How Many Placentas Do Cats Have When They’re Born?

By Phil / July 16, 2019
How Many Placentas Do Cats Have

If your cat is due to give birth any day now, there are a few things you can do to be prepared to help. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be well aware of what to expect.

I’ll say off the top, try not to worry or panic. Almost all cats deliver their litter without any issues or assistance. Your role is to offer support from a distance if needed and enjoy experiencing one of the miracles and joys of life.

How Many Placentas Do Cats Have?

How many placentas do cats have? If you have a pregnant cat expecting a litter soon, you should look out for one placenta for each kitten born. It is possible to see fewer placentas than kittens, this is usually due to the mother eating one or twins sharing a placenta.

Although less common, there is also a risk of a placenta being retained inside the mother. This is a potentially very serious health concern. So, after you count up the placentas and kittens, if one or more placenta is not accounted for you will need to get her checked by your vet.

Try not to panic though, the last thing she needs is to pick up on bad vibes and you need to keep a cool head during her birthing. Also, try not to freak out if you see the mother eating some of the placentas. This is perfectly normal, they are rich in nutrients, and it’s all part of a natural cat birthing process.

Cat Placenta Stuck? What to Do

Sometimes when giving birth, cats retain a placenta. If you think that your cat has a placenta that hasn’t come out, this is a potentially very serious condition that you need to address as soon as she’s finished everything.

It’s not something you should attempt to do yourself. You should take your cat to a vet so they can do a scan and remove the placenta in its entirety. Just err on the side of caution as it’s such a serious health concern.

Why Do Cats Eat the Placenta After Giving Birth?

Why Do Cats Eat the Placenta After Giving Birth

Don’t be surprised or grossed out if you see your cat eating the placentas after the kittens are born. This is actually fairly common among mammals, and there are two main reasons for this:

One reason ties back to behavior they exhibit in the wild. The smell of the placenta would attract predators, so it’s part of a cat’s innate behavior to eat it.

The second reason is that placentas are very rich nutrients. Giving birth to several kittens takes a toll on a cat’s body. The nutrients in the placenta replenish some of the energy lost during the birthing process. 

How Long Can the Placenta Stay Attached to a Baby Kitten?

The umbilical cord will dry up and come away from the kitten after two to three days. The mother cat may aid this by licking and chewing at it to ensure it comes away. I don’t know how long the placenta can stay attached to a baby kitten, but if it hasn’t detached within this time frame I’d call your vet for some advice.

Cat Placenta: Good Luck or Superstition?

In some cultures, it’s believed that the cat placenta and umbilical cord brings good luck. In my opinion, it’s nothing more than a superstition and I don’t get behind superstitions.

However, I’m not here to judge. I’ve just been reading through various forum posts where people are convinced a dried cat placenta has been bringing them good luck. So, if it’s something you want to try or believe in – go ahead.

How Many Kittens Do Cats Have?

Potential Problems Cats Face During Labor

There is no set number for how many kittens the cat will have. Generally speaking, cat litters range from 2 to 6 kittens.

There are a few factors that affect how many kittens cats have if you want to try and get the best estimate possible in your head. It’s worth doing some research into the breed of cat you have. Also, younger and older cats tend to have smaller litters and cats there are around 3 to 5 years old.

How Long Does It Take for a Cat to Give Birth Between Kittens?

Again, there is no set answer to this question. Generally speaking, It can take anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour in between each kitten being born. Even if it takes longer than this, try not to panic as cats can even take a break to recover energy for as long as a couple of days before continuing.

As I mentioned earlier, if you have any concerns or questions your vet should be more than happy to answer them if you give them a quick call.

TL;DR – In Summary

In answer to the question about how many placentas cats have, there should be one placenta attached each kitten as it’s born.

If not, I explained some of the reasons why and what you should do about it above in this article. Although I’ve covered some of the worst-case scenarios, I just want to reiterate the issues during birthing in cats are rare.

It’s important that you’re on hand with plenty of comfy blankets, some clean scissors in case you need to cut the cord, hygienic cleaning products, and some kitten milk for the mother as it’s rich in nutrition.

For the most part, you will just need to sit back and admire this miracle of nature. Then, of course, you need to start thinking about names and homes for all the kittens. But that’s a topic for another day!

Want to know more about a first-time cat pregnancy and birthing process? Please read what to do if your cat is giving birth for the first time. As well as some of my other relevant posts, like when do kittens open their ears, and when do kittens open their eyes.

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