Watching your queen give birth is one of the most satisfying parts of breeding. Although she will rarely need assistance, your queen will appreciate your presence, particularly if anything should go wrong. Just remember that too much human meddling may be deleterious.
When your queen is approaching her 59th day of pregnancy, you should confine her to the cage or room in which she is to deliver her kittens. She may fool you into thinking that birth is imminent by scratching and tearing at the paper or toweling in the birthing box, becoming very restless and not wanting much to eat.
However, these signs can go on for one or two weeks and are not sure fire indicators of labor. In fact, in some cases these signs may have started to occur at the time she was mated. Her temperature will drop to below 101.2 F for a 24 hour period before delivery, although it is not advisable to take her temperature at this time as this could stress her.
Other definitive signs are a tightening of the skin over her abdomen and the movement, or dropping, of the kittens to the rear. She will meow quite plaintively during this time, but she may have been doing this during most of her pregnancy.
Be alert to any signs that labor has begun. You will notice her squatting and straining and, if she is shorthaired, you may also see labor contractions rippling. If she is longhaired, you will have cut away the hair from around her vagina so the hair does not stick to the umbilical cord during delivery. You also should have cut the hair from around her nipples to enable the kittens to suck on them more easily.
If she is shorthaired, these procedures are not necessary. It is unusual for your queen to have much difficulty when giving birth. Even with her first litter, a queen knows instinctively what to do.
After giving birth, the queen will chew off the umbilical cord and ear the placenta. In the wild, the placenta would attract predators, so this behavior is vital. She will then lick her kittens clean.