Long birth (pathological birth)
Mother-cats have the ability to delay the birth, they can do it for 24 hours. Domestic cats preserve this very old ability - just in case of jeopardy they can make a "nest" in a new place. That's why any interference such as noise, fuss (constant walking of strangers) and other may stop the birth process.
Non-psychological factors of long and pathological birth are: mechanical blockade, when kitten's body exceed birth ducts' proportions, and uterus atony, when the labors are not strong enough to push the fetus (weak birth process - flabbiness of uterus contraction). In most cases they are connected causing pathological birth up to stopping of birth process owing to uterus overstrain.
Pathological birth is rare among healthy cats living in good conditions. More frequent it may be among fat cats and cats which are too old to give birth, also it may be when among normal there are big kittens. As a rule, pathological birth becomes apparent under first kitten's birth.
Mechanical blockade. It is a result of two factors: wrong position of the fetus and big fetus. It is considered to be normal when kittens go down the birth duct with their heads and fore paws (the position of "diver") and their backs along the vagina. When the kitten go down with its back paws, then the first appear its back paws or its tail with sacrum. 20% of birth show that the first appears the back paw and it's quite OK. Pelvis position of the fetus (when it goes down with its sacrum or tail) usually causes difficulties during the first kitten's birth. Head bending to the side or forward may cause the same.
Mother-cat may also have problems with its birth if there was pelvis fracture. When you prepare your cat to copulation, you'd better do an X-ray. It helps to expose narrow pelvis. In this case it's better to ablate the ovaries.
Uterus atony. Weak birth process (weak uterus contractions) very often causes non-effective birth. Mechanical factors may be the cause of wideness and tension of uterus and this lessen the strength of pangs. The only big kitten in a small uterus, many kittens in uterus, overwind of uterus and hydrops amnion may cause this condition.
In some cases the weakness of birth process is primary, probably it is connected with oxytocin insufficiency (hormone coming to blood from hypophysis) or calcium insufficiency (or both). Uterus reacts to oxytocin and calcium gluconate injections with stronger pangs.
The use of oxytocin is contra - indication with mechanical blockade as it may cause the break of uterus This medicine is prescribed only by veterinary.
If the birth is long enough, but one can't see a kitten and it is not felt with your fingers in the birth duct, it is necessary to do an X-ray to define kittens' proportions and their location.
When it is time to call the veterinary
It's better to call the veterinary when the alarm is false, than stay helpless in a difficult and serious situation. It is better to make a mistake, than to miss a moment for providing of useful help or even necessary surgical intervention.
Your pet needs help in the following situations:
1) your cat has strong birth pangs but it can't give birth for an hour;
2) the kitten partly has come to the birth duct but can't go through it during 10 minutes;
3) bleeding (some teaspoons) during or after birth during 10 minutes;
4) sudden apathy and weakness with the temperature above 40 °С or below 36,1 °С, it's maybe infection disease;
5) The end of birth process accompanied by nervousness of the mother-cat, weakness or tiredness; kittens are coming with the interval from 15 minutes to two hours; three hour interval or even more needs urgent veterinary help (we don't mean mother-cats which quietly rest and feed kittens and feel perfectly).
Appearance of yellow liquid means amnion that surrounding a kitten has broken. If it happened in birth ducts, the kitten is due in 30 minutes. When the liquid is dark green, it means placenta exfoliation. The kitten is due in some minutes. After the first kitten's birth the liquid will become of a normal color and you shouldn't worry.