on I made sure they were all warm and dry and with the mother in the new cardboard box home. I was with them for about an hour afterwards, just keeping an eye out, before I had to return to work.
Phew. Work away from work, but it was so worth it.
While I’d recommend you only do that if you are experienced or have had practice, it did seem to work. All the kittens at this stage are pretty healthy.
The first lesson is that there is about 10 or 15 minutes between each kitten being born. During which time the Maine Coon mother get out of her box and wander a bit. I was reasonably certain another kitten was on the way when she returned to the same place each time.
What was surprising was that Alita did not make much noise at all. She certainly wasn’t in any pain. Or didn’t look to be. The occasional meow, but that was about it. This makes it much easier and less stressful.
Maine Coons seem quite happy to let you help. I would pick up the newborn and begin the procedure and Alita never made any fuss. She knew I was helping and as this was her first litter seemed OK with me making sure they were OK.
Firstly I will make no apologies for recommending you get a veterinarians help or advice if you have any doubts. With 20 years nursing experience, and a similar amount of time breeding cats I am perfectly fine with helping out my Maine Coon.
I was concerned about a Maine Coon having its first litter before reaching maturity so wanted to be there.
If I hadn’t there’s every chance that a similar outcome may have happened, but there was a lot of mucus and I’m glad I was there to make sure the kittens were breathing from the very beginning.
I will now keep an eye on Alita and see how she is as a new mother, but despite her looking a bit shocked I think she will be fine.
And yes, she finally did get those creamy treats I’d prepared for her.