Signs that a cat is giving birth include restlessness, increased vocalization and vomiting. A cat actively looks for a quiet, private place to have her kittens, often choosing a closet or a pile of clothing as her nest.
To prepare for the birth of the kittens, place some newspapers in a box and put it in the closet of a spare room. Set a heating pad on low, and lay it in the bottom of another box. Cover the heating pad with a towel, so the newborn kittens have a warm place to rest. Keep towels nearby.
Days before a cat gives birth, her abdomen drops and her nipples enlarge and turn pinker. Closer to birth time, she might pant and excessively groom her genitals. When contractions start, the amniotic sac appears. Colored fluids are discharged.
The cat's contractions increase gradually until the kittens emerge. There can be from 30 to more than 60 minutes between births. Each kitten appears in its own amniotic sac. Usually the queen, or mother cat, removes the amniotic sac and licks the kitten to stimulate breathing. Occasionally the queen ignores a kitten. Gently remove the amniotic sac from the neglected kitten, and rub it with a rough towel to get it breathing. Each kitten is attached to a placenta that the mother cat removes by chewing. Count the placentas after all the kittens are born, and if one or more is missing, phone a veterinarian.